My husband and I dated for nine years and decided to elope and get married at TIR. We did a lot of research ahead of time to ensure that we were selected the right place. After three flights, we arrived on Taveuni island and we're immediately transported into another world. This lovely island is about an hour flight from Nadi. It is very remote - so please know that going into it. There's not many modern conveniences. The people on the island are very warm and welcoming and seem genuinely happy living a simple life. Who needs material distractions when you live in paradise! This island is like heaven on earth!
We were picked up at the airport and driven a short distance to the resort and greeted with a lovely Fijian chorus welcoming us to the property. I have to say that check-in was a bit odd, as we were asked to sign some release (while we were jetlagged) absolving the resort of any responsibility for any lost belongings (not very comforting). We were then given a quick tour of our "villa" which was not exactly what we expected when we booked the room. Let me just say that the VIEW is easily a 6 star! We were on a cliffside that felt like we were hanging over the top of the ocean. It was stunningly beautiful. All I can say is WOW. One night I stood out there watching a rainstorm...spectacular. The room itself was a bit rustic and reminded me of a cabin - although not without charm. There was no tub (which we found odd in a place catered toward couples/romance). There was no clock, radio, television or ipod docking station and most of the time the safe wouldn't lock (not very comforting when they make you sign a release and you have wedding rings and other valuables with you). In addition, telephone in the room didn't work half the time and during the times it did work, you could rarely get somebody to answer! Very frustrating! I can live without most of those things, but one should have the ability to at least play some music in their room. An Ipod docking station is quite inexpensive. I'm not sure why the resort wouldn't just provide this? This was quite disappointing to us. We have both traveled extensively internationally and most properties that charge this amount of money should have more modern conveniences like this for their guests. The bed was comfortable and romantic with the mosquito netting over it. I loved the outdoor shower with a view of the ocean - it was quite impressive! It should be noted that there are insects/bugs that can be quite large at times and occasionally make their prescence known in your room or bathroom....this is not unusual in the tropics - but it happens.
Since the room wasn't exactly what we had expected, we just wanted what we had originally booked for our honeymoon, so we spoke to the owner/manager and requested that we be moved somewhere else that was more to our liking. This was a very tense and uncomfortable experience as she first said there was nowhere to move us - then she wanted to charge us a lot more for the room "transfer." She was not cooperative initially and we were actually considering checking out and going to a different property as we were uncomfortable with this behavior and did not want to deal with this on our wedding/honeymoon trip. We were told that there would be "no refund" if we departed which was quite upsetting as this amounted to thousands and thousands of dollars. It should be noted that if you book this ahead of time, I would advise against paying the balance in full on Paypal as we did (this option was offered as a discount to us instead of credit card option). If you do that, you are essentially "locked in" and if there is any issue/dispute, you have no recourse. We will never make this mistake again. We finally came to an agreement with the owner/manager and were able to transfer rooms in a couple days. She did make an effort to make us happy and transfered us to the royal villa and although the villa was more spacious, it still did not have a TV that was operable or any music and the outdoor "hot tub" that it had was ice cold. Very odd! They did bring in a small stereo and let us use it for the rest of the vacation (which was great)!
I'm attempting to be very fair in this review as we did love many aspects of the resort and were disappointed in others. The staff was great and very welcoming! We LOVED Sai and the guitar/kava boys!! They make an effort to remember your names and seem happy to see you and meet your requests. The food quality is very good - excellent at times -and very fresh! However some variety is DEFINITELY needed. Offering guests a variation of the same type of soup every day just isn't appetizing (pumpkin or curry or pumpkin again...) Also it would be nice if they offered more types of fish too. We had to request lobster and shrimp as it wasn't actually offered for dinner the entire time we were there. We were told it was expensive and/or not in season, etc... We understood this, but this place charges a lot, so we expected some of this for the price. We actually made some specific food requests and they were happy to oblige although I have to share a funny moment. We were craving a hamburger and asked them if they could make this for us. They said yes. When we were seated for dinner and they brought out our entrees, we were actually given a HAM slice on a burger bun! I will say that the restaurant staff is very quick to shut down around 9:30 - 10 p.m. - even if you're still not finished. They actually lock you out of the restaurant/bar and leave you on the deck. We experienced this first hand one night we were sharing a bottle of wine with another couple. Not exactly hospitable when you're spending money (especially when it wasn't that late). Many of the guests that were there during that time were European and had the same complaints as this was very early for them as well.
The spa isn't really what I would call a spa per se, but I will say that the massages were quite good and reasonably priced! I highly recommend the couples massage.
We did get married at the resort, but it was not on the day we had planned. On the day we had it scheduled, there was a torrential downpour and we decided we did not fly all that way to get married in a monsoon! The owner of the resort was quite shocked at this and was insisting that we do it anyway as they had the table "ready" in the restaurant and the bouquet prepared. Since this was our day, we wanted to do it at sunset on the beach - with the sun shining - NOT in a rainstorm. So, we agreed to go ahead and have our "party" anyway with the other guests in order to appease the owner as she seemed so upset. Again, this was a little off-putting as this is our wedding and she should've been trying to make us happy, not force us into doing something during a rainstorm. Anyway, we had a lovely little party with Fijians singing and playing guitar and drinking kava. We shared champagne/wine/dinner/cake with the other hotel guests and had an amazing night - even if we weren't actually married that night! The flowers and Fijian decor were lovely and the food was very good! It was a beautiful, memorable evening...
We tried to get married a couple days later, but the manager was unavailable and the staff didn't want to "wake" her. They also claimed they couldn't find the minister - frusrating for us because it was blazing sunshine! So, the next day after we returned from a two tank scuba dive, the manager approached us at 2 p.m. and asked if we wanted to get married that day. We are spontaneous so with only two hours to get ready - we scrambled and managed to do it. We were married at sunset on the beach as we originally wanted. I had Fijian "warriors" escort me down to the beach and we were serenaded by lovely Fijian girls. It was breathtaking, short, sweet and exactly the way we wanted it. We met some wonderful new friends at the resort that were our witnesses and guests and it was very special. Since we hadn't gotten married during the rainstorm, we were given our previous leis and bouquet to use and that was disappointing as they were already wilting and old. We were told that there weren't anymore "fresh" flowers available on the island (which I find hard to believe on an island as lush as this). Again, the owner/manager seemed very put out that we wanted fresh flowers for our wedding (we offered to pay for them), so we didn't want to push it. In retrospect, we were just uncomfortable asking for what we wanted for our wedding/reception because we were treated as if we were asking too much (when it reality it was very little)! Our requests were very simple and made out like they were insurmountable.
In the end, I have to say that we met some WONDERFUL people! It's a setting that allows you the opportunity to connect and interact with other guests and it was just an amazing experience! The island is stunning, the adventure walks and waterfalls are a must do. The scuba diving is excellent! We highly recommend Taveuni Dive. Most excellent, top quality dive operation!
I can give this property a 4 star, but it needs some updates to the rooms and more modern conveniences to make it a true 5 star. A fitness center would be a welcome addition. Also, I have to say that the management should try to handle guests in a more welcoming and embracing manner. We heard some of the very same concerns from other guests that were there, but were afraid to speak up. Part of the hospitality industry is making your guests happy and comfortable - guests do have expectations when they're paying above a certain dollar amount and TIR needs to work on giving guests what they want. It has the ability to be a 5 star resort, but needs to work on some of the rough edges first.
In retrospect, we probably would've made a different choice as TIR was lacking some of the amenities and standards we expected. But in the end it turned out very well and the people we met were very special and the wedding itself was lovely!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This award winning resort is a perfect destination for those seeking a luxurious, romantic, adventurous location. This jewel of the Pacific accommodates just 14 privileged couples in large, private, beautifully appointed bures, each enjoying unsurpassed panoramic views. This is a verdant paradise for nature lovers and lovers of nature, home to dense rain forests, 100's of waterfalls & rivers, white sand beaches, world class fishing and diving and wonderful cultural experiences. Enjoy our friendly staff, organic foods and homemade pasta's & gourmet island cuisine. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Taveuni Island Resort And Spa
- Taveuni Island Hotel Taveuni Island