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Rachael M
Dublin, Ireland

Wedding in paradise - vinkaka!

5.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed 27 Nov 2015via mobile
We've just come back from 7 days on Matamanoa and it was the perfect spot for a wedding.
The resort is the only one on a small, perfectly formed tropical island. White sands, turquoise seas and reefs teaming with fish just off the beach. The resort is also small so there is plenty of space to feel like you have the island all to yourself.
Treat yourself to a beach bure with a day bed and plunge pool looking out onto the beach. The Bure was recently renovated and very nicely done with lovely Fijian/modern furnishing.
The staff were helpful and friendly and just the right side of laid-back. I also enjoyed the food, which was very fresh and tasty. There was a nice mix of European, Asian and Fijian food on the menu. And the crepe suzettes were a treat!
Date of stay: November 2015
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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newsofthepacific, Director of Sales at Matamanoa Island Resort, responded to this review
Responded 29 Nov 2015
Vinaka, so happy your special day was all that you hoped for, cheers
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
The listings of booking offers for each property take into account the compensation paid to us by our partners. Prices shown may be for varying room types. Prices displayed are the lowest available, corresponding to the least expensive room type available, as provided from our partners as of the time of the user’s search.
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      Reviewed 26 November 2015

      We have just returned from our Fiji escape having spent the last 3 days of our holiday on Matamanoa Island. The Island itself is small but absolutely beautiful and surrounded by pristine water coloured every shade of blue that you could imagine; a true paradise but it has a dark side for the unwary. Before I get to that I would like to point out that this is a great island if you love diving, snorkelling and lazing around the pool or on the beach doing nothing, it is well catered for in that regard and the staff organizing those activities are a great bunch. Also, the resort offers handline, light tackle and sport fishing but as a keen fishermen myself I found the supplied equipment of poor quality and in poor condition. The boat is a well built twin hull cat, around 20ft or so and adequate for the job but is let down by the lack of a quality sounder and GPS so you don't ever know what's happening under the boat. If you just want to do a bit of handline fishing be prepared to sit within the bounds of the surrounding reef a couple of hundred metres from the resort with little chance of catching anything that you would expect in Fiji. The point being is that they are happy to take your money but really dont go out of their way to make your fishing experience a memorable one. They could do alot more for the fishing tourists in such a prime location. Now for the dark side: For the amount of money one spends to stay at this resort you would expect everything to be in order and pricing similar to the 5 Star resorts located at Denarau; not the case. Whilst the food is reasonably priced and of a fairly high standard the drinks are a completely different story retailing at almost double the price of their 5 Star rivals on Denarau eg, 1.5lt bottle of water at Sheraton Denarau around F$5-$6 compared to F$11 on Matamanoa, cocktails F$26 at Sheraton compared to F$40 on the island, Mocktails F$11 at Sheraton to F$26 on the island; fresh juices are advertised but you cant get them because they don't have them, the espresso machine is broken and don't know when it will be repaired (there is no back up equipment or plan for resupplies). To me this is unacceptable and as a result there is no social atmosphere around the bar or restaurant because no one is willing to pay their prices or relax with a cappuccino or espresso after dinner so everyone just leaves and return to their rooms; this place should be buzzing of a night. Then there is the restaurant and bar staff; there are a handful of very helpful staff but they are let down by those who want to work on triple Fiji time so you wait forever to order your meals or drinks and when you do it seems such an effort is required to write it all down and take it back to the kitchen. No drink service around the pool either, you have to literally go and get your own and then wait for it to be delivered or go and collect it yourself, again this is unacceptable to me. It seems that some things are set up the way they are because they just don't want to do certain things so they find ways to deter you. I could go on even more but it is such a shame that this island is the way it is because it has so much potential but let down by poor staff and poor equipment. The accommodations are great, the housemaids are great and I take my hat off to the chef who does a fantastic job with limited resources. WiFi is F$50 for 24hr.

      Room tip: The bures on the N/W side of the island are quite a distance from the main resort. All the rooms are well appointed with A/C.
      Date of stay: November 2015
      • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
        • Value
        • Cleanliness
        • Service
      2  Thank john s
      This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
      newsofthepacific, Director of Sales at Matamanoa Island Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 1 December 2015

      Bula John,

      Vinaka for your feedback, I feel that some of your comments possibly need some clarification.

      I feel I must explain to you that fishing from the beach at Matamanoa is definitely taboo as within the surrounding reefs Matamanoa Island is a “Marine Sanctuary” and I know that you were disappointed that you were unable to fish from the beach, but we must respect the Landowners and the villagers who have sanctioned these reefs and no fishing within.

      I think that you sighted the personal fishing gear of the staff which at most, appears basic, and you were advised by our staff that you were welcome to utilise you own personal fishing gear which I am sure was preferable to you as a keen angler. As an example I have seen a particular staff member with fishing line wound around a bottle with a hook and sinker and he caught plenty of fish, not that I am suggesting that you do the same.

      Such a shame that you cancelled you Hand Line Fishing Excursion and at AUD$19 per person for a couple of hours out on the water it is very good value indeed. The other guests that did go on the Sport Fishing excursion, were rewarded with a bountiful catch including Tuna and Spanish Mackerel and enjoyed their catch at dinner that night. It is up to the Boat Captain to determine which area to take the guests as his knowledge of the local waters is invaluable, suggestions from guests such as yourself are always welcome, however the boys really know the good spots to fish.

      The boat is fitted with a GPS but the boys don’t use it as they have absolute expert knowledge of the area and where the fish are biting and they always catch fish. Probably a good idea to rely on their local knowledge as they have generations of fishing experience in their waters.

      May I suggest that you check the Denarau prices and I think you may be mistaken in some of your comments.

      I am sorry that your stay was not all you expected and I do hope that you enjoyed Fiji overall, Fijians are extremely friendly but very shy when faced with adversity.

      Report response as inappropriate
      This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
      Reviewed 26 November 2015

      Matamanoa was a perfect honeymoon destination. A place to relax, spend some time with your other half, and simply... do nothing.

      We stayed in a Burre but halfway through our stay we were upgraded to a private villa with plunge pool. They were doing renovations at the time (our stay was a few months ago, I simply forgot to do a review) so they moved us. No complaints here! The staff were so friendly and assisted us at every opportunity. The rooms were well stocked and plenty of room to spread yourselves out.

      I think the biggest vote of confidence was a couple we met who were on their 10th visit. 7 or 8 before kids and now, 15 years later, 2 or 3 more annual trips.

      If I had any gripe it would be that alcohol is not cheap and you'll expect to pay similar costs for a cocktail as you would at a fancy bar in Sydney. But this didn't detract from the visit. Who would complain about drinking cocktails with views of clear, aqua water over the Fijian reefs.

      And coupled with no kids...? Perfect.

      Date of stay: January 2015
      • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
        • Sleep Quality
        • Rooms
        • Service
      3  Thank SwansFanSydney
      This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
      newsofthepacific, Director of Sales at Matamanoa Island Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 30 November 2015

      Vinaka for your kind words, management and staff are delighted that you enjoyed your time on Matamanoa, good luck with the Swans, cheers

      Report response as inappropriate
      This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
      Reviewed 23 November 2015

      True paradise in the South Pacific can be found on Matamanoa Island. This small island encircled by coral reefs, bathed in strips of aqua blue and turquoise, then beyond the reef the blue violet of the sea. Our Villa (#5) on the sunset side was perfect! We sat on our bed each morning looking out over the sea through the huge picture window and then each evening sitting on the deck watching the sunset. This Villa is configured differently to all the others, built across the site with the bedroom and lounge areas side-by-side not only creating a very spacious room but also enabling wonderful sea views from every position, particularly from the bed (all other Villas are narrower with the bedroom beyond the lounge as you walk off the deck). This Villa was only a 2 minute walk along the timbered walkway to North Beach with spectacular snorkelling off the north-eastern point. Swim over the reef through schools of vividly coloured fish to the 'drop off' to find turtles and the occasional flash of a silver trevally, or perhaps reef sharks (safe so we were told). North Beach is a little nicer than Sunset Beach, but we still swam on Sunset Beach every morning and evening.The friendly hospitality of Fijians is in abundance on Matamanoa from the moment you are welcomed onto the beach with song to the moment you depart, again with song. We didn't have high expectations for the food and our expectations were met, a bit hit and miss, but we didn't come to this paradise for the food.

      Room tip: Villas 1-5 are at the Nth end on the sunset side. We were #5 (the best one). Villas 6+ are on Nth Beach with 6-8 being slightly less private
      Date of stay: November 2015
      • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
        • Value
        • Sleep Quality
        • Service
      2  Thank TravelForFood57
      This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
      newsofthepacific, Director of Sales at Matamanoa Island Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 30 November 2015

      Vinaka, we hope to see you again sometime, cheers

      Report response as inappropriate
      This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
      Reviewed 21 November 2015

      We had an awesome week at Matamanoa, our beachfront Bure was fantastic, the snorkelling trip was great and the staff were lovely. The only disappointing thing was the food which was pretty average, but the prices weren't too bad so you weren't paying a fortune for meals. One of the best things was that there were no children which was perfect for a couples retreat (we went for our wedding anniversary).

      Room tip: I'd recommend beachfront bures rather than the villas as the villas were a long was away from facilities
      Date of stay: October 2015
      • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
        • Sleep Quality
        • Cleanliness
        • Service
      2  Thank BridgeBunchTga
      This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
      newsofthepacific, Director of Sales at Matamanoa Island Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 23 November 2015

      Bula,
      So happy you enjoyed your stay on Matamanoa Island,.. The Villas are serviced 24 hours with a Golf Buggy, just in case you don't wish to make the 3 minute walk. Sounds like you had a lovely wedding anniversary, vinaka hope to see you again.

      Report response as inappropriate
      This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
      Reviewed 17 November 2015

      Bula,
      Thank you for a stunning holiday in paradise.
      Staff are absolutely fantastic, always trying to help and make your stay more pleasent.
      We stayed 8 nights and never got tired of the location.
      There were plenty of activities available, we chose to spend our time snorkelling / swimming and making use of our day bed and plunge pool.
      Viti watersports staff were friendly and helpful.
      The site knowledge was excellent, i just wish i had taken more scuba dives.
      My only concern is the damage to the reef from the "crown of thorns" starfish that has destroyed much of the colourful corals. I do hope some action is taken before more damage is done.
      Abundant fish life on and surrounding the reef, saw a couple of sea turtles, large schools of fish and even a few curious reef sharks.
      If you choose to stay here I recommend the bures or the villas. The daybed and plunge pools just add so much to the experience.
      Thanks again 9/10

      Room tip: Bure or villa. For the ultimate experience.
      Date of stay: November 2015
      • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
        • Rooms
        • Cleanliness
        • Service
      3  Thank Hemicoupe
      This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
      newsofthepacific, Director of Sales at Matamanoa Island Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 19 November 2015

      Vinaka, we are delighted that you enjoyed your stay and yes we are right on top of those Crown of Thorns, we look forward to welcoming you back, cheers

      Report response as inappropriate
      This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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