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“Fantastic diving and snorkelling” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Mai Dive - Astrolabe Reef Resort

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Mai Dive - Astrolabe Reef Resort
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Ono Island
Certificate of Excellence
hongkong
Level Contributor
44 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
“Fantastic diving and snorkelling”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 June 2013

It took us just over a year to plan and save up for our Fiji trip. We planned our holiday for late March, as we wanted to dive in warm waters (the water temperature can fall to 20 degrees in the Fiji winter) and, hopefully, to swim with manta rays. We were lucky to get discounted flights to Nadi, but as we had not finalised our holiday destinations in Fiji, we paid more for domestic flights than we would have if booked all our Air Pacific flights at the same time.
Mai Dive is beautiful, the perfect place to relax and unwind. It’s very quiet and peaceful. The colours of the sea are amazing and the waves breaking over Astrolabe Reef in the distance are pretty awesome, especially as you can hear them. The staff are not-in-your-face, and leave you alone, but are ready to chat if you take the initiative. Listening to their singing as they go about their work is very special. There are plenty of activities, and even though we had planned on doing several, we couldn’t because we stayed only for one week! There is a small library, so if you forget your books, not to worry. Do remember to carry insect repellents though. I'd recommend Mai Dive for the excellent diving and snorkelling. If you want more detail then read on, but be warned this is a long review as we had such a great time at Mai Dive.
Communication: Very prompt, informative and efficient. Danielle was very patient and helpful, responding to my numerous questions with information and recommendations, not only on Mai Dive, but on Fiji too. She was also kind enough to accommodate our “special needs” for diving. Her checklist of things to take was extremely handy and with our own holiday checklist, we had all we needed. We did have to borrow an electrical extension cord from Richard, the manager, as our adaptor didn’t adapt to the plug points in our room.
Getting there: We flew to Kadavu by Air Pacific where we met by Kini the boat captain, who helped us with our bags, we got out of the airport building, crossed a village road to the beach and into the boat (remember to travel in shorts and flip flops, also mentioned in Danielle’s list). The hour-and-a-half boat ride to Mai Dive was comfortable (keep your sunscreen handy) in a calm sea. It rained a bit and we used the jackets in the boat. I’d never seen the colours we saw on this journey—blue sky, white clouds, green hills and turquoise and aquamarine waters. It’s so beautiful that the journey doesn’t seem long.
Costs: As one of the farthest dive ‘resorts’ in Fiji from Nadi, we think it is reasonably priced, especially when you realise how difficult and expensive it must be to run a dive resort efficiently. Everything, except water (they a spring) and some vegetables and fruits, has to be ferried in from Suva on a once-a-week to Kadavu and then by the resort’s boats to Ono. Obviously this requires precision-planning and Richard, the manager, and Joanne must be very good at their jobs as we didn’t experience any shortages. All guests stay on a weekly basis from Saturday to Saturday, as it is fuel efficient. Our cursory check of prices at other resorts made us realise that our week’s stay at Mai Dive was indeed value for money. You pay the full amount before your arrival and incidentals (activities, drinks and additional dives) can be paid by credit card at the end of your stay.
Diving and snorkelling: Absolutely fantastic! We were the only guests for the week and so had the boat and the dive instructor all to ourselves. We had already informed Mai Dive that as a Padi Scuba Diver, my husband could not dive deeper than 12 metres and they were kind enough to accommodate us. Then as we were the only guests, we did not feel we were inconveniencing others. We also loved was not having to wake up very early on holidays to make an 8am dive, loved the Fiji time here. The Astrolabe Reef is amazing and very accessible from Mai Dive. Bird Island was my favourite as I got to see plenty fish while also watching the boobies and the frigate flying in to the island and nesting for the night. Alacrity was another favourite. No dive site was further than 15-20 minutes in the big, comfortable dive boats. There are two dives in the morning, with tea/coffee/snack breaks on a deserted beach. There are drift dives, dives through mazes, caves, tunnels and passageways. The coral is abundant and varied with plenty of creatures of all colours, shapes and sizes. I joined the dive boat on most days to snorkel, and the visibility was fantastic, even though it had rained heavily on the day we arrived.
The house reef stretches for miles and we only explored a few metres; there is so much to marvel at. Our dive master, Mika, was good at his job as was the captain, Kenny (who sings beautifully). We always felt safe with them, especially when you are diving in tunnels and caves and passages for the first time, and I was snorkelling on my own (I’d recommend wearing a life jacket as you can relax and spend more time in the water). The equipment is good and well looked after. In the end, we did not get to snorkel with the mantas, although we saw one briefly on our last day on the way to Bird Island. Nonetheless, we were very happy to catch a glimpse of them.
Accommodation: The accommodation is basic and clean. Although we had booked only one room for our family of three, we were given the larger family accommodation, which included another room and bath/toilet for our son at no additional cost. Thank you Mai Dive, we appreciated this very much. The single large room we had booked was huge and could easily accommodated four people. There were enough shelves for our clothes, books, and toiletries, and luggage. With the sofa and coffee table, the deck chairs on the patio, we had all the space we needed to spread ourselves out and relax. The beds were comfortable and bed linen and towels clean. The room was a bit dark, especailly when it rained.
We found the room a bit stuffy and hot on still nights and because of this preferred not to use the mosquito net. Perhaps ceiling fans, instead of the small table fans, would be more effective.
The showers are outdoors, with hot and cold water. The water pressure is good and it’s great taking a shower under the stars. I’m not so sure about the drainage though, but the plants looked very healthy. There are no TVs, fridges or coffee/tea making facilities in the room, but we didn’t miss them. There is an ipod dock in the room.
Food: All meals are included in the price. There is tea, coffee available throughout the day and a light snack for tea at around 4pm. Meals are at set times and the food is adequate. I found the food cooked with cream sauces too rich and would have preferred more grilled fish instead of the beef dishes. Based on the reviews most guests love the food at Mai Dive. The beers are reasonably priced, however, the bottle of red wine we had hadn’t travelled well (the bottle is not brought to your table, but poured in glasses in the kitchen), the white wine was better. We were honoured to be invited to a kava ceremony to welcome home Joe, and to celebrate Sai’s birthday.
I would not hesitate to recommend Mai Dive to divers and snorkelers looking for some fantastic dives, and some peace and quiet; an eco-friendly lodge where you can recharge your batteries.

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank sableHongkong
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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222 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (34)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Corvallis,OR
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 June 2013

I'm glad it won't be my turn to plan the next dive holiday, because Mai Dive will be hard to beat. It suited our group of five perfectly - located on a beautiful reef with a quiet setting. I have never seen such healthy, prolific coral. Simply stunning. Thanks to Richard and the Fijian crew for providing us with a holiday that will not soon be forgotten. Vanaka vaka levu.

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank ComfortableShoes22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Florida
Level Contributor
362 reviews
85 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 271 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 May 2013

I stayed here a few days and it was a very restful place to come to after the long flights from the states. It was a short additional flight to Kandavu and then a boat ride. The resort is very ecological friendly with water from a mountain stream and solar electricity. No danger of going hungry here!!! There are three meals daily and you have a plateful. We also enjoyed some traditional under ground cooking and local music.
Diving was very good and the dive masters are extremely helpful with your gear.

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Gagal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
tucson
Level Contributor
150 reviews
50 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 May 2013

Spent a week hiding from the world here and I swore I wouldn't tell anyone about it because I want to keep it a secret, but it is just so wonderful I had to share. Food - Excellent. Accommodations - Excellent, Diving - OMG WOW. People - beyond excellent.
it takes a long time to get here as it is very remote, but there are no cars, no roads, and no noise once you arrive. Meals are announced by Conch shell and the chef, who trained in Nadi, is superb. The manager - Richard goes out of his way to see that your needs are being met, and is always available even just for a chat.
Not for those who need fluff, as there are no shops, no hair dryers, no A/C, Dining is a group affair and and meals are what the chef chooses to cook that day, but if you are up for an adventure and need to really relax this is the place to be.

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank bjw1953
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
16 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 April 2013

Yes, it’s almost a year since we were there but as I scour trip advisor trying to plan this year’s holiday I realize that I am looking for another Mai Dive. Our family of 6 traveled from Toronto to LA to Nadi to Kadavu to Ono….it was a long trip, it was tiring, my wife and children probably hated me at points but once we were on the boat on the way to Ono Island we knew it was worth it. If are looking for a small resort off the beaten path in paradise Mai Dive is for you. Why????
1. Food – Read the reviews and believe them, with 4 children and no menu it could have been a nightmare but instead our children still talk about the great food, especially the “Bubba Cows”. By far the best food we had in 3 weeks in Fiji.
2. Rooms – spacious, clean, comfortable, no its not 5 star, its better…..outdoor showers. If something went wrong Richard fixed it right away.
3. Staff – wow, I cannot say enough about how incredible they were, Mary and Di who served us in the restaurant, they always had big smiles and loved to laugh, Ame the cook (ukulele player) who befriended our son who was constantly visiting him in the kitchen, Joanne the office manager who brought us to her village, church and home, Mika the dive master (guitar player), Kenny the Captain and of course Richard the Resort Manager……we miss all of you!
4. Diving/Snorkeling - Pristine, incredible visibility, loads of corals and fish. Richard and Mika managed to upgrade my son from Scuba to OW, get 2 adults & 3 children (aged 10,12,14) their Scuba certificate plus we snorkeled with the Mantas (incredible, even our 7yr old daughter jumped in), did the waterfall hike and did some free dives…talk about organized. All the time I never felt any short cuts were being taken, safety first, they talked the kids through it, made sure they weren’t nervous and were capable.
I have been to many 5 star hotels and restaurants in my travels but I can honestly say that any of those hotels would be fortunate to have staff like Mai Dive. Richard sorry for the delay in posting this, thank you to everyone at Mai Dive for an incredible trip.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Havekidslovetotravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Willmar
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 April 2013

Mai Dive gave us a look at the "real Fiji" that was extraordinary! The resort is everything we thought it would be and then some. The staff treated us like family and did everything they could to make our stay memorable and enjoyable. The coral and marine life was the best we've seen...and we've been snorkeling in Belize, Bonaire and, Aruba as well as the Great Barrier Reef and several places in Mexico. We were amazed at the variety of the fish, such as sharks (non aggressive species), turtles, large schools of groupers, innumerable colorful reef fish and coral that defies description. The food was beautifully presented, tasty and was graciously served by lovely Fijian women who's smiles were sincere, and ever present. A bonus was the opportunity to visit a nearby village and experience a little of the remarkable Fijian culture...including their wonderful music. We loved watching the sand crabs scooting all over the beach during low tide. We stayed at Ma iDive for 10 days, snorkeling twice a day and saw different sites each day. We'd love to go back to explore the many unseen sites that looked inviting. The resort was just what was advertised. It is remote with beautiful, healthy coral. The remoteness of the island insures that you will experience this lovely place without crowds or probably, without seeing another boat. We snorkeled from March 12-22, 2013 and would be happy to share our experiences if you wish to talk to us directly, just let Richard, the hospitable, charming manager know and he'll give you our phone number. Bula (which is a Fijian greeting)!

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank cspartz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
chicago, il
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 March 2013

The reviews speak for themselves, and it is well worth the effort to travel to this amazing boutique resort. From the moment you arrive Richard and the entire Mai Dive team welcome you with smiles and warmth.

The bure was extremely comfortable, and the outdoor shower was an added bonus. A steady ocean breeze keeps the room comfortable for sleeping. The food was extremely plentiful, with loads of seafood and flavorful seasoning. The Lovo night was particularly enjoyable. Throw in kava and music with Sai and Maika to really complete the experience.

The reef system and marine life were spectacular. Didn't see another dive/snorkel boat the entire week. My wife and I did the "discover SCUBA" training with Richard which was very memorable. Richard has a wonderful sense of calmness and was a terrific instructor. The house reef has plenty to see and explore for snorkeling. Joining the dive boat for several snorkels is well worth it...healthy reefs, canyons, marine life, and clear water. The Bird Island and Marine Reserve boat trips were a few of the highlights.

Can't say enough good things about Mai Dive. Dream vacation that exceeded expectations! We will miss your welcoming smiles and hope to return.

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ellamadison
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Mai Dive - Astrolabe Reef Resort

Property: Mai Dive - Astrolabe Reef Resort
Address: Fiji
Phone Number:
Region: Fiji > Kadavu Archipelago > Ono Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Ono Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:3 star — Mai Dive - Astrolabe Reef Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Remote Adventurous Pristine Fijian Resort on Ono Island in Kadavu Fiji. The closest resort to the Great Astrolabe Reef. All facilities are new and absolute beachfront. Eco Resort with solar power, fresh water spring, vegetables garden & fresh seafood. PADI Certified dive operator & plenty of non dive activities. Maximum of 14 guests, as this is a low key relaxed family run resort. Fantastic facilities and even better food with full board included - come and stay with us a while..... ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Mai Dive - Astrolabe Reef Hotel Kadavu Island

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