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“A little too bare bones for our taste.”

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Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Kadavu Island
Certificate of Excellence
Cary, Illinois
Level Contributor
16 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“A little too bare bones for our taste.”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 June 2014

Specifically, we were to spend one week at Paradise on Taveuni and one week at Matava on Kadavu. However, Fiji Airways (the local government run airline) decided to change our flight from Taveuni to Nadi to one day later and our flight from Nadi to Kadavu to one day earlier…impossible. They also cancelled our flight from Kadavu back to Nadi on the last day and changed it to a day earlier. If this is confusing to you, imagine how it would feel to learn all this on the first day of the vacation you’ve been planning your whole life. Fortunately, Alan, the owner of Paradise, was absolutely amazing at sorting all this out for us. While we were enjoying some amazing diving with the Paradise Dive team, he was working out all the details of communicating with our travel agent and making adjustment to our reservations not only at the other resort but also getting us set up for an unexpected night in Nadi on our last night. Each night or morning, Alan would give us the choices of what could be done and then he would personally see to it that the arrangements were made. We were never concerned or worried as we know Alan was taking care of everything.

That said, when we arrived on Kadavu, we were greeted by a quiet young man in barefeet and a pick up truck. He loaded our luggage into the bed of the truck and climbed on top for the short drive to the water. I say water because there is no dock and at low tide, while the staff transports the luggage, the guests are required to wade out through what can only be described as muck, out to a very small boat. Let’s just say be sure to wear your Keen’s.

Upon arrival at the Matava resort, guest are again required to wade out to land. We were greeted by one of the “partners.” (Not sure who the others are as she was the only one we met.) We were told that they had come to collect us for two days in a row at the airport but that we weren’t there. Apparently, the message of our delay was given to one of the partners but not relayed to the people on site. We apologized and explained the situation with the airlines but at first we were made to feel somehow to blame for this and for missing the previous night’s lovo feast and Fiji night. We were treated to a delicious lunch in the main bure. However, we would have preferred to be shown to our bure and had a moment to freshen up before eating.
In our bure, we were told to sit down and given instructions on living in the jungle. We were told that we needed to turn in all of our valuables for safekeeping in their vault and all of our food stuffs…including any wrapped/packaged snacks, because “critters” would burrow into our bags/luggage to find them. This is a bit unsettling. The bure was bare bones and is solar powered (which we knew ahead of time) so there are no outlets and only one dim light bulb in the main room and a yellow bulb in the bathroom (which I asked to have changed so I could take my contacts out at night and they replaced with a strip of three LED “Christmas” lights.) The day we arrived there was no wind and it was stifling. The following days, the tradewinds picked up and it was quite comfortable. However, with no ceiling fans or portable fans, I can imagine in the warmer months it must be quite unbearable. Mosquito netting and coils were provided but we didn’t notice many bugs other than some rather large wasps that seemed to be rather fond of our bure on the first day. I describe the accommodations as similar to summer camp. On the evening of our arrival, we were called to dinner at 6 for a briefing on the resort. We were again told to bring our valuables to be stored in the vault and to bring any and all snacks or food stuffs to be stored in the kitchen. I felt a bit like we were being spoken to like school children but that may just be the demeanor of the locals. Maggy did say he would contact Fiji Airlines to see what he could do about the mix up and seemed quite fired up about how terrible this was. However, despite providing all of the necessary paperwork we were later told that we should contact our travel agent when we got home. On check out, the “partner” did not bring down our bill but sent Maggy and did not make any attempt to adjust the bill due to our arriving two days late and needing to leave one day early through no fault of our own but due to their government airline. Any attempt at adjustment would have gone a very long way in improving our mood and feeling toward the resort upon departure.

The food at Matava was delicious and they were wonderfully accommodating to my fiance’s peanut allergy. They provided separate meals and even gave him his own jar of jam so we could ensure a knife with peanut butter was never put into it. Creative and fresh tasting meals with theme’s were provided each evening and a 6 p.m. cocktail hour during which we occasionally treated to fried coconut chips…my favorite! Maggy makes a fabulous mai tai and other specialty drinks, beer and wine is also available. All meals are served at a large table with all guests eating communally.

Our diving experience included excellent hard coral reefs and the spotting of a beautiful manta ray, which was very exciting as June is off season. However, the dive crew is more there to supervise than to truly point unusual sea life out and guide you to seeing things. Our first dive was outside the Great Astrolabe Reef. The current was so strong we ended up cutting the dive short and going to the other side. It was so bad that one of the guests got motion sickness and didn’t dive for the next two days. Not really how you want to start your vacation. The boat crew was kind and helpful and did provide hot tea or coffee and cookies during the surface intervals. Although, we did get stuck inside the reef during low tide on one occasion and had to wait in the boat for over an hour before we could get back to the reef. Beautiful corals and colorful fish were seen and some turtles but they were too far off to see up close. The water temperature was in the mid 70s (Fahrenheit) and my fiancé who usually just wears his swim trunks in 79 degree water, found need to rent a shorty…most of the rest of the guests were in 5 mil suits.

Other guests walked to through the nearby town to a local. There are some strict rules for going, including no long pants, nothing on your head, no shoulder bags etc. all in respect for the chief. Who, the guests who went told me, asked for a donation to see the waterfall. Our voucher said there was unlimited diving at “critter junction” which we were not told about when we arrived and I sort of forgot about while we were there, so we did not do this.

All in all, I think we will see what other dive operations are available on Kadavu that are a little less rustic. A beautiful island but a little too bare bones accommodations for our taste.

Room Tip: Higher up is more walking but better breeze.
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Melissa M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
AdrianWatt, Owner at Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort, responded to this review, 10 July 2014
Hi Melissa,
We were disappointed that Fiji Airways flight schedule changes affected your holiday in Fiji to such an extent leaving you only three full days at Matava Resort. Our staff spent quite some time trying to persuade the airline to put on an extra flight to enable you to stay an extra day but we were unsuccessful. The airline repeatedly told us that they would only deal with your Travel Agent.
The dock at Vunisea was built by the Fiji Government and unfortunately we were not consulted on its design. At extreme low tide, travelers have to walk out to boats which are brought in as close as possible whilst still remaining afloat. The area is a mangrove bay so the beach at low tide is muddy.
The Resort has a small dock however at low tide, guests may need to step out of boats and walk ashore on the sandy beach.
Your expected arrival date changed several times and the mis-communication in your final arrival date was my fault - For that I sincerely apologize.
We offer guests the opportunity to be shown to their bure to freshen up before lunch however you advised our Guest Services Manager that you were very hungry so we served your lunch immediately. If you had asked to be shown to your bure first, we would have been more than happy to do so and then serve lunch at your convenience.
We ask all our guests to store their passports, valuables etc with the Resort for safekeeping. We also ask that you do not keep food in your bure. We are surrounded by jungle and we ask guests not to encourage critters to venture out of the jungle and into the Resort. We are more than happy to store guest's snacks in the Resort Kitchen of bar fridges.
The bures are lit with solar power and the lights are simple and functional. All light bulbs are LED. They use minimal amounts of power and do not cause excessive light pollution. Did you notice the stars ?
There are three owners of Matava Resort. During your stay, Jeanie was on site, Richard was at a trade show and I was traveling in the US. Owning and running a small Resort means we wear many hats and we are not always all on site 365 days a year - Though at least one of us always is.
It is our policy to employ Fijian members of staff and empower them with training and promotion. In our opinion, guests come to Matava Resort to meet Fijians and see a slice of the real Fiji. They don't come here to meet European or North American owners. We work as Directors in the background but our highly acclaimed (See numerous previous reviews) Fijian Staff are the face of Matava Resort and senior Fijian staff assist all guests with their check-outs.
At no time did you ask for any kind of compensation for your disrupted holiday.
Had you done so we would have had to advise you that any refund due to days lost would have to be arranged through your Travel Agent. - Your stay was booked by a Travel Agent whom you paid, (not us), so the Resort can not refund money that was actually paid to someone else and compensate you for a situation created by an airline - The airline is entirely responsible, not the Resort. Airline flight delays, cancellations and schedule changes should be covered by Travel Insurance which was recommended to you by your travel agent but I understand you chose to decline that.

We are pleased that you enjoyed our delicious food and appreciated the extensive measures we undertook to ensure the safety of your partner with his peanut allergy. We are more than happy to cater for specific dietary requirements.

The Resort asks each guest who visits the village waterfall for a F$5 contribution. This is collected when you check-out and given to the village. Its just a small part of our community policy.

Matava Eco-Adventure Resort is indeed a "bare Bones" Resort when compared to a large 5 Star concrete hotel on the main island. We are a solar powered environmentally conscious Eco-adventure escape, nestled on the edge of the rainforest looking out over the Great Astrolabe Barrier Reef. If you will pardon the pun - We make no bones about it. We are very clear about who and what we are. In my humble opinion, our Resort was simply not what you were looking for.
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228 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (57)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Waukesha, Wisconsin
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 June 2014

I spent 7 days here with a dive group from Aquatic Adventures in Brookfield, WIsconsin. Our vacation started with some hiccups due to Pacific Air making a mess out of our flight to Vunisea, but once we arrived Maggie was there to give us a hearty 'Bula!' and pick us up, and as soon as we explained what happened, we were immediately put at ease that it would be sorted out ASAP.

We took a very short truck ride to the dock where we were greeted by the dive boat skipper and loaded aboard for a beautiful ride, roughly one hour long, to the resort. Upon arriving we were assigned bures, our bags were hauled up to our rooms by the staff, and we were treated to a wonderful pumpkin soup and entree for lunch.

The following days were filled with amazing diving from 2 great dive boats, some of the most amazing food I've ever had (and would never have expected to get at a resort isolated in the Fijian coastline), beautiful weather (it rained most nights around midnight, but only a few sunshowers during the day), a true cultural experience between the local school children coming to sing and perform at a meke and visiting the waterfall/village/school later in the week. Richard routinely came down to have dinner with us and explain the planned adventure for the next day. We also enjoyed a beach barbeque during a 3 dive day that was fantastic.

The bures were nice, although ours lacked mesh in the joists between the wall and roof which some bures had. That coupled with some holes in the thatching left the bure pretty open to mosquitoes (oddly they had screens on the windows despite the huge gaps). Luckily the mosquito nets on the beds made the bugs a moot point (just remember to put them down before dinner and to tuck them under the mattress for a bug-free bed when you retire). We also were visited by the odd gecko running out from behind the toilet or a midnight crab knocking on the wall.

We also all appreciated the silence around the resort. Aside from them banging the lolly drum to call you to meals, the only noise you really hear is the wind, waves, and the occasional parrot. They do a very good job of avoiding running the generators or the scuba compressor when guests are around (they try to do most of it while you're out on the dive boat).

Pros: Beautiful scenery. Quiet. Serene. Food is amazing and if you tell them any dietary problems, they work really hard to work around them for you. Diving is amazing (especially if Kaylee is around as a dive master, she's excellent at explaining things about dive sites and finding all sorts of things you wouldn't see on your own). Staff is phenomenal (don't be surprised when they all know your name by the 2nd day). Maggie & George are two of the best hotel staff I've ever had the pleasure of staying with. Having afternoons free means plenty of time to get to know other guests and have some wonderful bonding moments with new friends.

Cons: You give up the 'luxury resort' side of things by not having power in your room other than 2 small lights. There's no fans in (some? all?) bures so if the breeze dies down at night, it can get hot in the bure. Wifi was intermittent during our visit, I paid for 7 days but it only worked about 4. Due to Vunisea's small airport, the weight limit is low so getting there with all your dive gear might be a challenge on a full flight.

All in all, I highly recommend this resort to anybody coming to FIji and plan on being a return guest in the next year or two.

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Adalius
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
AdrianWatt, Owner at Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort, responded to this review, 15 June 2014
Hi Adalius,
Thank you very much for taking the time to write such a detailed review of your stay with us.
I am delighted to read you were amazed by our food and thoroughly enjoyed the diving and cultural experiences ! It was a pleasure to have you stay with us and I have passed on your kind comments to all the staff.
We look forward to welcoming you back in the future !
Thanks and best regards,

Adrian
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Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
14 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 May 2014

My wife and I spent 7 fun filled nights here and would have to say the diving and food were great!
Staff were all very friendly and a big Vinaka to Maggie in particular who kept us all entertained with his description of meals!
We noted several return guests staying here and loved the type of people who chose this place for their holiday have not laughed so much in years. All considering staying should note no a/c or fans in rooms but there was a breeze most nights we were there. If your a fisherman you will also love this place as those who stayed for that purpose caught some big fish which we all dined on fresh off the boat.
Thanks for a great stay.

  • Stayed April 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Warren S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
AdrianWatt, Owner at Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort, responded to this review, 24 May 2014
Hi Warren,
Thank you for writing such a complimentary review of your stay with us.
We are delighted to hear you enjoyed the diving, the food and of course the freshly caught fish !
I have passed on your appreciation and thanks to all the staff....
We wish you safe and happy travels :-)
Best regards,

Adrian
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Wellington, New Zealand
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 May 2014 via mobile

If you want the adventure of snorkelling, diving, fishing and trekking in a beautiful and undeveloped environment, then this resort may well be perfect for you. However, if you want a 'typical' up market resort experience with air conditioning, swim-up bar, sandy beach, a la carte menu and wifi in your room, please look elsewhere.

My wife and I stayed at Matava for 7 nights in late April 2014. The staff at the resort were all extremely friendly and no request was too much. The food was also fantastic with a wide variety of international cuisine alongside traditional Fijian dishes. Meals are typically eaten at set times while sitting at communal tables with other guests. For first time visitors to the pacific islands the Kava ceremony and folk stories will charm you even if the taste of Kava doesn't.

We stayed in an Ocean View bure that matched pretty well the pictures shown on the website (ours was minus the floor mat and ceiling light). The rooms are spacious and our bed was comfortable. However, our stay would have been more enjoyable if there was a ceiling fan and the rooms had been mosquito proofed. It can be a bit of a hike up the hill depending on your bure but we were prepared for this and didn't find it an issue.

Between us, my wife and I sampled all the activities offered at Matava. I've commented on each activity separately below.

The massage and beauty spa were great according to my wife and other guests comments. My wife bought some of the beauty products used and loved the massages.

The snorkelling in front of the resort was very good with a large variety of reef fish and corals. Bear in mind that you need to kayak out 5 min or so to get to the good snorkelling.

The diving I experienced at Matava was mostly good but could be quite average when the sky was overcast or there had been a lot of rain. I have been fortunate to dive at many great spots around the world and would not rate the sites I dived as world class. Particularly noticeable was the almost complete lack of pelagic species at the outer reef passages. The reliable diving with Mantas will be a highlight for many.

The fishing was on the whole very good. Out of 3 half-day trips two were very good and one was poor. The most prevelant and easily caught species we encountered were Yellowfin Tuna up to 25 or 30 kg. We also caught some small GTs and other types of Trevally. The boat is well appointed and handles the seas well. We enjoyed our the company of our guide Joe and his son Sikele.

We walked to the local village and waterfalls taking advantage of a low tide to avoid the jungle track and climbing the hill. The village is very authentic and the swimming at the waterfalls was great. You will need to have reasonably good balance to climb up to the main pool and waterfall.

Beach swimming at the resort itself is largely non-existant as it is very tidal and shallow at low tide. The tidal sand flats are also too wet to sunbath on. Matava do sometimes organise picnics at nearby beaches but our trip got rained off.

On the whole, we had a very enjoyable stay at Matava but were also ready for some more creature comforts by the end.

Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
2 Thank Cam I
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
AdrianWatt, Owner at Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort, responded to this review, 24 May 2014
Hi Cam,
thank you for taking the time to write a review of your stay and sharing your experiences with other travelers. Unfortunately the weather was less than favorable for some of your stay and it sounds like the rain reduced the water visibility quite significantly - Though I am delighted you go to see the Manta Rays. The other guests did appreciate all the fresh fish you brought home for dinner !
We wish you safe and happy travels.
Best regards,
Adrian
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Los Angeles, California
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 May 2014

BULA!! Matava is a true gem that offers a no-worries experience in tropical paradise. We stayed for 7 nights under the Honeymoon Package and were beyond pleased with our choice. Getting to the resort does require a short flight from the main island and a boat ride, bur our escort was so welcoming and reminded us to just sit back, relax, and enjoy Fiji time! From the point we arrived at Matava to the final send off the staff and owners had contagiously high spirits and smiles; they all were extremely helpful and made us feel like family over for a visit. It was our honeymoon so we enjoyed quiet time in our bure, a private beach bbq, and a spectaular private dinner on our bure deck. On top of that we had plenty of adventures...Matava coordinated my scuba certification, bringing in the sweetest instructor to get the job done and point us in great scuba directions! We actually went diving more than we had planned because the diving was so great. We also went kayaking, hiking, and visited the village with the waterfall, but no matter what we had planned for the day we made sure to be back for the beating of the drums to announce the next meal time! Every meal was simply amazing...we even had the luck of being there while a group of fisherman were on holiday, so their catches became all of our fresh sashimi delight :). I could go on and on but will close by saying the experience my husband and I had was above and beyond, the people we met during our stay were all great and unforgettable, and if we can make it back to Fiji then Matava is our spot!

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank babycakesYAFFE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
AdrianWatt, Owner at Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort, responded to this review, 9 May 2014
Hi Babycakes !
Thank you for taking the time to write a review of your stay at Matava. We are delighted to read that you had such any enjoyable Honeymoon with us and our wonderful Fijian staff.
Congratulations on obtaining your PADI Open Water Certification ! and thank you again for all your positive feedback on your holiday experience. All the staff enjoyed your company :-)
We hope we can welcome you back again some time in the future. The kitchen would be delighted to bake you a special Anniversary cake !
In the mean time we wish you both safe and happy travels.
Best regards,
Adrian
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Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
14 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 April 2014

If you want to get away from the crazyiness of the every day world...go to Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort!! From the time you arrive, you become part of the family of Matava. The resort makes sure that you feel at home even though it is a "Green" resort. The food at the Resort was top notch and everything was tasty and fresh! The staff from Maggie, George, Ta, Sala, and John was nothing but 5 star. Whenever they saw you they always knew you by your first name as if you were a long time friend. My other half is a scuba diver who went diving every day she was there and said that the diving was awesome. She told me that the crew looked after you and made sure your dives were enjoyable and safe. Captain Thomas was an excellent captain and Li was a wonderful dive master. She saw Mantas, Spotted Eagle Rays, and Sharks. I do not dive, however, when I was not kayaking, hiking, or snorkeling I did find time to kick back under the sun and read a book with nice bottle of Fiji water on the balcony of our Bure. We even managed to get in a hike with a medicine man who educated both of us on the plants of Fiji and what they are used for along with some of the bird life. You can also take a hike to the Village and swim in the waterfalls of the village along with the children. All the people of Fiji were amazingly nice and welcoming. At one point, the both of us were welcomed to have Kava in the home a family by the village. Although, I was skeptical about going to a Dive resort (seeing that I don't dive), this is a place for the privalidged few. It is a true paradise and will remind people that nature and beauty still exist without the need of electricity, phones, the internet, and everything else that the regular every day life has to offer. If you need a break from the normal reality...trust me...this paradise won't disappoint you. It is place of simple life, where you are treated to 3 homemade meals a day, all the Fiji water you can drink, diving, fishing, kayaking, snorkeling, hiking, or just hanging around the resort. Not to mention the masseuse Sala who damn near put me to sleep by the end of my massage. Almost forgot to mention that...they have a spa at the resort too!!! It is an amazing experience and for those who are privalidged to come here...they will be amazed at natures beauty from the island, to the stars at night, to the people of Fiji...it is a trip that will amaze you once you get there and it is one that you will not forget. I know I won't and I would love to go back...

Room Tip: Some of the Bure's are quite high up, so if you have trouble walking up see if you can request a...
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Paul C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
AdrianWatt, Owner at Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort, responded to this review, 1 May 2014
Hi Paul,
Thank you for taking the time to write such a complimentary review of your stay with us.
I think your review is a very good summary of what Matava Resort is all about, who our wonderful staff are and what we try to achieve for our guests. We are delighted you both had such an enjoyable amazing break from the stressful modern life.
It really was a pleasure for the team to have you stay with us and we all very much hope you can visit us again some time in the future !
In the mean time we all wish you both safe and happy travels.
Best regards,
Adrian
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Azusa, California
Level Contributor
35 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 April 2014

Bula Bula and vinaka vaka levu from Neil & Virginia!

We stayed at Matava for seven nights at the end of March – and we loved it. The resort proves that a place doesn’t have to be fancy to be just about perfect. That said, travelers that haven’t researched the destination to know what they want and what to expect could be surprised or disappointed. We wanted a place that was “off the grid,” provided great diving, was comfortable, exotic and had good food. Matava met our expectations on every count.

Accomodations:

Other reviewers have noted that the bures provide somewhat rustic luxury. The bed was comfortable, the floor was clean, the towels were soft, the shower worked fine and the mosquito net was both fun and necessary. Our bure was comfortable because of what it provided, but we loved what it didn’t have – no telephone, no TV and no air conditioning. We were there following the hot rainy season and didn’t need the AC, so my opinion might be different if we’d been at Matava in January…. The view from the bure deck was fantastic, especially at night – no lights on the horizon and only a few low voltage LED lights around the resort. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the Milky Way that brilliantly.

Peculiarities to keep in mind – Although the bures have screened windows, the walls do not seal completely at the roof. So mosquitoes, geckos and the occasional spider may share the room with you. Use the mosquito coils the resort provides, use the mosquito net and enjoy. The resort septic system doesn’t handle toilet paper well, that’s why there’s a small trash receptacle by the toilet. Just a little reminder that you’re not at home. The resort provides the room with purified water in a couple of bottles that are refillable at the main bure. Tap water is OK for hand washing and showering, but not drinking.

Food:

We enjoyed most of our meals at Matava. The food was fresh and well prepared and the only dinner we didn’t particularly enjoy was the Fijian interpretation of lasagna. A crew from the World Fishing Network was at the resort during our stay and they brought back some of the catch for dinner; we had Yellowfin tuna sashimi as part of the appetizer and then seared tuna for the entre. It was an excellent dinner. The lovo dinner was good, but despite all the leaves used to temper the heat and to provide moisture, the chicken was a bit dry and cassava is most definitely an acquired taste. Their soups, salads, breads and desserts were good – all the salads came from the resort’s organic garden, which is lovingly cared for by a quiet, friendly caretaker that’s nicknamed “Buff.” Caution – their coconut “chips” are addictive.

Staff:

The staff at Matava really sets the place apart. From the top down, they’re focused on detail and on making the guests happy. During our stay we met two of the three owners. Richard lives on site and he ate dinner with us most nights. He went diving with us on one of the days and on another, he went fishing with the World Fishing Network crew. Richard was completely connected and hands on. Gina also lives on site and is equally people oriented. She’s married to Joe, who runs the resort’s dive and fishing operations. The most visible and unique member of the team is Maggie. He coordinates activities, supervises staff and pretty much sets the tone for the resort with his enthusiasm, friendliness and quick wit. His “Bula Bula!” greetings are genuine. Guests quickly learn that Maggie’s dining introductions are entertaining and must be listened to. For example, one evening he came to the table and announced, “Welcome to our South African night, featuring American cuisine. We’ll start with Kava Kava soup, which tastes like tomato with coconut cream.” One late evening a guest asked if the passing sound he heard was a boat. Maggie didn’t miss a beat when he responded, “No – a bulldozer.”

The rest of the staff is friendly, welcoming and efficient. The dive masters and boat captains were top notch. Te, Ly and Ethan and everyone else – you guys rock. Ta runs things around the main bure and kitchen part of the time – she’s a sweet and gentle lady. Sala works around the main bure and kitchen, but she also runs the Bamboo Spa – she gives relaxing massages and a stay at the resort wouldn’t be complete without one.

Diving:

The diving was great and the crew totally knows their sites and overall reef. They’re focused on protecting the environment and keeping their divers safe. We got in 14 dives during our week at Matava and they were all good. A couple of dives had fairly strong surge and some had currents, but the guides knew what to expect and gave great instructions during their briefings. The Manta Reef dive was excellent – and we were told that there’s an 80% or higher probability of seeing mantas there. We saw about six. We also saw sharks, turtles and the rich variety of other reef dwellers. For Christmas Tree worm fans, the “Chimney” dive has some of the most colorful I’ve seen. I took about 600 underwater photos during out Matava week.

We snorkeled the resort’s “Critter Junction” but didn’t dive it. The snorkeling was great and it looks like the diving would’ve been good as well. Very pristine coral.

Miscellaneous heads up and must haves:

The trip to Matava is part of the fun. After arriving in Nadi, the flight to Kadavu Island is about 45 minutes on a “Twin Otter” that seats about 15 people. So if small planes are a concern, breathe deep and relax. After landing on Kadavu, we were met at the airstrip by a driver that loaded our bags into a truck. We stopped by a small store so the driver could by some supplies for the resort and then proceeded across formerly paved roads, up and down hills on a short drive to a bay on the south side of the isthmus where the airport is located. Our gear was carried from the truck through knee deep water to the resort’s 22 foot runabout. We waded to the boat for the 45 minute ride to the resort. Weather on the ride to the resort was great, but on the trip back, we had heavy rains and the resort provided heavy duty raingear for us to wear. So, in a way, the adventure of staying at Matava begins well before arriving at the resort.

Baggage – If traveling internationally to Nadi, checked bags are limited to 50 lbs. or 22 kilos. Carry-ons are limited to 7 kilos. Due to storage limitations, bags that fit in overhead compartments on the international flight will have to be weighed and checked. When checking in for the inner island flights, travelers are also required to step on the scale along with their personal items. When flying from Kadavu back to Nadi, the employees at the airport manually weigh each piece of luggage and calculate the total. For our flight, they double counted the weight of our carry-on bags and wanted to charge $70 Fijian. Their credit card machine wasn’t working and we couldn’t persuade them of their mistake, so upon arrival in Nadi, we had to talk with another employee and prove that our bags were not overweight. Additionally, the people at the Kadavu airport cannot check travelers in for any ongoing flights – such as the connecting flight we had from Nadi to Taveuni.

Matava is built on a hillside and our Bure (named “Belo”) was a couple hundred feet above the beach. The path to Belo included wood plank walkways (that can be slippery after a rain), wooden stairs that are more like ship’s ladders, and concrete walks that include uneven steps. The view from Belo was fantastic and the elevation provided good access to the breeze. If someone’s uncomfortable with the climb, they should request a lower elevation bure.

Although we were there after the rainy season, it rained and there were strong breezes almost every night. Some rain storms were intense enough that the sound of pounding drops on the bure’s corrugated roof woke me up.

Bring a flashlight, but a headlamp is even better. There are few lights along the stairs from the main bure to the guest bures, so a light at night is essential. Although the resort provides a solar powered LED table light that can be carried at night, the headlamps are better and they work great for reading in bed. Each bure has only three lights – on the porch, above the bed and in the bathroom.

Mosquito repellant – Although the resort sells repellant, it’s a small bottle and it’s more expensive than bringing your own. You’re not going to find bug repellant in the nearby village….

Thongs or sandals for wading to and from boats. We dove a lot and due to tides, we either waded to or from the boat every day.

Room Tip: Rooms close to the main bure are easy to get to, but bures farther up the hill have better views, mo...
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank Neil G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
AdrianWatt, Owner at Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort, responded to this review, 25 April 2014
Bula Vinaka Neil & Virginia !
Thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed and complimentary review of your stay. I am sure other travelers will find your advice informative and helpful.
Sounds like you thoroughly enjoyed getting away from all the modern noise and light pollution !
Some of our accommodation bures do have a gap between the eaves but we are improving this bure by bure as and when we can and expect to have all bures sealed within the next month or so.
I am delighted to hear you appreciated the large Organic farm and all the freshly picked salads and fruits. One of the great benefits to Kadavu Island is the rich volcanic soil and we happily go to great lengths to try to ensure our guests are well fed with healthy organic nutritious food !
The staff are our most important asset and will be delighted to read your review !
For some reason that we can’t pinpoint, there must have been a huge misunderstanding with regards to toilet paper which, if it was on our side, we sincerely apologize. The systems are more than capable of dealing with paper just as any normal system does. We have never had such a misunderstanding happen before so please do feel free to drop us an email and tell us if something in our Check-in and Welcome needs to be improved upon.
Thank you once again for your review (Vinaka Vaka Levu !) and all the useful advice to any other travelers considering a stay with us.
We wish you safe and happy travels !
Best regards,

Adrian
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort

Property: Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort
Address: Vunisea | PO Box 63, Fiji
Phone Number:
Region: Fiji > Kadavu Archipelago > Kadavu Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Restaurant Room Service Spa Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Kadavu Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 10
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Also Known As:
Matava - Fiji`s Premier Eco Adventure Hotel Kadavu Island
Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort Kadavu Island

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