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“Wonderful food, scenic remote playground, idiosyncratic small resort” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Papageno Resort

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Papageno Resort
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Kadavu Island
Certificate of Excellence
Suva, Fiji
Level Contributor
22 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Wonderful food, scenic remote playground, idiosyncratic small resort”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 January 2013

As Fiji residents we've seen our share of resorts, and were excited to try out Papageno for the Christmas holiday. Because of Cyclone Evan the resort stayed closed until Dec. 26, so our visit ended up being over New Years instead.

What we loved:

The location is wonderful for its scenery and remote feel. There are at least six kayaks of different sizes, in better condition than most resorts, for exploring the coast - a little island, placid beach, and mangrove mazes to the east, and postcard beautiful empty beaches to the west. The snorkelling right off the beach - once you go 200 meters out - is fantastic quality in terms of fish and coral (despite mediocre visibility). The gardens and orchards of the resort, and the hills behind, look ripe for exploration.

The accommodation is great - spacious, diverse, well-decorated, functional, 24h power (mostly solar and micro-hydro, no generator throbbing away). There are one bedroom, two bedroom, and three bedroom options, each quite different (I'm talking about their 'Deluxe Ocean bures' and 'Royal bure' options from their website here). No skimping here. The royal bure is a rather impressive three bedroom, three bathroom with massive living area that feels and looks architecturally like a cross between a Sun Valley ski lodge and a luxury safari lodge. In our smaller but still big bure, we had lots of carved masks from around the Pacific decorating the walls.

The food is impressive, wholesome, and fresh - particularly considering the remoteness of the place. A fair bit of the veggies and fruit are grown on site. Dinners tend to be a creative soup (multiple serves), followed by a main course (loved the chicken battered in home-made coconut oil) with fresh vegetables, and a dessert.

Another thing to love: good pool table (billiards), and good ping-pong table in case of rainy day.

What could be improved:

As in any small resort, the idiosyncratic nature of its staff and management has an impact. Our arrival was a bit unprofessional, in terms of nobody being clearly in charge of welcoming (from the airstrip to the boat to check-in). Could be due to the recent cyclone and the absence of the manager that day. While individual staff were great, we missed that sense of collective belonging that you get elsewhere, there wasn't even an "Isa lei" departure. And the manager - wonderful and efficient, but a bit gruff on occasion, a bit too permissive with the laid back house dogs in the restaurant area.

Second concern: There is *excellent* diving to be had here (we did two dives to the nearby reef, and a deeper dive to the eery shipwreck of the Pacific Voyager). However, divemaster Zacharia, wonderful fellow, but seems to run a sloppier show than his counterparts at other places. He was bit lax on details like going over signs and dive plans before hopping in, on making sure everybody is keeping up, or on planning to surface with sufficient spare air in the tank. We even had a little incident of a BCD which started auto-inflating uncontrollably while 15m down. The manager was made aware, so things should improve.

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Stian91
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sonyo, Manager at Papageno Resort, responded to this review, 13 January 2013
Papageno Resort was closed due to tropical cyclone Evan and reopened on the 26. Dec. for the local" guests. Not all of our staff was back from their "unwanted break", so the check in was not as efficient as usual. All our Managers had quite a bit of stress in the previous week and definitely a lack of sleep.
The Isa Lei song is usually not wanted by our local guest, but we do sing it for all our other guests.
Every Diver signs a dive waiver before their first dive. The waiver states clearly what our dive
masters do and do not do. By signing the dive waiver the diver declares that he/she is fully
certified and understands the basic dive safety rules and hand signs.
We do check our dive equipment carefully before each dive, however unforeseen incidences
can happen under water. The dive master was right there when the BCD "self inflated" and let
the air out. The dive was finished without any harm done.
The BCD was thoroughly inspected after the dive, no defect was found. However we will get a
second inspection in Suva from a dive equipment repair shop.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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122 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    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 (31)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Raleigh, NC
Level Contributor
24 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 December 2012

Apologies for the late review as our stay was back in June. This place is exactly my idea of paradise, a true 'get-away-from-it-all' experience. The setting is gorgeous: a very pretty (and isolated) beach, tall palms, attractive bures, beautiful gardens, and a small uninhabited island a short kayak trip away. There is a small, beautiful waterfall a short hike from the grounds.

The staff was genuinely friendly and extremely attentive to our needs. Zacharias in particular deserves a mention. He was our dive master, waterfall tour guide, and a killer ping pong player. My wife was a beginner diver and was nervous about her first ocean dives, and Zacharias literally held her hand the whole time. This made her much more comfortable and allowed me to explore as much as I wanted. He certainly went above and beyond to make our dives (and other activities) great experiences.

I'm not a highly experienced dive traveler, but I found the sites to be very good. There are several sites within a 5 min boat ride from the resort that are interesting, one with a nice swim-through. The Astrolabe reef sites were even better. The corals were in excellent condition, and there was a very good variety of fish life. We didn't get to go, but we heard from other guests that the volcano dive is the best.

The best part was the food. Practically everything on the menu was grown, raised, or caught on the island and it tasted that way. The traditional lovo feast was wonderful (for the food and the fun with the staff) but several meals were even better. Ask them for taro soup, you won't regret it.

Overall, it was an excellent value, well worth the flight to Kadavu and short boat ride to the resort.

Room Tip: The garden bure is a little more private than the other bures.
See more room tips
  • Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank jharp03
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vernon, Canada
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 November 2012

Papageno is a tranquil, private piece of heaven in one of the most amazing, and truly undeveloped areas of the world. From the moment they pick you up (by boat) at the airport in Kadavu, you are treated like you are the most important guest in the world. The housing is beautiful, yet still rustic enough to fit in with the island. The food is divine; the menu is diverse, the service impeccable, and almost all the food is grown on the resort and picked fresh. The snorkeling right off the beach is excellent and there are some great dive sites close by. If you are looking for a relaxing time away from the hectic pace of life, this is the place to find it.

  • Stayed October 2012, 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 Wendy K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
48 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 November 2012

The most memorable thing about this place was the food. Really delicious dishes and something completely different everyday. Having found the food in the Pacific underwhelming, this was a revelation, and most of it was grown on the resort. Once I've said that was the most memorable thing, then I think that perhaps the journey - walking off the end on the runway onto an open boat - to get there was pretty memorable. And then there's the dogs - which others have mentioned. They just seem to adopt you and look after you. The bures and big and comfortable with a stonking great bed and lots of hot water. And, even though you feel completely cut off in some senses, there's FREE WiFi. Altogether a radically different experience and well worth the trip.

We did go to dive, but the sea was very rough until it was time to go home and we decided to stop diving. The dive boat is very small and not well designed. The seas can be choppy out here and if you are coming to dive you might wish to look at times when the conditions are calmest.

Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Casterbridge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fort St. John, Canada
Level Contributor
96 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 November 2012

Papageno is no Hilton or Holiday Inn. It is a completely different class of experince. Intimate and secluded it is that romantic personal paradise you might not think still exists. Yes the developed world's comforts are all here; great clean accommodations (steps from the private beach) comfy beds, flush toilets, hot showers and limited electicity - but all on a scale that is self supported and eco-friendly. The reef is right out front past the beach for snorkeling and diving, and the pace is absolutely off grid. The common dining room and home like bar/lounge means you actually interact with other guests, but the kitchen here is worth the trip alone- outstanding meals and service rule the days and evenings. Pacific Holiday Paradise does not overstate the experience!

Room Tip: I don't think you could be assigned a poor room
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  • Stayed October 2012, 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?
Thank John G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Endicott, New York
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 October 2012

My first visit to Kadavu was to be with friends for a few days - they set off on pre-arranged travel and I stayed 10 more days. Not a commercialized tourist attraction. No malls, no shopping of any kind, no restaurants, no TV, no plastic tourist gimmicks. Bring everything you will need as you will not be able to purchase it here. HOWEVER. You will be amazed at just how little is required to live and enjoy life. All of a sudden there are other things to occupy your mind and hands including but not nearly limited to snorkel, diving, sea kayak, lay in a hammock or become absorbed in the life of the locals. Surrounded by beach for walking, tropical sea for swimming, coral reef for observing and coconut palms for one of the food sources you will suddenly discover yourself amid tropical paradise in a pure form. It is not tent camping though - electricity is gathered by solar panels at the resort, there is abundant fresh hot and cold water, much of the food is gathered within hours of serving 3 fantastic meals (with a little notice these can be tailored to tastes) all with a combination of local and international flair, and you can still get on the Internet should you need that little lifeline to the version of civilization you left behind. Each day offers some little trinket of life with the backdrop of the sun, sand and seas of the Islands - one of which are the parrots (part of an unfolding story). Papageno Resort in Fiji provides an exceptional tropical retreat with a distinct ecological approach - on your way home think about the environmentally friendly example they have set and how you might apply it as the peace and tranquility of the tropics settles into your spirit. Truly wonderful place for a tropical get-away.

Room Tip: If you can get one of the Bure with screened in porch as there are mosquitoes at dawn and dusk.
See more room tips
  • Stayed October 2012, 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?
Thank DrJo47866
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
20 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 August 2012

From the second you arrive by open air boat, you can tell this isn’t your average resort. And if it is kids clubs, in-house movies, room service and horizon pools you are after then Papageno will bitterly disappoint; save yourself the small plane ride and head to the Intercontinental or Danaru island. Instead, prepare for a tranquil experience where you can relax and enjoy the beauty of the ‘real’ Fiji whether it is tropical jungle, long sandy beaches, local wildlife and birdlife, or the magnificent Astrolabe reef.

My wife and I were warmly greeted on arrival by managers Lydia and Elisabeth as well as a number of staff plus the resort dogs Lupe, Freddy, Isabella and Nina. From here we were shown straight to our beachfront bure set in a beautiful garden and were treated to a coconut and rum drink served out of a coconut. We soon discovered that we shared the resort with only two other couples and over the duration of our seven night stay (Late July 2012) only shared the resort with a total of six people.

The weather on the first few days wasn’t the best raining quite hard at times but we filled the day reading on our porch, hiking to waterfalls, playing ping pong with Kadavu Island’s champion player Zachariah and studying for the PADI Open Water Course. All meals are included and feature a mix of fantastic fish, chicken (raised on the resort) and vegetarian dishes. The coconut dishes (lolo) were fantastic and the fried chicken was another highlight. We also had a lovo one night (underground cooking) which was preceded by a kava (grog) ceremony overseen by Zachariah and the other locals who work at the resort. Each morning breakfast would be a feast of egg dishes, fruit and cereals. There is also afternoon tea with cake, but you are usually so well fed that it was rare we ventured up for a piece. Speaking of cake, on our fourth night we had the resort to ourselves. It also happened to be my wife’s birthday. Elisabeth and the team were more than happy to bake us a birthday cake and decorated the table for us with flowers from the beautiful garden.

Once the weather improved, we spent the days on the beach out the front of our bure, as well as diving on the reef off the resort and the Astrolabe reef (thanks to our fantastic instructor Miri), which is about an hour away by boat. On the same day we got to swim with the local manta rays and had a picnic on a beach by ourselves. A fantastic day! Other highlights included a visit to the nearby village for their Sunday church service and kayaking around the local mangroves. The singing at the church was fantastic and we received a very warm welcome form the minister and then the congregation afterwards.

If you love dogs, you will also enjoy the companionship of Lupe, Freddy, Isabella, Nina and from time-to-time, the village dogs. Whether it’s a short walk to long beach, lying on a hammock, or a hike up into the hills to the resort’s very own waterfall the dogs will keep you company.

Papageno probably isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but some people, like us, just fit. It’s a fantastic place to unwind (there is slow internet for contact with the outside world, but I had no phone signal the entire time) and escape a stressful life and we will definitely be back. It is also one of the best value resorts you will find in the South Pacific and well worth the extra plane ride and boat rides required to get there.

Room Tip: The beachfront bures are the pick of the resort.
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2012, 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?
Thank Bospub
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Papageno Resort

Property: Papageno Resort
Address: Malawai Bay, Fiji
Region: Fiji > Kadavu Archipelago > Kadavu Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Kadavu Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Papageno Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Papageno Resort, on the untouched island of Kadavu in Fiji, blends world-class scuba diving, fishing, cultural activities and an array of other adventure experiences (snorkeling, free diving, spearfishing, waterfall hiking, kayaking, stand-up-paddle, surfing, etc.) all within a secluded, tranquil and unique oceanfront hideaway with a lush, tropical rainforest backyard setting. Papageno Resort is truly a one-of-a-kind getaway spot that caters to both those looking for a peaceful and relaxing stay or those looking for a bundle of adventure-level water and land experiences, whilst making Papageno feel like your home away from home. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Papageno Resort Fiji Hotel Kadavu Island
Papageno Hotel Fiji
Papageno Resort Fiji/Kadavu Island

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