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.
- 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