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“Tears as we left... Will definately return with more families”

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Plantation Island Resort
Mooloolaba, Australia
1 review
“Tears as we left... Will definately return with more families”
Reviewed 5 August 2011

Crystal clear waters, amazing coral and fish, Fijian singing and guitars everywhere we went. Fantastic kids club, beautiful friendly staff, efficient service.Our bure was cleaned perfectly everyday and clean sheets everyday!!! A pleasant surprise after a full day spent out enjoying snorkelling or exploring surrounding islands. We took advantage of most of the paid water activities which are very reasonably priced, but my personal favourite would be the Sandbank snorkel that is the one of the cheapest activities, but you will do it more than once because it is so amazing. We did the free buffet for all meals which were absolutely delicious. Entertainment everynight kept us captivated with traditional cultural dances, singing and firedancing or in fits of laughter with canetoad races and Richie dancing... My 10 year old loved Kids club even though she was one of the oldest attending at the time and my 13 year old son, was taken under the wing of Micheal and Richie either helping out or joining the band singing so my husband and I could have some alone time after our dinner... (very thoughtful). Torch lighting every night is fantastic with everykid in the resort joining in and making friends with each other. No TV and not once did the kids ever say they were bored. We did 5 days here and spent 5 days after on the mainland on the Coral Coast and the second resort, (and the water and sand) had absolutely nothing on Plantation Island. Special thanks to (excuse spelling) Dee, Richie, Char, Wammy, Oscar, Sala, Jim, Michael, Mika, Bill and to all the staff that made our trip so memorable. We were all in tears as we left on the Malolo Cat because you made us feel like part of your family. We are already in the process of organising our holiday here next year and bringing along two families with us. Vinaka Vaka Levu !!!

  • Stayed July 2011, travelled with family
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Thank Haera
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level 6 Contributor
98 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 August 2011

We stayed 7 nights in a ground floor hotel room, facing the garden. Probably the cheapest accomodation on the resort.

However, I don't think you really get much more for your money by staying in any other option - although the beachfront bures would be nice. Our kids spent almost no time in the room - there is just too much to be doing on the resort, hence my view on the accomodation options. Only issue we had was on our final night - the people upstairs had a party or something which was very noisy.

There is a small supermarket located beside the resort - this is a great option to purchase breakfast and lunch supplies. I'd avoid the meal plan options as they are quite expensive compared to catering breakfast and lunch yourself if you work it all out.

Because most people seem to have purchased the meal plans, the restaurant was absolutely packed and chaotic, particularly on rainy evenings.

We loved going to Ananda's - next door to the resort but allows room charging. They had a little playground and was very quiet compared to the resort restaurant. A much more relaxing experience. Also allowed the family to eat early together.

A key thing to do here is snorkelling - here's my thoughts on doing this with young kids who are just learning...

At the resort, the best snorkelling is off to the left of the wharf if you are looking out to sea. At low tide there is an obvious channel that takes you to the coral reef. At low tide, it is pretty shallow. Good place to start, with no pressure.

The Sand Bank trip is the next step - $10 per adult, $5 per child. With learners, I'd only go at low tide, as with the water out, the sand bank is dry and you can snorkel off the "beach". It is also quite shallow at the start of the reef. Go at high tide and the sand will be underwater, and you'll have start and end on the boat which might be tricky for young kids. Also avoid rough weather.

Confident swimmers/snorkellers can then go out the Brigham reef - $20 per adult, $10 per child. This is serious snorkelling - very deep so boat entry and exit required.

Sand Bank had the most fish by far. I'd recommend taking out a few pieces of bread to feed them - easy to have 500+ fish circling you when you start feeding them.

Kids club was good, but they did tend to give them a bit much TV.

Highly recommend a night out to Lomani next door (adults only resort) - we dropped the kids at the kids club for the evening and had a wonderful evening. By chance, we got the kava ceremony night. They can room charge back to this resort.

Went wakeboarding once here - it is quite rare to get a really good day for it as they don't start till 10am and they go out of the bay quite far so the water wasn't smooth. Ski boat didn't have a mirror so the driver sometimes didn't see my signals for a long time. Not a great experience. Wakeboard was modern.

Stayed August 2011, travelled with family
Helpful?
6 Thank NickLanigan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 August 2011

Plantation is wonderful whether ur a couple wanting a rest or a family with children! They staff are all extremely polite, we actually made good friends with quite a few! We stayed in a garden Bure which was just lovely it had views of the beach also, it was a very spacious room with air con! We had breakfast and dinner include and chose to eat at the buffet every night as loved it everynight! There is a supermarket, kiosk and 2 gift shops on the island! Tho the best part of this holiday was the snorkeling u literally walk onto the beach and swim out to the best snorkeling all right infront of the resort! I will definety b back to the resort!

  • Stayed September 2010
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Helpful?
1 Thank KelJenkins
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chichester, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
40 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 August 2011

We visited here for a wedding & stayed 4 nights. Check-in was a bit disorganised & chaotic, but this is Fiji & everything is very laid-back so it's best to get into the rhythm of things (take off your watch, put away the laptop and chill). Out beach front bure was spacious, comfortable and well equipped, not ultra modern but just fine. The location was perfection, waking up the first morning to the sound of the sea lapping gently against the shore not five paces from our front door! Crystal clear, flat calm and completely empty apart from a couple of coconuts. We were on a half board plan, breakfast was good with lots of choice, evening meals were either from the buffet which was different every night of from the evenings set menu, alternatively there is a generous allowance if you want to eat a la carte. It is also possible to eat at the Musket Cove resort nearby. The staff seem to be mostly locals, and they are all happy, smiling and friendly, helping to give the place a very pleasant atmosphere. Molo LaiLai is a beautiful little island, easily reached from the mainland by ferry. The beach front bure is a must if you can fit it in the budget. Though a family resort with plenty of kids around there is lots of space and plenty to keep them happy and out of the way! Bring your own duty-free, there is a big fridge in the room with ice trays, the resort has a small shop selling mixers, nuts, crisps etc. Enjoy a beautiful sunset with a long drink on your own little bit of heaven.

  • Stayed July 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank SteevieBSussex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney, Australia
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 August 2011

we have 3 children 9,8 & 3 & we also went with 2 other families. had a fantastic time its definetly a place for people with children i would not recommend it for couples with no kids as theres lots of them around, We had a 2 bedroom garden bure which was located 1 min walk to beach & 2 mins to resturant, they changed sheets & cleaned daily. We got breakfast lunch & dinner menu, there was a wide variety of food for breakfast & dinner, i think getting just breakfast & dinner is the best way to go as they usually do left overs from the night before for lunch. Lots of water sports to try. Pool area is beautiful my kids would not leave the slide. feel like we made a family with the fijians there, we were all extremly sad to leave them

  • Stayed August 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Sun1001087
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Blenheim, New Zealand
Level 6 Contributor
282 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 163 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 August 2011

We stayed just one night at the resort, in a garden bure. The main bedroom was huge! Airconditioning in the master bedroom and fans in the front room.

The restaurant is lovely, spacious and has fabulous views over the lagoon.
The resort is marketed mainly at families and there were many there at the time - all thoroughly enjoying themselves!! For quiet time there are plenty of places to go for walks on the beaches, visit the nearby resorts or even the wee bar on the tiniest island by the marina.

  • Stayed August 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank twebb21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 August 2011

Recently came back to Sydney from two weeks in Fiji, and thought it was about time to write a couple of reviews. We are a family of 2 adults plus three kids aged between 9 and 13. We spent a week at the Warwick Resort and then another week at Plantation Island Resort. The primary reason for choosing these resorts was that they could accommodate a family of five at a reasonable price. (I have found that many other resorts in Fiji are geared towards families of four, and by adding a third child you accommodation cost can double!)

We had previously stayed at Plantation Island Resort a number of times, and it had been around 10 years since we were last there. We had always enjoyed this resort because prices, particularly of food, were reasonable, and even though it wasn’t particularly high on the luxury scale, it was comfortable and very friendly. It has changed a lot in the last 10 years, and for me a lot of the charm of the old resort has disappeared.

The good:
* Beautiful location – great soft sandy beach for swimming, palm trees – picture postcard stuff – beachwise this is nicer than the Coral Coast.
* The two bedroom garden bure we stayed in had just been renovated, and was beautiful. It was fantastic and was better than our hotel rooms at the Warwick.
* The Fijian housekeeper who looked after our bure all week was lovely – we truly enjoyed our chats with her
* The grocery store near the air strip – some essentials (and non-essentials) at good prices
* The prices at the snack bar on the beach made for inexpensive lunches, and the food was simple but good.
* Brigham Reef snorkelling trip - $20pp – kids half price
* Sandbar snorkelling trip - $10pp – kids half price
* Shell village visit – $20pp – kids half price – note that this is not a “tour” as such, but you will be transported to and from the village, and once there you are left to your own devices. Be sure to visit the school at the far right of the village (by right I mean when you are looking at the beach from the boat, the school is on the right…)
* The Methodist Church on the hill each Sunday morning
* Free 18-hole mini golf
* The staff playing guitars and singing the “Bula Song” to welcome you when you first arrive at the resort from the Malolo Cat (but only the one that departs Port Denarau at 10:30am and arrives 11:45am)

The not so good:
* Even though the Malolo Cat arrived 3 or 4 times a day, it seemed that the Bula Song was only performed for the people arriving at 11:45am – everyone else missed out on this iconic welcome…
* I found the arrival process hideous. We came off the Malolo Cat and the resort duty manager herded the whole boatload of people around for 15 minutes to show them a few key points of the resort. It truly felt like we were arriving at a budget holiday camp. We then all had to wait for another half hour to receive our room keys.
* Apart from the fresh fruit, the breakfast buffet wasn’t very nice.
* We looked at the dinner buffets each night and couldn’t bring ourselves to eat them, with the exception of the Mongolian night which served up pretty good stirfrys and the Sunday roast night. Instead we ate mainly from the à la carte menu which was generally good both in the main restaurant (The Copra Shed) and at Ananda’s Restaurant. We did however have one dinner at Ananda’s which was not the greatest.
* We were overcharged for breakfast on four mornings. Reception happily corrected this each time, but it would have been better if we weren’t overcharged in the first place.
* Beach towels can be collected from the Beach/Powel Towel room, and when we arrived we were told that we could simply come and changeover the towels for fresh ones each day. However, in reality there were not enough towels available, and most times we tried to change our towels we were told to come back tomorrow. Other excuses were that the fresh towels were only available for the people arriving on the boat, etc, etc… This was all very annoying
* Snorkels, fins and masks: these could be collected from the same place as the towels, but again there were not nearly enough. A couple of times some of the sizes we needed were all gone before 9am. Although the adult mask I used was fine, we found that the kids masks always leaked – maybe we were just unlucky.
* The day we arrived I couldn’t believe how busy the resort was, and it felt overcrowded. Yes, it was peak school holidays, but the last time we were there it was exactly the same time of year and certainly didn’t feel that busy. I guess it comes down to the fact that the amount of accommodation at the resort must have doubled since we were last there.
* Happy hour is not that happy. There is no longer two-for-one drinks, but instead they give $1 off a local beer, and a couple of dollars off cocktails.
* Finding a beach lounge was always a challenge. The solution was to locate one before breakfast, and claim it with your possessions. Otherwise, it seemed that none came available until after lunch.
* There wasn’t much in the way of organised activities for teens and pre-teens. At the Warwick our kids were kept occupied for hours each day hanging around with the activities guys, but at Plantation there was very little of this (a volleyball game; a nature walk).
* Probably the biggest disappointment was that the general friendly feel , on which Fiji has built a huge about of its tourism reputation, seemed seriously lacking. Our kids didn’t get any of the friendly banter and interaction from the staff that they received at the Warwick, and there were clearly a lot of staff at Plantation that were not that happy in their jobs. On the flip side there were also some lovely staff who are being badly let down by their colleagues.

A couple of tips:
* We didn’t purchase the meal plans as we found it was cheaper to order off the menu as we went. For example, I think the dinner buffet was $38, lunch $22 and breakfast $27 (total of all three was $87). But a full board adult meal plan was $91, and if you wanted to eat à la carte at dinner you were given a credit of only $30 towards the meal rather than the full $38 that the buffet would cost. Kids meals were charged at half the adult price, but again we found it cheaper not to go with the meal plan for them. For young kids (aged 3-11) the pricing of their meal plan did look OK.
* Keep in mind that you cannot bring cases of beer or wine in on the Malolo Cat. Not a big deal for us, but I did notice that there was an unhappy customer on the boat who had to leave a case of Fiji Bitter back at the port! This is a restriction of the boat operator rather than the resort.

Overall, would we go back to Plantation Island Resort? Probably not. We did enjoy our holiday, but for not too much more money we stayed at the Warwick and enjoyed that much more. I think part of it also was to do with the ages of our kids, for which we found the Warwick suited them better. For young families on a tight budget, Plantation Island Resort would be a good choice, but I think our family has outgrown it.

  • Stayed July 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank TravellingMan4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Plantation Island Resort

Property: Plantation Island Resort
Address: Plantation Island | PO Box 9176, Fiji
Region: Fiji > Mamanuca Islands > Malolo Lailai Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Malolo Lailai Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3 star — Plantation Island Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 165
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nestled on the 553 acre island of Malolo Lailai, part of the Mamanuca Group of Islands, Plantation is surrounded by 23 acres of tropical gardens, coconut palms and white sandy beaches that front a beautiful sheltered lagoon. Plantation offers several accommodation options to suit most budgets, and is great value for families, students and fun loving couples. Most of the activities are complimentary including the 'Coconut Kids Club'. Come experience the friendly Fijian hospitality! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Plantation Island Hotel Malolo Lailai Island
Plantation Island Malolo Lailai
Island Plantation Resort
Plantation Island Resort Fiji/Malolo Lailai Island

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