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“Staff let this place down”

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Castaway Island Fiji
Certificate of Excellence
melbourne
Level Contributor
44 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
“Staff let this place down”
Reviewed 1 August 2014

We recently returned from 6 nights on Castaway and I'm disappointed to say it was a real let down.

On the positive side, our room was lovely and spotlessly maintained (if at times quite late in the day), the island itself was beautiful, and for the most part (except the kids meals) the food was of a very good standard...but at the end of the day, a resort is only as good as its staff, and this was the big let down.

A few examples...

Fossicking on the beach we found an unusual jelly like 'egg', we couldn't figure out what it was, and politely called out to a staff member kicking a footy with some kids nearby asking if he could tell us. He didn't stop his game, he just yelled out (without even looking at me) "today is a special day in Fiji, it is National Marine Life Day, don't touch the marine life!"....we were shocked! A - we weren't 'touching' it as I told my kids it may be poisonous, B, for an island that sells itself on its marine environment surely the staff member could have tried to assist us. I found this both arrogant and rude and it was noted by guests nearby.

We booked our kids in for hair braiding. The masseuse from the spa turned up, no smile, didn't ask the kids names, didn't speak to them at all actually except to say 'bead' each time she needed them to pass her a bead. We had a similar experience with the nail girl when my daughter had her toe nails done. What should have been a fun experience for the kids was miserable.

When my mother and I contracted an illness and couldn't eat lunch we sent the kids to dine alone. My son ordered with the waiter and next thing another waiter approached them and advised them " you have to say please and thank you or we won't bring you anything"...my son told me this when they returned from lunch and I asked what he had said when he ordered, his reply was "bula, can we please have 2 cokes, vinaka". I KNOW my children have impeccable manners, its commented on regularly so I have no doubt they said please and thank you when they ordered. My son also made a point of always using Fijian words wherever possible and picked me up when I failed to do so. I'm outraged that this occurred - and from a totally different waiter than the one who they ordered with. I have no doubt this wouldn't have happened had I been there and I consider it bullying in no uncertain terms. My kids were really upset they had been accused of doing the wrong thing.

Staff at Sundowner took out the most surly award. After arriving to no acknowledgement and after a 45 minute wait for pizzas (we were the only table waiting at the time) the pizza arrived but no salad. When I queried this I was told "its coming". Halfway through the meal, still no salad, and I look over to see the 2 staff on duty face timing or doing some sort of I video. I knew the salad had to come from the main restaurant, so if they were mucking around, the salad wasn't coming. Having had enough I approached them and asked to cancel the salad...at that time they said it was coming from the main restaurant...and the staff member went and got it within 30 seconds. Clearly my salad wasn't a priority to them.

My kids didn't go to kids club as at 7 and 10 they were by far some of the oldest kids on the island and nothing at kids club appealed to this age group. When I asked what movies they showed at night they said it depended on the kids ages, and given most were between 1 and 5 my kids didn't even bother. Strangely, they held the crab and frog races at 9.30 at night and we were all too tired to bother waiting up.....and only the kids at kids club got allocated crabs and frogs anyway!?!? If you weren't in kids club, the staff just didn't bother learning your name and paying you any special attention at all. In fact, in 6 days only one staff member (Merrywae?) at the egg station knew my kids names. Special mention has to go to Merrywae for being the friendliest, brightest and most outstanding staff member on the island. Thank you Merrywae for taking an interest in my kids and their holiday.

Finally, the icing on the cake was the illness we were all struck down with. First my mother, then myself, then my daughter became so I'll the flight crew on our flight home had to inform ground staff of her condition so paramedics could assess her on landing. To add to this, even though the nurse was called to our room at 7am on our departure day, we were told we would need to vacate our room by 10am because the next people were waiting! When I pushed this with the reception staff, reminding them check in wasn't until 2pm and with a sick child, surely they could accommodate us at least until midday they finally agreed to the request. Whilst I was grateful for this it was disappointing to have to demand it under the circumstances. We met at least 2 other people on the island who had been ill during their stay so I'd have to question hygiene standards.

In all I'm really disappointed. This holiday was much anticipated, and I'd heard such amazing reports but for the price tag I expect a certain level of service and Castaway fell way short of this. Unless some major changes in staff training take place its unlikely I'd ever return with so many other options in Fiji.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
15 Thank tajyd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
karenmarvell, Director of Sales at Castaway Island Fiji, responded to this review, 10 August 2014
Bula Tajyd from Melbourne, We are really upset to read your review particularly with regards to the comments about the staff. Your comments are taken very seriously and all Department Heads involved across the areas you highlighted, have been addressed in a meeting to help us try to understand how so many of them made you feel this way throughout your stay. We can only apologise for the way this made you and your family feel as it is completely opposed to the normal reaction and response we receive from guests who stay at Castaway. Again our sincere apologies that your stay did not meet your expectations.
vinaka
The Castaway family
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Brighton Australia
Level Contributor
64 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 August 2014

This is a fabulous place to holiday but just beware if you are going in July. It can be cool and the winds on the south side of the island can be very fierce ! If you are going for the tropical holiday lots of swimming etc then reconsider July as it is just not hot enough for all the fabulous things to do there. The swim up bar and pools are not heated so it does need to be warm and from what I can gather it is for the rest of the time just not in July. Overall we had a good holiday with 6 adults and 5 children under 5 but it could have been so much better if weather was warmer. If you must go this time of year stay on the North side of the island as the wind does not blow much at this time of year on the north side. It probably does other times though so it pays to check .

Room Tip: If going in July pick the North side. Stay away from no 25 as this is where the boats load all supp...
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Brightonchick_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
karenmarvell, Director of Sales at Castaway Island Fiji, responded to this review, 10 August 2014
Bula, thanks so much for your review. We have to say July 2014 was cooler than normal for Fiji. For the sake of other readers, we must reiterate that Fiji enjoys summer style weather year round and whilst the winter months of July, August can be a little cooler, this is also our peak season for that reason. Days are generally about mid to high 20's celcius, where as they can go over 30 degrees in the summer. I think you just got a week when the temps were much cooler than normal. The tradewinds do change and sometimes the south beach is windier than the north beach and vice versa. I guess the great thing is you have a choice of two fantastic main beaches plus other small ones around our private island, so there are options to get out of the wind if it picks up. Appreciate your feedback and hope we can welcome you back again
vinaka and regards
The Castaway family
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Melbourne
Level Contributor
13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 July 2014

We thought long and hard about whether to stay on the mainland or Castaway Island, we chose Castaway. It was the right decision with our 3 year old. Water was safe, food great, plenty of water sports, beach on different sides of the island so you could hide from the wind, kids club good, easy to access babysitters so you could have parents dinner, facilities and rooms clean, wifi, rooms fitted out with everything you need. Day trips were available if you wanted to leave the island, but we didn't. Snorkelling straight off beach was good. A beach was a great entertainment facility for a 3 year old than pool. Pool water was a bit cold compared to the beach. Fantastic venue, management do a great job .

Room Tip: North facing bures are out of the wind and could be very hot if it wasn't windy
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Fiona M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
karenmarvell, Director of Sales at Castaway Island Fiji, responded to this review, 10 August 2014
Bula FiandAsh
Thanks sincerely for your great review. We are so happy to read you and your family had a great experience at Castaway Island and we hope we can welcome you all back again
vinaka
The Castaway family
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne
Level Contributor
53 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 July 2014

Our 4th visit and one which was much anticipated.

A few of our favourite staff had moved on and although there were outstanding people there: Aku, Mosi, Seru, Imran, Chef Lance, David, Sammi, Poni, Jerry, Eric to mention only a few, I felt that the spirit and enthusiasm I'd felt previously was missing. We had a really relaxing and fun break don't get me wrong but a few of the staff seemed tired and some (Joana n) seemed downright rude and grumpy.

We did the meal plan but for me on a strict vegetarian diet, I don't feel I got my money's worth. The chef and supervisory staff were excellent and tried to accommodate me but many staff did not understand my requirements and at times I didn't have enough to eat and after a few days I was bored of the food. Pre-ordering was a hassle because after breakfast, the last thing I want to think of was what I'm going to eat for lunch and then I'd have the hassle of explaining certain things to staff who have no concept of a strict veggie diet. Regularly, I wouldn't get exactly what I'd ordered in any case and only once was an explanation given about why the meal varied from what I'd ordered. Also, because I had booked on certain activities, I would have to rush my food as it took a long time to arrive despite pre-ordering. The whole food thing was just too hard and my 1808 experience was quite disappointing.

The beach front bure was lovely but on a few days it wasn't cleaned until late afternoon meaning we had to vacate - not a major problem when the beach is lovely but on the 2 bad weather days it was inconvenient. Attention to detail was lacking too. I had to hunt down clothes pegs, toilet roll and tissues on a few occasions because they weren't replenished.

I love Castaway and some of the people but for $16K I don't expect to stress about food or relaxing. Now that it's changed hands to the Outrigger group, I'm doubtful as to whether I'd return. I feel almost disloyal writing this review but for 5 star prices I expect more :(

Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
Helpful?
5 Thank Dragonflymummy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
karenmarvell, Director of Sales at Castaway Island Fiji, responded to this review, 29 July 2014
Bula Dragonflymummy,
Thanks for taking the time to provide us with a review after your latest stay. We do take your comments very seriously and they have in fact already been addressed following the comment card you left with us on departure. At the time, the issues you experienced with housekeeping
were addressed with the Department. We apologise for the late cleaning of your bure and the lack of tissues/toilet paper being replenished. We do have standards to keep and these have been picked up. Our apologies for this occurring. With regards to your strict vegan diet, as you know we have an extensive vegetarian menu, however for vegans and other specific strict diets like coeliac, pre-ordering in required as the food needs to be prepared separately to ensure no dairy for example, comes into contact or is added during the prep stage in a very busy kitchen. Chef has since implemented additional measures to ensure the food and beverage attendants have a better understanding of the importance of special dietary requirements to some guests and the fulfillment of these orders in a timely fashion, particularly when dining with other guests who are not on that same diet. We are sorry you feel that the resort has changed under the Outrigger Resort ownership. The new owners are particularly dedicated to ensuring this does not happen and it is their desire to maintain the magic of Castaway as it has always been. We do hope you will return to your Fiji home away from home where we will do our utmost to ensure the experience is a more efficient in the areas you highlighted. Lolomas from the Castaway family.
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Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 July 2014 via mobile

We had a great family holiday at castaway island and have just returned a few days ago. We had beautiful weather for the first few days then it turned overcast and very windy for a bit. We had 5 small children on our trip who all had baby sitters and attended kids club every day. The babysitters were fantastic and had kids all asleep in bed of a night when we got home from dinner. My two kids were 2 young to go to kids club on there own so I hired a babysitter who took both kids to kids club. Baby sitters are very cheap! Our beach front bure was great, we had two rooms for sleeping which was great with the kids, we had a fridge and kettle but no tv, telephone or wifi in the room. They have wifi around the pools and resturants but it is quite slow, I found the best spot for Internet was by the kids pool! We had an Australian plug in out room which was great for charging cameras, phones and sterilizing baby bottles!!

The buffet was quite good but was nice to have the menu to order off if you get sick of the buffet. There is lots of water sports and snorkeling equipment available and beach volley ball and other beach games to participate in if that's your thing! I had a great time playing beach volley ball I also had a great full body massage at the day spa which was soooo nice but I found it a bit cold and windy as it's outside! I also had a head massage by the adults pool which was great too. The bar lady at the adults pool makes the best cocktails and is very friendly. I also loved the pizza restaurant up stairs, it's great to sit up there on a nice day as it has a great view. Great spot for a family holiday and great for children!

Stayed July 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank Kate L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
karenmarvell, Director of Sales at Castaway Island Fiji, responded to this review, 29 July 2014
Bula Kate L,
Thanks for your review. Great to know you made good use of our gorgeous 'Maramas' the Castaway babysitters and the kids enjoyed their time on our barefoot paradise. Sounds like it enabled you to relax a bit more and still spend quality time with the family as well. Perfect! Fiji has just gone through its coldest few days on record, so whilst it was still swimming weather for the guests, it has been quite cool in comparison to normal temperatures at this time. Glad you enjoyed your massages nonetheless. There were some good tips in your review, so we appreciate you taking the time to share them and we hope now that you've found us, you will all come back and visit the Castaway family again.
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Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
205 reviews
53 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 July 2014

Perfect couple getaway, romantic, quiet and helpful, friendly and very discreet staff! Lovely beach and facilities with an exciting bistro tide to get there...a must do stay in paradise! Fiji, the way the world should be!

Room Tip: All good, all are private and close to the water.
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  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Waryonetwo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
karenmarvell, Director of Sales at Castaway Island Fiji, responded to this review, 27 July 2014
Thank you Waryonetwo for your review. We are glad you found Castaway Island to be an idyllic couples retreat. We hope we can welcome you back again. Regards the Castaway family.
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New Zealand
Level Contributor
28 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 July 2014 via mobile

We have just returned for a 10 night stay at Castaway in a beachfront bure with my family of 5. We were also traveling with another family of 5. This was our 9th visit to Fiji but 1st stay at this resort. I feel I have stayed at enough islands to accurately write a comparison review for this resort.

What we loved! - The beach was probably one of the nicest beaches we have been to in Fiji. The sand is white and powdery and the water was literally as warm as a bath and Chrystal clear blue. The staff were very mindful of ensuring the beach was well groomed and bits of seaweed etc removed daily. There were always enough loungers to accommodate all the guests as well.

The snorkeling was amazing. The inner reef was fantastic but the two outer reef trips we did were exceptional. We sure turtles, sting rays, massive fish and 5 black point sharks and 1 very large white one! Got the blood pumping.....

We found the food at a generally high standard for Fiji. Interestingly we disagree with the reviews about the Asian fusion restaurant. We ate here twice and did not enjoy the food nearly as much as ordering from the main menu. We never had a bad meal from this menu and found the smaller portion sizes perfect for not over indulging. We rarely ate from the buffet but our kids did and they always seemed to enjoy their meals and had plenty to choose from. My 3 year old daughter had spaghetti bog for lunch and dinner and would have had it for breakfast as well given the choice!

The bures were adequate. Little privacy between kids and parents and no living space to relax in not that you would want to anyway with the beautiful beach on your doorstep. They were clean and well kept.

The things we didn't like so much...

We sent an email twice before our visit requesting a beach bure on the north side of the beach. We also asked for our bure to be positioned next to our friends and their family that we were traveling with. Neither request was honored. I'm not sure why guests requests can't be accommodated. I think this is poor organization and management on the resorts behalf. Every other hotel in the world we have stayed at can where possible accommodate guest requests. This resort appears not even to consider them. After speaking with management we were moved to the north side half way through our stay. We were however at separate ends of the island to our friends.

I have to comment about the staff. We have experienced the warmest and most exceptional service and friendliness from staff at every other resort we have stayed at in fiji. We did NOT find this at Castaway at all! The staff were pleasant enough but by comparison didn't have that same cheerfulness and warm hospitality we have received at other islands. We almost felt they were a bit "over" it. They were full and it was busy. I get they turn over guests rapidly but even our kids commented on their general lack of enthusiasm.

The kids club. From memory they had 95 kids on the island when we were there. There was a lack of exciting activities on offer especially during the day. They need to review their programme and come up with some refreshed ideas of things they can do. Our 3 kids were very uninspired. They watched movies most nights and what was worse they were repetitive.

Next year we are booked in at Yasawa Island Resort. The last island for us to tick off before we venture further afield!

Stayed July 2014
Helpful?
13 Thank MonMun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
karenmarvell, Director of Sales at Castaway Island Fiji, responded to this review, 27 July 2014
Bula Monmun and thanks for the review.
We are sorry you didn't find our Castaway family to be as friendly as you'd have hoped. This does surprise us, however its a reminder to us when we are fully booked that despite our staff being busy, their persona is always on display and an absence of friendly engagement is noticed.
If we have the correct booking, remembering that the reviews on this site don't provide name and dates of stays, we did receive your request for bures near to each other from the NZ wholesaler, who booked the stay. At the time, we advised that we were unable to guarantee this but it was duly noted on the reservation and we would have fulfilled the request had two bures of your choice been vacant on the day you arrived. Also the two bures booked were different categories, making it more difficult to assign near each other. We have far fewer bures on the north beach side and several of them are small bures that can only accommodate 3 people, so would not have been suitable for your two families of 5 people. The July school holidays are our busiest two weeks of the year and fulfilling these requests in a resort of our size is certainly challenging. Our apologies that the request to be next to each other on this occasion was not able to be fulfilled. Your comments about the Kids Club activities is noted and we will review and work to improve this to provide a more comprehensive program. We sincerely appreciate you taking the time to write this review and are pleased that overall you did have an enjoyable holiday at Castaway Island.
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Additional Information about Castaway Island Fiji

Property: Castaway Island Fiji
Address: Castaway Island | Mamanuca Island group, Fiji Islands, 1111, Fiji
Phone Number:
Region: Fiji > Mamanuca Islands > Castaway Island (Qalito)
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Castaway Island (Qalito)
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:4 star — Castaway Island Fiji 4*
Number of rooms: 65
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Castaway Island, Fiji provides a unique South Pacific experience - a great place to relax, unwind and enjoy life's simple pleasures. Fiji's most popular island resort has guests returning year after year to experience the magic that is "Castaway". The island's 174 acres are covered with lush tropical vegetation, and surrounded by white sand beaches and vibrant coral reefs. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Castaway Island Fiji Hotel Qalito Island
Castaway Island Fiji Qalito
Castaway Island Resort
Fiji Castaway Resort
Castaway Fiji Hotel Island
Castaway Island Fiji Castaway Island (Qalito)

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