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.
- 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)