Our family of 4 (two kids 4 and 5) just came back from a fantastic vacation in Fiji! We had a great time at Castaway! It is also a very special place and we are already talking about going back next year!
We arrived in Fiji on Aug 12 and stayed at the Shangri-la Fijian for 5 nights (had a great time, see a separate review), then took the seaplane to Castaway and stayed for 3 nights. The kids had a blast on the 15-minute seaplane ride: they screamed with joy when the seaplane took-off from the Nadi airport; they loved the view of the Mamanuca islands; and when we landed on the water off Castaway, the staff helped the kids off the seaplane and carried through the knee-deep water. They were in heaven!! The loved it even better on the return ride when the seaplane had a bumpy took-off from water. It was like an amusement park ride for them, just better.
There are lots of positive reviews so I am not going to repeat what the previous reviews have covered. The beach was great, staff fantastic, extremely kids-friendly, and we just had a great time. Here are some things I can think of that have not been covered in previous reviews:
1. Accommodations: be prepared that the bures are very basic, no phone, no TV, but very nicely decorated, well laid-out, very comfortable, with 2 ceiling fans, a small fridge, and AC (working really well). We booked the ocean view bure as the beach bure was not available (the resort was fully booked). We stayed on the south (quieter) side of the island. All the bures are similar in size and interior and the only difference between island and ocean view bures (at least on the south side) is the 5-10 feet of ocean view. Therefore in my opinion the island bures are really good deals since you are only 30 second walk from the beach. If you don’t mind spending extra, definitely book the beach bures -- they are all ocean-front with lounging chairs and hammocks and beautiful ocean view. I wish they would offer two-bedroom bures but am happy with the two-room configuration as it was well designed and very cozy. The bures were close together but felt private. Really no complains on the accommodations.
2. Food: food was surprisingly good and if you like gourmet 3-course dinner, you should get the meal plan. Wine and alcoholic beverages are expensive but comparable to what we would expect to pay in Hawaii and California. I am fairly picky but absolutely loved the food, especially the kokoda. Actually I lived on kokoda (fish cerviche with lime juice and coconut milk) for for three days when we were there. We ordered the wine by the glass every night and they always came at the right temperature. We were pleasantly surprised to have such a high quality wine (by the glass, which is always a hit-or-miss) served in such a remote island. We will be buying more wines from Australia and New Zealand for sure. Breakfast buffet had a small selection but good. The omelet station chef will make you whatever eggs you want, sunny-side up, poached, etc. We asked him for scrambled eggs for our kids everyday and even though there were scrambled eggs from the buffet the chef was always happy to do it for us. (Being a very paranoid mom I never had my kids eat eggs from the buffet for fear of them getting sick.)
3. Kids club: they have a small dedicated building for the kids with structured activities posted on the blackboard that changes daily. The building was small, no air conditioning, and the toys were sparse, old and worn, no TV, no video games, but our kids were in heaven! Not only were the Fijian ladies warm and loving, they also introduced our kids to their culture, which is exactly the reason we took them to Fiji, instead of our annual trip to Hawaii. They taught our kids to count and greet in Fijian, took them to the beach, taught them how to make shell necklaces, it was just amazing. One note is that you can get the Fijian ladies to babysit your child and costs only F$5 per hour. Since you pay directly to the sitter, she keeps all the money.
4. Mosquitos and the heat!! The only negative I could think of -- I became the mossie magnet and was eaten alive every day. By second day I developed an allergic reaction so the bumps were one inch in diameter! August was supposed to be the cooler month but it still felt hot! Although I have to say that our house in San Diego is only 5 minutes from the ocean and I am used to cool, 70-80F weather year round with ocean breeze so what is hot for me is probably comfortable for most people. (FYI I complain about the heat in Hawaii, too). On the other hand my husband loved the weather and said he had the best snorkeling trip ever. Needless to say he didn’t even have one single bite from the mosquitos, either.
In summary, Castaway is a very special place. It seems very well managed and runs smoothly. Lots of people have worked there for years and they do their jobs very well. They really made us feel like family. One week after we got home we received a nice hand written postcard from Castaway. What a nice touch! Can’t wait to be back!
- 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)