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Castaway Island Fiji
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 3 September 2007

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!

  • Stayed: August 2007, travelled with family
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12  Thank vintage2002mom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 20 August 2007

The whole island was a welcoming lovely place. The meal plan was great value and surprisingly high quality, the staff friendly and accommodating and the bures roomy, clean and atmospheric.

Only things to keep in mind was a a first time visitor we were not aware of the very high prices charged for wine and other alcoholic beverages. Even though I am pregnant it would still have been worth bringing our own wine etc (which is welcome at meals) as the wine list prices are out of control.

Take advantage of the free kids club, great free water sports equipment and cheap babysitters.

Our three year old was just a bit too small to appreciate the kids club but we intend to return next year and feel confident she can take full advantage of it then.

Overall comment is a great holiday destination for families with young children.

  • Stayed: August 2007, travelled with family
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5  Thank MammaSydney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 August 2007

My husband and I stayed at Castaway for 5 nights during August 2007 and absolutely loved it!

We have to admit that the idea of a tropical island holiday with no connection to the outside world had us feeling a little apprehensive before we left (our typical holidays involve city jaunts or ski trips), but we quickly fell into Fiji time and instantly relaxed!

The rooms were clean and comfortable and the staff were outstanding. The food was also very good, yet it was the overall atmosphere of Castaway that was difficult to beat.

My husband went scuba diving 3 times and was very impressed by the professionalism of the dive crew. Kayaking around the island took around an hour and was great fun, particularly as there is quite a lot of marine life to see from the boat. Walking around the island also took an hour or so.

We don't have children yet, but are expecting our first in February 2008 and Castaway is definitely on our list for a trip in the future - it seemed to be a great place for young families.

  • Stayed: August 2007, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank Kel_Nige
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 August 2007

Just got back from Castaway, One word, Amazing.

Sailing there is great if your into it, Kayaking as well. Very good activities orginised on the beach, "Rugby, volleyball, egg throwing," that you could easily join in with if wanted to. Without feeling pressured to do so.

Food was of a high standard, Especialy breakfast. Managers coctail party was a Winner, free booze for an hour! come on make the most of it :p

Gotta say i loved the local beers, Fiji Bitter and Fiji Gold, with the Gold just coming out in top i think.
All the staff are very pleasent and make an effort to get to know you.

Basicly, don't go anywhere else in fiji, in comparision. It will disapoint.

James Loose.

  • Stayed: August 2007, travelled with family
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6  Thank Goosi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 July 2007

Castaway Island is a magical experience.

We stayed in June 07 for 5 nights and it wasn't long enough. We chose the Island because of recommendations and we weren't disappointed.

From the moment we arrived we felt part of the family and relaxed instantly. The bures were great. Simple and clean and we stayed in a beach bure . It was magic hearing the water at night and being able to walk on to the beach and straight out for a snorkel. And they are rather private. We spent many an hour in the hammocks.

We felt the food was fantastic. Lunch maybe was a hit and miss but breakfast and dinner were superb.

The kids club was awesome. Our daughter had a great time. In fact we had a hard time encouraging her to spend time with us. The kids club staff were amazing with the kids. And the way the club is structured is ideal. We especially liked the early dinner for the kids then kids club so we could eat dinner by ourselves or with others we had met and have some adult time.

At Castaway you can do as much or as little as you like. We kayaked around the island which was execellent and the snorkelling was great as well., especially if you explored other parts of the island.

The staff were fantastic. We would definietly go back!

  • Stayed: June 2007, travelled with family
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9  Thank Hungerford
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 July 2007

Family of four (two adults and two kids then 8 and 10) visited Castaway in January 2003. (Ok that's some time ago but I'm quite new to Tripadvisor; I doubt things have changed much since our visit).

First, the niggles. There is an air of artificiality about the resort. Native Fijians are naturally friendly, but it was so obvious that the staff at Castaway had been ordered to say "bula" every time they passed a guest. That sort of thing is tedious. Despite the staff being ordered to do certain things, like sweeping the beach of debris each morning, if something fell slightly outside of their orders there was no initiative to deal with it. For instance, despite Castaway proclaiming itself the "barefoot" resort, there was no attempt made for many hours to clean up broken glass in the children's area - bizarre. Lastly, the kids club when we were there (just past Christmas) was hopeless during the day for the 10 year old, though a little better at night.

There was a lot to like about Castaway though. We had a beachfront bure which was spacious for the family with separate sleeping areas, had a hammock in front of it, and was only twenty or so steps from the water. The beach was nice and pretty good for snorkelling with colourful little fish (although for some reason our kids preferred the pool, which was nice although it didn't have a slide like Tokatoka).

Breakfasts were great - a huge spread of fruits and all sorts of other breakfast items. Pretty much you helped yourself to what you wanted (including seconds!). Can't say enough good things about this breakfast, in fact probably the best we have ever had. The lunches and dinners were not of the same standard, but were pretty good (for the adults). The kids menu was much inferior - the sort of things kids like though. We went on a meal plan and that was much better. If you have somewhat older kids I'd put them on the adult meal plan.

There were a number of activities. From recollection you could go canoeing for free. That was quite nice although I've had far better canoeing experiences elsewhere. I took each of the kids up paragliding - which was pretty cool for all of us; I also felt it was quite safe. They dropped us down to the sea at one stage of the paraglide which gave me a chance to tell the kids to hold their feet up otherwise they would be snapped off by a great white!

The ten year old went round the island on a banana boat with a number of other kids which she said was fun. It is only for swimmers though.

I also went on a snorkelling trip which was good (although there are better areas in Fiji for diving and snorkelling). I didn't go diving but understand that it is pretty good also.

Some of the staff were genuinely pleasant.

They had a free drinks hour if you like that sort of thing.

All in all Castaway was a good relaxing holiday destination which we'd recommend.

  • Stayed: January 2003, travelled with family
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7  Thank hoegaandit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 June 2007

Our family (two adults; two kids aged 5 and 7) enjoyed 7 wonderful days on Castaway Island. I researched Fiji extensively prior to booking, referencing reviews and forums on this website. We had high expectations of Castaway and were not disappointed. This was our experience:

Getting there - there are 3 ways to get to Castaway, boat (2 hours plus) seaplane or helicopter (20 mins). We splurged and took the seaplane. It was a great option for us, we literally walked into the airport and were on Castaway 30 minutes later. Be warned though, we did meet a family who had to wait over 2 hours because the other passengers' connecting flight was delayed.
Check-in - effortless and island style i.e. relax with a cocktail, fill in the forms, a quick island overview and you're in your bure.
Accommodation - we loved the bures on Castaway. They are stand alone, unlike a lot of the other resorts we looked at that were duplex or in one case fourplex. It was lovely to have privacy and not be disturbed by neighbours flushing the toliet etc. Our family bure had a living room with two settee like beds for the kids, a main bedroom separated from the living room by a sliding wooden screen and a spacious bathroom. The bures are not five star but are scrupulously clean and really well laid out. We had one on the beachfront and the kids loved the easy access to the beach and the hammocks. The bures all have ceiling fans and are airconditioned. Note: We didn't see one bug in our bure, nor did we need mozzie repellant at night.
Food - generally good. Breakfast was great - buffet style scrambled eggs, pancakes etc. There are three options for lunch - buffet, menu or wood fired pizza. Tip: you can order pizza and have it on the beach, in your room etc. Dinner was a 3 course menu, except on Sat and Wed when it was a special themed buffet. If you are gourmet eaters and hard to please then you might be slightly disappointed with the food but we aren't and we really loved most meals.
Kids - Castaway has the best kids program we have ever come accross. A terrific Kids Club, our 7 year old generally avoids Kids Clubs but he loved this one because they played in his words "awesome games". No DVD's for hours on end, excellent staff who genuinely love kids and know how to keep them happy. Our daughter is a bit shy and was very tired after fun filled days, so we got her a babysitter at night (for only $5 FJ an hour). Note: you can get fabulous babysitters any time of the day or night. We had the same special lady every night, thanks Sai. Castaway offer an option to feed the kids between 5 and 7, we took this up and then had lovely dinners by ourselves or with friends we met on the island - what a treat.
Activities - the beach was beautiful, heaps of kayaks to use, great snorkelling off the beach as indicated in other reviews. We didn't have time to kayak round the island but other guests told us it was a fun thing to do, as was the climb to the lookout. We scuba dived and the diving was extremely professional and lots of fun. Waz and Elle run a quality operation. A special thank you to Jerry, Illiano and the awesome dive team. We went fishing twice, once the trip wasn't scheduled but thanks to Joji, we went out as a family and our son caught a coral trout within 5 minutes of throwing a line in. That's the thing about Castaway, talk to them, tell them what you'd like to do and they'll go out of their way to make it happen (within reason).
The Staff - there's really something special about Castaway that's hard to define. It's got a lovely atmosphere, a relaxed culture, in no time at all you really feel part of the Castaway family. We met the owner at the Cocktail party (every Wed night with free drinks for an hour) and he really seemed to have a true passion for the island and was genuinely interested in talking to the guests.
If you want five star all the way then maybe it's not for you but if you want a really wonderful, relaxing holiday on a truly beautiful island than we would highly recommend Castaway. We will be back.

  • Stayed: June 2007, travelled with family
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13  Thank JodieTravel01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about 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: £374 - £607 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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