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“Pros & Cons”
Review of Kulu Bay Resort

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Kulu Bay Resort
Ranked #4 of 4 Hotels in Beqa Island
Reviewed 12 October 2012 via mobile

I have mixed feelings about this resort, but overall I am left with a bunch of happy memories. A big factor for me was the quality of the reefs surrounding the island (at least as far as what was accessible to us by kayak). They were not very healthy reefs and I think it is attributed to over-fishing. My partner and I felt ripped off for paying $25 pp for a very short boat ride to a neighboring resort (who was only really charging $10 pp) for a reef that would not impress even the amateur snorkeler. However, this place was greatly redeemed by the wonderful people I have met - staff and other guests especially. I have made new friends there most certainly! Also, the sandbar picnic was a treat, but am not sure if it would be worth the extra charge if it wasn't part of your package. The equipment and vehicles need urgent upgrading to better safety standards and/or quality. So my overall judgement is Kulu Bay is a place you would enjoy if you like the company of other people and mingling with locals. If you are after reef quality, quality watersport equipment and serious isolation, this resort may disappoint.

  • Stayed: October 2012
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2  Thank BrisbaneDramaQueen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 10 October 2012

We recently stayed at the Kula Bay Resort in Beqa. On the whole our stay was very enjoyable with the positives being:

# Lovely bures that were well furnished and very spacious.
# Excellent diving - we dived some of the local reefs, which you travel to by boat and the visibility, twinned with the array of marine life was amazing. The shark dive was a definite highlight. (This was filmed and you can buy the DVD, but make sure you have 70 FJD as they don't accept other currency or credit cards) The dive master at Kula Bay was confident and knew the sites well.
# Our maid was fantastic, she was flexible, tidied carefully and was a genuinely nice person who wanted to look after us.
# Drinks were reasonably priced - 5 USD for a cocktail during Happy Hour and 5 USD for a glass of wine or a stubbie of Fiji Gold/ Bitter.
# The transfer from mainland to Beqa was smooth and quick.
# Ample food at meal times and you can request more or less.
# Attentive staff who will do their best to look after you.


Other things that you may want to know:

# You are issued with one 2 litre bottle of water per day per couple, but you can buy extra water for US$ 4 per bottle. I'm not sure that this is enough, water should be the one thing that guests don't have to ration! When snorkelling, kayaking and particularly scuba diving, you need to drink lots of water. We were advised not to drink the water from the tap because it's rain water.
# Take Fijian dollars with you so that if you have the village band visit you have money to pay them. We thought that this cost would be added to our hotel bill, but they asked for 10 FJD per couple, which goes directly to them. If you visit the village school, you are asked to make a donation there. Also there are a few opportunties to buy local crafts so some fiji dollars would come in handy.
# Lots and lots of insect repellant should be packed in your suitcase because there are tons of mosquitoes.
# You are asked not to tip individual staff at the end of your stay. When you check out, at the bottom of your bill is a suggested amount that you should tip. This works out at US$ 8 per day of your stay and if you dive/ take part in water based activities then an additional US$ 5 per day. I'm not sure how much of this US$ tip goes to the actual staff though seeing as bills are settled by credit/ debit card and the resort is owned by a big company. I would prefer to give directly to the staff or at least give the manager Sharon an amount of FJD that she can distribute to all staff (including the gardener and others that work behind the scenes) when the kitty is big enough.
# Tea and coffee is available from the restaurant at your request, it's not available in your room. Some guests found this inconvenient.
# The meals are very filling, but if you like to snack, then take your own because there aren't any snacks that you can buy while you are on the island.
# There isn't phone reception on the island as such, but if you walk to either side of the beach at low tide (depending on your mobile phone provider) you should get reception. Failing that you can use the phone in reception.
#The power sockets require an American fitting, not Australian as we thought.
# If you have dietery needs you need to inform the resort ASAP. There is a choice in the menu for breakfast (the omelettes were great!!), but at lunch and dinner we were all served the same.
# Take a few magazines, maybe books, toiletries etc... that you don't mind giving away to your maid or the girls in the restaurant. They don't expect anything, but they would appreciate it if you give them something.

  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank scubachic51
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 October 2012

Our stay at Kulu Bay Resort on Fiji's Beqa (pronounced "Benga" ) Island was everything their website promised and more. The villas were beautifully maintained and close to the beach. The waters are clear and full of coral reefs to snorkel in. We particularly appreciated the non-commercial atmosphere of the solar-powered, quiet location and the way the place is managed by the residents of the local village who were very generous in sharing of their culture We highly recommend a visit to the village to meet the school teacher and students. We also attended the church service which was conducted in Fijian and the singing by adult and children's choirs was very moving. We were happy to make the most of the authentic cultural activities on offer, including the fire walking and kava ceremony, which is an opportunity for the village to raise funds for specified projects to improve the standard of living. In between activities there was plenty of time to relax in the most beautiful tropical surroundings. We felt well nurtured, rested and enriched by our experience at Kulu Bay. We also enjoyed our trips by taxi and boat and found the drivers to be very friendly and full of interesting local information. Thank you Sharon and the rest of the crew at Kulu Bay! Warm Regards Nettie & Fran

Room Tip: Bure 7 is the last one on the end and therefore more private....
  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled with friends
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Thank bluecharminn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 September 2012

Firstly I would like to say that the staff are FANTASTIC. Everyone made us feel like family.

We had troubles getting there. Our driver was detained by police because the car wasn't registered as a passenger car. So we were stuck on the side of the road in a hot car for an hour. My arm got really bad sunburn cus there wasn't much shade. We ended up paying for a taxi to our boat transfer (70FJD) I have emailed the owners to try and get a refund for that but havent heard from them)

But once we were there everything was great!!! They had lunch waiting for us. I would like to add that you are never hungry! you have a 2 course breakfast- first fruit then your choice of- eggs (cooked anyway), bacon, sausage, omelet, french toast or pancakes.
A 3 course lunch- usually a light salad (tomato and Cucumber in a nice dressing) Then A massive main then icecream ( I LOVED the Icecream)
A 3 course Dinner- Entree, Main and Dessert. Everything was different everyday
Food was super yummy!!!

You can go to the village for free. A quick trip on the boat. They take you to a school and the kids are gorgeous!

All in all the trip was fantastic but I wouldnt pay full price. We got a cheap deal from groupon. We paid $1500 for 5 nights -it included all the food, a trip to the sand bar and one hour . massage.

  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Jess T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KuluBayResort, Guest Relations Manager at Kulu Bay Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 29 January 2013

This guest was fully reimbursed for the taxi ride that they had to pay and all registration has been updated on the car.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 August 2012

We (my wife, 20 and 15 year old daughters and myself) visited Kulu Bay in August 2012. I should preface by stating that we have visited Fiji 4 times and stayed at many different resorts of all kinds. There were some wonderful things about the resort. First, the bures are very nice, spacious and comfortable. They are some of the nicest I have experienced in Fiji. The location is very nice as well; all accomodations are right on a lovely beach with luxurious tropical vegetation. We came for teh diving and snorkeling; and both were very good. The snorkeling off of the point adjacent to the resort was very nice with easy access from shore. Diving was 20-30 minutes by boat on the reef. Reef was very healthy with excellent soft coral and other marine life everywhere. Very few large pelagic fish, but due to weather, we dove inside of the reef. One dive (Nemo) located right off of another resort was a mud hole with an adjacent "boneyard" of dead corals. Avoid! The dive boat is excellent, well appointed, and spaciouos. I did not see oxygen or other safety gear on board. The Divemaster (Appe) was good, he knew the dive sites well and was patient. He did seem a bit bored with diving, however.

The "Main Bure" with nice sitting area, bar and dining room was very spaciouos, although somewhat sterile in appearance. The resort seemed to be geared mainly for couples and honeymooners. Meals were served at separate tables that inhibited interactions with the other guests during meals. We found this to be very awkward for the first couple of nights until we (and the other guests) convinced the staff to configure one large communal table. After that, meals were fun while enjoying the company of the other guests.

While on the subject of meals, if there is one area for improvement that I can reccommend, it would be food quality. Now, I am not a' foodie' by any means and will eat and enjoy most fare, but the food at Kulu Bay was ghastly. Most dinners were overcooked lamb (probably shipped in frozen and cheap from NZ) or or overcooked beef, marinated in the same "black sauce". There was no choice. We were seved fish once (also overcooked in the same sauce). Lunches were better and more of a fijian style curries and stir fry. Breakfasts were always the same choice pancakes, eggs or french toast. Hearty, but monotonous after a few days. My primary reccomendation to the resort would be to hire a chef. I should say that we had a lovo (food cooked in a pit similar to a luau) one evening. The food was good and in a more traditional fijian style.

Another issue that could be worked on would be the manager's (Sharon) interaction with the guests. We were constantly being pressured to give money for various things. Many of the activities were centered around giving money. We are happy to donate money to benefit the village, but the guests felt like they were "running the gauntlet" on the village tour. It was rather runcomfortable and it was unclear how much of the donated money actually went to the intended cause. Let me provide an example. On our second evening, Sharon announced that there would be a firewalking demonstration and meke dancing to benefit the construction of a village community center. They wanted US$80 per person to attend. We told Sharon thank you but were not interested because we had already experienced this and it seemed rather expensive. She acted insulted and immediately reduced the price about 25%. We told her no thank you. Immediately before the performance, she came by our bure and insisted that we come at no charge. Again we politely declined. She continued to insist, so we relented and felt uncomfortable for attending without paying, until we later found out that all of the other guests had it included in their package. Upon settling our bill on our last day, Sharon put the charge on our bill, until we had it removed. There were other similar situations that I will not go into.

The staff, in general, were friendly and wanted to get to know the guests. We met some very warm and nice folks. But the over riding feeling was that the management and some staff were rather insincere concerning the guests and talked negatively about them.

Overall, I would only recommend visiting Kulu Bay for couples who just want to relax in one beautiful location with very nice accomodations and perhaps do some snorkelling and diving. Those who are particular about food and meals should probably avoid Kulu Bay until a proper chef is hired.

Room Tip: Bures are all very similar and nice
  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with family
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13  Thank Da1bug
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 August 2012

We planned a week away without children for our 20th anniversary and Kulu Bay was perfect. We were greeted by a very special Fijian welcome song, sung and accompanied by the resort staff. And from then on, things were great. Food was good and service was great. The rooms (Burres) are huge and comfortable, and you hear the water lapping while you sleep. Our only disappointments were not having hot water (so we moved to a different Burre on day 2) and that the Bay was a bit "mushy" and not clear. However, once out of the bay, we had excellent snorkeling and scuba diving. We liked the protected ness of the bay when it was windy and rainy....the very expensive resort across the water got pounded! Overall a great time, with a special attraction being the local people.....I cried as we left on the boat after the goodbye song...I miss them!

Room Tip: All seven are great....# 7 being the most private, but really, all are great.
  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank ecobizgal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 August 2012

We spent 5 nights at Kulu Bay Resort on an internet voucher deal and were blown away by the excellent value we received! We loved the staff, each one getting to know us personally, bending over backwards to arranging trips for us to watch a rugby game and even taking us at by boat at night to another resort to watch the final of the Super XV rugby!!

The bure are amazing...spacious and tastefully decorated. Beautiful, crisp white linen on the bed, which is turned over each night and made each morning (what a treat!) Positioned right on the water...the only downside is the lapping water woke my husband in the early hours of the morning. Only 7 bure means not more than 14 guests at one time. You can keep entirely to yourself or make friends with fellow guests, your choice. Food was delicious, sandbar picnic lunch the highlight and snorkelling sublime! We would love to return with 6 other couples and book the place out. Only negative is that there is no alfresco dining, but that's probably because of the mozzies!

Room Tip: All bures are on the water, lower numbers closer to the dining area if you don't want to walk to...
  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Sandy M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Kulu Bay Resort

Address: Beqa Island, Fiji
Region: Fiji > Beqa Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 4 Hotels in Beqa Island
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Kulu Bay Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Adjacent to the Beqa Barrier Reefs, Kulu Bay Resort is located on the secluded Beqa Island of Fiji, a lush tropical sanctuary where you can leave the world and its worries behind. All seven exclusive beachfront bures are just a few steps from the calm waters of the bay. Each individual bure (Fijian word for house) has 100 square meters (1,100 square feet) of living space, including a master suite and two full bathrooms as well as a private wrap around deck. Bask under beautiful blue skies. Swim in soothing warm water. Experience some of the best snorkeling in the world. Scuba dive the Beqa Barrier Reefs. Enjoy the sounds of nature at solar-powered, eco-friendly Kulu Bay Resort. We invite you to come and experience your own Ultimate Escape. Book your holiday today so you do not miss this beautiful wonder of the South Pacific on Beqa Island – Kulu Bay Resort. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kulu Bay Hotel Beqa Island
Kulu Bay Beqa Island

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