Castaway Island Resort is actually on an 174 acre island just to the north of Malolo, one of the largest islands in the Mamanuca Group. It’s a family resort with plenty of kids running around—honeymooners will probably not be happy here. The 4-star resort has recently been refurbished and is considered one of the better resorts in the Mamanucas. They offer sixty six spacious, thatched Fijian style bures with king size bed with ceilings lined with genuine masi (tapa) cloth. Most include two additional single beds in their configuration, with those bures comfortably sleeping up to four persons. The main buildings have stone terraces and an indoor-outdoor restaurant, sit on a rocky point overlooking the sea. Prices are in the US$280-US$680 range. Amenities include 2 restaurants; 3 bars; outdoor pool; tennis court; sauna, and free water sports such as snorkelling, water-skiing, sailing, windsurfing and reef fishing. Diving is big at Castaway—they have PADI International Five Star Gold Palm status.
Matamanoa is the most distant of Mamanuca resorts from Nadi. This is an adults-oriented property (no kids under 12 ) and is thus better suited to honeymooners or non-honeymooning couples. It’s situated on a tiny island consisting of two steep hills. The resort complex sits in a semi-circle, occupying one end of the island on a stunning white sand beach. There is excellent snorkeling just offshore. A horizon-edge pool overlooks the beach and there is Restaurant; bar; and a tennis court as well. There are twenty spacious two room beachfront bures, with two queen size beds, living room with two sofa beds. In addition there are thirteen (much) smaller “Garden View” rooms with a queen size bed. The local dive concession is run by Aqua-Trek, one of the better dive operations in Fiji. Proximity to diving is a plus here, it’s the nearest of the Mamanuca resorts to the outer reef. Prices range from US$175 (double) to US$277.
Tokoriki, one of Mamanuca’s better resorts, is situated a hilly island with a mile-long beach and wonderful snorkeling. The property consists of 34 guest bures and villas. It has all the usual amenities, bar, restaurant, lounge area, swimming pool, and of course, boutique. The resort rests at the foot of a steep hill. The majority of the bungalows run along the beach, adjacent to the main facilities. There are 29 deluxe single room beach bures (which were refurbished in 2004) and 5 sunset pool villas (constructed in 2004) with separate living and bedroom areas. Free activities include sailing, windsurfing, snorkeling equipment, kayaking, tennis, hiking, and table tennis. It’s civilized and quiet here—there are no (noisy) motorized watersports on Tokoriki. Diving is available. Prices range from F$825 for the deluxe beach bure to F$1100 for the villas. Meal plan is F$99.00 per day for adults and food is reportedly very good. I’ve heard comments about seaweed washing ashore on the beach but evidently that complaint is overblown. One last note to take into consideration: Fijiguide readers have consistently given this property very high marks. Here’s a recent comment: “The place is absolute paradise. We stayed in one of the sunset pool villas and practically lived in the plunge pool. The food was fabulous and the staff simply fantastic. We swam in the ocean most days and couldn’t get over how clear and warm the water was. We would go back in a shot.”
Beachcomber Island is a true Fiji institution aimed primarily at the young and the unattached. However there are now wedding packages. There are three types of accommodations—a private bure on the beach with – single, twin or double accommodation; twin lodge rooms with private facilities; or a 98 -bed unisex dormitory called the ” Grand Bure”—the largest dorm in Fiji. With 22 Bures, 16 Twin Lodge Rooms and the aformentioned dorm, there are a lot of people packed into a tiny island which certainly lends itelf to the possibility of making new friends. The island is a tiny speck of land (you can walk around it in 10 minutes) a 45-minute boat ride off the Nadi coast. Here you’ll find an informal atmosphere and plenty of decent food served buffet-style. Activities include water skiing, jet skiing-parasailing, canoeing, sailing, windsurfing, wakeboarding, snorkeling, game fishing, reef fishing, scuba diving and of course lots of partying. Mamanuca Rates (including all meals) are F$79 in the dorm, F$195/265 for a single/double in lodge-style accommodation, and F$295/345 in a bure. All prices include meals. Snorkeling equipment is provided free of charge but all other water sports will cost you. Great entertainment and first-class live music are a tradition at Beachcomber. The house band has consistently won top honors in music competitions. Beachcomber has a courtesy bus service from the hotels to Lautoka Wharf daily to catch the boat to the island at 10 am and 2.15 pm (F$45 one way).
Malolo Island actually emcompassses two resorts Malolo Island Resort and a sister property, just a few minutes walk away called Likuliku. These have to be some of the best mid-range (or call them upper mid-range) properties in Fiji. Malolo is particularly good for families with children. Most of the guest bungalows are well designed duplexes. The majority have separate bedrooms; the others are studios. The accommodations are sterling. The resort spent over US$1 million refurbishing the property. You can get beautiful unit (which accommodates two adults and two children) for around US$300. For the rates click on this link http://maloloisland.com/rates-reservations-index.cfm?nav_section=4. The link will also provide you with the currency converter. This is one of the better resorts I've seen that accommodates children. There’s a special kids play center called Tia’s Treehouse to keep the little darlings busy while mom and dad sip tropical drinks. Even at dinner, which hosted on a large deck overlooking the sea, time was devoted (a little too much time perhaps) to enthrall the little ones with a hermit crab race. For the adults there's a great spa with wonderful massage therapists and three excellent restaurants. we did have lunch and dinner at Malolo, and both meals were excellent. The chef is not afraid to experiment with any combination of local ingredients and among the products of this alchemy are kava brownies. My colleagues and I enjoyed a great vegetarian curry, an incredibly good salad, an excellent pizza and fresh, locally caught fish. Let's not forget the nice white sand beach too. If you don’t have kids or don’t want to be around kids on your holiday, Likuliku Lagoon Resort , located just around the headland, is strictly for adults. It features an array of over the water bungalows, the finest I’ve seen this side of Bora Bora. It’s even a bit more posh than Malolo with sparkling rooms and a large covered deck that serves as a dining area. The center of the Resort is a designed like a high peaked Fijian canoe house. It’s built with enormous local timber and magimagi (coconut fiber rope) and hand-woven thatch. Prices at Likuliku are slightly higher than Malolo. These two properties are the best I’ve seen in the Mamanucas and clearly raise the bar for the Mamanuca Islands area by several notches.
Photo Credit--Thanks to Paddy Ryan Photographic for Treasure Island shot