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topcatus
Los Angeles, California

A place of unmatched beauty, with authentic, caring staff. A real Fijian experience!"

Review of Botaira Resort
4.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed 26 Jul 2009
We just got back from Botaira today and is missing everyone already. My wife and I spend our 13th wedding anniversary there this week. What a beautiful island, beach and especially the coral reef! We met great folks from all over the world, and got to know some lovely staff as well.

Let me start by saying what Botaria is not, and who it is a poor fit for. First off, if you are afraid of bugs, and their presence is a "deal-breaker" for you, this is not the place for you. In reality, if you fear bugs, you should stay out of the tropics, or hide in the hotel or cruise ship. Lush green places = bugs. Second, if you need to be catered to, entertained, served, pampered, and baby sat, please stay in the over-developed mega-resorts or the cruise ships.

What Botaria is, is an Eco resort on a real Fijian island. This means no movies have been shot on it, and the resort is not named after something white sailors did a few years ago, or fictional stories from Hollywood. There are real Fijian villages on this island that have been there much longer than the countries most guests visit from.

As other reviewers have already stated, Botaira Beach Resort is located on a private beach, with one of the most pristine coral reefs fringing the entire beach. There are only 11 Bures on site, so it is very private. The staff are from the local villages. There are very friendly, helpful, and not pushy. They prepare three good meals each day and a snack during afternoon tea. The cooks are very creative and the food is abundant. As a vegetarian, the cooks worked extra hard for me each day and made sure I had tasty meals.

There are activities to be had at the resort, all you have to do is ask one the staff. This is a very laid back resort and most of the guests either snorkeled or went for walks on the beach, to the village or the ridge top. Each afternoon, at the bar, folks gathered at happy hour and chatted about everything and anything.

One of the trips we took was to go see the manta rays, which feed in a channel at the tip of the island. I'll compare our experience of Botaira's "level of service" to the others. All resorts in the area offer "manta" trips. This is what it typically looks like. The resort loads 12-20 people on the boat, takes them out to the general area where the mantas tend to feed, and tells everyone to jump over board. This is an area of high chop and fast current. What happens within minutes is that you'll have people scattered all over a large area, in rough seas, fighting the current for their lives. Some quickly drift toward the sharp coral reefs, while others drifting out to open sea. One or two staff from the resort would try to keep an eye on everyone, but they are clearly out numbered. After about 30 minutes, everyone is called back to the boat, grateful to be alive, having just experienced what being adrift on the open seas feels like! Many would not have seen any mantas, but at that point, they are just happy to be out of the chop and current.

This was our manta trip from Botaira. After consulting with the staff, they let us know when they thought the highest chance of seeing manta's were, so the trip was planned. Three staff took four guests to the area. They drove the boat around until we spotted mantas on the surface. We dove in and followed the manta as a group. When we drifted down current, the boat either towed us back up current or we got back in the boat and drove to another spot. We stayed chasing the mantas for over 1 hour, until we all had our fill of multiple manta sightings. Then one of the staff took my underwater camera and dove in chasing another group of mantas, just to make sure I got really good pictures. All this fun for 22 Fijian dollars!

We did other trips with the staff and the service was always top level. The staff are local boys, and they are proud to show us their island. We met their family, children and even attended church with them.

On the last night of our stay, they brought in a dance troop and surprised us with a "meke". The music and dancing was great, and all the guests and staff participated. Speaking of music, there was live music at almost every meal!

There is so much more I can say, but you'll just have to visit Botaira to enjoy them yourselves. If you are looking for a 5 star all-inclusive resort, go somewhere else. But if you're looking for a real authentic Fijian beach get-away, with a bit of adventure tossed in, Botaira is the place for you.
Date of stay: July 2009
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
4.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
4.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
4.0 of 5 bubblesService
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      Reviewed 20 July 2009

      Botaira, unsatisfactory to say the least. We have a saying in Australia which best describes Botaira— "down at heel". It is a resort in decline. Maintenance has not been and is not being carried out at the resort and the young woman who was managing the had lost connection with her staff. The room was of a poor standard, with fly screens damaged allowing insects to plague our sleep As there was no insect netting for the bed, each night was less than comfortable. We did not have our room serviced once during our stay, and when we asked the manager she was surprised. The maid who was supposed to be cleaning our bure offered lame excuses. Bures were all poorly maintained with the thatch falling off the roofs, apparent damage to doors and paneling and a sense of dilapidation about them.
      On top of this the hot water service was not maintained, so that it kept having to be re-lit by me in order to get hot water, which only came out as a trickle. This was the case in at least one other bure that we heard of. So weak was the water pressure that we had to crouch down in the shower to even get the water to run. Our toilet seat was broken, the rooms had very little storage space, curtains were falling off their railing.
      The food was adequate, but by no means generous, utilizing the cheapest cuts of meat, swimming in fat, bulked out with rice and potatoes, while the vegetables offered, varied little. Drinking water was of a poor standard, was not supplied at the tables, requiring bottled water to be purchased at all times. A broken ice machine meant the staff were reluctant to give what ice there was. Bar staff were inefficient consistently making errors on drinks bills.
      We understand electricity is expensive, but the fact that it went off for 3 hours in the middle of the afternoon and for 7 hours at night, made for further discomfort as far as sleeping was concerned. While I can accept this on an island with a budget tariff, Botaira was not charging budget rates.
      Transport to other islands for diving or snorkeling was always too difficult for them. Complaining about fuel shortages doesn't seem to make sense when no real attempt was made to accommodate these requests, even with increased charges. In short nobody seemed interested in putting themselves out for the customers. A curious approach to business indeed.
      The Botairi website was misleading suggesting the accommodation to be of a far higher standard, and when we arrived this deception was confirmed.
      While these may seem a collection of small inconveniences, they multiplied to create our most displeasing Fiji experience ever, and we intend spreading our dissatisfaction to as many people as possible.
      We have been to Fiji a number of times and keep returning because we enjoy the place so much. Botaira will not receive another visit from us, however.

      Date of stay: June 2009
      • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
        • Value
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      6  Thank vocircumstance
      This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
      Reviewed 28 June 2009

      We stayed at Botaira for 5 nights it was wonderful! No ... it is not a 5 star resort ...but who would want more??

      This place is amazing... we were greeted with a welcome song and drinks and then shown to our cottage. It was at the end of the resort with lots of privacy with a lovely view of the sea and sunsets.

      Over the 5 day days we

      Swam with the manta rays ( a must do)
      Snorkelled lots just of the beach – amazing sea life
      Completed the costal work – remember your water
      Massage from the local ladies
      Visited the local village of Soso
      Drank Cocktails and ate way 2 much
      Relaxed on the beach

      The staff were sensational – they were happy to help us with any questions and just content having a chat with us. Special thanks to Mini and Knox- who made us feel right at home and part of the family!!

      The Manta ray trip was our favourite- it was so surreal! They are such gentle creatures- if you visit this wonderful island, you must do this activity.

      The resort encourages you to get to know the other guest – which was great and we meet some really interesting and lovely people.

      Our cottage was large enough to suit a small family, the room had a queens size and day bed, a bathroom with hot water and a balcony to sun yourself. It was clean- the bathroom was poorly lit and sometimes had a strange smell, but nothing to upset the holiday.

      The food was great- each day was different. I can not fault the meals, always heaps to eat and the warm cake at afternoon tea time was a real treat. At dinner time we always had some form of entertainment, which we very much enjoyed.

      We were very fortunate, as we had sun for about 4 out of the 5 days, which made the snorkelling 100% amazing. My husband couldn't get enough!!

      I don't think words can explain how wonderful the time at Botaira was. We didn't want to leave this great place and wish we could have stayed longer.

      We will be back..... hopeful next year!

      Date of stay: January 2009
      • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
        • Value
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        • Cleanliness
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      1  Thank Miss_Claire_Brisbane
      This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
      Reviewed 21 June 2009

      This place was incredible. The water was warm and clear, the staff were the nicest I have encountered, and the beach was perfect. Botaira is paradise!

      Date of stay: June 2009
      • Trip type: Travelled with friends
        • Value
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        • Cleanliness
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      Thank jsvines
      This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
      Reviewed 9 June 2009

      My husband and I spent 7 nights at Botaira and met up with friends from New Zealand. Having spent our last 10 Fijian holidays at Matamanoa Island Resort we decided to try somewhere different.

      Firstly we found the food to be very good and fresh, although my husband who is a big eater found the lunches a bit small. As other advisors have commented, there is not much variety but we enjoyed every meal. The lovo was great as was the candlelit dinner on the beach. The range of wine on the island is limited and they actually ran out of the wine we were drinking on the second last day. The cocktails were fantastic - thanks Knox!

      The staff were great and all come from the local village. The walk to the village is well worth the trip but it is a long walk (over an hour at high tide) and a fairly steep walk at times.

      The snorkelling was brilliant. Probably the best I have ever seen. We were also lucky enough to swim with the manta rays which was great although the current was running quite strongly so be prepared if you are not a strong swimmer.

      The beachfront bures have wonderful views. They are a good size for 2 people and have a comfortable queen size bed plus a day bed. Unfortunately, the bathroom seemed quite dirty and had barely any lighting and no towel rails. We also discovered a mouse in the bathroom on the first night which was quite off-putting. It seemed to hang around for the whole week. Our friends also had the same problem. The water in the shower was also a bit tricky but this is a problem I think would be encountered in many small resorts.

      Being a small resort it was great to be able to chat with fellow travellers and there was always a spare hammock to relax in.

      We encountered quite a few flies (not so many mosquitoes) so be sure to take some repellent.

      All in all Botaira is in a beautiful location with happy staff and lovely fresh food. If we didn't have a "visitor" in the bathroom, I would have been very happy.

      Date of stay: May 2009
      • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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      2  Thank Fijifan
      This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
      Reviewed 5 June 2009

      This Resort represents the more natural Fiji. The staff is open-hearted and always interested in conversation. The Bures are quite big compared to other Resorts but not that luxury. This means you need to deal with mosquitos, big spiders etc. as there are several gaps in the fly screens and elsewhere. Also the generator is not running for 24 hours. This means don´t forget your torch. However, we didn´t miss a thing.

      Standing in front of the building containing the kitchen you would not expect the high quality dishes they actually serve. Although beef is too tough (seems to be a fijian characteristic) the food tastes very good in general. I really never had better vegetable as side dish. You need to go for snorkeling and swimming with the manta rays there.

      Date of stay: May 2009
      • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
        • Value
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        • Rooms
        • Cleanliness
        • Service
      1  Thank tin03
      This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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