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All reviews captain john dipping pool wahoo fish tuna coral reef taveuni island snorkel tour world class chef excellent breakfast fresh flowers great stories magical stay private pool comfortable bure family style the lavena coastal walk
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Reviewed 25 June 2018

My girlfriend and i made our first visit to Hawaii in the 1960’s. Life in the big cities of America were getting too rushed and impersonal back then, and we decided to move to a slower lifestyle in the tropics. Now we travel to Fiji to escape once again. Makaira is the perfect destination for that same reason.
Upon landing at the airport, Big Bill, our driver made a stop at one of the neighborhood stores so we could purchase some local snacks for our exceptionally comfortable bure.
The staff greeted us with genuine smiles of happiness and open armed welcome on our arrival. They make everyone of the limited number of guests feel like a long lost family member every time they see you with a greeting of “Bula”. They remember my name and ask how we are doing every day, and if we need anything to make life more comfortable. Clean linens with flower arrangements everywhere without fail.
Breakfast every day is always an island treat. Fruit, delicious hot coffee for me, Tea for my lady. Juices, eggs any style, island bread and jam perfect every day...ooppss. Almost forgot french toast and pancakes.
In case you haven’t guessed, i like to eat a variety of things. Very fresh fish, chicken, beef, soups, curries that are not too hot, fresh local veggies....ooppss, cannot forget the original original desserts that will make your eyes roll backwards with decadent pleasure. The chef is a local man who has “five star training” but “country size portions”.
My girlfriend had never fished from a boat until our visit. Sorry no pictures...Fish bigger than her. I have fished for many years around the world and must admit without a doubt, captain John can make the most boring day of trolling turn into total laughter or piscatorial mayhem when all four trolling rods get struck simultaneously. Ok, we got three Wahoo out of the four and the lady “virgin angler” got her two and i got a little one and dumped one. Fishing here is over the top!....Not to forget the second mate who is overly qualified from New Zealand.
We met all of the other guests during our stay and we all agreed that Makaira owners John and Roberta go the “extra effort” to insure that everything is the best that Fiji has to offer. Snorkeling with totally inexperienced swimmers is no problem with Roberta. Catching fish with John and Phil is made so easy.
Activities too numerous to mention. Here goes any way! World class massage by Mary. Learning how to weave coconut palm leaf into many things for fun and necessity. I made a man’s basket...(what a klutz make for hours of laughter in the shade with the staff)
In summation, if you like Las Vegas or Miami...go to Waikiki.
Makaira is the best after fifty years of searching!

Room tip: All the bures are very clean and exceptionally comfortable.
Date of stay: June 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BulaHula, Owner at Makaira Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 28 June 2018

Thank you so much for that wonderful review and taking the time to write it. It defined Makaira perfectly. You completely understood and embraced our island life style with all the pleasures and adventures. You are our favorite kind of guests who are not looking for Waikiki but a place that one can either call practice heaven or the world the way it is supposed to be. It has been an absolute pleasure having you here with us.

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Reviewed 20 June 2018

My wife and I stayed at Makaira on our one and only trip to Taveuni. This review is intended to give a realistic impression of the resort for any first time Taveuni visitors trying to decide where to stay on the island.

We came to Makaira from a 4 star resort in the Mamanucas and it was quite a culture shock. Makaira is closer to glamping than staying at a mainline resort. But I get the impression that nearly every lodging option in Taveuni is the same way.

Electricity is hard to come by on the island, so there's no air conditioning. The water heater is a gas unit inside the bathroom next to the shower (this was concerning at first, but then I realized none of the windows close anyway so ventilation is not an issue). Lights are dim. The burre feels a little rickety and everything except the bed was kinda grungy.

However, We slept well and ate even better at Makaira, we loved the reef near the resort and by the time we left we felt totally acclimated to life on the island.

Staying at Makaira sort of feels like being the houseguests of locals. This has Pros and Cons.

Pros: -The staff was welcoming and we felt like we were with family. The couple who makes the meals, Rosie and Esoa are *incredibly* nice and made fantastic food! We genuinely loved all our meals at Makaira. The other guests at the resort at the time felt the same way.

- The driver Makaira contracts with (Bill) is AWESOME. And that's important. If you want to see the island, you'll spend a lot of time with your driver in the car, so a driver that's fun to hang with is a huge plus. I actually miss riding around with Bill almost as much as I miss being in Fiji!

-Roberta's snorkel tours are really tremendous. Her coral garden is very cool, and she has an incredible knowledge of her local reefs. She can show you the best sites underwater and provides great information too. Also, critically, she knows the only route out through the reef where it's deep enough to swim.

-We had a number of things go wrong with our bure during our stay. Rather than professionally taking care of these issues like a hotel would, they sort of act like you're a house guest insulting their home.

During our 3 night stay our water heater went out two different times, the TV in our room didn't work, and TV they replaced it with a day later also did not work (I know, who wants to watch TV in Fiji? But we had a lot of rainy evenings so watching a movie would have been really nice), and the Wi-fi in our room went out for an entire day (but our neighbors said theirs was working fine) so we couldn't check in with our baby at home. I called for help on this several times and no one ever answered.

I would expect a hotel would apologize for issues like this and maybe offer a discount on your stay or a complementary meal or two. Not Makaira. They did apologize but didn't offer us anything and eventually just quit answering the phone when we called for help.

-It's very tough to find the staff when you need towels or something (Housekeeping forgot to give us beach towels every day after the 1st day of our stay and if you're exploring Taveuni, you really need them). There's an office, but we never saw a single employee in there until it was time for us to pay our bill at the end of our stay.

-The atmosphere at the meals is family style and informal, which was fun and welcoming, but it also made it awkward to ask how much they were charging, so none of us ever did. When we checked out we were shocked to see we had to pay FJ$60 per person for a chicken dinner! It was a very tasty dinner, but much cheaper meals are available in Matei.

The property is nice but it's also a double edged sword.

The views up on that hill are tremendous (particularly in the bure where they serve the meals. (See photo below) But you pay for that with a VERY steep walk up and down to the beach (However, note that many Matei area lodgings are in this same area and they will all have a similar issue).

Likewise, the beach is lovely to look at, but it's not user-ffriendly. The water is less than 18" deep for probably 30-40 yards out to sea and there's sharp coral on the bottom. So unless you have Roberta showing you through the maze of the reef, or you have a very high tide, you really can't go swimming or snorkeling there..

One other note, understand that Makaira is too far from Matei to walk to the store in a reasonable amount of time. (It's about a 2 mile round trip to the grocery market)

However, we never really felt like we couldn't access the food or supplies we needed. Bill was always happy to stop off at a store for us on our tours, Esoa's meals on site were fantastic and Taramonto Restaurant is right across the road, if you want a convenient lunch or dinner option.

Overall staying at Makaira is a nice way to experience the island. I'm glad we stayed there, because of Rosie, Esoa, Bill and Roberta's tours alone. The top notch views from the hillside were icing on the cake. We hope to return to Taveuni and we would stay at Makaira again.

Date of stay: June 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BulaHula, Owner at Makaira Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 22 June 2018

Thank you for taking the time to write a review and for the kind things you brought up about Makaira which we really appreciate. But I would like to explain what went wrong. . Every once in a while things seem to go completely wrong for guests and it is disheartening for us and the guests.It seems to happen about once a year for some particular guests. I can imagine coming from a 4 or 5 star resort to our most affordable accommodation would be a culture shock. I think if you had stayed in the Villa you would have had a different experience.
Please let me address your issues to put your mind at rest. You checked in on a late Friday and checked out on a Monday. On Taveuni the locals take their weekends seriously. Most places close mid-afternoon on a Saturday and all day Sunday. As a result the office girl takes the weekend off because there is not a lot of office things to do over the weekend. It is also impossible to find any professional help. .
. We took the TV's in on Tuesday to find out how it was even possible for 2 TV's to not work when they were working fine. It is still a mystery, the electronic repair man felt like someone had changed the programming on both of them. Try as he might he can't get them reprogrammed to play a USB which is what our movies are on. This necessitated quite a cost for us because it required us to buy 2 new flat screen TVs. Most resorts here don't offer that amenity. . Our guests enjoy it for those rainy times or to just chill out before bedtime with a movie. So it is an amenity we would like to continue, but not a necessary one..
In each guest room there is a guest information book that has all kinds of interesting information for our guests and the price of meals. For the record and future guests who may be reading this, our meals are between 18-26USD per person (not including tax) depending on what is offered that night. Ie fish and chips, or Kahuna burgers with dessert is 18.00 . The 26.00 meals include either soup or salad, a full main course depending on the selection could be Filet, lobster, chicken or fish with all the trimmings and dessert. prepared by a 5 star chef. Most guests feel that is pretty reasonable. However, like you mentioned there is Tramontos which is cheaper and lighter, simpler fare for guests who prefer either smaller meals or on a budget. We are absolutely fine with our guests dining out. Breakfast is included in our rates. We have a kitchenette for guests who prefer to prepare simple meals for either dietary or budget limitations. .
The water heater is tricky and most of the resorts here have the same model. It takes some guests a few tries to get it right.
Sadly the weekend you were here the low tides were not at the optimum afternoon snorkel time. The tide changes daily by nearly an hour We hate when that happens, but it is nature.. We had very intense highs and lows while you were here in June. That happens about twice a year. Even I am on edge because it is very hard for our guests to run the maze and my reef that I works so hard on is exposed to sunlight during that time. But as you mentioned it is so worth seeing, it is incredibly beautiful. On a sunny day at mid tide and up it is perfect because we can go everywhere and see everything. in all its glory.
I am happy to hear you would give us another try despite all the adversity you encountered. If I may make a suggestion for you in particular, if you decide to come back, choose the Villa, that accommodation would be closer to what you experienced at the 4 star place you were staying at and come for longer than a weekend so you can really settle in and enjoy what Makaira and Taveuni have to offer. We offer the Marlin cottage at a lower rate with all the same amenities for those traveling on more of a budget. There is so much to do here from ocean activities to beautiful hikes, as you mentioned wonderful people. It also gives us the time and with guests patience to seek professional help should anything arise that requires their services after the weekend.
.There is a special rhythm to Taveuni especially on the weekends. It is that laid back tropical beat that brings most people here to escape all the trappings of civilization to escape to Taveuni for a simpler life and as the Taveuni slogan goes," the world the way it is supposed to be" Beautiful, simple with the friendliest people on the planet. If visitors prefer all the trappings we do have 5 star resorts on Taveuni that run big generators to provide things like a/c with 30 staff at their beck and call. There is something for everybody here depending on their budget. .

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Reviewed 25 May 2018

I cannot say enough good about Makaira. After my first stay of 2 weeks, we HAD to go back. This time was for a 3 weeks stay, and it's never long enough. The beauty of Taveuni Island will stay in your heart forever, and the owners (Roberta Davis and John Lang) of Makaira will make you feel pampered and loved. Each bure has their own private dipping pool, and the night time star gazing is out of this world! Thank yo again for another lovely stay and see yo next year.

Room tip: They're 3 bure's here, my favorite is "Grander". I have stayed in it 2, and 1 in the "Villa' the following year.
Date of stay: December 2017
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 May 2018 via mobile

This was my first holidays en Fiji, Taveuni Island has everything we want beautiful beaches and rainforest and waterfall, and Makaira was the best!!! It is so amazing place and your staff is so kind and nice, we stayed 10 days and we want stay a month!!!! I can live there, truly is a paradise, just seating next the your private pool enjoying the sunset, all was perfect. Thanks Roberta for snorkeling with us, showing the coral and a lot kind of fish of all colours!!!! we are awsome about your coral farm, we are very proud of it, it was so nice to snorkel all days, wake up with amazing view it is dreamed!!! And the food it was delicious!! Thanks Isoa what a fantastic meals!! We never eat so good, he is the good of food, we are already miss him, and Rosie with her smile and excellent breakfast whith a lot of kinf of fruit and toast and her homemade jam yummy!!!! The staff prepared our bure every night leaving fresh flowers and a delicius biscuits. Thanks Bill for showing the magical island, Bouma Park and Lavena were amazing!!!
We can’t ask more for this dreamed holidays, we are already missing all this place and people!!we hope come back as soon as posible, Thanks for everything Makaira!!! ❤️ kisses from Argentina

Date of stay: May 2018
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BulaHula, Owner at Makaira Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 7 May 2018

Thank you for taking the time to write such a wonderful review. Reviews like that really encourage and inspire us all. You both were such a delight to have here and to share time with us and on Taveuni. We were sad to see you go. We could not be happier that you had such a wonderful time and hopefully some memories that will last a lifetime. I imagine there will be nights youwill wish Isoa was there to be the God of food and stressful times when you can imagine our coral garden. One day when you return, mother nature providing, it will be even more beautiful. In the meantime you two lovelies, take care of each other. You are a lovely couple and will bring happiness to wherever you go and to each other. .

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Reviewed 11 February 2018 via mobile

If you get to Fiji, skip Nadi and take a 1.5 hour flight to Taveuni. This is what a Fijian island should be.

From Texas, it’s a long, long trip to Fiji but absolutely worth the trip. I have stayed at Makaira two times. It is a small, private getaway located on a small rise with breathtaking views of the ocean. Three bures (cabins in Texan), each very private. Each has a private dunk pool. The bures are spacious with separate living and sleeping areas.

One of the best features is the food. John and Roberta have a wonderful cook, Rosie, who makes a delicious breakfast.

We choose to eat dinner at the resort because John is a world class chef. His meals are creative, delicious and way too much food. We end up taking left overs for the next day’s lunch.

If you are looking for “real” and not “tourist” Fiji, check out Makaira on Taveuni island.

Date of stay: February 2018
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BulaHula, Owner at Makaira Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 14 February 2018

Thank you so much for that lovely review. We love our returnees so much, you included. I hope John and Rosie didn't ruin your diet too much. I hope you got some time in at our magical point. Time will tell. We really look forward to your next trip and hopefully taking over the whole place for a retreat with your friends. It will be so much fun. Once again thank you for taking the time to write us a review.

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