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All reviewsnigel and carolthe cottagesdive masterdive boatrain treerainbow reefsomosomo straitsoft coralssafari tentfishoutdoor showercookiesvanua levusmall resortfriendly dogsminute boat rideevery meal
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Reviewed 30 June 2017

Visited this resort for one week as I traveled the Fiji Islands. I give it a full "thumbs up". Diving was great as well as the service and hospitality of the staff. Bures were clean, comfortable and only steps away from the water's edge. Food was outstanding and the sunsets were hard to beat! If you are looking for a quiet retreat where you can dive the beautiful Rainbow Reef of the Somosomo Strait or just relax in a lovely setting. This is the place.

  • Stayed: May 2017, travelled with friends
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Gabriel d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SauBayFijiRetreat, Owner at Sau Bay Fiji Retreat, responded to this reviewResponded 2 July 2017

Hello Las Vegas!
Vinaka Gabriel for your wonderful review of your stay with us. The important things on a dive vacation: Eat,Sleep,Dive.....so thrilled that we met and surpassed those basic requirements; the quiet retreat and our wonderful staff just put the cherry on the pie!
We hope to welcome you back to our shores to enjoy some more of our Sau Magic.

Vinaka
Family Staff Sau Bay

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Reviewed 22 June 2017

Off-grid resort, 1 ½ hours from Savusavu by taxi and boat. We stayed 3 days in the 2-bedroom cabin with 2 adults sharing a large bed in one room, and in the other room the other couple sharing a large, while there small child slept in the single bed. Each room has its own bathroom and one of the rooms comes with a small wet bar with refrigerator and coffee maker. The beds have mosquito nets (although I don’t think they are necessary if doors are kept closed; there are many windows in the cabin with screens on them. There is also an air conditioner available for a fee (remember, this is off-grid, energy generation is expensive), but we did not think it was necessary to use. The owner Carol is very nice, was easy to communicate with and I enjoyed our conversations together.

The staff provided fantastic service, the rooms were clean and made up daily, the snorkeling was about as good as it gets, right out front. The beach has rocks and coral, definitely bring water shoes or booties for fins. There is a large grassy area in front of the cabins where you can relax and read, enjoy the views, or play with children (or one of the 5, friendly resident dogs). There is internet connection in the main dining area and adjacent deck that was very reliable during our stay, somewhat slow, but adequate for email or reading news online. The two chefs, Ben and Jen, cook up meals that were true culinary delights. There are two meal plans, we went with the less expensive and were satisfied. Suggest bringing some snacks if you are the type that gets hungry during the day. There is a full bar and bottles of wine are available during dinner for approx. $40 Fijian. You will need to were mosquito repellant all day long, this coming from somebody who doesn’t use it unless absolutely necessary. Mosquito repellant is provided by the resort.

We had planned on diving 2 separate days, but ended up diving only once. The diving in the channel was excellent, led by Carl. Here comes the only complaint I have and the reason for only 1 dive. I did not find the equipment acceptable. There were only 4 of us diving this day. I am average male size, 5’8”, 170lbs. The equipment that I had to use was a womans wetsuit (too small), a womans bc (too small), a tank out of its visual annual by months (not years), an air pressure gage only (depth gage or any other gage), one strap for the tank, no backup strap. In a nut shell, I would have cancelled the dive, but was with others and felt these issues only bordered on safety, although anxiety was up a bit which is not good prior to a dive. My partner and I spoke prior to going in and kept it tight on the dive. Again, the dive was fantastic, equipment unacceptable.

I would return to Sau Bay, it is a fantastic place for adults and children. I would not dive there again unless the equipment has been replaced or I brought my own.

  • Stayed: June 2017, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Bill B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SauBayFijiRetreat, Owner at Sau Bay Fiji Retreat, responded to this reviewResponded 25 June 2017

Bula Bill et al,
Thank you so much for your great detailed review of your short stay with us. I am so glad that I returned ( after being away for three weeks) the day prior to your departure; it was great to be able to chat and hear all about your 'escape' home in Mexico...it is a 'must visit' destination on my list!
I have emailed you regarding your comments on the diving; totally founded and I have rectified all of your 'complaints'; not trying to make excuses but not being at the resort didnt make it possible to check things ourselves. Prior to our leaving all the gear was in perfect working order. Just FYI in Fiji tank visual inspection in done annually ( your tanks were both inspected and hydrod at the end of Feb.2017) - next visual is due Feb. 2018 and hydro in Feb 2022.
We certainly hope that you will return one day and dive again on Rainbow Reef!
Vinaka
Carol and Sau Staff!

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Reviewed 2 June 2017

This was my second trip to Sau Bay Retreat. I came back for the turquoise waters of #Rainbow Reef and to photograph the reflections of azure hues of the wide Pacific skies.

Thanks to Carol and Nigel and staff for their warm welcome. It felt good to be back on Vanua Levu and Sau Bay.

Cradled in a heart of #SauBay this family run hotel was authentic Fijian experience. I did the hike to 'Top of the World' where you can clearly across the Somo Some Strait and enjoy an amazing view of Taveuni.

The Great White Wall is just 20 minutes away by boat and offers a feast of lilac soft corals. I did 2 dives and we stopped over on an island for picnic. This dive is amazing: 100ft/30mtr, and has extraordinary fish life. Nigel Douglas is a 5th generation Fijian who has been diving this reef with guests from around the world for the last 35 years. He's got some great stories to tell.

I also did a day trip to hike to the Taveuni waterfalls, which were pristine and dramatic. We visited to the 100 year old Catholic mission and leapt across the 'International Date Line' - just for fun!

Bera, our guide for the day, brought along a veritable feast for lunch. We didn't go hungry!

It was a trip to remember!

Bula Vinaka and Isa lei - I look forward to my return

Natalia

Room Tip: African Treetop Safari tent is sensational
  • Stayed: May 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank Natasha K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SauBayFijiRetreat, Owner at Sau Bay Fiji Retreat, responded to this reviewResponded 25 June 2017

Bula Natasha,
It was wonderful to welcome you back to your Fiji home and family! We are so thrilled that you managed to fill your short time with us taking in so many adventures we have on offer at Sau Bay.
Our Family of Staff really enjoyed sharing our Sau Magic with you and the family - we all look forward to you returning 'home' and a big Vinaka for your great review and kind words.
Sau Family Staff

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Reviewed 24 May 2017

My husband and I had a wonderful stay at this intimate flowery Garden of Eden paradise with staff that is like family. Six cottages set on the waterfront of a quiet bay close to Taveuni and spectacular diving on the Rainbow Reef. It is also accessible from Savusavu. I spent every day at the spa too. Below are my notes. But a picture is worth a thousand words so take a look at the photos I've posted and PM me if you have questions. We started in Taveuni and left for a resort near Savusavua after our stay for more diving but we want to go back!

Arrival: We flew into Taveuni airport. Note there is a 7 am connection to Taveuni with the Air Fiji flight from LAX but it was sold out and we spent a rather boring several hours at the Nadi airport, which is really just the Fiji Air check in counter. Anyway, the short flight to Taveuni was uneventful on a small 18 passenger plane with 12 people on our flight. The resort arranged for a cab to pick us up at the airport and drive us to the boat pier. Then a 20-30 minute boat ride to the resort with a pod of dolphins racing us along the way! Indescribable!! At the resort, you wade a short distance in calf deep water to the shore so have reef sandals or waterproof flip flops handy. On shore, the staff serenaded us and Beta greeted us with drinks in carved coconuts. Like out of a movie. Then check in at the lobby. Note, no Amex. We used our Visa.

The accommodations: Then off to our cottage. Beautifully decorated in white with hibiscus (see pics.) Air conditioning is extra but for us the ceiling fan was enough. We traveled in late May and I guess this is the beginning of the cool season. Highs seemed to be in around 80. Of course, we spent our days on the water diving. Comfortable bed and indoor and outdoor showers. The hot water is an on
demand system so ask if you can't figure it out. Plenty of storage for our gear and clothes. I'm not sure if the rooms have hairdryers as I travel with my own but I did not see one in the room. The amenities were fantastic--Pure Fiji shampoo, conditioner, lotion.

Food: Gourmet chef. 3 course meals breakfast, lunch and dinner. Choose when you want to eat and choice of entrees at all meals. So, we had breakfast at 6:30 when we wanted to dive early. Options were a mix of meat, fish and vegetarian options. Several local Fijian options offered which were wonderful.

The diving: Sites on the Rainbow Reef were all we hoped for. Lots of brightly colored tropical fish and soft corals. Not too much big stuff but we are here for the soft corals and were not disappointed. Went to the Great White Wall twice while we were here--this is a to die for dive. Tho deep--around 100 feet--after fun swim throughs in the coral on the way down, it's unlike any thing I've seen diving before. A wall that's covered in pure white coral that vanish when the currents change. You definitely need a local guide to know when to dive in--off by a few minutes and it's only brown. Carl, the Sau Bay dive guide was on the money both dives.

The spa: I booked the ultimate massage package which was a good deal. Fijian massage with Bera's expert hands every day is a great way to unwind after a few hours of diving. I had a facial too that left my skin hydrated and glowing. The spa also overlooks the bay. See the pics. A beautiful setting and the waves lull you to relax as you take your treatments.

Wi Fi: Available in the dining room and office area for at least several hours every day. Intermittent Wi Fi seems to be the way of all of Taveuni and the Savusavu area as we experienced it both places and other travelers we talked to had similar stories. So know you'll need to be flexible.

Other things to do: I dove every day and outside of spa treatments, that was enough for me. My husband did some hiking on trails behind the resort which he said was a great adventure. The resort will also arrange a day on Taveuni to see the waterfall and hiking trails there.

Postscript: After we left Sau Bay, we went to a resort near Savusavu to dive the Nameda Reef. Sau Bay arranged a boat to a road where a taxi met us and drove the hour through beautiful rain forest and small villages. Very interesting drive.

Bottom line: We had a wonderful time! Loved the friendly staff and owners and want to go back!!

Room Tip: All 6 cottages are excellent.
  • Stayed: May 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank Shibas3934
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SauBayFijiRetreat, Owner at Sau Bay Fiji Retreat, responded to this reviewResponded 25 June 2017

Bula vinaka to San Diego!

We so appreciate your glowing review of your stay with your new Fiji family....it was wonderful to share with you our Sau Magic and all the more wonderful that you have taken those memories back to the USA!
We are happy to announce that Northern Air will begin daily (except Sunday) direct flights from Nadi to Taveuni - the flight will depart Nadi at 08.00hr and depart Taveuni at 12.00hrs - just about 1 hour flying time in an airconditioned aircraft!!....Northern Air is a locally owned airline; the owner and his son being the main pilots - so spread the word to travellers considering a trip up to Taveuni!
We look forward to welcoming you home to Sau again one day soon!
Vinaka from us all

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Reviewed 19 May 2017 via mobile

I don't even know where to begin. First of all, this hotel is not "Off Taveuni". It is on the much larger, more populated island of Venua Levu. They somehow even spoof their location on both google maps and Agoda to show themselves located either directly on Taveuni or right off the coast. This is not the case.
Be warned.... they do not say how much the boat ride is (the only way to get there)... it's $90 US per person, each way. That's $360US for my wife and I. More than the price of our entire two night stay for a very short boat ride to the hotel.
When we arrive there, the hotel is truly beautiful. I have to say. The rooms are gorgeous. The view is incredible. That's where the good part stops.
We get there and check into the room and it's super hot (we live at the base of a ski mountain), so I go back over to ask where the remote is for the AC unit. She says that we have to pay an extra 45fj for the AC per day. I say that's fine and agree to pay. She agrees but says she can't get the remote until the owners get back to the hotel in the evening. So we go back to the room to take a rest and after about an hour, I simply can't take the heat of the room, so I simply head back over to ask if they can turn it on without the remote. That's when another staff member says, "she can get the remote right now for you...". She then arrives with the remote!!!

Now for the food. Horrible is the best way to describe it. You don't know until you get there, but there are no other options but the food they cook you, at an additional cost obviously (normally would be fine.. we are far from picky eaters and have no allergies or diets, etc). They started by serving me a warm beer. Truly warm. I didn't say anything and left it completely full on the table. They later lied to the owners and said that they offered me another beer option, but said I wanted Fiji Bitter, even if it's warm (if you believe that nonsense!?). The "fish and chips" REQUIRED the use of a knife to cut into it. To say that it was dry was a complete understatement. Flavorless too. A big bowl of ketchup was the "sauce". Out of both meals, my wife and I ate almost nothing but the bread. It was simply that bad. We ate dried noodles that my wife had in her bag instead. That bad.

Now let's get to the heart of our horrible stay. The dogs outside our room (the owner's dogs), were howling and barking off and on all night. About every hour.... all night long. More loud than any alarm clock you can imagine. Without making the story into the novel required to describe all of our bad experiences with this hotel... the owners response to the dog problem..."The village dogs get our dogs going, it's not our dogs fault at all....". She then says to one of her workers, "Joe, how many dogs do they have over there...7?" Joe says yes... she says, "you have a gun don't you Joe? Joe can shoot the dogs....". This really happened. We were beyond appalled. We made it clear that we love dogs and to not go shooting the neighboring village dogs, etc. We even asked Joe directly about it after getting away from these awful people and he says that he doesn't even have a gun. If you don't believe this story, I have an email from her admitting it directly. We have proof of all of this, proof of their staff lying, proof of them lying, proof of them talking about killing all the neighbor dogs, and to add salt to the wound... we left a tip for the boat captain and then left an additional tip with the boat captain for the rest of the staff... he "forgot" to give it to the staff as we requested.
Stay at your own risk. I've been lucky to travel the world. I've been to a staggering number of places and this is easily the worst hotel experience of my life. They tried their best to ruin our trip with no success. We love Fiji and all of our other experiences were completely fantastic.

Stayed: April 2017, travelled as a couple
12  Thank BenGoki
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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