Turtle Island v. Vatulele

Sep 4th, 2002, 03:21 AM
  #1  
RJ
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Turtle Island v. Vatulele

i'm planning a honeymoon for next august and the yasawa islands seem to be the place. i am doing research on the various small island getaways and these two seem to be the frontrunners.

although they are both highly regarded properties, i read a lot on this site about vatulele and very little about turtle island. however looking at their websites and the various pictures, turtle island seems to be a bit more classier, have more activities or just fits my "honeymoon idea" a little better.

my question is therefore, why am i not reading more about turtle island??????

thanks in advance for your thoughts.
 
Sep 4th, 2002, 07:45 AM
  #2  
Peggy
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Well price is probably a good reason. It is very expensive, as is Yasawa Lodge and Vatulele so the percentage of people who have gone is much smaller. Having been to both, I prefer Vatulele. Now, I went to Turtle in 1994 & Vatulele in 2000 (& Namale in 1998)& Turtle has upgraded their bures since then. Vatulele was more private. The huge bures are on an acre each, on Turtle they were within eye sight. Turtle had communal breakfasts, same thing everyday & at Vatulele we had breakfast on our terrace with varying dishes each day. Bottom line Turtle was more communal in nature to me. And that is a personal preference. They do have private dinner spots is you wish. We were looking for the most privacy. The beach & water were better at Vatulele. At that time I felt Vatulele's food was superior. But Turtle rotates chefs so I don't know now. At Vatulele, Raymond is the resident chef & lives there. Let's face it, they are both fantastic & a dream come true if you get to visit. You would be crazy not to love either one! Just for me personally I have the best memories of Vatulele. But now I'm looking into Kaimbu reopening & Katafunga opening in October so just plan a revisit to another island for an anniversary! Good luck!
 
Sep 4th, 2002, 02:12 PM
  #3  
Mary
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Both Yasawa & Vatulale are miles better than Turtle. Beaches, food, staff , accomodation etc etc.
 
Sep 4th, 2002, 03:13 PM
  #4  
Louis
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I have not been to either but Peggy has. However we were anchored within walking distance of Turtle Island for two nights and it did not look interesting enough to bother walking to look it over. I would pick Vatulele as Peggy suggests as I like a more tropical island on the other side of Viti Levu than those in the Yasawa chain. However, you need to expand on what you mean by classier, more activities or your "honeymoon idea". This is Fiji, another world, another economy, and another culture. Do you want to be pampered, catered to, have things brought to you and sleep in linen sheets perfumed with rose petals? Do you demand air conditioning or are you willing to sleep nude with a ceiling fan. Fiji is a might on the primitive side full of beautiful nature. Activities there are limited. Are you certain that you want to go to Fiji. If you really want to be pampered on the personal level I hear that Bali is one top value. There is also an island you can rent for two people with staff in Fiji that I know little about.

I was curious on what happened to Malcalm Forbes Laucala Island Resort. It appears that they are not talking reservations. I noted also that the island was listed for sale for $10,000,000, I presume US and not Fiji dollars. They had 7 chalets where you stayed and were personally pampered by staff so it appeared a few years back.

Our tastes are different than Peggy's so we would pick Matangi Island Resort over the other two. Word of warning, I can't think of anything in Fiji that I would describe as classy in the western sense. It is more like going back to the Garden of Eden. You need to love, nature, birds, animals and inscects.
 
Sep 6th, 2002, 09:13 AM
  #5  
Alee
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RJ-
If you are a SCUBA diver the rates for the two resorts are almost the same, as it is included in the price of Turtle Island, but not in the rates of Vatulele. A two-tank dive for two is about $200/day. Just in case this was a factor...
 
Sep 6th, 2002, 12:40 PM
  #6  
RJ
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thanks for the feedback all.

to clarify, we are looking for understated elegance, small and personalized...not ultra upscale. we are moving to s'pore so bali will become a weekend getaway down the road for us. in anycase, we just got back from fundu lagoon off the coast of tanzania and well in love with the small, intimate, "barefoot paradise" feel for an island retreat. it is just that what i see on the internet for turtle island looks much nicer so i am surprised to not hear more raves. i guesse that is probably the greatest benefit of this forum. also, scuba and fishing is included which could ramp up the costs of a week stay pretty quickly.

again, thanks for the views
 
Sep 9th, 2002, 08:54 AM
  #7  
Peggy
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RJ,
You will find "barefoot elegance" at either place. Don't worry, neither is that 4 Seasons type luxury, I don't think I ever even put on a pair of shoes. They are certainly personalized. The websites are fair representatons. It does look like with Turtle's renovations they have added shrubbery & patios to the bures which would cure some of the drawbacks I saw about the resort. Good luck & let us know what you decide.
 
Sep 9th, 2002, 02:27 PM
  #8  
Louis
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If you are divers and based on your comment about barefoot paradise, I must put my word in for Matangi Island Resort. It is primarily a divers and honeymooners resort. The island is truly private and has been owned by the same family for two generations. It has fewer bures and I feel the area and island is more like the garden of eden than the dryer islands of the Yasawa chain. Also, I believe that diving is far superier in that area compared to Turtle Island. Taveuni nearby has a nice park and waterfall right on the international date line. Their packages which including air and diving are very attractive. Also their US hotel rep is outstanding in arranging all details. There dive boats, facilities and personel were tops when we have been there. While we only snorkel these are the comments of others which were repeat clients. To make you life more difficult look at their web site at www.matangiisland.com. However I believe Peggy is right in recommending Vatulele over Turtle Island and I would most certainly recommend Matangi over Turtle also. We like the homelike character of Matangi with the small island and the chickens running around the yard. If you are interested, send me an e-mail and I will return our trip report on the island.
 
Sep 11th, 2002, 07:31 AM
  #9  
Anne
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My husband and I stayed at Turtle in 1999. It is a beautiful place, but I do echo the previous comment about the emphasis on communal activites. Apart from lunch [you could reserve your own private beach and order a picnic lunch], you had very limited opportunities to eat alone. For example, on our last night we were able to arrange to have dinner alone on the dock, but they insisted that if we wanted dessert, we'd have to go back and join the rest of the guests [!]. We thought this enforced comraderie was absurd -- especially since many/most of the guests were at Turtle to celebrate some kind of romantic milestone [honeymoon, anniversary] and presumably would like the option of spending time alone.

I also thought the food and service were only so-so.

Bottom line -- if I were you I'd focus on Vatulele or the alternatives that others have suggested.

 
Sep 11th, 2002, 11:03 AM
  #10  
Jenny
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Can I suggest you also look into Wadigi Island (www.wadigi.com). You get the Island to yourself (apart from the 7 staff), so is an ideal honeymoon destination.

We stayed there earlier this year and it was wonderful - the hosts, staff, food and accomodation were all wonderful. You can still dive and even get beauty treatments etc at one of the resorts nearby (your boatman will take you there!).

I also like that there is a TV/DVD/CD and Phone access etc there. Not that we used them that much, it was just nice to have the option.

I haven't stayed at Turtle, but have visited Vatulele which is also great but in a very different way. A combination of Wadigi & Vatulele would probably be my ideal holiday!
 
Sep 13th, 2002, 11:24 AM
  #11  
lori
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my husband and i have be
 
Nov 2nd, 2002, 03:39 AM
  #12  
RJ
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thanks for the tips. looks like vatulele is the winner. any tips on booking? are the prices the same booking direct with the property or better to do elsewhere?
 
Nov 3rd, 2002, 05:08 PM
  #13  
prices
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RJ- I have also been to all of Fiji's top resort, Vatulele, Yasawa, Namale, Wakaya and Turtle and am looking forward to the grand opening of Fiji's newest and MOST upscale resort, Katafanga. I would have to agree with Peggy as she is always pretty dead on in her opinions. I really enjoyed Vatulele, Namale is also awsome and has the most offered activities, you could never get bored but Yasawa might have the best beach in my opinion. You can book directly with the resort but you will pay the higest rates. The same goes for the airfare. If you are planning to use miles for the airfare you should do so in advance , almost 6-9 months in advance. We have booked through all the posible ways in the past. My husbands company has an on sight travel agency we used once, then we used a wholesale travel company ,specializing in Fiji, that sells direct to the public three times (big savings), and we also booked direct to a resort. I would have to say that the service and knowledge were the best from the wholesalers were the best. Every detail was taken care of from the minute we left Dallas to the minute we returned. For the most part, the agent at the wholesale company had been to a ton of resorts in Fiji and knew everything...I just loved the people in Fiji and look forward to our next trip...and we will probably use the wholesale comapny again...since it was very easy also....
Good Luck and there is NOT a bad choice in the lot of the picks. Congrats and enjoy!
 
Nov 7th, 2002, 12:14 AM
  #14  
RJ
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prices - who did you use to book the trip and get these great discounts? no point in paying the offered price if i don;t need to.

 
Nov 7th, 2002, 09:32 AM
  #15  
prices
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RJ- We have used several people over the years...We have bought direct from the internet and resorts but I have found that you can save a bundle by using a tour operator or well known wholesaler that specializes in that area...Alot of times that is a benefit also since that is their area of expertise and it takes away from the stress and work you have to do on research...We once tried to book through Costco and what a nightmare. The prices were not any cheaper also! We found Fiji Vacations on the Bula fiji site. We have used them twice they are in S.CA and are very efficent. We have also used South Pacific holidays and they were good but a bit more corporate...We even booked a trip from Air New Zealand direct...Hope this helps. You will enjoy either Vatulele (my favorite) or Turtle.
 
Nov 24th, 2002, 06:58 PM
  #16  
eb
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hi prices-
i too am looking to got fiji for my honeymoon in late june/early july and am haiving a hard time finding the best rates praticulalry for air from new york.
are there any specific contact numbers you/ or anyone else could reccomend?
 
Jan 9th, 2003, 04:18 PM
  #17  
sonia
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I had my honeymoon on Turtle in October and I must say I thought it was amazing. When we first got there we thought - hey whats the big deal this isnt so much better than Tokoriki etc...but after about an hour we realised we were completely wrong!

I think the service was absolutely faultless. I have never met a nicer bunch of people in my life. Neither the owner or the guest servces mgr were there when we were there, which i actually think was a good thing as the whole atmospehere was much more relaxed.

My advice would be:

if you dont like communial dining, book private beaches and dinners as soon as you arrive. If you just feel like dinner in the bure, you can let them know on the day but stress you just want it inside teh bure and that they dont need to come and set up special tables etc (we were told we could have dinner at the bure as they could on;ly do a set number of 'dine-outs' a nite - but when we said we just wantde it inside it was fine)

My only complaint would be that we were vegetarian and even thought we were there 5 nights the staff still couldnt wrap their heads around no meat or fish. Every night they would come to us and give us the menu and every night we had to stress that no we couldnt eat lobster!!! We would usually get the same as meat eaters with just he meat/fish taken out. I felt that for the amount of money paid, vegetarians should have got their own dishes, especially when they clain to cater to all diets!

There are 14 beaches on the isalnd, all of which you can reserve just for yourselves for th afternoon. You are given a HUGE cool bin full of yummy food and another one full of whatever drinks you want. You can walk, cycle or be taken by boat to the beach and you just walkie-talkie the base when you want to be picked up.

Snorkelling was sublime also...

I found our bure very private. There is lots of vegetation between each one so we couldnt see our neighbours. We had bure 15 which was the farthest one. I would recommend this one but there were a couple of others that seemed set back from the path so afforded more privacy than others.

I cant think of what else to say now - it was all so idyllic. Woul dbe happy to answer any questions...

sonia
 
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