Why is the Plantation Island Resort so famous after 50 years? Is it its’ accommodation options, the restaurants or the fun factor which keep travellers coming back again and again to this all-inclusive family resort? Or… is it something else?
The Plantation Island Resort is one of Fiji’s oldest, most-recognised holiday destinations. Last year in November, it celebrated 50 years of existence with week-long celebrations, freebies and events for its guests. To have managed such a long innings along with great reviews speaks of high standards of hospitality, amenities and activities. Therefore, we’ll do a deep dive into what makes this resort stand out amongst its peers.
The Plantation Island Resort is set on Malolo Lailai island in the Mamanucas chain, just over 20 kilometres away from the Fijian mainland of Viti Levu. Reaching it is no problem, whatsoever. One, guests can book passage on the Malolo Cat, the swanky catamaran service dedicated to ferry travellers between the island and Port Denarau. Moving up from plebeian modes, people can book their own private water taxi. It works on-demand, so no worrying about boat timings. Then finally, guests can arrive in style via private plane charters and chopper service, which runs between the airport and the island’s own airstrip. Once reached, check-in is done in minutes and you’re all set for a proper Fijian holiday!
The Malolo Lailai island can trace its history back to 1872, when the Fijian Nadroga chief Ratu Kini sold an uninhabited island to an enterprising cotton farmer called John Thomson. The island was cleared for cultivation and went through several ownerships before being picked up by the triumvirate of Richard ‘Dick’ Smith, Reginald Raffe and Sir Ian MacFarlane. With Dick Smith’s help, Raffe selected a sunny side of the island and built the early beginnings of the resort – called the Plantation Village Resort in 1969. Sure, back then it was just 10 bures, a restaurant and the hope of making something happen. And it did! Over the years, it grew into a sprawling resort complex with a hotel block, bures (which are what villas are called in Fijian!), multiple restaurants, swimming pools, a private airstrip, golf course and what not. And of September 2019, the resort finished and unveiled its $16 million ‘upgrade’ just to wow visitors more!
And yes, accommodations have been a big part of the upgrade. Guests can choose from seven categories of rooms and suites, each tailormade for either couples, adventurers, groups, small/ large families and experiential travellers. All Plantation Island Resort accommodation options are set around the beach, the lush landscaped gardens or one of the four swimming pools dotting the resort.
The ‘basic’ room types include the Poolside Rooms, Studio Ocean Bures and the Garden Studio Bures. These options can hold up to four adults (or Mum, Dad and three tots!) comfortably. Then, there are the Beachfront Bures, 2-Bedroom Garden Bures, Garden Terrace Rooms and the new Ocean View Hotel Rooms. All accommodations have excellent views and are steps away from the beach, pools and the gardens. In bedding, the master bedroom has a queen-sized bed and the living space has spacious convertible sofa beds.
Additionally, Plantation Island accommodation options also include multiple-bedroom rooms and bures, which will have two single beds in the adjoining room. So, the two-bedroom options can host up to six people – that’s a mates’ budget getaway in Fiji. Common amenities include open plan living space, flatscreen TVs, ensuite bathrooms, air-conditioning, work desk, chairs, refrigerators, telephones, tea/ coffee making facilities and a large balcony/ patio to boot!
One of the resort’s secrets of success is their array of dining venues, plus the variety of cuisines and the depth of menus. The resort’s main restaurant is the Ol’ Copra Shed Restaurant and Brigham Bar. Located centrally, the restaurant offers nightly themed buffets and live entertainment to go along with the food. Also, the Brigham Bar is pretty great – the warm wood ambience and a hefty bar menu doesn’t hurt, either.
Then, there is the Black Coral Grill for those looking for an intimate atmosphere and nice selection of seafood, beef and a la carte Pacific Rim cuisine. For an adults-only haunt, head over to the Flame Tree Restaurant which is set by the beach. Featuring a long list of cocktails, wines from all over the world, Fijian-inspired dishes and fantastic servers, romance is in the air. Getting back to the resort’s upgrade, guests can now treat themselves to a new venue – the Tavola Restaurant & Bar. Set next to one of the best sights in the Mamanuca Islands, get ready to be wooed with Asian, international and Pacific fusion cuisine. For quick bites, there is the Plantation Island’s Snack Bar and the Cocohut Espresso & Frappe Bar. The first serves up delicious burgers, salads, sandwiches, hot dogs, pizza, chips and pies for the hungry and the latter is proficient at whipping up fresh juices, coconut waters and the like. Stay hydrated, remember?
(This is where our Plantation Island Resort all-inclusive holiday deals come in super handy, too!)
Oh Jimmy, where do we start? Let us face it – the best Plantation Island deals and accommodation options will not cut the mustard if it’s not backed up by great activities and experiences. In a nutshell, going through the entire list will take a good few weeks, however happily the time may fly by. For starters, the resort offers bikes to explore the vast island. Available to suit all ages, the Bula Bikes are a great way to trundle around the beaches, forest trails and sights. It’s a nice, easy way to work off the night’s calories, too.
Then, if you’ve come all the way to Fiji, it would be criminal not to indulge in watersports. Here, the Plantation Island excels and how. You can spend days swimming, snorkelling and kayaking off the golden sand beach, but scuba-diving takes the fun to a whole new level. There are over 44 different dive sites a short boat ride away from the Mamanucas. New to diving the deeps? Not a problem, mate. Travellers can get their beginners’ certification right here and then proceed along.
For young travellers and groups looking to part-ayy, there’s excellent news right off the bat. Take a trip to Cloud 9, one of the world’s most exotic overwater clubs! A two-level floating platform, Cloud 9 has a dance floor, an authentic pizzeria, an excellent bar and a DJ console manned by local, Australian and international DJs. And the crystal-clear waters of the Mamanucas all around. How’s that for an epic party setting?
Surfers will not be disappointed, either. The resort is close to seven breaks, all different and testing skills of amateurs all the way to pro surfers. Choose from Cloud Break, Tavarua, Namotu all the way to Desperation! Watersports, said anyone? Just head over to the activities desk and sign up for parasailing, guided snorkelling tours, dolphin safaris and sunset catamaran cruises.
One of the reasons why the resort is a favourite for families is that it has paid enormous attention to making sure travellers of all ages have fun. Drop your kids off at the Coconut Kids’ Club – every day, they will learn something new about Fiji, its culture, traditions and have boatloads of fun with painting, games and so on. Oh, and there is the waterpark – that is oodles of fun any time of the day! You can even hire nannies when you’re in need of ‘alone time’ – just ask the concierge. There is a good reason Plantation Island Resort has been named Best Fiji Island Family Resort in the Out & About with Kids Magazine Readers’ Choice Awards for 2019.
But what works for tiny tots will not work for teens. Therefore, the resort has a separate activities routine for youngsters. In fact, they have an entire week’s worth of experiences and fun activities planned out ahead – all different and absorbing to the max! From coconut husking lessons to volleyball to pineapple carving competitions to nature hikes, there’s just so much to do.
Silver travellers, too, are not ignored. The resort has its own 9-hole golf course designed by ace golfer Ananda Madhwan. Just rent out the equipment, pick a caddy and off you go! And surely, a spa session will fit just right with the holiday itinerary. Pick from any of the library of therapies and relaxing treatments and milk the Fijian holiday for all its worth! There is also a hair salon next door. After all, a bad hair day has no place in such a setting.
We’ve yet to speak of the hospitality and the warmth of the Fijian staff, but it’s better to try it out first-hand rather than take our word for it. After all, random reviews are just so … random. All in all, these are but a few of the top reasons why the resort has ranked consistently high over the years. And not just because great Plantation Island all-inclusive deals. With a combination of great accommodations, dining choices, superb activities and experiences for all ages, the resort has covered everything that anyone needs from a holiday.
Now you know as well. Plus, we’ve some of the best Plantation Island deals, along with accommodation options, flights and transfers. Check out the Plantation Island Resort and some of the best Fiji holiday deals of the year – who know, you might find The One right here.
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