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Plantation Island Resort 3.0

Malolo Lailai Island, Mamanuca Islands, Fiji

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Family-friendly resort on a beautiful island 
  • Long white-sand beach with sunset views
  • Calm lagoon for swimming and snorkeling
  • Three freshwater pools -- one with a waterslide
  • Three restaurants on-site and meal plans available
  • Popular kids' club with outdoor activities 
  • Tennis court, scuba diving, bike rentals, and mini-golf
  • Free non-motorized water sports such as kayaks
  • Two markets for essentials and coin-operated laundry 

Cons

  • Drinking water not provided in the rooms
  • Some rooms have dated decor
  • Pricey Wi-Fi
  • Often a long check-in process
  • Lively, kid-filled atmosphere not suited to couples

Bottom Line

The 165-room Plantation Island Resort is a mid-range property stretching along a beautiful turquoise lagoon. This is the largest hotel in Fiji’s Mamanuca Island chain, and it's best suited to families and wedding groups. Extensive facilities include three outdoor pools, a kids' club that runs into the evening, a plethora of water activities, tennis court, and mini-golf. Guests can purchase meal plans for the buffet with nightly changing themes or two a la carte restaurants, and there's evening entertainment next to the main bar. Spacious rooms have mini-fridges and patios, though older rooms may feel dated and dreary. Note that there's a fee for Wi-Fi and the lively, kid-centric vibe isn't ideal for couples seeking a romantic getaway. If traveling without kids, consider the adult-only Lomani Island Resort, which is Plantation's upscale sister property nearby.

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Scene

Casual resort best for families seeking a range of activities

After guests arrive to staff singing, dancing, and supplying a shell necklace, they're given a welcome orientation, map, and large bottle of water, along with strict instructions not to drink the tap water in the rooms. This entire process can take a bit of time, but from there travelers can wander the gorgeous grounds which stretch along a long waterfront laced with tall palm trees against a bright turquoise sea. Hammocks and sun loungers dot the landscape and between the beach and three pools, the resort is anything but crowded. Travelers also have the freedom to walk or bike around the island and dine at one of the two other resorts on the island for a change of pace. Kids aren't allowed at Plantation's sister resort, Lomani, but adults can use the bar and restaurant.

For families on a mid-range budget, the Plantation provides plenty of activities to keep busy, though the kid-centric -- and often rowdy -- vibe may put off couples. That being said, the setting is spectacular, and ocean views are extensive. 

Location

On a gorgeous island in the Mamanuca chain

Plantation Island Resort is located on the Malolo Lailai island in Fiji's Mamanuca chain, along with two other resorts -- one of which is sister property Lomani Island Resort. From Nadi International Airport, travelers need to take a 20-minute taxi ride to Port Denarau to catch one of four daily departures to the island on a high-speed catamaran. The trip takes just under an hour and lands at a jetty, so guests will not have to jump off onto the water and get their shoes wet. 

Thought it's quite a contrast, some guests choose to start their trip by staying at one of the large-scale (mostly chain) resorts on Denarau Island before ferrying to Malolo, or at the end of the trip before heading back to the airport. Plantation and Lomani also have a sister resort called Raffles Gateway right across the street from the airport.  

Rooms

Spacious rooms have private patios and Fijian accents

Plantation is one of Fiji's biggest offshore resorts with 165 rooms, which are located in single-story sections or standalone units called bures either next to the beach, the Oasis Pool, or in the gardens (but still not too far from the beach). Decor ranges from modern dark or black wood furnishings and neutral-tone linens in more up-to-date units, to older rooms with fewer windows and blonde wood furnishings and paneling. Regardless of room type, all have slatted screened windows, air-conditioning, mini-fridges, tea- and coffee-making facilities, and bathrooms with walk-in showers and Frangipani toiletries. However, both drinking water and Wi-Fi must be purchased.

All units are spacious and include sitting areas with couches that can double as single beds. The Beachfront Bures are close to the water and enjoy sunset views from the patios. The more affordable Two Bedroom Garden Bures have garden views and can fit up to eight guests.

Features

A wide beachfront, three pools, and enough activities to stave off boredom

The crowning feature of Plantation is its tropical setting along a long beachfront with fine white sand and calm turquoise water, which is safe for swimming and snorkeling. The beach near the resort hub is the widest spot with dozens of kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, along with a small water park offering inflatables for kids (life jackets are mandatory and provided). Several hammocks and loungers under shaded palapas are also dotting the grounds, though they may lack cushions. 

Three freshwater pools are in different parts of the resort; the most attractive one is the Ocean Pool closest to the water, while a smaller kiddy pool with a waterslide is next to the hub. The Oasis Pool is inland and often the least crowded, though it also shows signs of age. Guests have to sign for towels and return them to get fresh ones.  

Other activities include a grass tennis court, mini-golf, and a small spa for massages. Guests can rent bikes, plus excursions can be booked. Other water sports include parasailing, water skiing, and wakeboarding. The kids' club starts starts early and runs until late, hosting a variety of activities -- some of which require a fee. Babysitters, coin-operated laundry facilities, and Wi-Fi are all available for a price, as are wedding services. 

Food

Half-board and full-board meal plans for the three restaurants

Plantation has three restaurants and half-board or full-board meal options. The all-day Ol’ Copra Shed Restaurant & Brigham Bar is a buffet-style eatery with changing themes at dinner; it faces the beach and has indoor and outdoor seating plus live acoustic music. An attached bar and stage hosts nightly entertainment and serves drinks until late. Ananda’s is an outdoor restaurant near the beach for a la carte dinner fare featuring seafood and curries. The other a la carte dinner restaurant, Black Coral, isn't always open during low occupancy. It serves well-reviewed Pacific Rim cuisine in a quiet, romantic space. 

Otherwise, a Snack Bar serves a selection of burgers, salads, sandwiches, and hot dogs for lunch, and take-away pizza in the evenings. The beachside Cocohut Espresso & Frappe Bar has a menu of espresso drinks, frappes, fresh juice, and coconut water. There are also two small markets selling essentials such as snacks, beer, and ice cream. 

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Address

Plantation Island, PO Box 9176, Fiji

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