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Smugglers Cove Beach Resort Owners & Guests Comments
Please don’t be swayed by any good reviews you may read about this place and avoid staying here at all cost!
I have stayed in 3 different rooms at this “resort” so I’m pretty well placed to leave it a comprehensive review.
How this place got 3.5 stars I will never understand.
On my first night, I stayed in a 16 bed girls dorm. More fool me through booking with STA, I had no idea what I’d got myself into. The room itself was okay, no frills, typical backpackers. The bathrooms, however, were something out of a horror film! They were absolutely filthy, mouldy, I was scared of having a shower there because I’d probably get dirtier rather than cleaner! Someone in the room complained about the state of the bathrooms which lead housekeeping to complain that they wanted to go home and huff and puff while they cleaned it- talk about the customer is always right.
The second night I spent here was in the pirate 34 mixed dorm. If I thought the 16 beds were bad then I hadn’t seen anything yet. Once again not booked by myself- beware of you book a tour with the Feejee experience that this is the kind of rooms you’ll be staying in. The room smelt file. I was lucky to be on an end bed so I had somewhere to put my luggage, the poor people in the cubicles didn’t have that luxury so there were bags everywhere with no room to walk around. They basically managed to fit as many tourists as possible in one dark, disgusting room! I was scared to stay here. The bathrooms at least were single-sex and a much welcomes improvement from those in the girls dorm. Noise is a massive issue as this room is exactly by reception so the noise is literally endless. Whatever you read about there being a curfew on the noise- Don’t believe it and be prepared not to sleep.
I then ended up skipping one of the islands on my tour so landed myself there yet again. This time I asked for a 4 bed dorm and luckily I was accommodated. The room and bathrooms were problem free but the bed was something rotten! Creaky, uncomfortable, I was woken up every time the guy in the bunk above me moved. Once again noise was a massive issue, this time from the cafe instead of reception. Once again hardly any sleep.
I asked 2 days in advance if I can upgrade my 16 dorm room for my final night to the 4 bed dorm and was told they couldn’t tell me until the day. So I had to pack ready to check out just to find out that I could indeed stay in the same room for one more night.
My whole experience there was a nightmare and an awful introduction to Fiji. There are no activities to speak of, but a very persistent and borderline intrusive activities “coordinator” who made me feel very uncomfortable indeed!
The staff were less than friendly. They spilt ketchup on me on my final night and I barely heard an apology about it. Mistakes happen don’t get me wrong, but saying sorry goes a long way.
I will never ever stay at smugglers cove again and I warn anyone else off it. The beach it’s on is not worth mentioning, the food is overpriced and overrated and the staff need a good lesson in customer services.
Avoid!!! 1 star only because I can’t give it less.
Having heard good things about Smugglers, myself and 18 of my wedding guests decided to book in for our final few days in Fiji before flying home to Aus. A week prior to my guests checking in, my new husband and I visited the resort to confirm all of our bookings which had been made and paid for months in advance. We were told our reservation was all ok.
Upon arrival a week later we were told they had overbooked and didn’t have enough rooms for our group. It took 4hrs to check in – for the 1st 2 hours the manager refused to come downstairs and talk to any of us.
Their resolution to the problem was to place the majority of our guests in their “sister resort” The Horizon – a building that quite possibly should have been condemned.
They had bunk beds for couples, many of whom were over 60, none of the rooms had hot water in the showers and would only supply 1 bath towel per room regardless of how many people were in it.
They refused to refund our original room prices (for which we all paid $FJ200/night for deluxe private rooms). The manager offered us a free lunch however upon my checking out the $260 for the “free lunch” was charged to my credit card.
We were also told our rates included free airport transfers however upon checking out we were told it would be $22pp – a taxi is only $14! The manager is an absolute coward and we were refused contact with the owner.
The local front of house staff were lovely and very apologetic, I don’t blame them at all. Smugglers Cove is a rip-off. Over our few days there they continued to take online bookings and then move said guests to lesser, neighbouring backpackers.
Don’t waste your time or money with this hovel!
Honest revieww of Smugglers Cove
Smugglers Cove has a nice beach (not great for swimming though) a good pool, lovely bar, traditional dance shows some nights, a good breakfast included, free wifi in common areas.
The shuttle driver who collected me at the airport was my highlight, he was friendly welcoming and gave me lots of useful information, and I, unfortunately, found many (but not all!) of the other staff members at the resort to be at times the opposite of this and often unhelpful.
Rooms had aircon and mostly well kept.
I found the food in the restaurant for dinner and lunch to be quite expensive compared to other places and unfortunately no kitchen facilities for those staying in the hostel.
Often a good atmosphere in the bar in the evenings.
Great place with some truly epic staff (Jimilai), some DISHONEST.
On arriving to Nadi our party of four were picked up by the handy Smugglers cove shuttle van. We were presented with a very warm reception as we checked in.
(Taxi driver plug!! Get in touch with Mukesh of Imaams. Most honest, reliable and punctual taxi driver in Nadi. Great price and local knowledge.)
The room was great, we stayed in a four-bed dorm, aircon, on suite bathroom, but bear in mind the aircon does get turned off quite early in the morning.
The bar area was great although the drinks are on the expensive side.
Keep your valuables on you at all times (especially phones). These items are very expensive in Fiji and the locals will try and swipe them. I’m not saying they all will but we did have a situation where our phone disappeared and then miraculously appeared again when they were pressured to show us camera footage.
All in all, apart from the slight hiccup nearing the end of our stay, we had a great time. Massive shout out to Jimilai for serving us like a champion.
Unfortunately, the three stars come down to the honesty of the few dodgy staff.
Backpackers made to feel like cash cows, staying in 34 bed mixed dorms is this Fijian hospitality?
Smugglers Cove is in Wailoloa which is a 500m beachfront on the outskirts of Nadi, and where all the backpackers are kept. This backpacker-land is made up of six different hostels, though only one is independent the rest is run as a monopoly. Most people use this area as a base to then do island trips.
I booked on Hostelworld to stay at Smugglers Cove, I stayed in a 34 person mixed dorm room. The biggest dorm room I have ever stayed in. The room was windowless, dark, cramped and the bathroom was grubby. The room was sectioned up into what looked like office cubicles of four bunk beds, with no room to store luggage and hardly enough room to squeeze in between the two beds. the only decor in was laminated red signs warning “anyone caught using empty beds not assigned to them will be charged accordingly!” I didn’t feel any of that traditional Fijian hospitality. It was difficult to be social in that room as there was hardly any room to stand/sit and chat and the room was so bleak nobody wanted to spend any time in there.
When I tried to book another night a week later (Out of necessity as all the hostels were booked up) they quoted me a price double what I paid the first night. Confused I told them I had paid £10 a night the previous week for the same room. I was then told that I could only get that price if I booked through hostelworld, they wouldn’t give me that price in person. I had to stand in front of reception, get my phone out and log onto my hostel world app to book a room, I then had to wait for the receptionist to receive the hostelworld confirmation.
This seemed crazy as Smugglers Cove would be paying commission on that booking now. Allot of young budget tourists felt exploited in Fiji and complained about it, I get a sense that Fijians were a board of complaints and saw the daily wave of tourists as a means to an end. Fiji is an expensive place to stay, food and bottled water adds up and in hindsight, I would recommend putting some money aside to do it properly.
Smugglers Cove is the least hostel, it has the best restaurant (Ghostship), the best Wifi and t
The best travel desk, I also heard good things about the private rooms. Though all the backpackers’ party at the neighbouring hostel ‘Bamboo’ regardless of where they are staying. Bamboo has a more social vibe and every night has a kava circle and live music. If you’re a solo backpacker I recommend Bamboo. If you’re looking for white perfect sand and palm trees you won’t find it on Wailoloa beach get yourself to one of the islands ASAP. If you’re looking for an authentic cultural experience you won’t find it here, tourists are kept in there resort and they want you to eat breakfast lunch and dinner there. Take time to befriend the staff at a genuine level, they will teach you some of the language and tell you about Fijian life, they might even take you spearfishing. I also recommend grabbing a friend and taking the public buses around the mainland to get a sense of what real Fiji looks like.
Very disappointing.. except the view of the beach
I think this is the hostel most budget tour companies assign you to on your first and last night in Nadi. Face it, it’s true. Once you get to Nadi, you want to get out of Nadi asap!
The service was quite inconsistent. Some were very sweet and helpful and others couldn’t be more useless. On my first day there before leaving for the islands, the front desk people were very friendly and accommodating. I got exactly what I paid for, had great roommates, the food was decent, great company, I loved the proximity to the beach, and I was happy as a clam.
Then, on the day I stayed after my trip to the islands and before I flew out of Nadi, they lost my reservations. The woman helping me couldn’t see because of her glasses or something and kept telling me to come back later when there were other people who could help me. I paid for a 4 bedroom dorm and instead I got a girls dorm with about 14 or 16 girls. Bathrooms were disgusting, but at least there was hot water. In addition, they wanted to charge me double because they lost my reservation (since I already paid before I got there). They also said they would place a hold on my card as a deposit and the funds would be released at the end of my stay. Turns out when I was checking out, their credit card machine wasn’t working, so they will release the funds when it was working. Yeah, that never happened. They still have my deposit money.
So that last experience really ruined my impression of Smugglers Cove. But I will give it a two rating because the food was good and the beach was nice