Qamea Resort & Spa Reviews
Not what you pay for Oct 01, 2008
Just don’t go.
Bula Vinaka -- Fiji is fabulous, the Fijians are wonderfully hospitable by nature, don’t miss a truly great holiday provided by many other great resorts.
For those few staff at Qamea who still tried to deliver good service in this bad owner-management created environment thank you. Included in my thanks are the Diving staff who were nothing but professional.
After visiting other resorts we believe Qamea to be grossly overpriced for the service you get. In fact we would rate the service possibly the worst we have ever had at any price. For value it would have to be more than 50% cheaper.
The strategy seems to be to aim at the young special occasion couple, particularly young honeymooners. This clearly works and this group is less likely to have a reference for the level of expected service at this price and also less likely to complain at gross service deficiency. We did meet some lovely co-guests.
Also refer to the fact that neighbor Taveuni is called the garden island reason being very high rainfall. This makes it visually stunning but expect frequent rain. As an example of our experience Likuliku 14 days – 1 day rainy, Qamea 14 days – 10 days with rain.
Whilst the food is good to OK, the position and grounds are beautiful and the room is a good size and layout, nothing can prepare you for the service.
We arrived at Qamea after two weeks at Toberua blissfully happy and relaxed. After four days we gave up very unhappy and asked our travel agent to organise that we only stay for the first week, or leave sooner if it could be arranged, get us a refund and book us into anywhere else for the following week. This would, we knew, waste a day in travel. We considered this a better option than staying.
Getting to the point where you just want to leave due to rudeness and poor service is obviously not something you want on holiday and it is a first for me in 56 years.
I am semi retired and my wife and I travel a lot. This is the first for me that I have felt so strongly as to feel it necessary to provide a warning about a particular resort.
What the real issue is
Management attitude to service and the avoidance of cost. After four days we decided that the attitude of the management staff in particular and the service quality where not what we expected at the high price. More specifically I recognized the management style and also we realized that the situation would not improve just by asking for improvement. The style is to make you feel uncomfortable about asking so as to get you to back down. All focus is on cost reduction at the expense of service. Secondary focus is on additional revenue generation by nickel and dime additions.
Probably the thing that epitomizes the place was reflected in the final bill. We were told that they wanted to include several dollars for two cokes and two bottles of water from the mini bar. I protested that this was used as a result of the whole resort being without water for a full day. I drank coke but my partner insisted on cleaning her teeth with water, women are picky like that. They put it on the bill. I insisted they remove it. The mood turned black as it always did when you asked for something and then they only removed the water. Try to imagine what culture exists that there is a hostile attitude to removing the cost of two bottles of water when you know that you are paying top dollar and that you have had a day of no water, not even drinking water in the whole resort. It was so unpleasant I let them get away with the cokes. I can’t imagine some young honeymooners arguing into this hostile environment to get service. The staff response is purposefully very unpleasant.
What happened with us
After our agent contacted the owners, who were away, she let us know that the owner would be returning in a day and would come and speak with us. He did return and after a day or two left again without speaking to us. We did adjust our attitude so that we could enjoy the rest of our holiday. Although the owner returned a few days later he did not come and speak with us during the remainder of our time there. Second hand he offered an upgrade to a honeymoon bure which we rejected. I need to make it clear here that we believed that the service would not get better as there are systemic management related problems. We therefore did not want a discount, we wanted an experience that we expected for the price. We also decided not to have conversations with staff as they, we believed, would be unable to make the decisions we needed but to wait for the owner-manager to come to speak with us. This turned out to be in vain.
The litany of woes is long. Here are some of my personal favorite highlights.
On arrival our luggage did not arrive with us. Whilst this was an airline issue the resort gave us on multiple occasions false information. It was only the following day when we insisted on sitting in the office and demanding that they call did they find out that our bags were in fact at the local airport. This was at 10 am. The resort would not go and collect them until they had new guests arriving. We therefore only received our luggage at 3pm. The fact that we insisted on the call was met with a very black mood that made us feel very uncomfortable. They therefore avoided the small cost to get our bags and make us comfortable for several hours. We backed down, we should not have, we retired to our room hurt and bewildered. I know of no other hotel at this price that would have made the lack of luggage such an unpleasant experience.
We asked for an extra towel and bar of soap, the staff that arrived where actually hostile and clearly annoyed at this request and said so.
Room service dishes stayed for at least a day maybe two before being removed.
Every morning we had to ask for salt. Every morning it would arrive when the eggs where cold. Sometimes that did not matter as the poached egg on toast came with a half cup of vinegary water soaked toast. Most breakfast orders were not what we asked for.
Our first attempt at using the complementary ironing service was met with, really you got to love this, ‘do it yourself there is an iron in the room”. Sulky moods when we insisted that it be done. Now at 200$ a night no problem, but at the price Qamea charge and when it says it has these services it is a problem. They finally did take the ironing but didn’t actually really iron it.
I could go on and on so one last little scene. Whilst eating breakfast on the veranda surrounding the dinning room and set up for breakfast our empty refillable plastic water bottle fell over the wall into the interior part of the dinning room. Two waitresses saw the event. None did anything. One, bless her, even stepped over it after about ten minutes while she made up a table. My wife, incredulous got up walked around and picked the bottle up. I think this was on a day when one honeymoon couple who were on the way to a dive spent THREE hours drifting in an open boat as it had broken down and had no radio to call for help. The poor girl who was very pale returned with bad heat stroke. Never got a chance to talk to them as they left the next day but I am sure they would have been charged for the trip.
After all of this our final bar and primarily diving bill was Fj$3800 additional.
Oh yeah want to walk around the garden on a ‘’tour’’ $25 a head. Walk down the coast $75 a head. Wages of the staff +- $3 hour.
What we learned and suggest
On discussion it was clear others had negative experiences although I am sure some will come away happy. For those who are happy, whilst I am glad, that’s what holidays are for, believe me that for the price, or less, a truly wonderful time can be had, this place doesn’t deliver on its advertised level of service.
As a direct result of attempting to warn others we have been subject to a fabricated and untrue personal character assassination attack by the owner. This was fairly predictable as the attitude there is hostile so as to force you on the defensive and to back down to avoid the cost associated with delivering the service for which you are paying and rightfully expect. This turned what was a Faulty Towers situation to something more like Nightmare on Elmstreet. So if you want this kind of treatment go, if not go somewhere else. We, of course, will not get our time back.
We did not want a discount. We did not ask for one. The management and staff dealt with all service requests as if they were unreasonable so as to avoid an easy to deliver and validly expected service. That is the response you will get from Qamea there, it is the response we have subsequently had and I expect no difference in any further response. I must reiterate that the owner never came to speak with us regarding our issues or attempted to make things better, quite the contrary. It seemed they had decided to deliberately avoid providing us with service and that the owner manager had established the view that any request by us was to be treated with rudeness and contempt. We were not aware of this deliberately held stance until after leaving. We now have, in writing from Qamea, that they took this attitude from our first day there and hence our experience. In this truly astonishing written response from Qamea it is clear they had no intention of considering allowing a refund so that we could leave. They had no intention of speaking with us during our stay and they had no intention of delivering the service quality we expected based on their advertisements.
Anyone wishing to spend, what some may consider, a lot of money on holiday at Qamea should therefore consider carefully. I can share the written response and other supporting information directly if contacted through the facility on this site if it will help decisions.
Alternative go to Likuliku which is just five star fabulous or Toberua maybe this resort is Fijians at their best we loved it or Yasawa or numerous other great Fiji resorts.
Once again thank you Travbuddy this service is valuable in allowing responsible travellers to make choices based on shared experiences.
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