Gathered around the dinner table at Oneta Resort, our fellow travelers told us that the local reef has the best diving they’ve seen on earth and that we’d stumbled upon one of the loveliest spots in the South Pacific. It’s tough to choose a hotel from thousands of miles away, but once we got to Oneta Resort, we were sure we had found the best resort in Fiji.
Exotic destinations must be earned by a long journey, and traveling to Oneta Resort is no exception. Getting there involves a long flight followed by either a plane ride or a car ride to a boat, and then a couple hours on the ocean. I was starting to wonder if this would all be worth it when we finally arrived at Ono Island.
Spoiler alert: it was worth it.
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Choosing a Resort in Fiji
There are lots of resorts in Fiji and they range considerably in price and amenities. It’s possible to stay in the row of resorts along the Coral Coast on the mainland, like Maui Palms or Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort, which are only a drive from the airport. The Yasawa Islands are famous for white sand beaches and billowing grasslands. But if you enjoy peace and quiet, affordable luxury, and adventure, you’ll be glad you went farther afield to one of the outer islands — we were, for sure.
Remember that at most resorts in Fiji, your only dining options will be at the resort. When comparing prices, we found that while other resorts looked less expensive than Oneta Resort, after we factored in the prices for meals, it was actually a very good deal.
When comparing, make sure you look at the cost of meals and activities, and not just the nightly rate. In my experience, places that don’t gouge you for food, drinks, or activities are always the best way to go!
Arriving at Oneta Resort
Arriving at Oneta Resort felt like coming home, even on our first visit. As the boat anchored offshore, staff gathered to greet our arrival in front of thatched roofs and swaying palm trees. We stepped into the clear, warm sea and watched fish flit across coral on either side of our sandy path.
We were greeted with flowers and cold drinks and welcomed like family. Oneta Resort is small, with 20 guests maximum. The resort consists of scattered villas and bures (traditional-style huts) scattered along a deserted beach, with a phenomenal snorkeling reef in front of it and sixty acres of land behind. The resort aims at sustainability by growing fruits and veggies, operating on solar power, and having a clear devotion to protecting the environment and local reef.
Dining at Oneta Resort
After you wake to a stunning sunrise, amble over to the common area for some freshly made French press coffee (or tea, if that’s your jam). When the lali drum beats, it’s time for breakfast. Prepare to be very impressed by the food, especially considering how remote the resort is. Spend all morning relaxing or adventuring, until the lali drum summons you again to lunch. After lunch, you may swim or hike or relax on the beach with a drink in hand.
At every meal, the accommodating staff presents you with your options for the next meal; the food is delicious and plentiful and they will accommodate any dietary requests. I’m always a little fearful about hotels without any restaurant options nearby (I’m an American I like choices!), but there is nowhere I’d rather eat than Oneta Resort.
Fiji Activities: Playing at Oneta Resort
We didn’t have enough time here to do everything we wanted: we didn’t hike to a waterfall or visit a local village or even experience a kava ceremony, which I would have loved to do.
We did, however, experience some of the best snorkeling in the world. Fiji’s coral reefs are incredible, and there is something for everyone here. The staff is excellent at finding the perfect spot for the day, depending on ocean conditions and weather. Having tea breaks on deserted beaches — including on the island featured in France’s Survivor show — was a highlight of my trip!
My husband loves fishing more than anything in the world, and he managed to achieve his goal of catching giant trevally. I also achieved my goal of catching a bigger tuna than his tuna, and bragging about it at every meal to our fellow travelers and new friends.
Other resort guests dove every day, and shared their photos and adventures with us at dinner. Compared to other resorts we have been to around the world, we all agreed the prices for boat trips, diving, fishing, and snorkeling were incredibly reasonable.
Furthermore, the resort has stand-up paddle boards, kayaks, and snorkels you can borrow for free, whenever you like.
Walking the beach, swimming, and hiking are always available, as are books and games to keep you occupied while your partner is out fishing at all hours of the day. Just saying.
Rooms at Oneta Resort
The thatched-roof bures that make up Oneta Resort’s accommodations are absolutely lovely. The beds are comfortable, the fans keep the temperature perfect, and the front porch of our bure was my favorite place to hang out.
But the SHOWER. The outdoor shower. I just can’t say enough about the how great it is to stand in a rain shower surrounded by tropical plants and lathering up in Pure Fiji eco-friendly coconut-scented shower gel.
I mean, I could go on forever about Pure Fiji coconut honey scented products and how I was so enamored with them I bought a giant bottle of lotion in the duty free shop at the airport and then it got taken away at security in LAX and now some TSA officer smells like coconut instead of me. But I won’t.
Fiji’s Oneta Resort with Kids
We didn’t bring our kids to Oneta Resort, as we were on a much-needed couples getaway. However, we would happily bring them next time!
This is a safe, remote spot, with plenty of staff around to keep an eye on kids. It’s located on a calm, shallow bay, so while I may be worried about a kid cutting his feet on coral if he wasn’t wearing proper footwear, I wouldn’t have to worry about my older kids drowning or getting pulled out to sea.
There’s no swimming pool at Oneta Resort. You don’t miss it, with the warm sea right there anyway.
Oneta Resort offers reasonably priced babysitting, and this is one small resort where I would feel comfortable leaving my kids with a babysitter, which would allow the adults to go diving or fishing. A popular activity with the kids is crab racing — which I know my boys would love!
The staff is so accommodating with meals and, well, everything, that I could see my family doing very well here. The villas, while not soundproof, are spread out enough that I wouldn’t have to worry about a child crying occasionally.
They have Wi-Fi, but only in the common area. This means you can still hook your kid up if you want, or if you have teenagers you can tell them there is no Wi-Fi and force them to experience real life for a bit.
Oneta Resort has a lovely villa with two bedrooms and a sitting area that would be perfect for my family. I have already scoped it out!
Leaving Oneta Resort and Fiji
Probably, you’ll never want to leave Fiji. We didn’t.
Of course, just about the time we realized we’d found the best resort in Fiji, we had to jet home quickly due to the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic. But until that moment, we were tempted to stay at Oneta Resort forever.
Doing what, you ask? We decided the only thing we were qualified for is bar tending. So if you happen to visit Oneta Resort, look for us behind the bar!
Pro Tip: Flights out of Nadi generally leave at night, so you’ll probably have several hours to kill in Nadi before you fly home. We highly recommend getting a day pass at Fiji Gateway Hotel, which is right across the street from the airport. For USD $40 we got a small room, access to nice pool, and place to hang out and drink more tropical drinks before we got on a plane. Plus, they have very affordable massages.