If you are after a spacious, well presented holiday house on the Coral Coast with the whole package, pick this one!! Our extended family of 7 (5 adults & 2 teenages) could not fault our week's stay at Totoka Kalou with not only plenty of space to unwind and relax but also some wonderful local support staff who are so friendly & helpful, making sure your stay is comfy and offering a more personal/cultural experience that you would never find in a resort.
The house itself is situated on a large, beautifully maintained elevated block with wonderful views over Maui Bay enjoyed from both the living area and the generous sized wrap around deck. Two generous sized bedrooms are situated either side of the large open plan kitchen and living area, each bedroom with their own large bathroom! For a two bedroom house there is plenty of space for everyone and no problems about feeling cramped.
We hired cars which gave us plenty of flexibility to be able explore the coast & visit the recommended sites. There were plenty of snorkeling opportunities straight down from the house (also kite surfing for my husband and son....traveling with our own equipment) and further snorkeling at Hideways which is just 5 minutes drive away.
We also made use Hideaways Resort for occasional internet access and to enjoy their lovely beach. We enjoyed eating out on a couple of occasions but also made the most of fun, family meals at the house. The supermarket nearby (5 mins walk) is well equipped and we can recommend Sereana's curries but most of all, try and have the Lovo experience with her wonderful family & a trip to Sigatoka with Sereana for all the local knowledge!
I would not hesitate to recommend this holiday house to anyone as it ticks all the boxes and the owners are totally organized, friendly, helpful and reliable with their correspondence throughout the booking and beyond.
Myself,husband our 5 children,mum and sister absolutey loved our stay at Totoka Kalou(Tk) it was above and beyond our expections Tk is a beautiful home filled with beautiful furnishing (2 rooms with an ensuite directly op each other Both identical to each other Both have 1 Q Bed and 1 bunk with extra trundle and are very comfy☺️) the house has all the necessary necessitys you will need it is surrounded by stunning gardens,greenery and not forgetting the Billion dollar view.
Kerry(owner) is very fast and prompt to do business with she also organised our car hire through Immy (local car hire) who we found very reliable n cost effective. All the staff members who now feel like my family members are the heart and soul of Tk they take care of you by making you feel welcome and relaxed they are a real bonus and a credit to Tk. I am planning our next family holiday/return to Tk, it's such a beautiful place.
Arranging our stay in Fiji from over 5,000 mile away from home and with Kerry (the owner) living in Australia, I could have asked myself: "What are you doing?". However, the process was not that complicated and our agreement worked out beautifully. Everything was as promised and more. When we arrived, we were greeted by the beautiful and gracious Sareanna. What a gift she was to our stay. Everyone associated with Tokoka Kalou, John the gardener, Ben (Sareanna's husband), Moses and Anna, their children made us feel very special. We were guests of honor in the village of Nomada and were treated like royalty.
WE LOVE FIJI AND HOPE TO RETURN!!!
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Having already done the Resort Fiji, we opted this time for the pass less travelled, and I’m glad we did. Staying at Totoka Kalou (TK) will allow you to experience what I know now to be the true Fiji, the real Fiji. Staying at TK will also give you the best of both worlds. You can frequent any one of the many resorts on the Coral Coast by day and retreat back to TK of an afternoon to enjoy a cool drink on the deck to farewell the day.
TK comes with its own housekeeper (Sereana) who is nothing short of an angel. She is gentle & kind and weaves her magic over TK on a daily basis (M-F) looking after guests and keeping TK in great shape. The house is perched high on the Maui Bay hill with uninterrupted 180 degree views of the Coral Coast and close enough to the resorts to enable easy access by car. Overall TK is a great alternative for families and couples alike looking for a more genuine Fijian experience.
As an official resident of Maui Bay. A stay at TK comes with the same access that permanent Maui Bay residents enjoy, such as use of the Maui Bay clubhouse pool and the Maui Bay boat, but you will need to hire a pilot and pay for fuel. To arrange this contact the Maui Bay office, or see Sereana or Ben for advice.
TK itself is reasonably new and very well appointed with 2 (identical) good size bedrooms, each with a very comfortable queen sized bed and a set of double bunks. Each bedroom also boasts a stylish ensuite with shower (no bath). Both bedrooms are separated by a huge living area that opens out onto the deck which is a fab place to welcome and farewell the day. TK is equipped with Sky TV and a hard drive full of movies for both the grown ups and the kids, but sadly no Wi-Fi. The house is naturally cooled by the coastal breezes and trade winds, which on most days was more than adequate. However, in the warmer months I think I'd be struggling with the heat & humidity. The house has fly screens which keeps out the majority of the mozzies, but like us you may wish to bring or purchase (for under $20FJD) some mosquito netting from Sigatoka for the bunk beds. TK is owned by a lovely Melbourne couple who we were in contact with via messenger during most of our stay. This was quite a comfort for us knowing that should we require assistance, Kerry was only a few clicks away.
During her rostered hours, Sereana will even wash your clothes and mind the kids totally gratis. Sereana will also cook for you (additional cost) and her husband Ben can also prepare the traditional Lovo on a Saturday for a reasonable price, and even arrange for some Fijian Mintrels to play for you. Should you need a bit of couple time of an evening, Sereana will even return to the house to watch over them for $5FJD p/hour, but will normally require a lift home to her village afterwards (10mins away). Sereana will also cook for you for a very reasonable price on request with a little notice. She will even come and cook you Fijian pancakes for brekky.
As always, the local Fijian people are easily the most memorable part of the trip and impossible to trump, and staying at TK only enhanced our experience. We were very much treated as family and felt very welcome everywhere we went. Sereana & Ben arranged for our two to spend the day at her children’s school which despite initial trepidation was an experience that they’ll always cherish.
We were also invited to Sereana’s & Ben’s village on Sunday where we experienced village life (momentarily), including the traditional Kava ceremony. You’ll need to bring a Kava root with you as that’s the tradition. Sereana can assist you with this, Kava roots can be purchased at the Sigatoka markets from around $15FJD. The cost depends purely on the weight of the Kava root.
On our last trip to Fiji (2010) the food was well ‘n’ truly the low point of the trip. I’m pleased to say it’s much improved but they still have a long way to go (see Traveller’s Tips). What must be kept firmly in the back of your mind is that Fiji continues to be a developing country and (presumably) nothing like your home or mine, but this only adds to the charm and provides valuable perspective.
What maybe a deal breaker for some is that TK doesn't have Wi-Fi which means you're going to need internet from somewhere. Fiji has two carriers, Digicel & Vodafone We opted for the latter which arguably has the best coverage in Fiji. There were times when Vodafone just didn’t work, but these incidents were few & far between. There is a Vodafone outlet at Nadi airport which, if in stock will offer you a free SIM card. Should they be out of stock which is often there are numerous Vodafone outlets in Fiji, including Sigatoka, and of course the town of Nadi itself for $5FJD per SIM. We then opted for a $25FJD Top up Voucher, which we used to purchase the 2GB data bundle which is then valid for 30days. This also includes what Vodafone call free money. They did explain this to me, the details of which now elude me, but in summary allows you to call free from Vodafone to Vodafone, or something like that. We, like most people were primarily interested in the 2GB of data. Free WiFi isn’t that readily available, which isn’t all that surprising. However, the Beachouse resort at Korolevu offers an unlocked free WiFi connection to everyone – so bring your device along and surf away.
Car rental in Fiji is ridiculously expensive, but an absolute MUST when staying at TK, especially given the steep driveway just getting up to the house. Don’t even think about not having one. I did much research and finally came up with Westside Motor Bike Rentals. We rented a small SUV (Zotye), while nothing special, had air-con (another MUST) and accommodated our family of four comfortably at $980FJD for 14days. They generally hit you with a credit card surcharge but that like most things in Fiji is negotiable. Contact Mela (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Beatrice Nast (the boss) email@example.com for the best deal. The Fijian people are by nature very patient people, but it seems that this patience doesn’t extend to the road. Overtaking on bends is commonplace, with little or no regard for double lines, so you’ll need your wits about you when driving here. Animals, including dogs, horses & cows and everything in between are often found wandering on the side of roads so you’ll need to watch for them too.
As previously mentioned, the food in Fiji has come a long way in four short years, but the quality, price and availability of goods still very much remains an issue. You’ll always do better shopping for food & beverage in one of the major centres (Nadi, Suva) where the consumer has the most leverage. This won’t always be possible so when shopping outside of these retail hubs you can expect market forces to dictate price. For those who prefer to mostly eat out there are a myriad of quality options on the Coral Coast. I’ve listed a few of the ones that we experienced below:
Just near the Hideaway each Thursday at 7:00pm is the traditional Fire-Walking which is a great experience and well worth the price of admission. Tickets can be purchased from Hideaway, or even cheaper direct with the firewalkers themselves (ask for Wise). He’s always around at about 6:00pm across the road in the car park. Tell him Paul sent you.
Groceries: Do as much of your grocery shopping in Nadi before continuing to the outlying areas of Fiji. Shopping in the major centres (Nadi, Suva) will provide you with a greater choice of supplies at more competitive prices. As an example obtaining fresh meat or chicken in Sigatoka borders on impossible. An alternative is to have it delivered to you on the Coral Coast. South Pacific (670 3900) make weekly deliveries from Nadi. The following items can be difficult/expensive to acquire in the outlying areas of Fiji, so bring them with you if you can: Honey, herbal tea, genuine Cadbury milk chocolate.
Cash economy: Fiji is very much a cash economy. Credit cards are accepted at the larger establishments, usually with a 3% surcharge. So, in summary use cash.
Foreign Exchange: After much research I found the Citibank Plus Account to be the best option with zero Forex fees. The only fees I paid was for using non-Citibank ATMs ($7-9FJD). If I had of found a Citibank ATM here it would have been totally fee free
Fiji Bitter/Gold: A slab of Fiji Bitter/Gold should cost you around $57FJD in any one of the local supermarkets. Or, you can get it from Tappoo’s in Sigatoka for around $50FJD.
When to go: Fiji is a great destination all year ‘round, but for me the best time is May-June. The humidity is low, the days range from 25-30c and the nights are cool enough to sleep comfortably with a light blanket.
Beware of falling coconuts:
Rumour has it that more people die in Fiji from falling coconuts than anything else, but I’ll let you be the judge of that. So, be selective in which hammock you choose, because however unlikely, you DO NOT want to be on the receiving end of one.
Maui Bay boat:
I’ve been told that residents of Maui Bay have access to the resident boat, the yellow one you can see from the jetty. However, you will need to arrange for a pilot and will have to foot the bill for fuel. We didn’t actually use it, but it’d be worth investigating for the fishermen among us. "
Lovely home with a natural feel and abundance of natural light that allows u to enjoy and reflect on what is truly important in life with incredible views and cooling winds that give u the true South Pacific Experience away from the sterility of a resort. The added luxury of having Sereana the house maid who pays exceptional detail to her craft which made it a pleasure to have 3 teenage daughters in tow! A truly relaxing and enjoyable experience.