Bamboo Beach Hostel (Fiji) Thoughts

While I was in Nadi, I use to stay at Bamboo Beach Hostel in New Town often. I would not stay there again but more on that later. It is in a good location and they are mastering the online platforms for hostels. I do have to give it to the owners for that. I also think they have made the operations into quite the success over the years.

Bamboo Beach Hostel is in a cluster of hostels in the area known as New Town along Wailoaloa beach. There is five or six hostels there and I think I have stayed in about every one of them at least three times. I would say that Bamboo is the party hostel in the list. The one thing I really like them is the free kava session every night. That is very cool.

The owners, Richard Hatherly and and his son, Herny, are businessmen. They operate the hostel as such, which I do not have a problem with but it is not by backpackers, for backpackers. Many, including myself, prefer that is about the backpackers, not the profit. From our discussion, I know that Richard was a businessman in New Zealand and came to Fiji to start a resort up north called Maqai Beach Resort. He uses Bamboo Beach Hostel as a way to talk backpackers into going to his nicer resort in Taveuni.

Bamboo Beach Hostel does alot right!

I do think they are doing a great service to the community by what they offer. They do have some safe and clean dorms to start with. The prices over the last few years have been a moving target but they are still in the $12 FJD a night range from what I can tell. It is not the cheap in town but they are probably the best value that I know of.

There is a huge house in back where I stayed that has dozens of beds in it with fan dorms. In the main building is the air conditioned dorms that was normally full. There also is a private room for about $100 FJD. These prices are pretty standard in New Town.

Next, they have cooks that are pretty good at making Fijian dishes. It is not a restaurant. Whatever they are making that meal is what you order. The prices are normally about $7 FJD and it is always Fijian food. If you are not in the mood for the local dishes, the other hostels are more complete restaurants.

As I said earlier, they have nightly kava sessions that people drink the Fijian drink of choice and chat until way into the night. They are the only hostels that does this and it brings people from the other hostels to be part of it. It was a very smart marketing plan by Richard and Herny to pull this off.

The last thing I can say that they do right is they pick you up at the airport and help you get to the hostel. I am not sure if this is to make sure you don’t go to another one or just having good hospitality but it is nice nevertheless.

The issues with Bamboo

While they are doing alot of things right, there is some issues. I can sum them up with three things: cash cows, wireless internet and volleyball.

As I said, Richard Hatherly is a businessman. He is about profits vs losses. He sees Bamboo Beach as a way to get people to Maqai Beach Resort. In saying that, everything is for sale at the hostel and they are there to take your money. Tour packages, trips, etc. It is one very well ran business. With that comes the withholding of information to backpackers that they can not profit from.

The internet is expected at all hostels and hotels in Fiji and because of that, Bamboo has wifi but it is very slow. I remember bringing it to a complete standstill uploading files on the server more than once. It is about 512mbps on a good day. This is the biggest problem that I had with the hostel itself.

The third issue that I see is they have a pavalaton that you have to be in to use the wifi and they play volleyball all afternoon right next to it. Because of this, you have flying balls coming across the area. I literally have a few of them coming flying into my laptop. This is partly because Herny loves to play and not think about people who actually work while on vacation.

My personal issue with Richard Hatherly

I do not really know what happened. One day, a staff handed me a letter from Richard that was basically a “Dear John” letter. He had took off to New Zealand and he mystically wanted me to go to another hostel. He basically even offered to give me money to do so. I did not need the money or understand. I had stayed there a half a dozen times in the past and always paid on time as well eat at least two meals a day at Bamboo Beach Hostel.

I basically took it as it was time to go back to Suva and miss around there. I was just really surprised by the letter and that if Richard had a problem with me, he didn’t talk to me to my face before he left. It might be the American in me but I believe confrontation that is not done in person is pretty, well, cowardly.

In the end, I came to believe that it was assumed that having me around was not good for business for Richard Hatherly. I was a backpacker that had been around Fiji for months at that point. I would tell people how to do things cheaply without buying his over priced packages. It was assumed that I was creating a loss for Bamboo, Inc.

In the end, the things that was claimed did not make sense to me. However, his business, his rules. I guess.

1 reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] to Fiji was called Horizon Beach Backpackers. (Hostel World link) It was right in the cluster with Bamboo Beach Hostel and a few others. At the time, Horizon was actually owned by the main operations known as […]

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.