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“the most remote place I have visited” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Tabon te Keekee

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Tabon te Keekee
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Abatao | North Tarawa, Republic of Kiribati   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 5 Tarawa Atoll B&B and Inns
Brisbane, Australia
1 review
“the most remote place I have visited”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2014

Tawara is not the usual holiday place but it is an experience, the centre of the Global warming debate, seeing life close to the ground and realising that people do not need all the new gadgets to be happy.
We enjoyed the welcome everywhere and especially here where on of the owners (all family are owners) explained their existence, being land owners when the tide was out, building their owns shelters, fishing, growing some of their food on the sandy soils etc. I had the best freshly prepared freshly caught fish dish with pumpkin and other vegetables mostly grown on their land. I complimented the young cook on her dish and presentation.
The windy site was beautiful and cool. Flights in are twice weekly via Fiji. When the tide goes out, you can walk across the creek.

Room Tip: there are no western style hotels in fact most people do not live in houses at all. NOT a holiday re...
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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18 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    8
    8
    1
    0
    1
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Families
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6
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3
Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (4)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2013

I haven't stayed here but have visited for lunch and for drinks, seen the rooms, swam and sat in the hammocks. Just across the channel (by wading at low tide or canoe at high tide) from South Tarawa but feels like a world away. So peaceful. Immaculately clean (one of our group commented that they have cleanest toilet in Tarawa... something you really appreciate after a while in Kiribati). The accommodation is traditional thatched huts which are very comfortable and appropriate for the climate. They can provide all meals and they're delicious, though very much fish-based. They can successfully cook a vegetarian meal on request which is actually quite rare for Kiribati. The only comment about meals is they take a very long time to prepare. Order a meal early, go for a walk up to broken bridge, come back and eat.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 3, 2013

I have stayed with groups (19 in one and 20 the other - mostly young people) at Tabon te Keekee on two occasions. On both occasions we were greeted warmly and treated very well.The staff were friendly and helpful and went out of their way to help us meet other locals. The food is very high standard. The accommodation is clean and well set up, beds turned down and mosquito coils lit. Getting to the accommodation is in itself an adventure - the road is difficult and it may mean wading across the causeway at low tide but well worth the effort. Veronica, Uataa and Takatiu went out of their way to help. A visit to the clam farm and boat builder is a bonus. I don't understand negative comments about this place.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 18, 2013

We stumbled upon this beautiful place as we took a local bus from Teaoraereke to explore Tarawa on our second last day in Kiribati. Having just spent 2 glorious weeks on the outer islands of Abemama and Abaiang staying in traditional kia kias (small thatched huts), we found ourselves back on South Tarawa preparing to head back to Melbourne.

The bus ride was a great adventure in itself. The four of us hopped on the cramped bus and happily listened to music being played on high volume. It felt more like being at a rock concert than being in a bus. The driver obviously loved one particular song, as it kept being played over and over again. By the end of the bus trip, we knew every word of his favorite song. After travelling for only 10 metres or so, the bus stopped and a few more people jumped in. After 40 minutes we crossed a bridge at Buota and the bus stopped to let us off. I asked the lady how much we owed and it seemed too cheap. I gave her extra; she smiled and then gave me back the extra money.

We walked for about half an hour and came to the end of South Tarawa. The tide was in and the channel was too deep to cross. I asked a Kiribati lady how long until the canoe comes. She smiled and politely said, “When it comes”. I should have known not to ask a question regarding time. When we were on Abemama, I asked the same question and I was told, “the boat would arrive before lunch.” The lady then paused and then said “or after lunch”. It is true that the Kiribati people make the Fijians look rushed.

After paying 50 cents we crossed the water and after a very short walk we stumbled upon this beautiful place called Tabon te keekee eco lodge. The surroundings were just beautiful and exceptionally clean. We walked along the plank over the water to have a look in the huts and they were just beautiful. The view was magic and we all welcomed the cool breeze. A staff member came out and offered us cans of cold soft drink much to our delight. Although we were just staying for a few hours, I would definitely stay here overnight.

It is true that when the tide is low, the water disappears. However, in a few hours time the huts are surrounded again by water. Tourist must understand that these are extremely low-lying coral atolls. Being an eco lodge, I applaud management for not trying to interfere and control water flow for the sake of having huts surrounded by water 24/7.

After spending several hours here talking to staff and enjoying their hospitality, we realized that it was getting late and a long walk back to catch a bus. I asked if it would be possible to catch a boat back to our destination to Teaoraereke. The staff did absolutely everything they could to accommodate our request. We found this extremely generous, considering we were only there for a few hours and not staying overnight. The men organized a boat for us and they happily took us to our destination, which was about 1 -2 hours by boat. I realized that it would be dark by the time they got back. However, they informed me that they would stay overnight at a family members home and return back to the lodge early morning. We felt very guilty and tried to pay them extra for this inconvenience, but once again they politely knocked it back and with their huge smiles said “it’s ok, no problem”.

I look forward to returning to Kiribati once again in June and hope to take our school group there for lunch. Thank you again. Jason Ross

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rockdale, Australia
Top Contributor
202 reviews 202 reviews
69 hotel reviews
Reviews in 55 cities Reviews in 55 cities
244 helpful votes 244 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 21, 2013

I arrived in Tarawa on the 14/02/13 for 3 weeks, this was my 3rd vist to Tarawa within 3 yrs, being a tourist [NOT MANY TOURISTS IN TARAWA] I decided to return to this beautiful area, away from the busy main road of Tarawa trying to avoid the potholes and the terrible road condition. The staff & locals are very warm & friendly at TABON TE KEEKEE I didn't stay for the night & just relaxed for half a day in one of the traditional style bwia accommodation, beautiful views across the lagoon towards South Tarawa & peacefull location. The drive towards Buota is around a 10 min's drive from the airport & then you have to cross a small bridge, you then have to reduce your speed & allow extra time driving through the rough road aviding many potholes & being the wet season I had to navigate around many large water holes. i called in on a Saturday & soon got chatting to many of the local people & staff, later purchased a nice meal with fish & rice at $14.00, and lots of water in between due to the hot weather. I return again a couple of weeks later on a Tuesday morning with less people around & after asking the staff & locals if i could just relax for half a day they were very kind & arranged a comfy seat to place inside one of the bwia, I actually fell asleep on the mattress inside the bwia for a couple of hours, the cool breeze through the bwia made the accommodation more comfortable. A local guy was more than happy to take many photos of me in this beautiful location & I managed to arrange a relaxing massage inside the bwia, the massage lasted around 90 min's & I felt totally re-charged after a relaxing massage, in fact I was so impressed with the massage I returned the following morning for another 90 min's massage. The lagoon offers idyllic environment without any stress or feeling you have to rush !!! meals are on offer at a low cost with coffee & soft drinks if required. I'm not really sure on the total cost per night to stay in the bwia accommodation & one local told me it's around AUD $120.00 per night, of course I'm not sure if that includes any meals. I would like to take this oppoturnity in thanking all the locals & staff I came across & making me feel so welcome. i'm not sure when I will re-visit Tarawa & maybe after all the new road construction is completed, of course this could take more than 3-4 years !!!!........ Please take note the short boat ride across at high tide is only 50 cents one way & I managed to walk back due to the low tide. Enjoy the short walks through the local village & chat with the locals, there is also a small shop for those basic needs........... HAPPY TRAVELS

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
sunshine coast
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2012

we stay here every time we visit Kiribati our hosts are wonderful and we feel like part of the family
i understand Kiribati is not a holiday destination for majority of this planets population but if back to nature is your thing well you can't go wrong. we are always overwhelmed by the hospitality this family offer i would highly recommend staying at Tabon te Keekee

Room Tip: the over the water bwia are much more private than bwia on the land
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2012

I too am puzzled by some of the negative comments. I stayed for a weekend in September 2009, with a colleague while we were in Tarawa on business. We shared one of the over-water buias. The room was comfortable, made from traditional building materials and using traditional construction techniques. It was sparsely but adequately furnished. The staff, and in particular our host, Veronica, were nothing short of outstanding. Nothing was too much trouble for them. The meals were interesting and well prepared, using local produce such as fish, coconut, breadfruit and bananas. The residents of the "village" around the guesthouse were unfailingly friendly. I was invited, unsolicited, to visit their homes and attended a church service at which I was made to feel most welcome.

The Pacific Island states in general, and Kiribati in particular, suffer from being tiny, isolated communities, with no real resource base apart from their fisheries. Go into a shop in Tarawa and see the bags of topsoil, imported from Fiji, being sold for $20 per bag and you realise how resource-poor they are and the fragility of their existence. Most food supplies have to come in on the supply ship from Fiji (it's a three hour flight by jet) every few weeks. The costs associated with just about anything are thus astronomical. You can't compare the economy and, hence, prices in a place like this with prices in developing countries in Asia, Africa or the Caribbean.

Veronica and her husband (whom I didn't meet as he was away during my visit) should be commended for their entrepreneurship and energy in providing a truly welcoming and comfortable environment in a place where this is difficult to do at a price people are willing to pay. Should I find myself in Tarawa again, with some free time, I'll be hopping in their boat and heading across the lagoon to appreciate their home-syle Micronesian hospitality once more.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Tabon te Keekee

Address: Abatao | North Tarawa, Republic of Kiribati
Location: Republic of Kiribati > Gilbert Islands > Tarawa Atoll
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 5 B&Bs / Inns in Tarawa Atoll
Number of rooms: 5

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