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“Probably your first choice option” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Mary's Motel

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Mary's Motel
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Government Administrative Centre | Bairiki, Republic of Kiribati   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Tarawa Atoll
11 reviews 11 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Probably your first choice option”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 24, 2011

Agree with previous comments--the place is very basic, but the staff are very helpful, and this is clearly a better option than the government run hotel. Airport pickup/drop off worked well. Food and drink is via a walk up window with simple tables, but everything was quite good. Wifi wasn't free but it worked fine.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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35 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (12)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
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
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 18, 2010

After spending 7 days in HONIARA SOLOMON ISLANDS & then 2 days in Nadi in FIJI, I fly with AIR PACIFIC to TARAWA between 28/10/10 to 02/11/10, this is my first time to TARAWA, first impression god it's appeared so hot when leaving the aircraft. The Airport is very small & basic [like a large garden shed or stable], I was greeted by the owners from Mary's Motel [family business] with a very warm welcome & continued on our free transfer to the motel approx 40 min's one way from the airport. The roads are a little rough [ look out for the bumps or humps in the road], they are not marked & I missed a few with my hired car especially at night without any street lights ]. On arrival at Mary's Motel I filled out some forms & at first offered room 2 in the centre of the block of rooms [ i remembered reading some reviews about the traffic noise ] & therefore asked for a different room, my room was at the right side of the main building on the top floor room 7, on first impression the room is quite large with a old fashioned air-conditioning system & rather noisy!, a kettle to make coffee or tea, small TV, not that I ever watched, with one channel & bad reception I didn't care! & small balcony to sit & admire the views, bathroom reasonable for basic accommodation, each time I left my room I was greeted by a mother cat with her sweet baby kittens. The restaurant again an open spaced area allowing for the cool breeze to spread through, all staff were very pleasant and always said thank you or your welcome! Decided on car hire for a couple of days at $50 Aussie dollars per day, extra charge for all the meals, basic meals with a reasonable choice on the menu,[ no charge for coffee or tea ] .......before I forget to mention when you depart from the airport don't forget your departure tax of $20, most other destinations have the taxes included, for some reason Kiribati still uses the old system & charge when you depart. I throughly enjoyed my time in Tarawa especially driving around the Island & exploring different parts at my own pace. The local people were extremely friendly [a little shy at first] they made you very welcome to Tarawa, my only negative observation while on this beautiful Island is the amount of rubbish on the side of the streets & waterways, in some way i'm not really surprised considering I didn't notice any bins in the whole 5 days on the Island, surely the government of Kiribati could provide bins for everyone? I didn't go on tours & was just happy to go at my own pace without being pressured, the only local tour & the only one I went on was with MOLLY'S TOUR [this can be arranged with the staff at the front desk at Mary's Motel] Molly is a resident on Tarawa & she is very knowledgable about the Island especially it's history, the main tour Molly will organise for you is called [WW1 BATTLE OF TARAWA & CULTURAL TOURS] located in BETIO, phone no: --------, you don;t have to be in a group, if your a solo traveller like my self it doesn't matter Molly will make you most welcome. I experienced catching the local transport, more like vans than buses, good fun especially with the music! no taxies on the island. Not much choice with buying souvenirs, managed to purchase a couple of sarongs, post cards from the local postoffice are worth buying & great artistic stamps. Main bank on the island is ANZ [coolest place in town] & managed to get a couple of the local Kiribati $2- coins. Managed to drive over 220km within a few days & fuel price is only slightly more expensive than in Australia. One evening during my stay at Mary's Motel a group of young local people turned up & preformed a Cultural Dance for the Motel guests, many guest were not informed this was planed & therefore a real surprise & most enjoyable. Don't forget to visit Parliament house & if you speak to the security guard he's happy to show you around the grounds, considering the building is about 10 yrs old the front is an unusual design, also opposite Parliament House your'll notice 2 stands selling local handicrafts & souvenirs, lastly visit the Cultural Centre in BIKENIBEU a very interesting place more like a museum, the staff were very knowledgable and especially helpful when I informed them my next destination from Tarawa to Christmas Island in KIRITIMATI, & they gave me some info on Xmas Island. My overall conclusion on Tarawa Kiribati was very enjoyable & would highly recommend this remote isolated part of the world to my friends, also suggest that MARY'S MOTEL appears to be the best choice in TARAWA, their prices are reasonable [they except c/c payments], just a comment please be aware that very few places in TARAWA except Credit Card payments. I couldn't get a reception to use my mobile phone & if i'm honest I was quite pleased not having to be bothered while relaxing in TARAWA.......Thank you to the local residents of TARAWA in making me so welcome & hope to re-visit some time in the future.....advice to travellers who are considering visiting KIRIBATI either TARAWA or CHRISTMAS ISLAND in KIRITIMATI please take a look at the AIR PACIFIC website & look for the special BULA FARES, these are heavily discounted tickets 99.00 US DOLLARS return from NADI, worth reading and saving lots of money!

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
111 reviews 111 reviews
49 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
100 helpful votes 100 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2010

I have stayed at this hotel a dozen or so times over the last 10 years! It is quite central to business area on Bairiki and Betio! Will not stay here anymore due to constant difficulties in getting room confirmed. Three out of the last 5 times I have arranged to stay here the hotel has stuffed the booking. Twice, even with an email confirmation from the hotel, a copy of which I always bring with me, I was told they had no record of the booking. Once I arrived only to be told they now had only a room for three days and the other 4 days I would have to find alternate accomodation.
In Kiribati, you have to be prepared for "different" type of accommodation. Many do not have hot water for showers, which is not as bad as it sounds!
Mary's has a reasonable dining area for breakfast and lunch, never had dinner there as I usually eat with friends off site. Do not expect fresh food, most is frozen or canned.
Mary's internet is famous amongst business people for being quite bad and very expensive!
The hotel is situated right next to the main road so there is quite a bit of traffic noise all day.
Before you go to Kiribati, check the website http://www.kiribatitourism.gov.ki/index.php/accommodation/tarawaaccommodation
for a list of other accommodation

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled on business
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
Wagga Wagga, Australia
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 25, 2009

You need to remember that in the islands, standards are not what they are in the wider (Western) world. However Mary's is clean (room was swept and mopped each day), the rooms basic but functional and adequately appointed (air-conditioner, kettle, TV) and tehre is Wifi internet (usually - Mary's has it's own international feed but it can be a bit hit-and-miss).

The staff are wonderful and will try their hardest for you. The restaurant is typical island-rustic, but the food is cheap, plentiful, varied and consistent. A surprisingly large menu selection is available; a private room is avilable for functions, with air-conditioning. The main eating area is a covered, outdoor setting, complete with a TV.

Booking ahead is essential as Mary's is the preferred place to stay in Tarawa - it is convenient to the main government and business centre of Tarawa. Staff will pick you up and drop you off at the airport. So will just about anyone if you're stuck for a ride - very friendly people here!

In summary, this will not be a 4 or 5 star experience but you aren't in this par tof the world for that. Although Kiribati, like other places, has plenty of stomach bugs to go around, Mary's is unlikely to do this to you. Go with the flow and enjoy your stay!

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Zealand
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2008

Basic style accommodation kept clean. Air conditioning is a welcome from the intense heat.

Bathrooms are good, bed, sheets, bedside table and lamp, wardrobe, drawers, table and chairs, small fridge, tea/coffee facilities, air conditining.

Great place to stay if you are there on business, especially for a long time. Close to everything and rooms in the front have a nice sea view.

Great staff and there is one of the best restaurants on the island on site. Lots of choices.

Definately recommend this place above others if staying for business in tarawa.

  • Liked — clean, not too many bugs, air conidtioning, internet on site (very hard to find internet in tarawa!)
  • Disliked — it can be noisy as it is next to the causeway
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2007

Mary's motel is one of the few accommodation highlights in Tarawa. It is rustic in the island sense of the word, but the food is simple and cheap. Order ahead for the lobster and at $25.00 AUD it is a meal to be treasured in Tarawa. However makes sure that the food is hot as tummy bugs are prevalent in Tarawa in general. I have never had a problem at Mary's and have visited and stayed four times. Soy sauce in liberal quantities will keep the critters at bay.

There is no TV but the entertainment is all around. It is a short run over the causeway to the nightlife of Betio and the War tour is one to be experienced.

This is the place to get away from it all. No reliable mobile service and the simple comforts of life are scarce. Accomodation is simple but clean. Dont rely on having hot water as it is rare on Kiribati. Always rinse your teeth with bottled water.

  • Liked — One of the best in Tarawa
  • Disliked — It is in Tarawa
  • Tips/Secrets — Dont drink the water
  • Stayed November 2006, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Mary's Motel

Address: Government Administrative Centre | Bairiki, Republic of Kiribati
Location: Republic of Kiribati > Gilbert Islands > Tarawa Atoll
Bar / Lounge Restaurant Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Tarawa Atoll
Number of rooms: 8
Also Known As:
Mary`s Hotel Tarawa
Marys Hotel Tarawa

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