At Fema Lodge, they say “your comfort is our priority”. Well, there is not much comfort at the place. On the positive side, they provide free airport transfers that was very handy. But for the rest, there is not much good to say. The rooms, even the “deluxe” ones are very basic and there are virtually no common areas or facilities. Nowhere one can sit and relax. The restaurant is an indoor neon den with staff who seem to prefer you to leave. The first night they could not serve any food as the chef had not showed up. There were three women “working”, doing nothing to solve the problem. We went to Koa Koa across the street, very nice, and we enjoyed all remaining meals there. The best thing about Fema Lodge is that is located next to Koa Koa, as other reviewers have said as well. The reception sells wifi at a high price, but either it is very slow or it does not work. They turn it off when reception closes around 9 pm. One day I had to fix their router in order to get a minimum of wifi. At the rip-off price of 25 AUD for 24 hours one would expect a connection that works just to some extent. Fema Lodge is a money machine. They charge for everything: laundry is absolutely horrendous, they charge per piece, for instance 7 AUD for a T-shirt and 8 AUD for a pair of underpants! We told them, we could get a whole meal of fresh cerviche on the other side of the street for that price. They did not see the point as the women in the reception seemed to have no idea about prices or the value of money. In general, they just seemed to want to be left alone. One exception was the very nice young women from Tuvalu, who spoke and understood English, was service-minded and drove us to the airport.…
Accommodation is limited in Tarawa. We looked at all the main choices and were happy with our four night stay at Fema Lodge. it is well located in the middle of South Tarawa. Ask for a second floor room for a nice aspect. Rooms were clean and comfortable. The staff are very nice. They put us in touch with a local tour guide named Molly (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we did two day trips with her -one of South Tarawa, and one of North Tarawa, accessed by boat.
Fema is a pleasant hotel with a newer extension where we stayed. Although there was a steep set of stairs to our room, it was quite modern, with ensuite and a balcony. Hotel is on the main road but fairly quite. The small restaurant has good meals and cold drinks, including a reasonable selection of alcohol. Free airport pick up and drop off as well as regular local mini-vans out the front. A few shops, stalls and a little lagoon side restaurant opposite. Friendly, helpful staff with good communication skills. Book via direct via website.
Definitely the best choice in South Tarawa of the few options available. Transport to/from the airport includes which is pretty critical given the time many flights arrive and leave. Basic but clean rooms, with the new block at the back having its own power supply which is useful given island power cuts. On site restaurant doesn’t always have everything on the menu but is not bad. There is a small restaurant down the street (turn left from hotel, 100m on lagoon side) if you want variety. A couple of reasonable small shops nearby too. WiFi is available, charged for and reasonable quality. Minibuses to any destination on the island only cost 80c but frankly there is not much to see beyond soaking up the island atmosphere (a little tough).
I stayed in FEMA lodge for a week and enjoyed it very much. My room (in the new wing) was large and cool with air condition, there was a patio, the bed was comfortable. All is very clean. Staff was very helpful. They assisted me in hiring a guide in Tarawa, and even organize a trip to another atoll, Aranuka. The hotel is conveniently located in the middle of South Tarawa, and public transportation (minivan) comes often and easy to use. The restaurant serves good food, and across the street is another restaurant, Koakoa, also with good food and beautiful sunset views.