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“The helpful hostess”

The Friendly Islander Hotel
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The Friendly Islander Hotel
Ranked #8 of 13 Hotels in Nuku'alofa
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“The helpful hostess”
Reviewed November 28, 2011

The Friendly Islander is a venerable institution in Tonga, with all the old world charm of a Graeme Greene novel. Papiloa is the hostess. She knows everyone and everything that can be done in Tonga; she will make sure you meet the right people and do the right things. Certainly the stay is more rewarding when Papiloa is there as the other staff are not as knowledgeable or helpful. The establishment has been running for more than 40 years. We found the accommodation clean, affordable and comfortable. It is a welcome gesture that there is always a full bottle of boiled, clean water in the fridge.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Annie R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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41 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    17
    12
    3
    2
    7
See reviews for
10
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8
Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (11)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Busselton
Level Contributor
17 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed September 1, 2011

We booked two nights accommodation on the internet, we were supposed to be picked up at the airport, they didn't arrive. Breakfast should have been included for the expensive price we paid and we didn't get any. Reception is dull, dingy, dirty and dismal, no lights on not even when it was dark, you could easily trip over the step in the foyer in the dark. Not a very friendly or welcoming place at all.
No hot water even though she knew we were in the fale, we had to walk across, wrapped in a towel to tell her there was no hot water. She came back and said she'd put the power and pump! The shower flooded.
When we sat outside in the evening with a drink and went inside for a moment, when we came back outside someone had come along and switched off the light!!
The floor was filthy I don't think it had been washed in years.
On the second day we decided to look for cleaner accommodation and found a wonderful, friendly, clean B&B in the same road, nearer to town, cheaper and included breakfast. They were such helpful people, nothing was too much trouble.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Jacqueline B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Nuku'alofa hotels

Mandurah, Australia
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed August 27, 2011

My husband & I so enjoyed our stay. Papiloa was a wonderful hostess and a great Ambassador of Tonga. The staff were very friendly and our fale was comfortable and excellent value for money. The location is terrific and surrounded by cafes, (try the lime juice at the Wharf Cafe) also a great Chinese Resturant 2 mins away. Papiloa is very helpful and goes out of her way to make your stay memorable.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Serenity K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level Contributor
30 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed July 29, 2011

To be fair the fabled Papailoa was offsite for the duration of our visit. But "friendly"? Hardly! The doors of the reception were often closed and always poorly lit - not a great introduction. The acting manager - Papailoa's daughter? insisted on being paid up front and on us taking a 2-room unit when we asked for a bed to be brought in to a 1-room unit for our 3 year old boy despite there being plenty of room (Ironically the 2-room unit had a double and single bed in each room). My definition of "friendly' would include at least the odd smile or pleasant exchange but none of this form her, just cold hard business.

Breakfast was a whopping $50 for a cheap packet of muesli, fruit well past its used by date and bacon and eggs swimming in oil (for the 3 of us). Our room was unclean i.e. unswept, unwashed sheets, unmopped floors and unwiped table, disgusting jug. The tv only showed 2 local channels (despite the satellite box) and with the aerial inside the room! - was hopeless reception anyway. The phone didn't work, 3 of the 4 bedside lights didn't work. No water when we arrived at all, this was fixed but then no hot water on the first night - we were taken to another unit to shower.

When we asked for basic tourist advice we were met with a shrug of the shoulders. The only time there appeared to be any interest in our visit was when there was the chance to earn money themselves. All of this wouldn't have mattered so much but the rate of $150 a night was a mockery - actually $155 with a credit card. I guess they are charging this much because most of the units are empty there (except for the dirt).

There are plenty of other better options and friendlier options around. I suggest you stay closer in to Nuku'alofa anyway as we had to shell out for taxis any time we went anywhere and the beach there is not a decent place to swim.

I wish you others who had stayed there recently had made mention of the above as it was the only down side of our otherwise magic Tongan holiday.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank travelkiwi8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
23 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed July 17, 2011

We stayed in a unit, humble but comfortable accommodation, for luxury stay in one of the beautiful fales. We enjoyed the value for money!
Papiloa made sure we were comfortable, and made recommendations that were very helpful and allowed us to save money. She has a great understanding of what's interesting to tourists.
The hotel has a pool, nice gardens, and is close to the sea pool and the dock for trips to the outer islands. Highly recommended!

  • Stayed July 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank zendub
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland Region, New Zealand
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed July 12, 2011

My Fiance and I decided on Tonga as a romantic getaway due to the weather, unspoiled 'Island feel', the friendly culture, and an opportunity to swim with the Whales. Upon arrival we lost our bags, and struck a 'dud' resort...Things were looking a tad bleak, until we - by chance came across Papiloa and her fantastic Hotel.
The premises is very nice, with a lovely pool, great food, and Romantic Fale's (Double room unit with Hot showers mmm).
What really sets this place apart from the other resorts/hotels on the Island, are the people.
Papiloa (owner/manager) is the most lovely and helpful lady. She takes great pride in going the extra mile for visitors to her beautiful island. Her advise and help is not profit driven, rather from the heart which truely shines. Her staff follow her lead and offer such a homely and welcoming living environment.
The room prices are very reasonable, but this does not reflect the quality of service at all.
Both of us agree that our stay,and chats with Papiloa were the highlight of our trip to Tonga.The Hotel isnt far from town,and really close to the Whale watching/diving boat wharf.
We as a young couple would honestly give this place 5 stars,and will be going back.
If you are considering a trip to Tonga,this is a really safe and lovely 'Base'.
Thanks Papiloa!.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Kiwi-Swiss-couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
san diego, California, USA
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed June 29, 2011

I stayed here with my wife and our six years old son at the Friendly Islander hotel for two days. Our stay here was a pleasant one. The room was spacious and spotlessly clean with basic furniture. We had a comfortable accommodation. The food was fine, but you have to place order for it in advance. There is a nice pool at this hotel. We enjoyed swimming and relaxing by the pool side at day times. The host of this hotel is friendly and takes efforts to make her guests feel at home. The hotel provides everything for the money that you pay. So it is worth staying here. We would like to stay at this place again.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank transformer15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Friendly Islander Hotel

Property: The Friendly Islander Hotel
Address: Vuna Rd, Nuku'alofa, Tongatapu Island, Tonga
Location: Tonga > Tongatapu Island > Nuku'alofa
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 13 Hotels in Nuku'alofa
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — The Friendly Islander Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 26
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Friendly Islander was built as a destination for culturally-minded travellers from around the world who seek an insight into the "real Tonga" in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere with Papiloa. Situated on the waterfront with older wing hotel units, or fales/bungalows set in tropical gardens with local flora and fauna. We are a 30 min drive from the airport and a 5 min drive to town along the waterfront. We are 10 mins walk from 'restaurant row,' the Saturday morning flea market ('swap meet'), the fish markets and the main interisland wharf. Fale/Bungalow accommodation amongst gardens and some budget accommodation available in older wing hotel units facing with sea or pool view. All rooms with shower and toilet and some rooms with kitchen facilities and air condition also cable TV/DVD. We now offer free transfer from/to airport and best to please book in advance. Can also offer free transport into town as you need. Wifi available mainly in reception and breakfast or other meals is also available on arrangement at reception. Suitable for groups, individual or family travels. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Friendly Islander Hotel
The Friendly Islander Hotel Tonga/Tongatapu Island

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