Our trip was delayed/shortened by one day, owing to cyclone Jasmine (coincidentally the name of our eldest daughter!). So we were very pleased to still be greeted at the airport by Kalolina, and each given a lovely Tongan lei to adorn our necks. We and other guests were taken to Heilala on the lodge's minibus, with a requested detour to Nuku'alofa to visit the bank.
When were arrived, we were delighted with our choice. This is a relaxed haven away from everything and on the doorstep of a beautiful beach, a truly lovely location. Sven mentioned that he was glad he had not removed the surrounding trees/vegetation, as this provided good shelter from cyclones. The place feels at one with nature, not an imposition on the environment as is so often the case.
Unfortunately we only stayed two nights here, one less than planned because of the cyclone. (We had pre-booked elsewhere in Nuku'alofa for the rest of our trip to stay closer to Vala's Tongan relatives; our main objective was to see family rather than tourism). So we didn't get a chance to eat at the lodge other than two breakfasts, but these were light and delicious. We especially liked the local pata bananas, and homemade papaya jam. Guests were taken to a nearby resort for dinner on Thursday (because of issues resulting from the cyclone) and another resort on Friday night (this one having a very entertaining Tongan performances & firedances). All in all good service and very enjoyable.
Heilala lodge is intentionally basic & casual - but done very well. Our rooms were clean, with plenty of character. Beds were firm but comfortable. Ceiling fans take enough off the heat, but not so much that you forget you are actually on a tropical holiday (it was 28-29 degrees during our stay). Hammocks are provided for each fale, as well as a communal one by the beach. Free internet on the early generation eMacs adjacent to the dining area was appreciated.
We stayed in a Tongan fale, our 17 year old twins and 20 year old daughter in a Superior fale with small fridge. With insect screens to the louvre windows, mosquitos were no problem.
Thanks for the hospitality Kalolina & Sven - when we next visit Tonga, we'll definitely want to stay here again, and for much longer. Regards, Michael & Vala Hall and family.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Malo e lelei from the Kingdom of Tonga! If you are looking for a relaxed, friendly, homestyle "beach garden getaway" in the Kingdom of Tonga, the Heilala Holiday Lodge on Ha'atafu Beach at Kanokupolu may just be the place you have been looking for. Over 1km of sandy beach, wave surfing, snorkeling, or simply relaxing in your hammock. All the best and we hope to welcome you in our little peace of paradise soon. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Heilala Holiday Hotel Tongatapu Island
- Heilala Holiday Lodge Tonga/Tongatapu Island