We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Wish we'd stayed much longer @ Heilala”

We can't find prices for this accommodation
Our online travel partners don't provide prices for this accommodation, but we can search other options in Tongatapu Island
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Heilala Holiday Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 2, 2012

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.

Room Tip: Superior fale is worth it - fridge is handy.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank 969vala-michaelh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (383)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
Language

248 - 254 of 383 reviews

Reviewed February 26, 2012

We had the most wonderful stay at Heilala. My boys aged 22 and 20 and I stayed for a week in the midst of the wet season in February. The boys hadn’t been to Tonga before and absolutely loved the concept of Tongan time and the great relaxing atmosphere at Heilala. I had stayed at Heilala before at their old location but the new site at Haʻatafu Beach is much better. We stayed in the fales which consisted of an ensuite and very comfortable bed, the boys had a double bed and bunk beds, the fales were cleaned every two days. We took full advantage of the hammocks, enjoyed a few delicious meals at the restaurant and it was no hassle getting the boys up for their complimentary island breakfast each morning, which consisted of fresh local fruits, toast and delightful mango jam, which I am finding very difficult to find here in Tasmania. There is a communal kitchen, including a gas stove, fridge and large bench tables. So if you wish to cook your own meals the supermarket in town has good food, and the local markets are a great source of beautiful fresh fruits and vegetables.

The beach was stunning, the waters were crystal clear, I would suggest wearing flippers or reef booties as the coral is sharp, but having had my first experience at snorkelling, the underwater views were spectacular. You don’t have to go out very far at all to experience the beautiful tropical fish, the coral reef and the fauna. The surfing is supposedly very good and lessons can be given at the next resort. We just enjoyed relaxing in the beautiful warm waters of the beach.

The staff at Heilala are wonderful and helpful. We didnt get to meet Sven and Maria but Kalolina looked after us so well, even in the midst of a cyclone, we had a great time. Kalo goes out of her way to help you, she organised an island tour (which didn’t happen due to the cyclone) Island Night dinner at the next resort, and helped to educate us with our very limited Tongan. The two resident dogs Lucky and Bingo enjoyed the attention of my two boys, until they found out they had girlfriends, and the chickens running around each day added that extra little touch. And of course we thoroughly enjoyed the kava party on our final night

The local bus is an experience not to be missed, and once you get into the concept of Tongan time, they come quite regularly, taxis are everywhere on the island. The only time we had trouble with a taxi not knowing where Heilala was, was on a Saturday night - he must have been new in town. Visiting church on Sunday is a must, if only to hear the beautiful choral voices of the local Tongan choir.

I would highly recommend Heilala for an affordable relaxing holiday, with spectacular views, wonderful staff and great midrange accommodation. I will definitely be back

Many thanks

The Bigwood Family

Room Tip: The fales are great value for money, I didnt stay in the Long House this time, but as I remember las...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Carolyne B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 27, 2012

We thoroughly enjoyed our recent stay at Heilala Holiday Lodge.

We traveled with extended family, our group having three families with children of various ages, a couple and Grandma, so the various options available and flexibility of the owners to accommodate us by adding bunks to rooms for the younger members, and giving the older children their own fale's was great - we ended up with 6 fale's between us all!

The rooms were exceptionally clean and tidy and regularly serviced - apart from the sand coming in off the beach from the 3-4 swims a day and the mess that young adults can make in their rooms... but they did have excellent showers which was very important! The hammocks at the front porch of the fale's were very much enjoyed!

The beach was only a very short walk away (just metres, maybe 20-30?), but the property was also fenced so was safer for younger children - not like a pool fence in NZ, but enough so younger children could have a little freedom to move around safely without too much worry.

The meals available on site were amazing. At first we thought the selection wasn't great but the options were actually quite wide - it ended up being about 6 different things each night it might be a Polynesian fish - but was available with a choice of tuna, snapper or mussels, then spicy vegetables with chicken, vegetarian or fish. Meals were served with rice and a salad and garlic bread was served first. They did need to be pre ordered, but was WELL worth it! We didn't find better anywhere else - although equal at only one other place! Breakfasts came as part of our booking - what a bonus!

Sven, Calolina and staff were great, they bent over backwards to assist us. They were amazing, arranging all our trips and gave us demonstrations in various Tongan ways, for example one morning we spent husking coconuts, learning to cut them properly, rasping them, making coconut milk etc.

While on the Island we spoke to two separate couples who had stayed here on a previous trip and wanted to try elsewhere then wished they had returned here... What better recommendation!

We loved this place ourselves, and personally will very likely return in the future to visit again.

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank BeepNz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 15, 2012

In October we spent 17 nights at Heilala Holiday Lodge. It was a bit of a punt but we weren't disappointed.

This place is for the relaxed, easygoing types that are past backpacking and the like. However if you want disco lights and mirror balls, then this is not for you. We will definitely be coming back and have been recommending you to anyone who'll listen.

The resort is not 'luxurious' but it is impeccably clean, tidy, well run, friendly and has many little touches that make it stand out from the crowd.

Sven and Karolina and indeed all the staff are a cheery, friendly and helpful bunch. The beach is quiet and beautiful, and the snorkeling (right on the door step) is safe and very good. We saw moray eels, clown fish, lion-fish,sea-snakes, pufferfish, loads of angel fish and hundreds of other fishy things in all colours. I would recommend taking your own gear, although Sven does have some you can hire if necessary.

On the beach there are a couple of little shelters that have been made for guest to hide from the sun if required, or for more shade there are a couple of trees you can use and Sven has also made some wooden rails to hang stuff on to keep it off the sand. Elsewhere in the grounds there are shaded areas, rope swings and hammocks to relax in away from the beach and for the evenings there's a undercover area with lighting, which was great for a game of cards or quiet drink with other guests/new friends.

The meals were simple but delicious, although it isn't really meant to be a restaurant. There are 2 or 3 options per day (always one veggie option) and you need to order the evening meal before lunch time. If this is not your thing there is a small guest kitchen to use which is perfectly adequate to knock up some pasta or a stir fry, etc. Otherwise you can go down the beach to the "Vakualoa" resort which has a more extensive menu or to "Lukualofa" which is a little further down the beach (and they will send a vehicle up to get you). The breakfasts that Sven provides are very tasty with a selection of fresh tropical fruit and toast; other extras like eggs and bacon are available if you want a change.

The fales are ideal for the location - roomy, airy and comfy with a hammock on the little deck out front; they are cleaned daily and linen is changed every 3 days. As we had a 'superior fale' we also had a wee fridge and tea/coffee making facilities - well worth the extra. Water is filled daily or you can fill your own from the communal tank. There were a couple of desktop computers for use in the communal area (and free wi-fi), a good book exchange and even a small TV - essential for catching some Rugby World Cup games. There are also some bikes for use - I wouldn't recommend long trips on them but they were great for popping down to the local shop, and a trip into the village to check out the church goers on Sunday is a must. Great singing!

Another thing that made a difference was Heilala's "town tour". On the days when he makes a trip into town (every other day or so) Sven is happy to take new guests on a complimentary tour (if you're staying 3 nights or more I think) where he gives useful advice on the buses (filled with friendly locals - another 'must do'), the shopping, cafes, souvenirs, and even a little culture for good measure. Talking of culture, Friday is the night when Sven + Co do not cook, but all is not lost as the other resorts put on a music and dance cultural evening with local buffet style food. We went to the one at "Vakualoa" which was good value and only a five minute walk down the beach.

The two resident dogs, Lucky and Bingo - or was that Bingo and Lucky? - were a pleasant (and decidedly NOT vicious!) addition to the ambiance.

Last but by no means least are the whales. Outside the reef, only about 200m away, the whales can been seen cruising by (during the season); we tended to see them in the afternoon and evening, either singly or in mum/calf pairs.

Yeah, I mean all up this was great. A very good price with all the bits and pieces one would need for a relaxed, fun, clean, friendly, and cultural trip to Tonga and Tongatapu.

Go Sven, Karolina and the team - and thanks again.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank AnchorTeAnau
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 6, 2012

We stayed in Heilala Lodge with my wife and our 6 years old over New Year's holiday 29 Dec - 3 Jan. I must say, as a New Zealander who is acquainted with these Pacific islands, we had not much expectation from Tonga given the fact that tourism has not developed as much as other dream islands. We were stunned by the location - excellent (repeat excellent) beach with crystal clear waters. The coral reef (albeit mostly grayish) starts almost when you step into water and goes as far as 200-250m where surf breaks. Since this is the very tip of the main island this is pretty much where the ocean hits the land. Heaps of tropic fish and fauna around.
Now that's the nature side but what is more striking in this place (well we had been to many other locations with stunning nature such as the Maldives) was the people...Our hosts Sven (a German engineer in past life but suprisingly friendly, funny and warm hearted very hardworking chap) and his lovely wife Caroline (the most cheerful Tongan lady we met so far) were great by all means. We felt like we were not treated just as customers but as privileged friends or family members. And they always went the extra mile.
Now I must warn that Heilala Lodge is NOT a resort - everything is simple and life's easy and quiet. So don't expect to have your 'usual' amenities like TV, air conditioner, hair dryer, iron etc.
One last comment is about food. I reckon there were some reviews where people complained that this is quite limited and you have to order in advance. Yes it is but what you get, always a different dish, is exceptionally good. Thanks to Sven's mother in the kitchen.
Because of the great atmosphere all guests were quite relaxed and because it is such a small place with nowhere else to go (well a few other hotels but not as good as ours) we socialised easily and established friendships which I hope will continue.
In summary, go for it if you want a quiet, friendly and relaxing holiday with or without kids.
Do not hesitate to contact me for further reference. We are so grateful to these people that I am ready to do as much favour as possible.

Room Tip: Stay in superior fales which have their own bathroom and toilet. I think there are 8 of them
See more room tips
  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank KorayAtalag
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 10, 2011

You will stay with very good people, in a new-clean-nice fale, in the best beach of Tongatapu.

Cristal waters for snorkelling, swimming, surfing (no in low tide..) or just sunbathing!!

Its owner, Calolina, is the best!

For us, it's been like staying home for a few days. Our house has been simply, in paradise. So, we highly reccommend this place!

Alba & Carles

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank ALBA_bed_of_roses
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 5, 2011

The ensuite lodge in which we stayed was very nice with good facilities. The holiday lodge is situated on a beach with excellent snorkelling and crystal clear waters for swimming. However there was no shaded areas or sun loungers and as a result it was too hot to spend time on the beach during the day.
The owner/manager who was reported on various reviews to be very friendly and helpful seemed stressed out and miserable for the best part of our stay. He was frustrated if you didn't have a plan for your stay on day one.
We were most disappointed with the food. The breakfast was exactly the same every morning (fruit and bread), which got very dull very quickly and if you wanted lunch or dinner you had to preorder your meals before 10am. The menu choice was limited to 2 options per meal which often didn't appeal. Although there was self catering facilities available, the town was a 45min car journey away so if you weren't strictly organized you didn't eat. Not exactly a chilled relaxed experience.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Ceri H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Heilala, Manager at Heilala Holiday Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded December 22, 2011

Malo e lelei Ceri H

Thank you so much for your feedback! We only wish we could offer a perfect holiday experience to everyone... but (as we all know) that is unfortunately not really possible (but we are trying ;-).

The majority of our guests do come with the right level of expectations and have a good idea of what awaits them, but some arrive with needs that are near to impossible to provide for in a developing country like Tonga. The limited infrastructure and irregular supply of goods among other factors can make it challenging at times to maintain variety and good value for money. The current pre-order necessity for lunch (order at breakfast) and dinner (order by noon) and the availability of a communal guest kitchen have also been designed with these factors in mind.

The shade areas and the loungers... there are a number of trees on the beach that provide for shade and in addition, we have in the meantime, also increased the numbers of the naturally designed shade roofs (on the beach) from two to a total of three. It is correct that we do not have beach loungers, but we have taken steps to make up for this by providing more hammocks by mid January 2012.

As for me having been stressed and miserable, I certainly did not notice this myself, but I apologise if that was how I was perceived and please be assured that I am not frustrated by guests who do not come with a plan (that is why we are here to help :-).

We hope that, apart from your disappointment with us, you have also taken with you many memorable experiences from Tonga and will return to the Islands soon.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
Also consider these accommodations in or near Tongatapu Island
9.3 mi away
Seaview Lodge
Seaview Lodge
#2 of 13 in Nuku'alofa
188 reviews
10.1 mi away
Tanoa International Dateline Hotel
0.3 mi away
Vakaloa Beach Resort
Vakaloa Beach Resort
#1 of 1 in Kanokupolu
205 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
0.9 mi away
Liku'alofa Beach Resort
Liku'alofa Beach Resort
#1 of 1 in Kanokupolu
287 reviews
11.2 mi away
Keleti International Resort
11.4 mi away
Fafa Island Resort
Fafa Island Resort
#1 of 1 in Fafa Island
442 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Heilala Holiday Lodge? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Heilala Holiday Lodge

Address: Palm Avenue | Kanokupolu, Tongatapu Island TBU, Tonga
Phone Number:
Location: Tonga > Tongatapu Island
Amenities:
Beach Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 30 B&Bs / Inns in Tongatapu Island
Price Range: $41 - $99 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 14
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

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing