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“Can't recommend highly enough”
Review of Matafonua Lodge

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Matafonua Lodge
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Foa Island
Certificate of Excellence
Christchurch, New Zealand
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Can't recommend highly enough”
Reviewed October 21, 2013

We booked with such high hopes for a relaxing tropical holiday. Matafonua exceeded all expectations and we can’t wait to go back.
Darren and Nina (and their children) are great as the hosts. Their relaxed caring attitude sets the tone at Matafonua.
There were so many highlights..... The staff in the kitchen - their humour and singing, Jodie and Gary made the whale swimming and the diving brilliant, the fales on the beach were great, the food was outstanding as were the beaches. BUT it was the people that were the real highlight - meals every night with people from all round the world and the Rice clan were perfect hosts and a joy to spend time with.
Back to work now - but with tans, great photos and life memories.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Roger H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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395 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (82)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Auckland Region, New Zealand
1 review
Reviewed October 15, 2013

Wow! Wow! Wow! What a fantastic relaxing 2 week holidaywe had. Loved the cute fales. The food was amazing - Nina you are the best dessert maker in the whole world. We felt like part of their family and they had invited us to stay with them. The snorkling with the colour of the reefs and the fish was amazing. Swimming with the whales was something I will never forget.
Everyone was friendly and always smiling and happy - from Darrin and Nina, the staff, the guests to the lovely local people. We will DEFINITELY be going back. Thank you to everyone at Matafonua Lodge for giving us a fantastic holiday.

Room Tip: Any fale you get here will be great
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Wendy S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dunedin
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed October 15, 2013

Another great experience at Matafonua, Darren and Nina and all their staff are just lovely, great food, great whale watching and snorkelling. Had a negative experience with another whale watch operator who let us down badly, but fortunately Matafonua had a vacancy for a whale watch trip so we moved over there and had a fantastic swim with a mum and calf, just magic. Their boat is fast and comfortable and the whale guide fantastic, highly recommend them :-)

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Bevanne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Zurich, Switzerland
Level Contributor
58 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed October 15, 2013

My stay at Matafonua was simply great. Despite being a simple place it has all the comfort one needs. The rooms are pretty small but with huge beds with really nice views on the ocean. However, the rooms are built with light materials and don't protect a lot from the wind when it starts blowing. The food is really good - you should definitely have whatever the chef proposes for diner as it is usually excellent fresh fish. If fish is not your thing, they have plenty of other options anyway. You will also enjoy the company of all the other guests as you all sit at the same table. The highlight for me was definitely taking diving lessons with Gary and getting my PADI open water at the end. I was actually a bit scared at the beginning, but Gary's professionalism soon put me at ease and I enjoyed every day of my stay. Definitely a place to come if you want to get better at diving while enjoying great marine life !

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank Aurelie B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
100 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed October 9, 2013

Matafonua Lodge isn't going to be for everyone, but if you're looking for a chilled-out break in a gorgeous location with great hosts and nothing to do but enjoy yourself, it's definitely the place to go. The fales are cool and comfortable, with fabulous beds, though not with en-suites, which might be an issue for some.

I loved snorkelling off the beach every day, walking along the beautiful shoreline, and meeting people from around the world (this might be an issue for some people also if you're not looking to socialise). And the food was really nice.

Room Tip: Fales further from the main house are quieter, though it's all pretty quiet.
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
2 Thank Sonia H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mornington Peninsula
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed October 6, 2013

We have been home for a couple of weeks and are already thinking about next year. We have stayed at Matafonua previously and our second visit was just as special. Darren and Nina Rice are wonderful hosts who go above and beyond to look after their guests. They are terrific company as well.

We travelled to Ha'apai with our two daughters (aged 11 and 5) and they were welcomed by the Rice clan like they were part of the family. They started missing JJ, Abbey and Lilly before we reached the airport. The staff are all wonderful and never without a smile on their faces and the crew on the boats are a pleasure to be around.

The place itself is a jewel with the lagoon on one side and a swimming beach with white sand and deep water on the other. It's the sort of place were you can enjoy time by yourself or in the company of others depending on what suits you.

Our daughters spent days on the boat watching and swimming the humpacks and being dotted on by Gary and Seo. A big thankyou to Ben, Tuli and Jody as well.

Apart from having enjoyed a wonderful holiday, we also feel that we have made life-long frindships too.

Thanyou again....we loved it even more the second time.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank away_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tauranga, New Zealand
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed September 29, 2013

Hoping upon hope that we would not be disappointed after reading Trip Advisor reviews - no worries!! My goodness!! Everything and more and MORE - our cup was filled to overflowing. Wonderfully relaxed, caring and diligent hosts, Nina and Darren, who lead a happy and fantastic team of people, the setting is glorious! Crystal clear waters, great snorkeling, plenty of activities to be done at one's own pace; the magnificence of seeing and swimming with the amazing whales was truly special and overwhelming. Gary, Jody and Sio were extremely informative and professional as they guided us through viewing and swimming with the whales. Incredible! Fales were great both right on the beach and very close to. If you want a laid-back, none complicated, easy going, wonderful break we can't recommend this more highly. Comfortable, unspoiled and natural environment; informative and helpful team; hospitality par excellence and great food to boot -yes, Nina's desserts and cookies are yum!!! We have already booked our return and are counting the days. Our love to the Matafonua whanau - we miss you!!! Thanks for a very special time in your slice of heaven.

Room Tip: All are great - same style. Beach fales can be quite noisy with wave and wind action, but not much i...
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank HilaryJeanPrice
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Matafonua Lodge

Property: Matafonua Lodge
Address: Foa Road | Faleloa, Tonga
Location: Tonga > Ha'apai Islands > Foa Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Foa Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Matafonua Lodge 2.5*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A Pacific-style resort located on the spectacular Northern tip of Foa Island. Pristine white-sand beach, safe swimming and exceptional snorkeling. Thatched-wall beach-front fales with very comfortable King sized beds. Excellent restaurant/bar with great variety of meals and drinks.On site scuba diving school and seasonal whale watching and swimming excursions. Good library and games available for guest use. Friendly, easy-going owner/managers live on-site. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Matafonua Hotel Ha`Apai Islands
Matafonua Lodge Tonga/Foa Island

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