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.

“a definate family favorite!”
Review of Matafonua Lodge

Best prices for -
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 5 more sites!
Matafonua Lodge
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Foa Island
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 18, 2009

We stayed 5 nights at Matafonua Lodge with our 3 children (15, 13 and 1/2 and 11 years old) and I wished we could have stayed a lot longer. That in itself says a lot.:-)
Matafonua Lodge is located in a beautiful spot, quite remote, but within walking distance to the nearest village. Visitors have the choice out of 3 beaches: the one on the east of the resort, the one on the west and the channel. We only managed to snorkel on the western side, which is a bit more sheltered. We saw some great bommies with an abundance of fish and coral. A diver couple we spoke to said the snorkeling on the other side was even better, so we can only dream of what that must have been like....
The atmosphere at Matafonua is great: very easy-going, everybody having a friendly chat with everybody. The kids found mates to join in on their crab-races, single parents seemed to find plenty of company in other parents.
The communal block is very clean, as are the rooms. Also as mentioned in other reviews: I can confirm that the beds are fantastic.
The staff is always friendly, polite and accommodating. Everything happens with a smile.
The food is great. Our kids got really hooked on the pizza's, but there are plenty more adult food options like stir fry, curry, pasta, fish, pork. You only mention the word and the next day it appears on the menu....
Sally and Dave run the place in a relaxed, yet very professional way.
I would really recommend this place for couples as well as families with children who want a relaxed island holiday without all the bells and whistles of some of the luxury resorts you can book at your travel agent. Thinking back of a negative review a while ago,I think it is important you realize you are in the Pacific, where your bed sheets get damp (so does all the paper-this is the tropics!) and things happen in their own time. The Pacific has its own rhythm. No 'beach babes', room service or banana boats here, but I guess that is only a good thing.

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Marthune
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (421)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
Language

382 - 388 of 421 reviews

Reviewed June 23, 2009

We were after a relaxing winter getaway and we sure found that. The location is even more spectacular than I'd expected after the photos I'd seen. Beautiful beach, that we quite often had to ourselves. Great snorkelling right off the beach.

The wind is quite strong and the beach closest to the fales is exposed to this so we didn't swim that side. The wind in the palm trees made it sound like it was raining which was quite relaxing!

The food is fantastic. Amazing what they can do when they're so isolated and have limited/reliable supply of food. The staff were all very pleasant.

The fales are basic - a VERY comfy bed/mosquito net, mosquito coils are supplied, shelf with cold drinking water, small cupboard/wardrobe - but they're very comfortable, and we didn't want/need anything else. The shower/toilet block is nicely done, was pleasantly surprised to have nice hot water each time (solar heated?).

I definitely recommend this as the perfect place to escape to but you will have to make your own fun, there are no activities organised for you - Ha'apai Divers is just down the road and they're very nice. You can hire snorkelling gear or arrange diving trips...or the whales sight seeing trips if it's the right time of year, unfortunately we were too early. I loved not having anything else to do other than lay on the beach, read, swim etc. No computers/cellphones/tv - was bliss!

  • Stayed: June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Josie B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 20, 2009

Given all of the great reviews of Matafonua that we'd read, we were expecting fantastic things from this little lodge. Unfortunately, though, our short stay there didn't meet with our expectations.

We stayed at Matafonua for a couple of nights. The location is fantastic - truly beautiful - and we thought it was as good as, or probably better than, the slightly more expensive resort just around the corner -- which, we were told, is actually owned by the same people as Matafonua.

Our arrival was marred by delayed flights, and the staff seemed to blame us for this, which ruined our first impressions. By the end of our stay they'd warmed a little, but we certainly didn't experience the degree of friendliness reported by others on here, which we were suprised about since we're relatively easy-going people.

The restaurant was pleasant enough, but quite basic, with tasty but not amazing food. Any more than a couple of nights there and we'd have been wondering what else we could eat - answer: nothing; it's the only place around!

The communal toilet/shower blocks were basic, but a bit dirty. The rooms were small (a bed with mosquito net and a small cupboard was about it), but functional, and could have been quite pleasant. Ours, however, was VERY moist! It was so wet that the mattress, pillows and sheets smelled stronly of mildew. (We still joke about the 'moldy bed'.) Given the wind and how close the rooms are to the water, it must be quite difficult to dry out sheets, not to mention matresses and pillows, but the staff really do need to do a better job than had been done with ours; the mildew was overpowering and unacceptable.

Finally, for both nights of our stay there was a somewhat roudy group of two or three families, with children that were a bit on the noisy side. If the grumpy attitudes of the staff and the unpleasantly moldy bed hadn't put us off already, we probably wouldn't have minded this too much, but as it was, this was just another hassle we didn't want.

All of that said, however, the location was truly beautiful.

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank PacificFing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
lappy2319, Owner at Matafonua Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded February 22, 2012

ownership change in 2011

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 10, 2009

A group of 15 of us stayed at Matafonua for the week starting 30May 2009. Temp was 26deg, water temp was 26 deg also.

The other reviews say it all. 5/5 all round from us. Couldn't fault the place. It is by far the best spot on the island. Sandy Beach resort which is at least double the price looked run down and derelict and no where near as warming.

See the 10 photos I have uploaded a picture speaks 1000 words.

Three things which I thought i would expand on are ....
1.Snorkelling/Diving
2.Food
3.Security

**Diving/Snorkelling
The other reviews did not portray how extremely good the snorkelling is right outside the resort!!! To the east towards the reef there is an expanisive lagoon wich is full of large coral heads teaming with fish and all kinds of sea life. We even managed to capture a painted pacific lobster, but decided to put it back in its hole.
North of Matafonua is a channel between Foa and a small private island owned by the king. This channel gets to about 7-10 metres deep and again is full of live coral of all sorts of coulors and hundreds of species of fish.

To the west off Sandy beach there are more coral heads with loads of fish, and the odd predator like giant baracuda which are a startling sight. If you paddle out further (1km or so) is suddenly drops off to about 30-50m and is great for more experienced freedivers.

We had one trip spearfishing during which we saw a few large dog tooth tuna, a large grey reef shark, and loads of other fish and small white tip reef sharks.

Diving with Glen @ Ocean Blue Adventures (AKA happy ha'apai) is fantastic. He took all 15 of us out twice on his sailing catermaran to some great spots. Good value and well worth doing. If you are not licensed to Scuba Dive, try the discover Scuba course!

*Food
If you have travelled to the islands and stayed at the less prominant resorts you will know that food is very hard to come by! Sally and Dave ant Matafonua do a great job with the food. At the time we were there you could buy a very large beef burger for about $12Tongan, and the daily specials which were curries etc were typically $25-30 but were allways large. It is nearly impossible for Sally and Dave to get a steady supply of fresh fruit and vegies so dont expect too much here. When you come just remember that all food comes from new zealand to the Tongan mainland then is shipped up to Ha'apai, so do expect to pay a bit for snacks etc.

We took a lot of snacks and dave and sally were happy to let us have boiling water etc for noodles. BYO spirits at the bar provided you buy mixers from the resteraunt which is great!

*Tongan Feast
The local staff at Matafonua put on a Tongan feast for us @$25 per person which was really cheap for how much food we got. 3 Piglets cooked on the spit, raw fish in coconut milk and all sorts of other local delcacies.

*SECUTRITY
Lock your money away with sally and dave!!!!!! I do not want to give the impression that the locals cant be trusted as so many of them were great to us, however on the last night we had a theft of $1200 from one of the Fale's where the theif had broken in through the window. If you stay, lock your valuables away and you will be fine.



Dont let the security bit put you off, this applies anywhere in the world.
Great place 10/10 rating!!!

  • Stayed: June 2009
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank blairwood
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 21, 2009

We spent a week at Matafonua Lodge to enjoy snorkelling and relaxing, both of which we could excel at here. Hosts Sally and Dave are most accommodating and friendly, always being on hand if anything required.

The well built fales are all basic, but perfect for this kind of setting, with just a large and comfortable bed (the most comfortable on our Tongan holiday) under a mosquito net and wardrobe inside. A large verandah out front with table and chairs completes the fale. The ablution block has separate mens and womens, with 2 showers and 2 toilets each. As it was a quiet time when we were there, we didn’t have any queing problems for the showers or toilets. However, I think this could possibly be a bit of an issue in busy times. Matafonua has 10 fales, 5 of which are double/twin occupancy and 5 family fales of 2 rooms.

Being away from town, the only options for eating out is here at Matafonua or the nearby Sandy Beach resort. We ate all our meals here at Matafonua which were good serves, tasty and prices similar to anywhere around the island. The lunch menu included burgers, pizza and sandwiches, all fresh and tasty. The burgers (beef, chicken, fish) were my standard lunch and the homemade beef patties are great. Dinner was a daily changing menu, with fresh caught fish when available. Sally will do her utmost to meet all guests dining requirements, catering for vegetarians, vegans, etc as needed. Even a chicken curry appeared on the menu when I hinted at one.

The lodge/resort is situated on the tip of the northern end of the island with great swimming and snorkelling all round. The sheltered western side provides easy swimming to coral heads teeming with fish just metres off shore. The windy eastern side provides good snorkelling with fins to help against the current.

While staying here, we did a day sailing/snorkelling trip with nearby Happy Ha’api Divers, run by Glenn and Jane. A great day out on a very comfortable large catamaran, with 2 stops for snorkelling and a filling lunch included for US$85 per person.

For those energetic enough, kayaks and bicylces are available for hire from Matafonua at nominal charge. We hired the bikes and cycled to town, Pangai on one day. Quite an easy ride, as the islands are fairly flat and only a couple of inclines to tackle.

If coming to Ha’api, I’d certainly recommend this IS the place to stay. Don’t forget your snorkelling gear, plenty of sunscreen, mosquito repllent and own mosquito coils are helpful.

Regardless of where you stay in Tonga, remember you’re visiting a poor, but wonderful country and anything extra you can fit in your luggage will be most appreciated. The genuine smiles and thanks for a pack of chewing gum (sugarfree of course) are worth a thousand packs. Next time I’ll certainly pack a football, soccer ball or basket ball (deflated) and pump for the local kids or government school.

If you’re looking for a 5 star holiday with all the trimmings available in the West, then Tonga is not going to be for you. However, if you’re looking for a holiday that’s relaxing, safe, an experience you won’t find in many places, can forego 1 or 2 of life’s little luxuries, can put up with solitude when for as far as the eye can see up and down a pristine beach, it’s just you, then Tonga is a place you’ll enjoy and want to return to.

“Tonga is for travellers, not tourists” – Jill, Colorado, USA

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank SouthAussieTraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 14, 2009

If you want idyllic beaches without another soul in sight and water with amazing levels of visibility then this is the place to go. And not only that, but at a price a quarter or less of what you would pay for a similar level of beauty at more commercialised Islands. This truely is the place to go if you want to get away from it all. If you want shopping, massages and facials, you'll have to go to Fiji or Tahiti. The hosts Garth and Sandy who were filling in while the owners were away were all great, and it was quite nice how everyone sat around at meal times and included me.

You will be reliant on their cafe as there are no other shops bar one in the Ha'apai Islands, but again that's the beauty of the place. I would highly recommend to anyone who wants beautiful beaches to come and stay at Matafonua.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Shazzadude
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 10, 2009

Well, after all these great reviews, what else is there to add? We just loved the place. Yes, the fales are quite simple, but they have mosquito nets and are well-built and attractive, plus each has a deck, table and chairs to read your book on. The whole place was so well-maintained and clean. The value for money seemed really good.

The food was good too. People were coming from other parts to eat there which is a great sign. I was constantly amazed at how they got "western" ingredients into that isolated place what with boat delivery service really patchy. They managed yogurt every morning, for example, with breakfast. Full main dinners at times seemed a tad expensive but you can forgive them for the extreme trouble they take get the stuff in. It's also possible to eat more cheaply on good burgers and pizzas, which they do very well. Note there are no kitchen facilities to self-cater, and you'd have trouble getting ingredients anyway.

The local employees were really nice and we were sorry we missed their cultural performance which I believe is every Tuesday.

Best of all is the snorkelling and diving. Happy Ha'apai dive operators is five minutes walk up the road. I could not believe the undersea life here. It was absolutely stunning, abundant, colourful, strange, teeming, etc. etc. Really absolutely amazing. You could do that every day for a week and not get bored. You can even snorkel right off the shore. But you also want to leave room for reading, kayaking, beach time, cycling across the concourse to the next island (which we did, and enjoyed).

Also loved the quiet nights with only the wind (there's a fair bit of it here) to hear.

They've got a shelf full of books to pick through if you run short.

Do, do stay there. Value for money, no doubt about it.

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
1  Thank Kotuku33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
Also consider these accommodations in or near Foa Island
0 mi away
The Friendly Islander Hotel
The Friendly Islander Hotel
#8 of 13 in Nuku'alofa
48 reviews
0 mi away
The Black Pearl Suites
The Black Pearl Suites
#6 of 13 in Nuku'alofa
48 reviews
0.3 mi away
Sandy Beach Resort
Sandy Beach Resort
#2 of 2 in Foa Island
336 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
13 mi away
Serenity Beaches Resort
Serenity Beaches Resort
#2 of 2 in Uoleva Island
88 reviews
Show Prices

Been to Matafonua Lodge? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about 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: $103 - $123 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Hotels.com, Travelocity, Expedia, Agoda, Orbitz and Priceline so you can book your Matafonua Lodge reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Matafonua Hotel Ha`Apai Islands
Matafonua Lodge Tonga/Foa 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