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“Worlds best kept secret”
Review of Uepi Island Resort

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Uepi Island Resort
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Uepi
Certificate of Excellence
Central West NSW
Level Contributor
127 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
“Worlds best kept secret”
Reviewed December 30, 2009

It's nearly 2 years since our visit to Uepi Island but after reading the reviews left already, we felt the need to add our thoughts. Even now we can't wipe the smiles off our faces at the memories that will never fade.
After spending 6 months working and living in Honiara, we decided to treat ourselves to a trip off the main island, thankfully, we found Uepi.
The flight to Seghe airstrip was an adventure in itself, culminating in a landing on a small grass strip. We were met by a lovely man with a boat who whisked us off on a scenic ride across the Morovo Lagoon.
Grant claims that Uepi is a NO star resort in a 5 star location, he isn't giving his home enough credit.
As long as you come with a sense of adventure and a desire to stay amongst nature as it should be, then look in the night sky and you will leave knowing in your heart that it has a million stars.
We stayed in the garden bungalow and it was fabulous. We had views of the water in two directions, the beach between the beach bungalows and the ocean slot through lush gardens. It took us 30 seconds to get to the beach and 30 seconds to get to the Figtree Grotto, a decked area which overlooked the slot.
We took our picnic lunch to the grotto a few times, but mainly stayed on our private deck , enjoying the amazing food and then fighting over who would lay in the hammock afterwards.

Meal times were set. Turn up for breakfast between the designated times and you could ask for anything and everything on the menu.
Lunch picnics came to your bungalow, dinner was a set time for all to eat together as a family. Grant and Jill would sit and enjoy the days conversation. Whether it be where we went, what we saw, who we were or introducing the newcomers, dinners were never boring and always tasty. The nightly menu announcement was a highlight, delivered and received with joy.
We had our 7 and 8 year old kids with us. Jill saw us dealing with our kids on the first nights dinner and the next day offered to organise an early dinner for the kids which we gladly took up. They told us what was on offer at lunch time and we adapted it so the kids were happy, they then joined the local people watching DVD movies on the only TV on the island while we enjoyed the food and the company hassle free.
Jill also thought the kids might enjoy an island pizza instead of some of the delicious foods the adults were treated to for lunch, they were in heaven.
There was no nightlife apart from a chat and drink at the bar after dinner, we were all too exhausted from our daily adventures.

After 6 months on a foam mattress in Honiara, the Uepi mattress was heaven. The bungalow was cleaned daily and the towels were left as different sea creatures each day, which delight the kids.
We had our tea/coffee making facilities, toilet and cold shower. NO TV, NO aircon, NO luxuries, It was basic and perfectly acceptable to us and everyone we met. We didn't need anything else, the whole experience was such a joy that I don't think the best resort in the world could outdo it.

We weren't scuba divers, still aren't, but we had the most wonderful experiences in the water surrounding Uepi.
We snorkelled up and down the channel with an array of nature and creatures including the reef sharks. Jill gave the four of us an introduction lesson to snorkelling and found the first stone fish that they had seen for years. The stone fish was whisked away to another location and our lesson continued. The kids loved it. Our 7 year old wasn't the most confident swimmer but took to it, sharks and all, like a duck to water. 9 year old was up the front with Jill showing us how to do it.
We brought our own snorkelling gear but Rob had trouble with water entering through the valve, they gave him one he could use.
We all got a bit sunburnt snorkelling on the first day, we were given full body suits to use for the rest of our stay.
We asked about the resort dive, the next day, the kids were being minded and Grant partnered Hubby while poor Jill did her best keeping buoyant me under water and we scuba'd from one end of the island back to the scuba shack.
The kids delighted at dolphins swimming past, Grant rushed them down to the jetty and onto a boat to follow them.
The kids delighted at the huge monitor lizards, they took us to an out of bounds area that had them everywhere.
The kids asked about the wooden canoe, a local lady took them for a ride.
The kids said they had a ball at the beach, they were given access to a surf ski.
Hubby wanted to go fishing, they whisked him off for a few hours of fun. A Spanish Mackerel and a Barracuda later, they all came home and there was a special addition to that nights dinner.
Young kids aren't the usual visitors to this paradise, but we were made to feel very welcome
There was so much more, but that's enough.

It was our experience that the least you wanted or expected, the more you got.
This is their home and they delight in sharing it with those priviledged enough to find their way there.
Getting to the Solomon Islands can be difficult, getting to this isolated destination even harder, but you will find it well worth the effort.
We haven't given up hope of getting back there one day.

  • Stayed December 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank julpat19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
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English first
Australia
Level Contributor
20 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed November 29, 2009

Uepi Island Resort is probably the best known resort in the Solomon Islands, and with good reason. It's justifiably famous with divers due to its amazing underwater environment. We had pretty high expectations, in this regard, and were definitely not disappointed!

Our stay at Uepi was for seven nights. We arrived via boat transfer from Tetepare Island, and after two hours of crossing the open ocean in a tinny, we looked like cyclone refugees! We stepped onto Uepi's jetty absolutely sodden but in high spirits. Jill was waiting for us and welcomed us with a friendly chat, and showed us to our room straight away so we could shower and get changed. We had booked a beach front bungalow, with the main room for my partner and myself, and the adjoining room for my father, who arrived later in the week. This generally worked very well, as we had private rooms but were able to have lunch together etc on the shared balcony area. The rooms were modern, very clean and nicely designed. Perhaps slightly spartan but overall very comfortable and pleasant. The bathroom was great, no hot water but this didn't really trouble us during our stay. The balcony fronted directly onto the beach, which was very nice for an afternoon swim in the lagoon. Having said that, the garden bungalows are by no means far from the action and you only need to walk a very short distance to be on the beach. The whole resort has pretty orchid beds along the paths and a satisfactory number of palm trees to complete the tropical paradise effect!

As we transferred directly from Tetepare to Uepi, we were coming from an amazing place that we had found truly wild and magical. Our first impression of Uepi, therefore, was that maybe it was a bit too developed for our taste, a bit too resorty. There is much more infrastructure and you are aware of that as you walk around the resort eg large generator etc. There was visible construction work occurring and obviously further expansion of the resort. Out of the water, the landscape is more developed, with gardens etc rather than forest. Therefore there is not as much terrestrial wildlife around the resort, although there were many monitor lizards!

But once we adjusted we found Uepi to be comfortable and appreciated the benefits provided by the greater level of development. The food was fantastic and we enjoyed every meal. Lunch was a picnic basket delivered to our room, and usually had freshly baked pies, cakes, tropical fruit, or curries and rice, sandwiches etc. It was plentiful, healthy, fresh and tasty. Dinner was buffet-style and of a very high standard. Soup or fresh sashimi to start, followed by salads, BBQ'd fresh fish and crays, curries, veggies etc. And dessert every night! Delicious!! At dinner you eat with all the other guests, at large tables, so everyone chats. Generally this was great and it was fun to talk to new people about their experiences, however there were a few nights when it would have been nice to have the option of having a table to ourselves just to relax when we were tired. It was also very convenient being able to access our email - the internet is very reasonably priced given the situation. We also loved the free laundry service - very helpful after having travelled for weeks in a humid climate!

We booked through Dive Adventures and as non-divers we were concerned that we wouldn't be able to enjoy Uepi as much. We decided that we could do our dive certification there if we wanted to. This isn't really a very practical idea though, and we decided not to when we arrived. It is therefore VERY IMPORTANT to realise that Uepi really is primarily a dive resort. And why wouldn't it be, when the diving is amazing? We had a wonderful time snorkelling, but I would strongly recommend that you visit this resort as a diver. Otherwise you may feel a bit excluded and also like you are not getting the best value for money. We would definitely return as divers so we could take advantage of the obviously amazing opportunities.

Having said that, we had a wonderful time just snorkelling around the dive jetty, welcome jetty and Uepi point. The fish life there is unbelievable and the sharks are incredible! The resort encourages the sharks to hang around, which is great! Snorkelling at the welcome jetty would generally see you surrounded by 30+ grey and black tip reef sharks. But it's very safe, I never felt afraid even though some of the grey reef are pretty big! The staff do a shark feed every few days which is great to watch from in or out of the water! Other highlights were plentiful lionfish, lots of different eels, batfish, endless angelfish and parrotfish, a tawny nurse shark and snorkelling with the manta rays early in the morning. The visibility varies from fantastic to incredible in the channel! We also snorkelled at Landoro, which had beautiful coral gardens. Even just snorkelling in the lagoon was fun as there was always something new and surprising. We spent most of our time in the water and loved every minute. Activities always felt safe and well-organised. We really liked the library of Solomon Islands/diving books too.

The staff were great - friendly and helpful. We were able to chat to Jill and Grant (the owners) about the many ways they support the local communities, which is really important. The resort has a weekly carvers market - all the carvers bring their wares to sell. They have a special area allocated for this, which is good as it means you don't feel pressured to buy anything. We bought a lot of carvings here and found them to be good value and the some of the best we found in the Solomons. Don't wait to buy in Honiara - if you see something you like get it! I wish I had bought some larger pieces now! Jill and Grant are great hosts - very helpful, professional and friendly.

On the day we were due to leave my partner came down with what appeared to be acute appendicitis. This could have been an absolute catastrophe, as it is a very remote area. Jill and Grant were fantastic - they took it very seriously and organised additional accommodation for us, found one of the guests that was a doctor and asked him to help us, and started to organise how we would proceed with a medical evacuation to Brisbane. Fortunately this wasn't necessary! But we were very impressed with how helpful they both were.

Overall, we really enjoyed our stay and would definitely return, although as divers. We would also probably stay in a garden bungalow as it is quite expensive staying in the beach bungalow. Highlights were the marine wildlife, the great food, friendly informal service and the relaxed vibe. The Solomon Islands is an amazing country and every place we stayed was special. Have a look at my other reviews if you are planning a trip and feel free to contact me if you have any questions!

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank neareststar123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hobart, Australia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed July 30, 2007

Uepi Resort found on the island of Uepi in the Marovo Lagoon. Friendly, helpful and providing the BEST laid back accommodation. Snorkel and dive every day from dive boats and from the jetty 2 minutes walk from the leaf hut restaurant. Good for all ages, friendly hosts and encouragement to join other guests or just chill on the beach by yr bungalow
Yes Nemo was found along with an enormous swim past of tropical fish and a fun swim with those perky little reef sharks.
Combine a stay at Uepi with a stay at Wilderness Lodge further down the beautiful lagoon. Boatmen from both resorts sort out the boat transfers at very reasonable cost.
A small paradise unspoilt.

Helpful?
5 Thank ArielHobart_Tasmania
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canberra
Level Contributor
137 reviews
55 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 211 helpful votes
Reviewed January 4, 2007

we had a fantstic stay at Uepi and the resort deserves every accolade! It is not a western 5 star place transported into SI. It is a beautiful place that works with the surroundings and the culture of the solomons to provide a delightful tropical island experience.

Uepi specialises in scuba diving and my partner and I did our certification course there - much better than sitting on the bottom of a hotel swimming pool! We dived twice a day and enjoyed the wonderful corals and sea life - so much variety and beauty - go research it.

We stayed for Christmas and our Aussie hosts put on a semi-trad chrissie dinner - Roast Turkey! All other meals were great - fresh fish, crabs, stir fries, fresh fruits. always a lovely dessert. Uepi had gone to great lengths to procure local, fresh produce and then devise recipes and menus of high quality. Wonderful eating.

Uepi was also the only place in SI were we found western sprung mattresses - YAY! (SI is the land that upholstery forgot - be ready to spend a lot of time sitting and sleeping on hard surfaces). Rooms were little bungalows with fridges, tea and coffee, desk, ceiling fans, spotlessly clean, deck with full sized hammock. Some have views of the lagoon and others are in among the well maintained jungle garden. The gardens are beautiful - full of orchids.

No a/c and no hot water - but it's not needed and not missed. And that keeps away the [-] expecting a Four Seasons. Lots of mixing with the other guests who are from around the world and looking for the same relaxed island life and enjoying getting close to the pristine nature.

  • Liked — beautiful above and below the water - transported to an island hideaway
  • Disliked — mothing not to like!
  • Tips/Secrets — go scuba diving and when on land, look out for the cutest geckos
  • Stayed December 2005, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
15 Thank DownunderSugarglider
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Uepi Island Resort

Property: Uepi Island Resort
Address: Marovo Lagoon, Uepi, Solomon Islands
Location: Solomon Islands > Uepi
Amenities:
Beach Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Uepi
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
With an international reputation for excellence, Uepi Island Resort in the Western Province is the ultimate getaway in the Solomons. World class diving, snorkeling and sea kayaking is complemented by beachfront bungalow accommodation, friendly personalized service and meals based on fresh local produce. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Uepi Island Hotel Marovo

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