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All reviews serenity beach south pacific mosquito net fish both sides humpback whales free diving special place no electricity pastry each evening spent nights crashing waves anyone who wants solar heated water hot shower solar lights
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Reviewed 23 September 2014

I spent two nights at Serenity Beaches Resort as the 'Ha'apai' part of my trip. What a find! Patti and Sami have created such a special space... a mix of luxury and rustic with beautiful Balinese fales and a few new concrete additions that will better withstand future cyclones. And they're both so friendly and welcoming! Nothing was ever too much trouble. The whales swam past, the sunrises and sunsets were sublime, I had fresh coconuts both days... what more could you want? I'd highly recommend a visit whether you're travelling on your own, with your partner, family or group of friends.

  • Stayed: September 2014, travelled solo
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Thank Judith C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 July 2014

We loved everything about Serenity and the island of Uoleva. We stayed at Serenity for five nights and found the whole resort peaceful and uplifting. Patti and Same are superb hosts and lots of fun, and can only be admired for their resilience in getting this resort back up and running after the big cyclone on Hapai earlier this year. We loved the little Balinese style houses - our daughter slept in a cool loft on top of the bedroom - and the true feeling of being right in nature. Patti and Same made great meals for us every night, going out of their way to cater for us as vegetarians, and our pasta - obsessed daughter. I would recommend this resort to anyone who wants to experience the true beauty of a remote, peaceful Pacific island.

  • Stayed: July 2014
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1  Thank TanyaA449
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 July 2014

If you look for the Paradise on Earth, go to Serenity Beaches. We spent six nights and we wish we could have stayed much longer. Really nice rooms and beautiful restaurant. All running on solar panels and candles. Food is excellent. And Pati will take care of you. If you are lucky, you could even have a campfire on the beach with real Tongan songs (no the cheesy kind you find on other resorts).

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Jesus M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 November 2013

This is a secluded island that is certainly off the grid. The beach is gorgeous and the snorkeling fabulous as well. One of my very favorite things about it is that it’s an eco resort run primarily on sunlight and candlelight! You really start to live by the natural rhythms of day and night again. I had the best sleep! There are wonderful solar lit paths through the coconut palms at night—another favorite thing that I found magical. When you stay on the island, you have the option of beaches on both sides. If one side was windy and wavy, we just went to the other. My kids adored the snorkeling and hiking around the island. We also enjoyed the campfires and special show the staff put on one night.

Speaking about the staff. They are amazing. Everyone is so kind and helpful. The food is fantastic—great portions—very healthy. Another unique thing about the resort that I especially loved was that the meals were served in a gorgeous restaurant overlooking the ocean where you sit with other world travelers and have the most amazing conversations. I felt so connected and content with these great friendships made over food, wine, and yummy homemade chocolate coconut macaroons made from the coconuts on the island. They were often overly generous with the food and I was trying to not overeat. Everyone else seemed to love it though.

We loved the eco resort style of candlelight and walls that open to the private ocean views and tropical greenery. The fales are lovely, private, and have their own ocean views. We had the opportunity to stay on both sides of the island and liked them equally as well. Although it was easier with my kids to have them stay in the fales with the loft space above.

While the whale viewing was great, and I understand that is a real highlight for most people visiting, but I think I would just as well go when it is off season. For me, one of the things I loved most is that I didn’t feel compelled to run around and make sure I “did” everything. I was able to relax, take time to myself, read, rest, and regenerate. By the time I returned home I was on a completely different speed and I have been able to retain a more mindful way of living—the best souvenir I’ve ever brought home with me. I think this is due to the size, simplicity, and true serenity of this one-of-a kind resort. I will definitely go back—hopefully soon. Wish it was closer!

One of the things I would love to do is to go on a retreat there. I wish they would provide some in the future. The massage was also the best I’ve ever had. Patti, the owner, used to do massages at the famous Four Seasons in Hawaii. I highly recommend it!

Room Tip: Each room is unique and wonderful. I loved both sides of the island equally well. My kids loved the lofts for sleeping. I enjoyed the octagon room for its charm.
  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with family
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2  Thank relaxrefresh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 October 2013

We went for the whale swimming but that was frustrated thanks to Ha'apai Whale and Sail (rogue trader), however by pure serendipity we discovered Serenity- a brilliant consolation. We transferred from Lifuka with Selassie (he is the only native operator for whale watching in Ha’apai, whose boat has a wet boarding (and the boarding area has broken glass- caution), however you are then transported away to a different life. You arrive on the beach where Patti is waiting. You'll be taken to your beautiful Balinese hardwood chalet or Fale as they call it which has no windows but roller blinds. If you're lucky enough to be allocated 'Ika' (they all have names) you only need roll down the right hand roller for total privacy which gives puts you full square in the middle of the sights and sounds of the forest (in which all the fales are situated) and surf. Do not roll down the other blinds and enjoy the feeling of oneness with the forest- wonderful.
At night (everyone has gone to bed by eight!) the staff has quietly rigged the mosquito net (burn the coil and apply any repellent- they bite!) and all that is left is to crawl under, onto your rather thin mattress and hard bed, and feel part of the forest. The only animals around are the coconut-eating Polynesian rats (very small, brown and terrified of humans (they were a food source for centuries) and Polynesian pigs (like small wild boar and equally frightened for the same reason)- you’ll probably see neither though you might hear the rats feet scratching- until they realise you’re there!
The beach is in front of you- just 20 seconds walk from bed to sea, but the dark effect of the forest is that passing boats cannot see the fale- ensuring your privacy. You wake up with the dawn and over for a healthy breakfast- no earlier than 8am.
The showers deserve a special mention. A cold water shower is always there. The hotwater is a solar bag heated on the beach during the day which gives you two brief hot showers at 4pm. We had no luck with them. The plastic tap snapped off one (sand had jammed the spring) and the bag’s handle (which is looped over a nail in a post) snapped on the second. Water emerges from a plastic pipe- gravity fed- which means you must lower yourself to about 5 foot to get any flow.
The bathroom area is lovely and after dinner cast a torch light (torches are essential) in the shower- full of charming (cannibalistic) tiny hermit crabs, clacking away on the shower’s pebble base
The food is excellent, (with some reservations on the coconut chicken -rather spiky and dry). On one memorable night we were served our main dish of succulent mahimahi when suddenly each of us received a side dish of half a large succulent lobster- wonderful. Semi, (Patti’s partner) is responsible for the menu and is ably assisted by the ladies of the kitchen.
Another night we had the staff entertaining us with guitar and song (Tongan men alomost whisper when they talk- this was the first time we heard any volume in their voices!) then a Tongan Fire Dance- real fun; that night we all were served spitted suckling pig- delicious- cooked slowly all day on the beach!
When we were there, there was also a large group present and it became obvious that staff play to the gallery to encourage the groups’ approval and the goodwill of the organiser. They were leaving the night before us and Semi loudly promised us in front of the others, swordfish (he even showed us our steaks) and possibly lobster the next night (our last)- we were told by the group how lucky we were,- once they left, we got…the coconut chicken. We didn’t see Semi again once the group left.
Warning, a beer is TOP10 for a small bottle. No spirits. The hotel guidebook urges you to ask for and drink young coconuts much as you like. We asked and over 11 days received a total of three between the two of us!
Patti is a fantastic hostess and one of her massages (TOP100) is unmissable- she used to be a masseuse at the Four Seasons.
You will not wear shoes during your stay, but a watch is essential. Battery charging is no problem for camera buffs (Australian and US sockets only) during dinner, when the generator runs. There appears to be InterNet coverage if required but we did not use it.
There is a small beach shack, ten minutes’ walk down the leeward beach called the ‘Happy Beaver’ but that is designed for rich Yachties who swim ashore from their anchorages to this beautiful island and don’t mind paying over-the-odds for a beer.
Amazingly there is a clearly preserved ancient pre-Christian kava drinking site with unusual ramps- only a few minutes’ walk from the hotel’s main building. Patti leases the whole peninsula so this lies on her land.
If you’re travelling privately be aware that Real Tonga is a capricious little operation. Despite arranging and confirming our afternoon flights five months earlier, on the day before our flight from Ha’apai, they tried to fly my partner at 0730hrs and me at 1530hrs. If it wasn’t for the tenacious and uber-competent Amba Fuahala (risingsun@kalianet.to) from Rising Sun, it would have been a sour ending to our holiday. She comes very highly recommended- she will personally fight to ensure you have the best room, the finest tour and the smoothest trip throughout Tonga.
Overall, as long as you want freedom to relax and don’t demand four star luxury, this is a happy medium with no worries, a little subtle care and a superb, dreamlike setting.

Room Tip: Choose Ika- you won't regret it- perfect privacy
  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank NCLPride
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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