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Matafonua Lodge(Foa Island)
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Certificate of Excellence
  • Free Parking
  • Breakfast included
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All reviewssandy beachfishwhale watchingfrench chefother guestssouth pacificthe managersdeck chairsbeach frontnew zealandfantastic beachcourse dinnerr rfrom australiathe staff was friendly and helpfulwater was warmfront window
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Reviewed 25 January 2018

Leave the city behind, this resort is the best. Kayaks are included in the cost of the fale. Snorkeling right down the lane in front of your private fale. We saw turtles, blue starfish, clown fish, and many more. Enjoy dinner with the other guests. Sunset in this tropical paradise is amazing.

Stayed: January 2018
1  Thank rizzeroo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 October 2017

I'm a solo female traveller from New York. I enjoyed my time at Sandy Beach Resort very much. The room was clean, the food was delicious, the staffs were very friendly and accommodating. I contacted Peta for bookings and she was fast in responding my email. The whale swimming was the best. The guide cared and was very respectful to the whales. The beach is absolutely beautiful and quiet. I can not wait to go back again!!

Stayed: September 2017
4  Thank lomimanhattan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 September 2017 via mobile

This resort is good, but falls shy of being great. The beach it is located on is beautiful with lovely coral. If they worked on communication, connection to place and people & customer-focused flexibility it could notch up to a five star experience.

- A book in the fale with some explanation of systems - like being able to eat at either restaurant for dinner. It might also be helpful to know more about expected behaviour of whales, to ease the work of the whale guides.
- We'd also have appreciated tide times at Sandy Beach, and info about what tides are best to snorkel the channel at their sister resort.
- Dinner seating - most couples come to places like this to escape people. Space is luxury. When designing dinner perhaps having less tables for six and more tables of two, and not arguing with guests who wish to eat alone, would be preferable.
- Breakfast could be aided by a list of options.
- Dinner menus for both restaurants should be circulated rather than breakfast staff shrugging if you ask what's on the other menu. We tried asking what the other menu was with multiple staff on multiple days, never got a menu or an offer to get us one.
- More connection to wider island. Encourage us to explore town! Make a day of the week where you can bus in and out of town and eat lunch cheaply. Give local restaurants a listing in an in-room guide.
- Buy some things from local farmers. Greens were decidedly absent from our meals, yet we ate amazing beans at Lucky Pot. I get there are difficulties, I get that supply may be irregular, but as a guest when I am in Ha'apai, I want to feel connected and welcomed by the people of Ha'apai and contribute to the wider economy. I also don't want scurvy.
- Ceiling fan made a high pitched squeal disturbing our first night (Thursday). We reported on Friday morning. It was tightened but that just changed pitch of squeal for Friday night. It was finally fixed with WD40 on Saturday. My husband had two very erratic nights of sleep. Turning the fan on causes all the lights to flick on, including lights that were off.
- Poor sleep was compounded by the king sized bed actually being two very firm singles pushed together, however the pillows were fluffy & great!
- Beyond that the room (4 'fa') was great. Love the glassless front window with epic views. Love the wide balcony - ours got great afternoon sun and was a wonderful place to watch the sun go down with a book & beverage. Directional bedside lights with dimmer switches are genius!
- Breakfast - maybe we were ordering it wrong but Bacon came as chunks integrated into each dish, be that scrambled eggs or fried eggs.
- Fred does good work in the kitchen - try and support him! Wahoo ceviche with vanilla & passionfruit, cured wahoo and smoked wahoo were all favourites. Lobster cooked in butter and cognac with risotto was also excellent, as was pan fried mahi mahi with gnocchi and pumpkin purée. There was one low - the "seared" tuna was brutally overcooked. We sent it back uneaten to the kitchen and the chef came out and apologised saying it overcooked because he kept it warm in the oven. Husband would have liked an alternative or even more bread. All was redeemed the next night though with textbook cooking across a lobster gazpacho, perfectly seared wahoo & a lemon tart with a torched meringue topper & basil syrup.

Stayed: September 2017
2  Thank Jackie M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 September 2017

We have travelled to many south pacific tropical islands and Sandy Beach has been the best. The beach in front of fales was stunning with great swimming. Stunning hues of blue on blue on blue. The staff were wonderful - such warmth, fun and genuine friendliness. The tongan feast and dancing was brillant. The food - 5 star 3 course dinner by the wonderful French chef, Fred. Swimming with the whales was absolutely incredible, amazing and wonderful. However, we also enjoyed days exploring the lagoon, kings island, paddling, snorkelling, diving and swimming.
The Fales are basic, but so functional and comfortable. We loved the large mesh open window looking out to the beach and ocean. The only minor thing was our chair was broken, our fan didnt work. but you have to remember everything has to be shipped in - its tonga. beds were comfortable, plenty of hot water for showers and the fridge in our room great for milk and water. We could watch whales out in the bay from our fale. The sunsets were stunning. We had fresh coconuts to drink daily.
We had fantastic weather for the week day after day, fantastic food, fantastic things to do and see, fantastic beach. fantastic people. Highly recommend.

Room Tip: they all seem great
  • Stayed: September 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank nzp0ppy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 September 2017

Sandy beach resort bungalows are spartan, but clean and comfortable. Built to last since the 70's.
All the staff are friendly and competent. The french chef serves tasty fruit, fish, meat and veg.
A pepper mill on each table would be a big hit with guests. Perfect for the sunset dinners.
The Ha'Apai islands are flat - but there is one storybook shaped volcano in the distance - look for it when the distant clouds lift.

The resort has ample Kayaks. There are decent coral reefs with abundant fish in front of the bungalows.
Walk north along the beach to snorkel in the channel, only with the current.
Keep going right to the lagoon and swim to the orange buoy for a coral treat - 10 metre wide brain corals with colored corals in their cropped tops, and multi colored fish around their circumference.

The water in front of your bungalow has all the colors of the south pacific shallows - yellow, green, turquoise, and azure.
Go on a dive, or a fishing trip or swim with the whales. You will not be bored at Sandy Beach.

Room Tip: All solidly built concrete bungalows - all quiet - all 25 metres from the beach
  • Stayed: September 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank kathmandu91
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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