Advice on Choosing a Resort in Tonga
The dream of travelling to some far-flung islands in the South Pacific starts with browsing the resorts. Tonga is an island nation of boutique resorts that don’t pretend to be anything that they are not. They don’t try to be too “flashy” but blend in with their natural surroundings, where being nestled in coconut palms on a white sandy beach is a standard. Yes, choosing a resort in Tonga is going to be difficult but we’re here to give you advice on making the right decision for you.
Quick Tips for Staying at a Resort in Tonga
- The term “resort” is used rather loosely in Tonga but generally means an accommodation complex on the waterfront made up of multiple fales (bungalows)
- Some accommodations in Tonga are known for changing facilities and services without updating listings on website and brochures, so be sure to inquire about any deal-breaker facilities you need
- Factor in the transfer costs for getting to island resorts that are on separate islands to the airport
- All of Tonga’s resorts are boutique, so you needn’t worry about it feeling too “busy”. However, this also means that some resorts get booked up quickly for the high season
- For examples of resorts, take a look at the 10 Best Resorts in Tonga.
What are the Resorts Like in Tonga?
Tonga has a wide range of budget, three-star and four-star resorts. The term “resort” tends to refer to waterfront accommodation complexes with multiple beach bungalows locally known as “fales”. Fales tend to have bedroom furniture and an ensuite bathroom, but some resorts, especially in Ha’apai, may have communal bathrooms instead.
Resorts tend to either have a restaurant with an a la carte menu, a dining area where set meals are served, or rarely a communal kitchen for guests.
Very few resorts have swimming pools in Tonga – the ones that do are typically very small outdoor pools. However, resorts enable guests to make the most of the ocean on their doorstep, where the free use of snorkelling and kayaking equipment is a standard.
Many resorts will have their own in-house activities, such as cultural tours, island-hopping tours, snorkelling tours, etc. But very often they will work with external operators for whale swimming, scuba diving, fishing, etc. where these operators often pick you up from the resort.
Location, What is Nearby and How to Get There?
Now that you know what to expect from resorts in Tonga, choosing one first requires you to pick a destination. There are resorts in the island groups of Tongatapu, Ha’apai and Vava’u, while there are “kind-a” resorts in ‘Eua. Compare these island groups using the following guides:
- The Complete Guide to Tongatapu
- The Complete Guide to ‘Eua
- The Complete Guide to Ha’apai
- The Complete Guide to Vava’u
Another factor to consider is the time and expense to get to each island group. Check out What is the Cost of Transport in Tonga? for general transport costs and follow our advice on how to get to each island group in the following:
- 10 Ways to Get to Tongatapu (& Around Tongatapu)
- 5 Ways to Get to ‘Eua (& Get Around ‘Eua)
- 5 Ways to Get to Ha’apai (& Around Ha’apai)
- 10 Ways to Get to Vava’u (& Around Vava’u)
Compare resorts on each island group’s main islands and resorts on the outer islands. There are associated costs with outer island transfer that are much greater than take a transfer to a resort by road.
Finally, consider that resorts on the main islands are likely to give you greater access to towns and attractions around the island for sightseeing and independent exploration. Resorts on some of the more remote islands are sometimes the only development on the island, so you will need to solely rely on the resort and yourself for entertainment.
Price and Inclusions
The final major comparison you’ll need to make between resorts is the value of the resort, which can be measured through its nightly rate, inclusions and facilities. Any savvy traveller knows that it’s not a good idea to just go for the cheapest resort you can find, which typically means it has only the basic facilities. If you’re looking for a complete island holiday, then it might be worth paying the more expensive all-inclusive rates. Then again, you don’t want to be paying a higher nightly rate for inclusions you’re not interested in, so it’s a fine balance.
The Cost of Resorts in Tonga
The typical price for resorts in Tonga are as follows:
- Budget resort fale per couple/night – TOP$50-$150
- Three/four-star resort fale per couple/night – TOP$280-$400
- Three/four-star resort fale per family/night – TOP$280-$550
Inclusions and Facilities
To really understand the worth of your nightly rate, it’s best to compare the facilities and services of a resort. Some inclusions to compare include some of the following:
- Meals included
- Free breakfast
- Free watersports rental
- In-house activities and tours
- Airport transfers
- Transport to town
- Free bike hire
- Fales with ensuite bathrooms
- Fans or air-conditioning
- Hot water
- Mosquito screens or mosquito nets
- Car parking
- Eco-friendly facilities
- Tea/coffee-making facilities.
More About Resorts in Tonga
- 10 Best Resorts for Snorkelling & Diving in Tonga
- 10 Best Eco Resorts in Tonga
- Should You Buy a Resort Meal Plan in Tonga?