Waterfront Lodge in Tonga

SDTonga Hotels › Waterfront Lodge Review
Updated: January 6, 2021
By Santorini Dave

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Review of Waterfront Lodge in Tonga

Waterfront Lodge – Elegant, charismatic, and historic.

Bursting with character and loaded with charm, this plantation-style mansion is along the far eastern esplanade. The setting, with whitewashed walls and tropical gardens, transports guests back to yesteryears, but the rooms are modern with chic lampshades and contemporary art. Each features a spacious balcony, and those at the front face the road and sea views are partially blocked by port buildings. The other rooms face the garden and neighboring houses, and are quieter, while the ground-floor patio is a convivial spot for a coffee or cocktail. The only downside is the location: opposite a busy port over a kilometer from the town center, with only a couple of small takeaways in between. Staying or not, certainly visit for one of Tonga’s very few classy restaurants.

Waterfront Lodge – The Basics

  • Location: Along Vuna Road, the eastern esplanade in the capital Nuku’alofa, on the main island. Opposite the Queen Salote Wharf, about 1.5 km from downtown and 40 minutes from the airport.
  • Guests: Focuses more on couples, with nothing set up for families. In fact, children under 10 are not allowed.
  • Beach: It faces the sea but there is no beach anywhere in or around Nuku’alofa. The closest serviceable beach is at Ha’atafu on the far western tip, about 25 km away.
  • Views: Views of the sea are spoiled by the main road and port. Views to the back of homes and gardens are arguably nicer, and certainly quieter.
  • Wi-Fi: A very small amount of data is provided for free. Extra charges are high.
  • Parking: Free and secure parking available at the back.
  • How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
  • Phone: (676) 25 260
  • Email: waterfro1@kalianet.to
  • Website: waterfrontlodge-tonga.com

Waterfront Lodge – Amenities

  • Pool, Fitness Center, & Spa: Not expected or provided in this petite boutique hotel.
  • Private Pools/Jacuzzis: Not expected or provided.

Waterfront Lodge – Food and Drink

  • Restaurant & Bar: The Waterfront Café is a charming place for breakfast, lunch (reservations only), and dinner. Specialties include BBQ ribs, Thai salad, and local cuisine such as slow-cooked pork belly. Also popular among locals for pasta, steaks, and desserts.
  • Breakfast: Continental breakfast is included in all rates. Cooked items cost extra.
  • Room Service: Available during restaurants hours – 7.30 am to 10 am and 12 pm to 9 pm.

Waterfront Lodge – Rooms

  • Room Types: Sea View Room • Garden View Room
  • Smoking Rooms: Smoking is not permitted in the rooms, but allowed on the balconies and in the gardens.
  • Best Room: Any of the 4 Sea View Rooms facing the front.

Waterfront Lodge – What’s Nearby?

Beat Nearby Restaurants & Bars

  • Ngutulei Bar & Restaurant – Always popular with expats for the fascinating port-side setting and super-fresh seafood. At the wharf, right across the road.
  • Nauti Ruby’s – With happy hours, a beer garden, pool table, and excellent meals, the port-side ambience is very likable. Almost alongside the Ngutueli at the wharf.
  • Billfish Bar & Restaurant – Expat hangout, with happy hours, quiz nights, and endless rugby on TV. Also popular for live music and pub meals. About 500m further up the esplanade.
  • Fresh Bar and Grill – In the Tanoa International Dateline Hotel, about 1 km along the esplanade towards town. For seafood, curries, imported steaks, and international sports on huge TVs.
  • Emerald Chinese Restaurant – Virtually next to the Tanoa in the Emerald Hotel, it’s cavernous, authentic, and popular. Importantly, open on Sundays (when most of Tonga closes down). Takeaway also available.

Nearby Market or Grocery

    A couple of basic convenience stores are along the esplanade nearby. Otherwise, there are supermarkets and a produce market in downtown, about 1.5 km away.

Local Transport

    A confusing array of buses and minibuses travel along the esplanade – useful for getting to the town center. Alternatively, organize a private (unmetered) taxi at the hotel.

Waterfront Lodge – The Hotel

The white walls and colonial-style wide balconies make the lodge very charming.

The lodge is charming, with whitewashed walls and wide balconies.

The welcoming lobby features Tongan art.

The lobby is welcoming and features some Tongan arts and crafts.

Waterfront Café offers good meals.

The delightful Waterfront Café offers a wide range of meals.

Waterfront Café is classy and elegant.

The Waterfront Café is classy for Tonga, with tablecloths and waitresses.

The cafe's patio is very welcoming and is popular with guests.

The patio in front of the café is a congenial place to meet other guests.

Tastefully decorated corridor leads to all the rooms.

A corridor along the second floor leads to rooms that face the front, with partial sea views, or the back.

Rooms are comfortable and modern.

All rooms are comfortable and feature a modern décor.

Rooms are very spacious.

There is plenty of space in the rooms.

All rooms have wide balconies with seating arrangements.

Each room features a balcony with wooden floors and wicker furniture.

Room balconies provide obstructed sea views.

The balcony attached to the rooms at the front face the sea, but views are blocked by the road and port.

Cyclones bring strong winds and rains to the island.

During the cyclone season, strong winds and rain can force guests inside.

Ngutulei Bar & Restaurant nearby is very popular.

The best place within walking distance (right across the road) is the Ngutulei Bar & Restaurant.

Billfish Bar & Restaurant is popular with foreigners.

The Billfish Bar & Restaurant, about 500m further up the esplanade, is a popular hangout for expats.

Billfish Bar is popular for its live music, happy hours and tasty meals.

The Billfish offers happy hours, live music, and tasty pub meals.

The seaside path leads to the town center.

A path alongside the sea leads from the hotel to the town center, about 1.5km away.

Walking on the eastern part of the esplanade is a pleasant experience.

The eastern part of the esplanade is pleasant for walking.

Pigs roam freely on the esplanade.

Don’t be surprised to see some pigs grazing along the esplanade near the hotel.

The port across the road offers boat to other islands.

The lodge faces a port, also with boats to the outer islands.

The port features informal fish markets every morning.

Every morning, an informal fish market is set up at the port across the road from the lodge.

Nuku’alofa city center is close by.

The center of Nuku’alofa is about 1.5 km away.

There are a few eateries and shops on the main street.

The main street through town offers a few places to eat, drink, and shop.

The largest church in the capital is the Basilica of Saint Antony of Padua.

Along the main street, the Basilica of Saint Antony of Padua is the largest of several religious buildings in the capital.

Talamahu Market has a few options for souvenir shoppers.

Between the eastern esplanade and main street, about 1.5 km from the hotel, the Talamahu Market offers a few souvenir stalls.

Ample fresh produce is availabe everyday at the Talamahu Market.

The Talamahu Market is renowned for its fresh produce.

Tourists are not allowed in the Royal Palace.

Splitting the esplanade between the eastern and western sections is the Royal Palace, which is off-limits to tourists.

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About Santorini Dave

Santorini Dave Author Bio. Santorini Dave was started in 2011 by a guy who loved Greece, travel, and great hotels. We're now a small team of writers and researchers on a mission to deliver the most helpful travel content on the internet. We specialize in Santorini, Mykonos, Athens, and Greece and recommend the best hotels, best neighborhoods, and best family hotels in top destinations around the world. We also make hotel maps and travel videos. I can be contacted at dave@santorinidave.com.