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Vava'u - Tongan Beach Resort - Photoshopped pictures on their website

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I booked the Tongan Beach Resort after checking the pictures of their website : . The beach was looking awsome but when i arrived at the hotel i realized i have been scammed by photoshopped pictures which are very far from reality. The sandy beach in the pictures is in fact composed of rough sand and coral gravels : very abrasive and unconfortable and the hotel was miserable. A real nightmare for an expensive rate : it is the worst and more terrible hotel i had in Tonga islands between Tongatapu, Haapai and Vava'u islands – and the more expensive for a poor service and very low quality. The only fantastic point was the staff : very friendly and helpful, but not enough to have good time.
This hotel has many defaults :
1 – they don't have any online payment or paypal : you have to send your credit card detail by email which is very unsecured and not recommended
2 – the rooms are in bungalows looking like temporary buildings : very basic and rough construction
3 – basic room , very different from the confortable room displayed on their website , very bad soft bed
4 – basic bathroom. Toilet flush not working : you have to fill the reservoir with the coffee pot! ... I asked the maid for somebody to repair but nobody shows.
5 – no AC, no TV, bad wifi in the bar (none elsewhere) when it was working correctly on the other tongan islands
6 - The swimming pool is not maintained and with very dirty looking (brown color)
7 - everything looks abandonned, dirty and inattractive (pool, dirty curtains and cushions...)
8 - very bad beach and the word « beach » is not appropriate – it's looking like a mining site which gravels.
9 - You fear to walk on the jetty which seems very weak and unstable.
To explain that nightmare, the manager just say "Vava'u is a remote island", "you are the only one which complain", "everybody is satisfied". He was wrong : others hotels are also remote, but they do much much better and the Tongan Beach resort was the only i had to complain - and for good reasons! Also the manager lied about the customer satisfaction : there is many terrible reviews on internet about the Tongan Beach Resort and i was'nt the only to complain.
So i arrived late afternoon, and as the pictures on their website didn't look like the reality, i thought i have been scammed and stolen because i made my choice on fake pictures . I wanted to stay in that awful hotel only 1 night and i found another hotel with availability. I made that proposal to the manager, at the beginning, he said he will refund me for the 2 remaining nights. Later, the manager had a call with the other hotel (he was laughing on the phone as he was preparing a bad joke), and finally the other hotel informed me that one customer wants to stay longer and of course it was a lie . On hotels website and expedia : 2 rooms were available and it was unbelievable that a customer decided to stay more at 8pm when most of them are foreigners with domestic flights tickets connecting to their countries. And the tongan domestic flights are very often fully booked because it's very small aircrafts. So the manager of the hotel changed its mind and i had to stay in that awful hotel for 2 more nights. Time to see in details how terrible was the lake of maintenance in that resort. So the behavior of the manager has been unacceptable and unfair. He lost his time to block my departure when there is a real need in this hotel for a real and efficient manager to check all issues and satisfy its guests.

Also i have been for the whales watching excursion in Haapai and Vava'u islands : it was very late for Vava'u (I bought the excursion to the hotel but they forget to mention that point) and most whales were gone to Antarctica and for me Haapai is much better : incredible whale watching/swimming there and cheaper, beautiful sand beaches and better hotels. So i will come back to Haapai, but never to Vava'u. Also, there is more whales watching companies in Vava'u communicating by radio and when a whale is spotted : all boats are around.

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    Welcome to Fodors . . . Maybe you should have joined before booking, instead of kvetching about picking the wrong resort >)

    But in any case, I'm not sure I believe you because the resort gets quite good reviews on (where only people who have actually stayed there can post reviews) and on TA (which can be less reliable because anyone can post)

    >>there is many terrible reviews on internet about the Tongan Beach Resort<< . . . uh - nope.

  • Report Abuse

    I used and they never requested my opinion when i was staying with them. They probably displayed Tripadvisor reviews and to write one review : you don't even need to proove your id, and to proove you spent a night there - so there is a lot of abuses (both sides) and a hotel can manipulate it's level with fake reviews from friends and family for instance. I don't believe Tripadvisor as the reviews aren't certified. Normally the website of an hotel is supposed to give you an good idea of the property : execpt when the pictures are 'enhanced" and also when they published the pictures when the hotel was new. So sometimes you don't find what you thought you will find. And i think the best way to know an hotel is to go there and i was in Tongan beach. Why i will spend 10 minutes to write a review on a hotel i have never been. I don't have time to loose and i only write reviews on my bad experiences and it's also normal to have good experience when you pay for it. So when i write a review it's to warn the other travellers to avoid that specific hotel and my review of Tongan is very detailed for a fake so i encouraged you to go there and you will realize it was a real review.

    And if you like : be aware they don't check anything (and they also pretend they aren't responsible for any problem - have a look to their "contract") and i had 2 bad cases with them. I booked 2 years ago a room in a hotel closed for 10 months in Colombia (south america)!! very nice when you arrived at midnight because Colombia is far to be the safest country. And recently i booked an hotel in Azerbaijan (Caucasus) and i rented a car to go specially there and after 5 hours driving : the hotel was closed and i had to spend the night in an awful and dirty hotel. So believe me : is far to be the best choice to book a room and i am a very experienced traveller everywhere in the world. I used them when i don't have other choice.

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