“Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes
Drawing back the curtains, opening the door to our beach side bungalow at 7am, sun shining and already feeling the heat. Taking a seat on the porch looking out onto the incredible view of bright green palm trees, fallen coconuts, white sand and crystal clear blue and turquoise water.
I never understood people’s fascination with ‘Paradise Island Resorts’…. Until now.
White Sands Beach Resort was my ‘home away from home’ in Paradise.
Where is it and How do I get there?
Located on the Western Side of Tongatapu – or ‘near the ‘blowholes’ if you want to use my geographical skills, which Everyone in Tonga fully understood! – on Utukehe Beach in Fo’ui. It is the only Resort with its own Private Beach.
The ‘Resort’ is situated about 20 minute drive away from the main town, which is perfect and ideal for those in need of a real getaway. Somewhere to completely switch off from the world and enjoy the beauty an island paradise offers.
Getting to the resort from the airport is easily done by car or taxi. If you are taking a taxi, i recommend organising this with the hotel prior to arriving.
It cost us $75TOP from the Airport to White Sands Beach in a taxi. Which is roughly around, $50NZD.
Top Tip: Taxi’s in Tonga charge whatever they want. The price will change daily, with each driver etc. Try to ensure a rate is agreed before you get a shock at the end.
If you are not planning to hire a car (or a bike?) your options getting off the resort are limited to, well, two. Catch a lift with one of the lovely ladies into town – if they are heading that way – or organise a taxi each time.
I would recommend at the very least hiring a bike if you don’t have the funds for a car – or make very good friends with the staff – otherwise your trip may take a slightly more pricey turn.
You say rustic, where will I be sleeping?
White Sands itself is pretty small with only around 7 rooms – I would call them mini bungalows – so even in busy season it is not going to be packed and overcrowded.
Being a rustic boutique beach resort – as I have now decided to call it – the rooms were incredibly big and modern. Tiled floors sparkling clean with an open planned bedroom, living and kitchen area with a separate bathroom.
All rooms have a ‘lounge area’ each is slightly different in size and placement, a dining area with a large fridge/freezer, tea & coffee-making facilities and a toaster.
Beautiful fresh flowers were on our bed and dining table when we arrived which was a lovely touch.
The best thing about our room though? We were literally, steps from the beach and you can hear the crashing of the waves at night.
Top Tip: When booking, request for Bungalows 1 or 2. These are just feet away from the beautiful beach. Plus eating breakfast on your small sitting area on the porch in the morning is better with the view of an ocean than the view of the back of a building.
But really, you are only going to be in the room in the evening. There’s a whole beach/island to explore!
So as long as the bed is comfortable and you can have cold water, that’s all that matters, right?
Buy Food at the local market – when you get the chance to take a trip into town, do it. The only thing the resort is lacking is someplace to purchase snacks when you’re hungry. They will offer to make breakfast (definitely get), lunch and dinner for you, at a price.
I highly recommend the Breakfast! We bought food to snack on during the day. FYI: Fruit market in the morning in town is Awesome!
How Will I Stay Entertained?
Eh, hello? Sun, Sea, Sand, is that not enough?
Pop on some good soled shoes and take a Reef walk. Use the sand paths and weave in your way into the reef, spotting fish and different kinds of coral and plant life as you go. – Only do this on Low Tide.
Go for a snooze in the hammocks in the shade while listening to the crashing waves at the reef edge.
Take up the staffs offer of heading to a traditional Tongan dance and buffet dinner night on Wednesdays and/or Fridays. Trust me, more locals turn up for this than tourists!
Organise a Snorkelling Trip to the Lagoon or some deep Sea Snorkelling/Diving (for those slightly more experienced)
Take an Island tour and visit the nearby sites such as the Blowholes, Abel Tasman’s Landing Site and many more.
If you are here June – August, keep an eye out a Humpback Whale may just wave at you as it passes by while you sip your coconut on the beach.
Top Tip: Anything you want to do, get the staff to book it for you. Not only will you get a slightly better rate, you get pretty much no signal in resort so it saves paying for a landline call.
Why was it ‘your home away from home’?
From the minute we arrived the staff came to welcome us, showed us to our room and made sure we were comfortable.
Throughout our stay nothing was too big a request. We basically got adopted by Priscilla (greatest lady ever) who was thrilled at how unplanned our trip was so she could plan it for us!
You felt at home. It was comfortable, relaxed and friendly. One day one of the staff had a birthday party for their Nephew here and they invited us along. It was a great way to meet the locals and learn about the culture while having a great time!
I would go back in a heart beat and recommend it to anyone who is looking for a great island getaway.
I booked this resort pretty last-minute through Booking.com and got an absolute steal of a price!
If you are heading to Tonga, I can’t praise this hotel and the staff that work there enough, get there like, now!