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“The best in the Solomons - without a doubt!”

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The Wilderness Lodge
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Gatokae Island
Munda, Solomon Islands
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“The best in the Solomons - without a doubt!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 May 2011

I've been to many resorts in the Solomons now, and Wilderness certainly takes the cake! Its exquisite bungalows leave no detail overlooked. Everything is done with care for the environment and local culture without compromising on the luxury. The hardest thing was deciding whether to head out on one of their many tours or enjoy the delightful surrounds of the beachfront bungalows. No, I lie, the hardest thing was to leave!

Room Tip: Splash out - stay in the new beachfront bunglows
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  • Stayed April 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank IngridMarcos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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45 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (20)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Australia
Level Contributor
20 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 November 2009

Myself, my partner and my father stayed at the Wilderness Lodge in July 2009 for approx seven days. We were picked up from Uepi by the lodge and even though the weather was truly terrible (pouring rain, wind, waves etc), the trip was not too bad. The driver was excellent and made sure our trip was as comfortable as possible.
When we arrived we were thrilled to discover that hot water was available! First hot shower after about a month! Cory was not there when we arrived but appeared shortly afterwards to welcome us. Due to a mix up with our travel agent (or some misunderstanding at some point) we thought we had booked two rooms ie the whole lodge, as we needed a room for my father, and a separate room for me and my partner. So we were quite dismayed to find that only one room had been reserved. Cory was very helpful in sorting out this problem, and arranged for us to also be able to stay in his own dad's bungalow a short distance down the beach. This was a very nice self-contained bungalow - actually much more spacious than the room in the lodge. We were very lucky that this extra space was available, as otherwise it would have made for a very cramped and not-too-pleasant stay. It's important to realise that the accommodation is reasonably basic, and that the two rooms in the lodge are quite small and share a common wall and bathroom. You eat all your meals with the guests staying in the second room, and are in very close contact, so you would want to get along pretty well with them! Booking the whole lodge for two couples would be ideal. Everything was very clean, and it was no problem sharing a bathroom.
So having sorted out the initial accommodation problem, everything else ran fairly smoothly. The female staff were fantastic and friendly. We were lucky because the other two guests were very keen on fishing, and we benefitted from their great catches everyday! Lots of good yellowfin sashimi, spanish mackerel, BBQ'd wahoo etc. Food highlights were the chilli mudcrab - outstanding! Also lots of fresh fish, crays etc. Generally we were very happy with the food and felt the staff went to a lot of trouble. We even enjoyed trying the sea snail pizza!
This was our final destination in the Solomons so it was compared to the other places we had stayed. After the absolute pristineness of Tetepare it was a bit sad to see some rubbish etc in the forests around the villages and on the walks. I would urge the lodge to do absolutely everything they can to maintain the natural environment! But being in a village environment did have many positive aspects as well - it was great to interact with the locals and children and visit the gardens and school etc. Overall, once we walked out of the village the natural environment was pretty much pristine, which was nice. Madali beach was dramatic and beautiful with the towering rainforest coming all the way down to the water. We also walked across the island to Kele River, which was a good walk and the river was nice to cool off in! As an aside, my La Sportiva trail runners just did not cut it for the slippery vertical mud slopes! Not sure what would have been better as it was very hot, wet, rainy etc. Sandals and crampons! We sadly didn't see the tree snakes we were looking for, but did see many small lizards and frogs, and some interesting birds. I encourage the guides to be confident and point out more things to guests eg medicinal plants etc as this is really interesting. But of course I understand that guides are still learning about what interests tourists.
We didn't dive during our stay but did do lots of snorkelling and free diving. The snorkelling around the end of the pier is ok, quite a lot of fish species. The outer reef of the lagoon is much better with good visibility and more variety. Only spotted a few reef sharks, one hawksbill turtle, one ray during our stay but I think if you spent more time on the outer reef you could see quite a lot. We took the boat to Bulo Island and the visibility was fantastic, 40m +. Probably would have been better to dive, but snorkelling was still lots of fun with bigger fish species eg bumphead parrot fish etc.
Overall we enjoyed our stay, here are the highlights and some suggestions:
- Chilli mudcrab was a definite highlight! How often do you get all the mudcrab you can eat, while dining out under the stars with the ocean lapping right by the table?
- Relaxing at the lodge and enjoying the library of Solomon Islands books.
- Watching the children play in the lagoon everyday after school in their tiny dugout canoes!
- Bulo Island snorkelling
- Amazing fishing
- Playing with Cory's pet baby hornbill
- Nice carvings available at the lodge
Some suggestions:
- We would have liked to have a few more chats with Cory as we didn't really see much of him after the initial welcome. It would have been good to have some recommendations for activities etc.
- Boat trips available to look for dolphins, whales etc. Cory mentioned that humpback whales were around the first day we were there - it would have been great to see some up close!
Other than that it was really nice - highly recommended for relaxing, fishing, snorkeling, hiking...! This is a very special part of the world and everywhere we stayed we enjoyed for different reasons. If you're thinking of travelling to the Solomons, you won't be disappointed! It's absolutely safe, very friendly, and outstandingly beautiful. Feel free to contact me if you would like any more info, and have a look at my other Solomon reviews too.

  • Stayed July 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank neareststar123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tucson, Arizona
Level Contributor
92 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 124 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 October 2007

The Wilderness Lodge is a two-bedroom, shared-facility lodge located on a lagoon near Peava Village on Gatokae Island. You can fly direct on a Twin Otter from Honiara and be met at the airstrip by staff. After unloading your luggage, you walk through a small village and down a steep, sometimes slippery hill to the boat, where you will step into the water before boarding. The boat ride takes about 15 minutes to get to the lodge. I fell immediately under the island's spell--there are no motorized vehicles except for the boats' engines, no blaring TVs or stereos, no one yapping on a cell phone. I lay in bed each night listening to the fruit bats squeaking, waves lapping the shore, and people singing as they walked along the footpath.

If you have a choice of the two rooms, choose the lagoon-side one as it gets more light and breezes. The rooms each have two double beds and a twin bunk, with pegs to hang clothes and a long counter to place your items. Mosquito nets hang over the beds for your use, but after two nights I realized I wasn't getting bitten so stopped using it. Most nights were comfortable but a ceiling fan would've been welcome on a few hot, breezeless nights. The lodge is built in traditional "leaf" style with open windows and no screens; lizards and occasional insects are free to come and go. The bathroom has two toilet stalls, a shower with hot water, and a single sink made from a giant clam shell. I was leary at first sharing a bathroom, but privacy was never a problem.

The staff is friendly and eager to make your stay comfortable. The food was very fresh, from the sea and local gardens, varied. and PLENTIFUL. Dinner often featured wonderful homemade soups and bread, followed by no less than five more platters of food. Pace yourself! The water is excellent and safe to drink from the tap.

A long jetty extends to the edge of the lagoon's dropoff. There is fantastic snorkeling around it, and one can swim easily to the outer reef and snorkel or observe the locals spearfishing. A two-seat kayak is available as well. The staff can arrange all manner of activities, from scuba diving to spearfishing to cultual tours in local villages to bushwalking. I enjoyed walking to nearby villages by myself, and being greeted warmly by the locals and often escorted by them or their children asking questions about my country.

The lodge is probably not for everyone, such as those who feel they must always be in touch back home, or have a hard time slowing down and just vegging out. But for my two weeks there, it was truly paradise, and I'm already plotting a return.

  • Liked — Near perfection!
  • Disliked — The forest-side room is very dark.
  • Stayed October 2007, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank azbuceadora
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 July 2006

I stayed for a few days in 2004. The impression as you are ferried in is great. A long wooden jetty reaches into the water from a big, hardwood building against a backdrop of a densely vegetated volcano. The lodge, which is a work of art in itself, is furnished to a high-quality and decorated with local art. Those who came for a relaxing holiday may find the books on the local flora and fauna an interesting read. A nice detail is the sink in the bathroom, which is actually a clamshell.

As well as hiking to the cloud-shredded volcano, lots of reefs, drop-offs, and islands can be discovered nearby, either by boat or just by walking from the lodge into the water. Little kids might join you in their canoes.

The Australian owner and his local wife are happy to organise trips and excursions. A recommendable trip is one to Mbiche village - this village is virtually cut off from the world and features a skull cave and traditional stone carvers. You will be greeted with a lot of interest.

  • Stayed May 2004
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
13 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Wilderness Lodge

Property: The Wilderness Lodge
Address: Peava Village | Gatokae Island, Gatokae Island, Solomon Islands
Region: Solomon Islands > Gatokae Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Gatokae Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated on a coral lagoon on Gatokae Island at the southeastern tip of the Solomons' Western Province, the wilderness lodge offers unique access to the rich natural and cultural world of Marovo Lagoon.Catering for a maximum of 12 guests the private Wilderness Lodge has been designed to meld the atmosphere of the Gatokae rainforest, ocean, and neighbouring small village with Western comforts and convenience. Oceanfront bungalows feature traditional sago palm leaf roofs and polished hardwood interiors for the ultimate in cool tropical living.Enjoy real Melanesian hospitality with your Marovo hosts Waelinah and Vaelathy and unique local experiences and genuine adventure with the Wilderness guides. Our all Solomon Island staff has been trained here in Peava, and years of experience and integration have created a unique example of culturally- and environmentally-sensitive tourism. ... more   less 

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