Fiona Marston says a breath of fresh air has been blown in to the former Solomon’s capital of Tulagi thanks to the refurbished Raiders Hotel & Dive.
Right in the heart of the former capital of Solomon Islands, Tulagi, is a relatively unknown gem of a weekend getaway – Raiders Hotel & Dive. Tulagi in Central Province is only an hour and a half by boat from Honiara and is a must for a weekend getaway or even longer.
The hotel has in the past year been taken over by new management, a kiwi couple who have spent much of the past decade living and working in the Solomons, and when the opportunity arose for them to stay on and run their own business, the temptation was too great.
Bob and Yvie Norton have completely turned around the hotel and refurbished all eight rooms, with a total of 14 beds, comprising three ensuite and five standard rooms, all featuring
ensemble beds, soft linens and air conditioning.
A choice of fresh breakfasts are made daily to your liking, and quite often freshly caught king sh will feature on the lunch or dinner menu – most often caught that day by Bob himself. Complimentary tea and coffee is available all day, as are icy cold bottles of locally brewed SolBrew Lager and a selection of wines and other beverages.
Tulagi offers plenty of activities, but is also perfect for relaxing and doing nothing at all. The large airy and shaded verandah has hammocks and seats overlooking a small coral garden right in front of the inn. Children are entertained snorkelling out the front and play on the small white sandy beach next to the verandah. The inn also has a kayak and a stand up paddle board for those looking for a little adventure. Bob is a keen scuba diver and will happily take guests on personalised guided diving tours of the local coral walls, submerged WWII wrecks or the famous twin tunnels of Central Province. The hotel features a small dive shop where you can hire diving equipment and tanks can be refilled.
A walk around the island is well worth the effort. Heading left from the hotel you walk through the small township, past the shipyard and through the famous ‘Tulagi Pass’, a road carved through a mountain by prisoners during the days of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate Government in the 1920s. You also experience the Tulagi Central Market and view the typical life of islanders. Do not be surprised to have a band of gorgeous children following you on your walk and wanting to say hello.
Should you wish to experience life in a typical village, Bob and Evie will happily arrange to take you to a nearby village by hotel boat, where they have an arrangement to provide the village with some nancial assistance in return for guests being welcomed for a day trip.
Upon arrival, the local villagers will eagerly scale a nearby coconut palm to husk fresh drinking coconuts, while the happy carefree pikininis gather around to watch and giggle at the
visitors. The waters in front of the village offer some of the most spectacular snorkelling opportunities and the locals will even give you a quick lesson in paddling a local dugout canoe.
At the end of the day, after a freshly cooked dinner and cold beer, you can wash the day away, climb into the most comfortable of beds and drift off to sleep in the luxury of cool air conditioning, ready and fresh to wake up the next day and do it all over again.