Tuvalu is one of the smallest countries in the world which is apparent as soon as you land at their airport in Funafuti. This tiny nation receives few tourists mostly due to its isolated location and the high costs of travel. Filamona Hotel is not only the best (and one of the only) places to stay, but it has also become a traveler’s hub.
On my Pacifying the Pacific trip I was scheduled to stay a few days and see what the island had to offer.
Seeing the island during the landing approach, it looks like the entire length of the island is made for the airport runway. On touchdown, you’ll find that the runway is actually the “road” in front of the hotel just a few feet away.
Filamona was started by a local couple, Penny and Lotoala Metia, in 1998. It has been running successfully due to its focus of inviting visitors into a ‘home’ and treating everyone like family. Penny checked me in herself and told me a bit about the hotel and island.
I stayed in the Executive Double room on the second floor. Centered in the room is a queen bed facing the access to the large wrap-around terrace. This was the highlight of the room, as you can sit outside and just watch the center of town or the airport. There is also a desk, seating area, and simple bathroom with a shower. Wifi signal is pretty good and you can buy top up cards at the bar.
Downstairs there is a lounging area and outside of the lobby is an open restaurant and bar. A buffet style breakfast is included and there are daily specials for lunch and dinner. The fresh caught fish dishes with a cold beer is a great way to end a day.
Tuvalu is known for its hospitable and welcoming people. The team at the hotel really did make you feel like you were at home, calling you by name and making sure you ate enough during your meals. I felt like I was visiting my grandma!
Throughout the island you will also find very friendly people happy to strike up a conversation about any little topic.
You can explore the small town center and nearby beaches by foot or rent a scooter to get a bit further out. Fishing is a popular pastime here and you can try your luck with some local fishermen.
Unfortunately I was quite sick during my visit which I attribute to drinking some not-so-sanitary kava in a random village in Fiji. Bedridden and in pain I was at least well taken care of by the wonderful staff.
Filamona is not just a hotel, but a home that Penny will surely welcome you to. Their website put it best, “we intend to earn just a wee small bit of real estate right in your heart.”
Address: P.O.Box 1, Vaiaku Side, Funafuti, Tuvalu
Telephone: (+688) 20983