Pricey but oh so lovely
This is the westernmost of all the accommodation on the Togeans, and what a note to finish on.
Run by the very memorable Sylvie, while the snorkelling is nothing to write home about, Island Retreat sits on one of the best stretches of beach in the Togeans and if your primary concern is a tan and full stomach, and your budget stretches to Retreat's rates, this is easily the pick of the bunch. Bungalows are wooden, spacious and line the beach more or less in a single row with a restaurant and dive centre in the middle. There are two family bungalows (making Island Retreat popular with those with kids) and all have oversized cold water bathrooms with mandi and bucket Western toilet. The bungalows are variable. Some are in pretty good condition, others less so, and security could be better with broken window locks and difficult to lock -- and unlock -- doors. Rats can be a problem in the evening, so keep your food stashed; the kitchen will store it for you if you ask. Rates are high -- this was the most expensive place we reviewed in the Togeans, but it also had, hands down, the best food of anywhere. Mostly Western-focused with a lot of fish, we didn't have a bad meal here in over a week. The owner is a very serious animal lover and if you're one put off by dogs and cats sleeping in the kitchen and so on, this probably isn't the place for you. There is an attached dive centre which is competitively priced and the British instructor Jez is extremely experienced, but the snorkelling trips are expensive when compared to elsewhere in the archipelago. Is it worth the money? With a few beers and the occasional boat trip you'll end up paying $100 a day for two for a wooden shack with cold water bathroom and limited electricity, which doesn't come across as great value, but for the Togeans, it makes for a worthwhile splurge if it fits your budget. We'd certainly return.
By Stuart McDonald
Last updated on 26th May, 2014.