Sunday, February 17, 2013

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Villa Mamana was built in the late-1990s by Joe Altenhein and his Tongan wife Lola.

Joe had come to Tonga in 1994 following a royal visit to Germany by the late King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV. during which the king had invited German citizens to come and live and invest in his tiny kingdom. Joe, a pilot, had been looking for the right place to start his seaplane business in an island country with many islands and sandy beaches with shallow lagoons. He thought the Maldives were too Islamic, the Bahamas too screwed up, Fiji too Indian, but Tonga just right: very authentic, relatively untouched, with nice people and beautiful weather, and foreign investment officially welcomed.

However, with the Government delaying the issuing of an operating license for his seaplane, he decided to wait and in the meantime build, as a support business to his original plans, Villa Mamana on Teleki'vavau. For more than six years he created, single-handedly, with just the occasional help from some local fishermen, this most exquisite resort. It must've been a labour of love because the logistics and the costs to transport material and build on this tiny and remote island must have been quite daunting.

Eventually, with their two children needing schooling, Joe and Lola put Villa Mamana up for sale.


The Villa Mamana is situated on deserted Telekivava'u Island in the South Seas' last kingdom, the Kingdom of Tonga, 37 nautical miles south of Pangai with its regional airport. This almost untouched part of Polynesia offers all the lonely island cliche could suggest: crystal clear waters, rich marine life, lush tropical vegetation, an authentic culture, and absolute peace of mind. The Villa (built in 1999) is right at the white beach and the shallow lagoon which surrounds the island. 3000 sq/ft of villa hold 2 1/2 bedrooms with ensuite marble bathrooms, the great room, two huge decks (which become part of the great room with the french doors opened), and a porch. All facing west to ensure beautiful sunsets over the warm South Pacific Ocean. High ceilings, wooden floors, teak furniture, and the light reflecting from the lagoon give the colonial style building its special charm.

Amenities include: TV, VCD, Stereo, Satellite Phone, Fans, Washer, Workshop, Fishing Gear, etc. Further down the beach you will find the kitchen house of 700 sq/ft(fully equipped) with a studio, and a smaller house (500sq/ft) which is ideal as caretaker quarter. Included in sale are also a 40ft motor yacht, a 27ft gamefishing power boat, a runabout, two diesel gensets, two inverters, two battery banks, solar panels, desalination system, watertank and much more.

After the sale to the current owners, Joe and Lola returned to Germany where they now operate a 'Hotel-Pension' in the centre of Berlin but still miss Villa Mamana.

As Joe wrote, "We all had the best time of our lives on the island, and will always miss it - unless we find another island and build a 'Villa Mamana Lite' just for us."

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