Its impossible, implausible, ridiculous, absurd. How is anyone supoosed to believe that Capella Lodge and Lord Howe Island exists. I remember sitting on the deck looking south towards Mt Lidgbird and Mt Gower and having difficulty reconciling the sheer spectacular beauty with reality. It seemed more likely to be a computer generated movie setting than a holiday destination.
Okay, enough gushing. Lord Howe Island is a very beautiful island (sometimes claimed as the most beautiful island in the South Pacific - certainly a claim that I am in no position to dispute.) Capella Lodge is luxury accommodation with probably the best views on the island.
When I arrived at the airport, Libby from the lodge was there to greet me and drive me the few kilometres to Capella. The speed limit is 25km/hr and no seaqtbelts required. She pointed out several features of the island as we passed. Once at the lodge I was escorted to the deck, offered drinks and some light snacks while taking in the view.
I stayed in the Makambo Loft, the second best suite at the Lodge. The view from my bed was stunning (see photo) and it was so satisfying to wake to this each morning. (The only view that compares in my experience was at Duntulm castle Hotel on Skye- see my review.) From the balcony I could also admire the sea and a lush paddock with contented looking cattle - it was like staying in three different places at the same time. The suite is a little quirky with a red spiral staircase connecting the floors and some less than serious artworks on the wall. The spa on the deck is a bonus, great for relaxing after a long walk. I wasn't too keen on the brown towels in the bathroom, but if the colour of the towels is my only complaint then things must be pretty good. The toiletries provided were superb. The choice of an overhead rain shower or a hand-held head added to the enjoyment.
Breakfast consisted of a small but adequate range of cereals, fresh fruit, toast etc, followed bya cooked to order hot selection. (Best poached eggs I have ever had, and the bacon was very tasty.) Lunch is not included in the tariff but is available and take away options (including delicious sounding barbecue packs) are available for those days spent exploring the island. The evening meal starts with drinks and canapes on the balcony followed by three courses from a constantly changing menu often featuring local produce. If you don't like the choices the staff are very helpful in arranging a special meal. The dining room faces west and people regularly left their tables during dinner to take photos of the often spectacular sunsets.
During my stay there were no more than 10-15 guests at a time, all there for several nights. The staff were on a first name basis with all of us, aware of our individual dietary quirks (who doesn't like seafood or nuts, arranging a separate menu for vegetarians) and keen to hear our tales of our day's adventures and giving advice for our next outing. A little friendliness goes a long way, and I have never felt more at home or better looked after during a holiday than I did at Capella Lodge.
Visitor numbers to Lord Howe Island are capped at 400 at a time and the local population is only a few hundred. There is a wonderfully relaxed and open feel as a consequence. The same faces kept popping up again. Capella provides bicycles for its guests (and the mandatory helmets) and there are plenty of bike racks all over the island. For the less energetic (the island's roads are generally flat though Capella Lodge is on a hill) golf buggies are available. There are a number of sandy beaches (and some rocky ones as well) and the snorkelling is great. Scuba diving is available (I did my first ever scuba dive and found myself cycling from one side of the island to the other in a wet suit - lucky it wasn't far.) The coral reefs are close to the shore and are as pretty, if not as extensive as the Great Barrier Reef. There are many walking tracks over the hills which are well worth the effort. depending on the time of year there may be flocks of nesting seabirds. The climb up Mt Gower (875 metres) is difficult and exhausting, but recommended to the adventurous. I have done it and have no need to do it again.
The Lodge supplies back packs and beach towels as well as snorkelling gear and there is a kayak available for use.
Capella Lodge is not exactly budget accommodation, but it is close to perfect.
Makambo Loft is great.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC