on May 22, 2004
I've used many Lonely Planet (LP) guides and found this one to be lacking their usual detail. I got the sense much hotel information was pilfered from Web surfing the basic info, rather than first-person investigation. While still a good book to take, next time (and there will be a next time because Tahiti is wonderful) I'll be sure take another guide along with it, and to thoroughly read actual travelers' online reviews. I'll also know the questions I need to ask before booking. My sense was that the reviewers weren't seeing things through the fresh-eyes of a first time traveler. The details, such as directions accommodation features were often lacking.
One thing I've always liked about LP is that they will list small locally owned budget places - that are occasionally hidden gems - whereas many other guides only list "approved" chain-type accommodations. However, in this book key information about lodging was missing. For example, it's very uncommon to find window screens in Polynesia despite a lot of mosquitoes, yet it is not standard for the book to say if there are screens or mosquito netting at each location (sometimes there are neither). Screens would be a big selling point for me. In Lonely Planet's India guide - which I was quite happy with - they deliberately note whether hotels have air-conditioning or not; in this guide this rather important information (for the tropics) is randomly added. Sometimes we'd get there and they'd have AC and sometimes they wouldn't. A more specific example is a pension primarily described as "friendly" - which it was in spades - with no mention that there's one bathroom shared with 8 people and that doesn't have hot water. With what prices are in Tahiti, poor information is very costly. One "resort" (our over-water bungalow splurge) was merely described as "competitive with other luxury resorts." Come to find out it had bedbugs and no air-conditioning.
If level of detail can be evidenced by pages numbers, note that LP's Hawaii guide (five main islands) is 615 pages, while their Tahiti guide (50+ islands/atolls, with ten commonly traveled) is a only 287 pages.
on February 12, 2003
I was expecting more from lonely planet but aside from the maps, the book is obsolete. It also reads like a text book, no passion, no flavor, very boring. The sections on each area are not very big at all. ...
on June 2, 2002
This book did a wonderful job of not only preparing us for the journey, but help us get around. We have now been there three times to three difference islands, and each time it preformed well. Although with all travel books they get out to date in a year or two, you should always call a head to verify critical information.