Atiu Villas has a lovely aesthetic to the cottages, great dinners, exquisite gardens, and very obliging hosts, Roger and Kura. We loved the construction from native woods. The Villas, like most habitation on Atiu, sit up on the interior plateau and present a lovely vista into the distance. We had a beautiful deck for sitting outside, but it was our luck to hit the island during a rainy two days.
Atiu is an extremely unusual and interesting island not much visited by tourists and due to this low tourist volume we got a lot of personal attention re arranging tours. We are not what you'd call tour people, but on this island one really wants guides as it would be easy to get lost, fall down a hole in the forest and never be heard from again.
We did rent the Villa's 4WD SUV on our first afternoon when the sun was out and had a great time tootling around the coast road and seeing the main beaches and the harbor. Roger was extremely flexible about the rental. The other two guests rented a scooter and ended up with gravel rash as they call the results of taking a spill, so we were glad we stuck with the Suzuki.
He arranged two tours for us, a nature tour and a cave tour. We also took an Island tour with Marshall Humphreys who operates independently. We also booked Roger's meet and greet which offered a great intro to the island, and he took us to a tumunu, a bush beer drinking social session.
Kura offers dinners by reservation and everyone sits down around the big long table and converses. There is a full bar and it's all very civilized. The conversation was stellar, witty, and intelligent, a real highlight, and the FOOD was scrumptious and better than we had on the best restaurant on Rarotonga. The desserts were to die for.
The Villas have a great concept where they stock your frig and cupboards with food and drink items and a price card. You pay for what you consume when you check out. The cottage comes with kitchen area and it's very possible to self-cater had we not wanted to eat at Kura's. This service is fantastic because this island works in very local ways that could be hard to pick up immediately and it solves the shopping learning curve, although Roger did take us by the main store on our way there during the Meet and Greet tour. The prices were reasonable and not like using items from an overpriced mini-bar.
We rented the one larger Villa, the Family villa, although we didn't need all the space. They are all cute; it has a separate bedroom and a sleeping loft; the others are studios. The bathroom with shower was small but clean and pretty; the kitchenette had a stainless sink and counter and gas stove. None of it was lavish by American standards but for Atiu it seemed extraordinary, and the woods and decor were very pleasing to the eye.
On both arrival and departure, we were given perfumed fresh island leis. We went on a cave tour the morning of our departure and cut the time a little short, but Roger said not to worry as the one flight a day is not leaving without all the scheduled passengers. What a wonderful spot, would love to return when the sun is shining.
Only caveat for other travelers is that Atiu has flying bug issues; there's a lot of life on this island and I think you have to adapt to insect presence. While we weren't there during a "whiskeybug" swarm, we did come when there was a wasp/hornet invasion. They had just sprayed that day and taken care of them but some were still trying to crawl around on the windowsills. Some other small flying bugs that were attracted to the bathroom light were scattered on the floor in the morning.
None of the bug stuff fazed either of us, but if you have a violent bug phobia you might want to rethink visiting Atiu. The Villas were extremely clean and the staff came in and removed all signs of bug life when they made up the room in the morning. As for mosquitoes, they were bad down in the jungle but we had no annoyance from them at our cottage.
Personally I wish I could go stay there for a month or more.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Atiu Villas is located on Atiu Island at the edge of a central plateau overlooking a tropical garden, pineapple fields, jungle and has distant views down a valley of the Pacific Ocean. The villas are built in the native style out of polished native timbers of mango, mahogany, red peanut, cedar and coconut in 6 well separated villas and includes a villa suitable for families. A tour desk, restaurant, bar, entertainment area, swimming pool, floodlit tennis court, property wide free Wifi, rental bicycles, scooters and car are all available on site. ... more less
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