Traveling all around the world, you would hope that you can barging with people about staying in one place for an extended amount of time. I stayed with Queen Tutai and Des for 22 days and they were the only place on Aitutaki that would give me a deal for the time of stay.
Starting off with a most warm welcome at the airport. I Me being from Seattle, not used to the humidity, I was dying. She welcomed me with her homemade lei. It smelled amazing. She took me for a drive around the island and set up a rental for a scooter for me. Told me where to shop and where to do all the fun things.
It just so happened that when I was there, the grand-opening of the FishClub was going on. This was a whole community thing. And who did I see, well Queen Tutai and Des of course. She took me around to all the food and had me fill up a plate. It was an amazing night.
I had talked to Des and Tutai about their other property on the other island (Gina's Beach Lodges) and they took me out there when they went out to clean. Since they were gracious enough to allow me to join them to their island, I made sure I earned it. I helped them clean it up. Took quite a while, but after it was all said and done the property was absolutely beautiful. It was my honor to help. They let me use their Kayaks and was able to explore all the little islands, even one-foot-island all by myself. By far the best experience of my entire life.
Back on the main island, at night when riding there are no lights, and I would have trouble finding my way back. I asked her if she would let me paint her sign, which she agreed to. Before the sign was a bit warn, down to the wood. After I was done, it was beautiful and you could tell that her and Des were extremely gracious and after everything they did, it was an absolute pleasure to do that for them.
My girlfriend joined me later on into the vacation, about a week after I had been on the island. She helped me with the sign and also got to meet Tutai. They were always so eager to help and clean, even though I really didn't need much. A couple days I sat outside and helped Tutai with the yard and just talked with her for a couple hours. She really is an amazing person, like a grandmother to me.
The lodges aren't right on the beach, but its quiet and peaceful. And the garden lodges is what they are, a beautiful garden. But the lodges have everything you need. I was a there a little longer than most, so I was happy to see an actual kitchen.
To anyone reading this and considering where to go, trust me, you need look no further. The hospitality you will receive from a small family owned lodge is unlike no other. Their warm welcome will last with you forever. I know it has for me. Thank you.
P.S. Des and Tutai, I hope the sign is holding up well :)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Gina’s has two properties on Aitutaki Island, Cook Islands. One - Gina's Garden Lodges, is on the main island, and is about 5 minutes walk from the Tautu landing, on the Eastern shores of Aitutaki lagoon. The second, beach side property is situated on one of the reef islands at Akaiami Island - 5 miles across the lagoon. This is Gina's Akaiami Beach Lodge. We are family friendly and welcome children of all ages. Both of these locales offer an environment that is special to Eastern Polynesia, and in their own way give reality to those Pacific dreams which travelers seek, and which cannot be found at Resort Hotels. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Gina's Garden Lodges Aitutaki, South Pacific - Cook Islands