My wife and I just returned from 9 nights at Aretai and thoroughly enjoyed our visit. We are frequent travelers who do extensive homework before deciding on a place to stay and our experiences have confirmed the positive T-advisor reviews for Aretai. Huge deck, rooms, closets and wonderful location. If a quiet, large place to stay without the hassles of crowds is your style then you won't find a better value than Aretai.. period. One look at the other value accomodations on the island and you'll see what I mean.
We talked to a handful of couples and groups that came and went during our stay and everyone said that they'd have planned more time at Aretai if they'd known how peaceful it is.
Here are some tips not only for Aretai but for Aitutaki:
- just forget everything. sit on the deck of the villa and read while listening to the palms rustle in the wind. There are leftover books in the closet in unit 2.
- if you want a glass of wine to go with that, the Heineken store has easily the best prices on wine and beer...at least it did last week.
- down the beach 100yrds to the swimming hole at sunset.
- mosquito repellent for when the wind dies down. This goes for the whole island but what's great is that they go away with the breeze.
- Rino rentals for scooters. Ask Mama to call them and have them drop one off or go next door to Puffy's and ask him to call. This goes for any booking on the island.
- the gas station in the AM for bread and lettuce or Heineken store for bread all day. the big store by the wharf at 6am for produce and if you're lucky.. donuts(!).
- we brought meat and sausages from Prime Meats on Raro. Glad we did because finding raw fish-chickn-beef on Aitu is a hassle. Fired up the Aretai BBQ and grilled out on multiple nights. This is a huge bonus. If the grill is crusty.. use the brush!
- we brought pasta and a can of sauce from Raro which was a good call too. Bringing aged dutch cheese with us from the mainland was brilliant.
- Pacific Resorts for postcards and stamps. their beach is also open to anyone. best food presentation on the island but Tavana (?) is a close second. Atmosphere and price make PR second to T in my opinion.
- there is great snorkeling and kayaking right out front of the villas in the lagoon but it's best to wait until high tide to let the water fill in.
- TeKing lagoon tours (snorkeling) is the small group way to go. Bishop for big tours.
- Mona's water taxi (PaPa) to get dropped off at a remote motu for 3-4 hours. you won't regret this one. bring water sandals for the coral and snorkel gear. his sign is on the road by the Heini store.
- The cultural tour is fantastic. A great meal and island experience by a local anthropologist at a working site. This was a great surprise.
- Blackjack for deep sea fishing. He'll prob let you keep a fish or two unlike the other outfits.
- Puffy's for island night on Wednesdays. Call ahead to make sure that it's on.
- Ootu beach to chill out and have a super tasty sandwich from Samade at the same time. This is really the best beer on the island.
- Happy hour cocktails at the Aitutaki Resort restaurant: 5:30-6:30pm. Amazing location and would be a great place to stay here if money were no object.
Hope this info is helpful. It's true that Aretai isn't for everyone. Folks craving a high maintenance visit should stick to resorts where they can be catered to. If that isn't enough then they should probably just stay on another island altogether.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Your private piece of paradise, Aretai Beach Villas provides top quality accommodation on a magnificent stretch of white, sandy, beach, on the sunset side of the island. Guests have easy access to a wonderful safe lagoon and local restaurants. Three, attractive, generously sized, stand alone two bedroom units, are self catering. Each unit has a separate modern kitchen with full cooking facilities, and is well appointed with all you need. Lounge area with quality cane furniture. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Aretai Beach Villas Hotel Aitutaki
- Aretai Beach Villas Aitutaki, South Pacific - Cook Islands