Our guests have loved the location, the spaciousness of the accommodation and the warm welcome...
My husband and I just spent 2 of the best holiday weeks of our life staying at Aretai Villas in Aitutaki. This place really is a little slice of paradise. There are 3 Aretai Villas - 2 are quite literally on the edge of the lagoon beach with one ever so slightly back but still with beach views. The villas are more than adequate for a really comfortable home away from home holiday. Spacious rooms, high ceilings, loads of light and ventilation, screened from insects, ceiling fans, comfortable beds, fully equipped kitchen and a large covered balcony overlooking the beach perfectly screened from the afternoon sun by beautiful coconut palms. The grounds around the villas are large and immaculately kept.
Narnie or Mama as she is affectionately called owns and lives on the property. She is a gentle, warm, wonderful woman who welcomes you to her land and generously shares the fruits of her garden with her guests, bringing you fresh paw paw, bananas, coconuts, lemons and passionfruit. Two of her children have built beach front villas - only 5 in total. Aretai has 3 and the slightly more upmarket Are-a-Matatui has 2. We were fortunate to meet the owners of Aretai who were visiting during our stay. Bobbie and Sue were friendly open people who welcomed us to share music and meals with their friends and family.
The island has an incredibly lay back feel about it. No one seems to be in any hurry. The people are proud and friendly. I’m a big self caterer and whilst the island relies mostly on everything being shipped in if you ferret around you can find more than enough fresh local produce to cook up a storm. The small markets are open early every morning except Sunday. Anything special that you may want to eat during your stay bring with you. I packed one suitcase full of food. As long as it’s not opened you won't have a problem. You can even bring in cheeses and fresh meat so long as it’s cryopaked or still sealed. I brought in a whole slab of smoked salmon without any problems. Steer clear of attempting to bring in fresh fruits and veges, you can get them locally. For those who want to eat out there’s plenty of places to choose from.
Spend as much time on, around and in the Lagoon as possible. It’s the highlight of this place, you won’t believe the colour of the water and the clarity. We spent our 2 weeks exploring the little island on our scooters, sailing the lagoon on a hired Hobicat, deep sea fishing with Mike at Black Pearl Charters where we caught the most delicious yellow fin tuna, snorkeling in a perfect natural ocean aquarium - thanks Matthias at Matriki, swimming, relaxing and eating fresh delicious food. It ticked every box for being an absolutely perfect holiday. 2 weeks was not nearly long enough.
To describe this place one needs to use too many cliches in the one sentence. It really is magic. I can’t speak highly enough about our stay at Aretai Villas. Thanks Mama, Sue, Bobbie and all the Aitutaki folk who made our holiday. Aretai is perfect venue for a quiet romantic holiday for a couple, it's a safe playground for a small family, and would be loads of fun for a group of friends where you could rent more than one Villa. It's a place where you can choose to lay low and relax or make your own fun. Definitely put this one on the must do list.... Leesa from Sydney via Trip Advisor October 2012
'A very quick note just to say we are back and what a fantastic time we had, the weather was superb, every day was fine and hot, Aitutaki is the most amazing place - the Lagoon Cruise would have to rate as one of the best things ever and is one of the worlds must do things!! The Villas were very comfortable, Tutai was just great and very helpful ... ... A huge thank you for the oppourtunity to enjoy the Villas and paradise...Colin and Vicki
'This place is superb! We couldn’t have gone anywhere better. A great way to celebrate my 50th. ' GF NZ
'We came from Rarotonga where we also had a beautiful vacation. Here we have had an even more fantastic stay. Comfortable villas and a service minded Mama. Our highlights have been a boat trip with Kia Orana to Honeymoon Island , with fantastic snorkelling, an evening at coconut Crusher bar with local entertainment (song and dancing) and a service at the church. Thank you very much from us Norwegians. We will recommend Aitutaki to everyone!'
'Perfect for us: we like to have some meals out and the others cook at home. If we’d known the villas were quite this big , we’d have bought more of us! Mama Tai is very kind and creates a lovely warm vibe: scones when we arrived, milk and butter in the fridge even. Coconuts and paw paw just outside the door fresh to pick. We took advantage of the BBQ, the kayaks and the loan of mama’s machete to crack open 'drinking coconuts’. E&S James
'Thankyou for 5 truly wonderful days in paradise in villa 3, which felt like home the moment we walked in and is equipped with all you could ask for. And to top it all off there is mama tahi, with her beautiful smile and loving warm nature to look after you-thank you'
Aitutaki was everything we hoped for and more, and Aretai was the perfect place for our small family to stay while there. We loved the exclusivity of our self-contained unit right on the beach and being able to see the lagoon and step right out onto it whenever we wanted to was awesome. The second bedroom was a godsend for our 10 month old, and the unit had everything we needed. Mama, in her 80s and quite the host, took care of anything else we needed with a friendliness we came to know as typical of this part of the world. We could see whales from our deck and the kayaks provided at Aretai gave us the freedom to experience the lagoon in a very different way. I would highly recommend Aretai for a romantic escape or a family holiday. We can't wait to go back!" Tammie Matson, author (http://www.tammiematson.com)
'We had the most awesome family holiday one could ever wish for- absolute paradise, It was cool. I had the time of my life. The snorkelling was better than “fnding Nemo’ The heat was amazingly hot and it was winter! Overall I think it was our best holiday yet.' Katie (11)
'Staying here was the highlight of our trip to the Cook Islands! The villa was very comfortable and spacious and the view spectacular. Thanks Mama for making our stay very comfortable and for providing us with your delicious scones.' G,S & C Brisbane
'Staying here in this house on Aitutaki was the best week ever, we thank you mama for your hospitality which made it even more of a paradise! Hope to come back one day.' Otto & Daniela Austria.
'Our family holiday in the South Pacific has been truly “wonder- ful” It was lovely to begin our New Year in paradise. This was a long awaited holiday and it was amazing to truly be in the spots that we had only previously seen in our travel brochures and on the internet. It was everything we hoped for and more. Your beach villas are so spacious, comfortable and tastefully decorated. The view from the couch will be a treasured memory of luxurious relaxation. The lagoon cruise on the big boat was fabulous and the one with Andrew of Kia Orana was even better.We leave reluctantly bu will take away “forever memories “ to treasure always.'
'We’ve had a wonderful relaxing and comfortable stay with mama-just what we needed! The villas are a delight and so is mama. Thank you for the welcome scones, all the fresh fruit and the help and advice. A wonderful place to stay.' J,M & N Toowomba, Australia.