I almost missed the wonderful experience of staying a Hiti Moana Villas because of negative reviews and the fact that we were looking for something on the beach. We were trying to book during a very busy time in Tahiti (World Surfing Championships) and were finding limited availability on the island. Then we found that Hiti Moana was available, so we booked it, hoping for the best. We were so pleasantly surprised at how nice the place and the people were, we thanked our lucky stars that we found it.
One reason we would have overlooked Hiti Moana was because of several negative reviews. My theory has become that most people only write reviews when they have a grievance. Reading between the lines, it appears most didn't do their homework. My feeling is any jerk can complain, and most do.
The second hesitation on my part was that it wasn't on the beach, but on a lagoon. What a mistake that would have been! I never understood that the lagoon was a part of the shoreline protected by a barrier reef about 1/2 mile offshore. The waves were crashing on the reef, but in the lagoon, it was calm as a glass of water.
Instead of a beach, Hiti Moana Villas has a swimming platform over a coral reef where hundreds of tropical fish can be found most of the time. It was like swimming in an aquarium. My wife, our friends and I spent countless hours snorkeling lazily as the fish provided all the entertainment. Wading into the water in a beach would have been boring in comparison. Sunning by the pool at Hiti Moana was just as satisfying, with less blowing sand.
So I almost missed paradise. Here's what I found:
The bungalows are basic and not air conditioned. Ceiling fans can keep you cool enough though when you are in bed. Don't worry though, you'll want to spend most of the time outside anyway. We kept our windows closed and locked when we weren't in the rooms. There were no insects to speak off, so when we were in the bungalow, the windows could stay open all night.
The grounds are attractive and well maintained. It is a very scenic place to wake up in. The owners August and Henriette primarily speak French. Henriette is a beautiful soul who tries her best to communicate and make you feel welcome. August is less forthcoming (maybe even a bit grumpy) unless you try to get to know him. He warmed up to me and my broken French by the end of the week. Their son Steve is the one you will deal with most. His English is great and he is there to help. We found that being pleasant ourselves went a long way towards getting the assistance we wanted. Remember, this is the equivalent of a Bed and Breakfast in Canada/USA. If you want someplace where the help has to be nice, try a hotel (at twice to three times the price).
Speaking of price. Things are EXPENSIVE in Tahiti. We took a morning walk (about two miles) every day to the local stores to buy cheese, fresh French bread (baguettes), ham, Diet Coke, wine, coffee and milk. We lived on that quite well. One observation - we never had to walk all the way back. Someone from the community always stopped and gave us a ride back.
Finally, yes - Hiti Moana Villas is off the beaten track. If you are looking for nightlife and are too dull to make your own, this is the wrong place. If, on the other hand, you are looking for some romantic alone time, or want to relax and completely unwind in an idyllic setting, you've just found it. This was a perfect place to decompress for a week before joining a cruise ship in Papeete. It would also be a great place to bring a young family.
My point is, don't let the whiners and complainers put you off Hiti Moana. My wife and I have traveled the world and will come back again with our families. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience that we will remember for a very long time to come.
As an aside, we left the Hiti Moana and went to the Inter-Continental Beachcomber Hotel and had an over-the-water bungalow provided for us before our cruise on the Paul Gauguin. The swimming from the bungalow wasn't a tenth as scenic as it was from the swim platform and the price at the Inter-Continental was astronomic! Glad I wasn't paying for it. If I was, I wouldn't have left Hiti Moana.
- Also Known As:
- Hiti Moana Villa Hotel
- Hiti Moana Villa Hotel Tahiti
- Hiti Moana Villa Tahiti, South Pacific
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