We had a lovely stay at Tamanu Beach. I would not call it luxurious, but the villas are comfortable, the property lovely and we were steps from the beach. Staff were very friendly and helpful, and a golf cart delivered us to our villa with our bags. We stayed in the studio garden bungalows a short walk along the beach from the restaurant as well as from the main grounds with the office and reception area. The studio bungalows are set in an area with more shade under large palms, and the small pool is mostly shaded, which was just fine with us. Don't bother with the hotel's bikes -- they are rust heaps; renting a scooter is the best way to get around. Note that everywhere we went in the Cook Islands we had very straight-forward dealings, and any problem was set right.
There is good snorkeling directly off the beach. The hotel can provide masks and snorkels, but does NOT have snorkeling fins. Although the reef is shallow just off the beach and you can snorkel close in with just reef shoes, if you want to snorkel very far to access clearer water, I would recommend bringing your own fins. We found it nearly impossible to rent any fins on Aitutaki (one dive operator will rent a mask/snorkel and fins set). The lagoon tour operators do provide masks, snorkels and fins for the tours. Reef shoes of some kind are ESSENTIAL for wading and swimming -- protect your feet! Don't be bothered by the abundance of sea cucumbers -- they are harmless and inert, and they help keep the water clean. There are also sit on top kayaks available for your use at the hotel, which is a wonderful way to see fish from above when the water is calm and the tide is in. Some of the wooden beach lounge chairs are in need of repair -- check the pool area for cushions if they're not out on the chairs.
The wifi at Tamunu is slow, expensive and frustrating--you can only access it from the reception area, and I used it only for brief checks of emails and did not bother to try to send any long emails or photos. (I heard you're better off trying down at the post office in town.) But you're not going to Aitutaki to spend your hours on the net, are you? The restaurant serves very good meals. The continental breakfast never varies, but the dinners often feature fresh fish, and the resort's Island Night is highly recommended -- an excellent buffet and wonderful show of dancing, singing and drumming. Ask ahead about which nights they have Island Night and the BBQ buffet, and bookings are recommended for Island Night or you won't have a seat.
I would definitely recommend Tamanu Beach if you're looking for a quiet and reasonably affordable place to stay with excellent beach access and a short scooter ride to town or the northern end of the island.
- Also Known As:
- Tamanu Beach Aitutaki
- Tamanu Beach Hotel Aitutaki
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