Reality vs expectations: - Having eagerly anticipated our stay at the Navigator for about a year...drooling almost daily over any internet pictures we could find, we were so happy and relieved when the reality far exceeded our very high expectations. Without exception, this holiday hideaway delivered on all fronts - comfort, location, facilities, price, service and indulgence. Frankly, we're nervous about posting this submission in case everyone else finds out about our little island paradise!
The house: - The impact of the space is immediate when you open the front door. The kitchen / dining / lounge area downstairs is generously proportioned with sound literally echoing off the high ceilings and vast spaces. A separate bathroom on this level comes in super handy. The kitchen is well equipped and the bbq on the deck a welcome inclusion which we used a lot during our stay. Everything is well maintained and ready to go. However the piece de resistance is the backyard and its million dollar view - the infinity pool leads down to a very private beach from which you can wade across the lagoon to the uninhabited motu (the water only comes up to about waist height at high tide). We did this most mornings - a great way to wake up, take in the surroundings and clear the head from the many cocktails of the night before. Up the beautiful curved staircase are two bedrooms, both with their own bathrooms and the most exquisite views of the lagoon - it's a joy to open your eyes in the morning. We weren't bothered by bugs at all, but there are inbuilt insect sprays for any creepy crawlies. We had 3 people in the house (us plus a mum in the second bedroom) and we were spoit for space the whole time.
Having previously stayed at island resorts, we highly recommend staying in a holiday house. Although only there a week, we were truly able to relax and do as much or as little every day as we chose. By the end of our stay we were starting to feel really welcomed and included in the community - the locals were recognising us and giving friendly waves and even inviting us to their parties. It was also great to source local ingredients to prepare at home (don't miss the Saturday markets!) - fish on the barbie has never tasted so good.
Location: - close to the Muri Beach hub of restaurants, cafes, hotels, spas etc but yet slightly around the corner from the main beach area - just enough to be private and away from the buzzing tourists. We had the occasional person stroll past our backyard oasis but no-one really loitered which made us feel llike we had our own private beach out the back. The snorkelling directly outside the house was excellent too (comparable to that at Fruits of Rarotonga). There were heaps of beautiful coral fish. If you're careful, you won't tread on too many sea cucumbers. The laundry ($12 for a load) and corner shops at the end of the driveway are a godsend.
The hosts: - Joy and John are warm and friendly and incredibly gracious hosts. They generously share their expert local knowledge and tips without being obtrusive in any way. We had a mishap with our hire car upon arrival and Joy patiently and cheerfully drove us to the various rental branches and was on hand to mediate until all was sorted out. Also when the island nearly ran out of petrol, John called us with a heads up so we knew to fill the rental car up quick smart. This type of personal attention changes a place from being mere accommodation to being a true home away from home. We can't speak highly enough of this lovely, understated couple.
In short, the Navigator absolutely rocks. If you're even slightly tempted, just do it, you won't be disappointed. We can't recommend it highly enough. Such incredible value for money. We have already booked our next stay and hope to return as often as possible. It's cliched, but this is truly a slice of island paradise - a little piece of heaven.