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“Lovely” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Raimiti

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Raimiti
French Polynesia   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #4 of 8 Fakarava B&B and Inns
California
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
“Lovely”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 7, 2011

I've seen some of the mixed reviews Raimiti has gotten, and they make me sad, because they might turn people off. If you know what you are signing up for, it's heaven. It's a quirky, small property that really emphasizes going with the rhythm of the island -- they have created something truly charming in spite of the difficulties posed by their remote location. It is not a 5-star luxe resort, but in its own way, it is very posh. I think their website is a fair representation of what they offer. If you are coming to Raimiti after an overwater bungalow on Bora Bora, it will be a huge change and you might not perceive the subtle luxury of the place, but if you enter into it in the right spirit, you will feel pampered and so incredibly lucky to be there.

A few people on TA have commented on the staff, and feeling unwelcome. Analyzing our own experience, I have a guess as to what might be going on. Most of the staff are local to Fakarava, young (and sometimes shy), and the young ones are just learning the tourism business. Some of them don't speak English (I observed the same shyness when an Italian couple arrived and nobody spoke Italian, but as soon as they found someone who could serve as interpreter, it was all smiles and sunshine). I also think they've been told to be very respectful of guests' privacy, which they definitely are. However, if you get them to chatting, they are friendly, good people. I think it's all about treating the stay as an adventure (and an opportunity to have a cultural experience if you want one) -- it's not like a regular hotel stay.

My husband and I stayed for four nights in September, and had a fabulous time, despite some mishaps. We had the island to ourselves (along with the staff) for most of our stay there, which was a delight. We got an ocean-side bungalow because I need a breeze. Our bed was incredibly comfortable, as were the soft, wind-dried linens. Although interiors of the bungalows don't photograph well, trust me, they're nice (the lagoon side bungalows have less of an elegant feel but are very charming in a more rustic way). The shower was a bit of a challenge, because the on/off nozzle is set up to minimize water waste (you need to squeeze a lever on the hand-held nozzle to make water come out). You'll get the hang of it, although it does work better with a partner to help. Bring along some of the special shampoo made for people traveling on yachts, as the water is semi-desalinated but still has some salt, and chlorine is added for sanitary purposes. We had a few night-time water outages due to a technical glitch, but they have redundancy on the island for all essential systems, so things were up and working ASAP. Drinking water is supplied for free and is good.

We were very happy with the food on our trip. My husband has food allergies, and neither of us eat lobster. We let them know that well ahead of time, (reminding them when we arrived) and it was no trouble at all. Our food was very tasty -- our favorite was the BBQ night, where our food was caught in the lagoon and slung onto the grill. Mmm. You cannot get fresher than that.

Raimiti is a place to hang out, go with the flow, and let the island breezes sweep away all your problems. It's really unique and special.

Room Tip: If you like wind and loud, pounding surf, go for an ocean-side room. If you prefer a quieter room...
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (8)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Polish first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
San Diego
Top Contributor
67 reviews 67 reviews
34 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 7, 2011

This was our first visit to the Fakarava atoll (our 4th time in Polynesia), we spent 4 nights at the Raimiti pension in a Robinson "faré".

They have 2 types of "faré":

ROBINSON, on the lagoon side, no door, just a curtain, no windows, well ventilated, no electricity, back to the roots for those in need of (relatively confortable) adventure, or those wishing to bring back their inner child spirit? The bathroom is outside, but private, on the same idea, curtain... but it is made to preserve your privacy, no problem on that side. Privacy and respect of everybody space. Though you will share the space with little geickos, called "margouillats" they are everywhere, we got used to them!

CRUSOE, on the reef side, we asked to visit one, is more cosy, with the bathroom inside, with windows (still no electricy which is a good thing actually, no TV, no radio, but very nice). The problem on the reef side is the noise, from the waves crashing on the reef and the wind. But, as my wife put it, we just have to walk 20 meters to be on the lagoon side... I konw that IF we go back to Fakarava AND to this pension, we'll get a Crusoé.

Hot shower, thanks to a solar panel for each faré. There is electricity in the restaurant, where you can plugg in and charge your batteries (220 V). The electricty is provided by solar panels, they favor clean energy which is nice.

The arrival: when we arrived after 90 minutes of transfer in boat, we expected a nice warm welcome, and instead what felt like a cold shower. There was no welcome, we all felt like fleas in the soup, unwelcomed, it was ackward and unpleasant. So we tried to break the ice by asking their names (they didn't bother to introduce themselves), but they never asked ours, weird! When we would talk to them they would be nice, but we really felt that we were on our way so why bother with us! That will stay the big negative point about our stay there.

The food was good;
Breakfast at 8:00 AM: fruits, bread (out of the freezer, so cold!), butter and jam, and a warm croissant.
Lunch at 12:00 PM, was composed of salad with tuna or ham, always a cold lunch.
Dinner at 7:00 PM, was warm and pretty good, with an appetizer, entree and dessert.

The lagoon is beautifull and full of life, the snorkeling is great. They have some snorkeling sets in you do not bring yours. There are a few kayaks available.
They do not have beach towels, and once you are settled, your room and bathroom won't be cleaned during your stay.
Bring a headlamp for reading, the petrol lamps are nice, but reading is hard.
The property is well maintained, the trails easy to follow.

Life on the atoll:
2 pigs: Urette (female), very friendly and Ziggy (male) not as friendly!
2 dogs: Castor (the father) and Rutu (Castor's son), both adorable and fun, they go on excursion with you, and jump from the boat in the water, run after the sharks, really fun to have them around, they did bring a lot to the excursions!
Rabbits and chickens are also hanging around.
Birds: black and white sterns

Activities:
the best one was the South Pass, in snorkeling, and the the and of it the "pool", where the coral is right below the surface and beautifull, and you can swim easely among the black tips sharks, parrots fishes, ... and Napoleons! Amazing, the pass if beautifull too, and the courant easy to go with and not as strong as in Rangiroa.
Other activities are "La Plage" , 5 minutes ride, nice and shallow with pink sand.
We heard about the snorkleing at "The Moon", nice corals, but we didn't go there.
Expect time on your own, which is great, you do what you want, it is up to you, but go to the pass, fantastic, and snorkel right in the lagoon.

It could have been a great experience, if only the staff would have been welcoming! From reading a few other reviews, it looks like we didn't get lucky on the Team we had, I won't give the names, but I sure hope the manager will read the review and adjust a few things there!

Room Tip: 2 choices: Lagoon side (quieter but open) in a Robinson faré Reef side (noisy due to the breaking...
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lake Hughes, Ca
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2011

After reading a few recent reviews we wanted to respond with our feelings of Raimiti. I believe that the website accurately describes this beautiful place. No night life, no fuss, just pure beauty solitude relaxation and fun! I believe your mind set has to be right to really appreciate what Raimiti offers. First of all the food (prepared by Junior during our visit) is some of the very best we have had in all of French Polynesia and we have had the good fortune to visit the islands 7 times now. Our bungalow (#5) was just perfect, our little solar water heater provided water so hot we had to turn on the cool water and we never ran out, a perfect outdoor shower! We enjoyed our oil lamps but knew that a good headlamp is common sense on a deserted island location. We walked, kayaked, swan and read every day. We think Eric is a great host, he lays low but is always there if you approach with a question or request. We believe he likes to just let visitors have all the privacy they want and he respects the idea that most folks visiting this remote place did so for some quality time together. Raimiti does not pretend to be a big dive/excursion resort, that is clear on the website, but all of those activities are there for the asking. Raimiti is simple pure beauty and solitude “where the sky meets the sea” at the “end of the end of the earth”. Also, Eric does not really advertise this but he has a very nice small collection of pearls for sale that are all from Fakarava, we found the perfect pearl there. We also love French wine and they have a good selection, and were always happy to fill our request for another great bottle of wine! So for us after our second visit, we can’t wait to be able to return for everything Raimiti offers those who approach it only wanting what simple pleasures it delivers.

Paul & Debbie Burkman
Lake Hughes, California
USA

Room Tip: Bungalow #5 lagoon side is most private.
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oregon
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 2, 2011

Here is our review of our stay at Raimiti with the good and the not so good:

The food was excellent. But my wife had made previous arrangements for no seafood, confirmed through email, …communication seemed to have broken down somewhere at their level as they said they did not know and were reluctant to offer her anything else. After she insisted, they fixed her an omelette. The rest of the meals were no problem. We got the impression it was the cost of getting/preparing something else that was the real issue.

The staff was very helpful & nice. No problems there.

We had a lagoon side bungalow and enjoyed the healthy breeze that is present most of the time, which is good for the warm weather and bugs (which we didn’t see many of except for flies). A couple of others complained the ocean side bungalows were a little too windy for them.

The oil lamps with their strong petrol smell made sitting in the front of our bungalow not the most desirable & relaxing area to be in. Looking back we should have just given them to the staff as we had brought headlamps. They tell you that you can read with those lamps, but it may come at the price of a headache. They would do well to come up with another source.

The setting is nice, but not necessarily unique.

Here is our major complaint:
Excursions are definitely not in their vocabulary (as they say on their website). Seems even though the weather may be perfect, it’s decided more on the whim of Erik as to what, if anything, you will do that day. For $500+ a night, we expected a little better, or, at least arrange through other parties to take guests where they want to go. We like to relax a bit too, but with limited time and a premium price, we wanted to make the most of the weather, as it can change in a heartbeat. They did take us to the south pass (once), which is excellent diving & snorkelling. But the next day, which was sunny, we had about a 3 minute boat ride to “the moon”, which was marginal snorkelling at best to the right of Raimiti. We were among other nationalities and we all felt it was just a bit weak, so we asked Erik if we could go somewhere else after lunch. It was another 3 minute boat ride the other direction where we were unloaded and the boat sped away – no reiteration/communication of how long or even that the boat wasn’t sticking around (note: we kayaked past this beach easily the afternoon before). Erik was very indifferent and I think put off that we all even dare to ask. Other guests talked about a nice day/BBQ to Sable Roses motu they had gone to, which we also read about, but we were apparently not lucky enough to get to. Note that these guests were there for 2 weeks!

My suggestion: if you just want to swim, relax, read, go for walks, and kayak, Raimiti will probably be for you, but for the price, there are many other choices. Hindsight for us – stay closer to the south pass area with access readily to excellent diving, snorkelling, and excursions on top of those other activities.

Erik, although charismatic, is not the warmest person. He appears tired of the routine & parade of tourists who don’t understand the way of life in the Tuamotus, Raimiti’s remote location and all the “issues” of getting stuff there. Guess what, so are many of the other pensions around the Tuamotus, but yet they make you feel more welcome.

Overall our stay wasn’t bad, we were just disappointed to not see more and feel welcome like we did in other pensions.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Varese, Italy
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2010

The pensionl is really low level. Services are very limited, and if the weather isn't perfect can be really a hell (with rain it's full of moskinos). People managing the pension are everything but nice. The location is situated 1 and a half hour by boat far from the airport, and this must be taken into consideration, expecially in case of a short stay in Raimiti.
Poor excursions, just to the near beach (which is beautiful, and it must be said) but thestaff is lacking any organization (we had to wait for lunch after another group had eaten, before us...). Some possibilities to go diving at the pass, which is really nice, but only if all the guests are going there.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Top Contributor
72 reviews 72 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
65 helpful votes 65 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 2, 2010

Well, then you should strongly consider Raimiti.

If, however, you dream of a luxury resort and a place with lots of nightlife...you can save yourself some time and stop reading right now.

Raimiti's high rating by TripAdvisor readers is justified in our opinion. We're not going to go over all the wonderful details which have already been written here. We'll just say that we agree that Raimiti is a little slice of heaven tucked away in a remote corner of a remote island in a remote archipelago in the South Pacific.

We stayed in the 4th bungalow (of 5) down the shore from the communal dining building on the lagoon side. These are the bungalows which have a detached bathroom, just steps from your main hut. This did not pose a problem for us, so don't let that setup prevent you from considering the lagoon side bungalows. (The ocean side bungalows are a bit larger, with a bathroom inside the bungalow.) We found the solar-heated water to be plenty warm.

We used the mosquito netting over the bed on only our first night. We found there was sufficient breeze that we did not need the netting, and were not bothered at all by insects. NOTE: The staff at Raimiti did remark that we were there during an unusually windy period, so this might have played a part in us not using the netting. Also, some of the guests staying in bungalows on the ocean side remarked that it was very windy on that side...compared to a comfortable breeze on the lagoon side.

The number of guests during our stay varied from 9 to 14, but since the property is pretty expansive and you are offered the opportunity to partake in the daily group actvities (more below) or stay back and do your own thing...the only time you're with the entire group would be at meals. It's a diverse mixture of nationalities. While we were there, other guests were from USA, Italy, Germany, Australia, and the Netherlands. I imagine that's a pretty regular occurence so you'll get to meet interesting people from all over the world.

The meals were fantastic. Breakfasts consisted of warm croissants (impossible to resist, try as you might), baguettes, cheeses, and fresh fruit, juice, coffee and tea. Lunches and dinners usually included a seafood dish, so you had better like seafood or the menu may be a challenge. Lunches included salads. Dinner included dessert.

The organized daily activities included trips to Hirifa (pink sand) beach, snorkeling at the south (Tetamanu) pass, and "the moon" (a lunar-looking landscape). If you hit it right, you might be the only ones at the pink sand beach, giving you that "last persons on Earth" feeling that's hard to find. Make sure you snorkel at the south pass, it's right up there with any places we've been (including Zanzibar, Hawaii, other islands in French Polynesia, and Belize)...black-tip reef sharks, moray eels, Napoleon wrasse, and scads of all the usual bright suspects. NOTE: When drift snorkeling at the pass, we were told not to go too far past the area where the boat goes ashore, as there is a restaurant further down that feeds scraps to the sharks. (We were told this on our 2nd visit to the pass...the guide the first day didn't point that out.) "The moon" offers more of a "walk around and investigate the tidepools" experience, but it was also a nice excursion. We saw octopus and found lots of cool shells, including 2 large sand dollars which managed to make it back home in one piece each.

If you don't take the daily organized excursion, you can hang out and do nothing or borrow a kayak to explore the lagoon...finding many spots to stop and snorkel or pull ashore on a deserted stretch of beach. You can walk the shoreline looking for crabs and other creatures. Additionally, for those so inclined, the fishing was decent from shore. I brought a couple fly rods and landed several bluefin trevally and grouper. Finally, one other guest did accompany one of the staff on a spearfishing excursion in search of that night's dinner. After dinner, take time to sit on the beach or at the end of the dock...you'll see more stars than you ever knew existed, and the Milky Way is spectacular.

We found the staff to be very accomodating. They all spoke French, of course, and some spoke English (some better than others). This is not a critique, just noting a fact. We only speak English, but managed more than just fine. In particular, we should pay special accolades to Francis who runs the dining room...he remembered our names from the very first day (as well as the fact we enjoyed Hinanos each afternoon before dinner!), his service in the dining room was incredible, and he also shoots a pretty mean spear gun to provide your table fare. He accompanied us on our excursion to "the Moon" and harvested several fish as well as clams which he offered to the group in the raw with a bit of lime.

Finally, expect the unexpected at Raimiti. It's hard to describe how unique and wonderful the experience is. Although we seem to have tried with a lengthier review than originally planned. That probably says something for how much we enjoyed the place and the experience.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
71 helpful votes 71 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2010

If you are the type of traveller who cannot do without internet, your cell phone, electricity, or your over-water bungalow, you should stay away from Raimiti. On the other hand, if you treasure a more remote, exotic, traditional island experience, a rustic luxury, and a wonderfully sincere host, this could be your paradise.
To get here, you must take the 1 1/2 hour flight to Fakarava, and the 1 1/2 hour powerboat trip to the far side of the lagoon. You will not be fawned over but, rather, will be afforded whatever privacy you choose. You will be fed Eric's outstanding menu of tasty and original dishes, most taking full advantage of the local seafood. You will have the daily opportunity to enjoy some of the best snorkelling you are ever like to experience, and to see some idyllic South Pacific scenery.
We spent 7 days in Raimiti, most of which time there were only two other guests. Having visited several other South Pacific island nations, we can say without hesitation that this was our favourite location. We have never experienced such incredible snorkelling. Eric was a fabulous host. The location was precisely what he had hoped to find. This was a genuine South Pacific experience, in every sense of the word.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Raimiti

Address: French Polynesia
Location: French Polynesia > Tuamotu Archipelago > Fakarava
Amenities:
Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 8 B&Bs / Inns in Fakarava
Also Known As:
Raimiti Hotel Fakarava
Raimiti Resort Fakarava

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