The Ultimate in Private Luxury.
The long boardwalk with kayaks parked outside the villa; A look at the master suite; The enticing seafood curry at Rumours café.
From the moment I am greeted at the Aitutaki airport with fragrant ‘ei kaki (flower garlands) placed around my neck by Lizzie Koteka, I instantly feel at home. The fragrance intensifies in the couple minutes we spend commuting to the property.
A thatched portico braced by a steeple intuits that this is a villa with ancient Polynesian architectural inspiration. A private courtyard with outdoor dining space and swimming pool invite lazy breakfasts and afternoon dips. Inside the open-concept, Tapuaetai, two-bedroom villa, natural textures serve as tactile design elements – smooth pebble flooring beneath feet in the bathroom, polished wooden furnishings to hold onto, and sturdy coral walls (the zoological indentations still visible) to run marvelling hands across. The curves of modern statuary, contrast with the angular lines of the many modern conveniences like a home entertainment system with 50-inch television and bluetooth speakers, and outdoor barbeque. Tucked away near the folding glass doors, there is even a telescope for whale watching or looking at the stars. King-sized four poster beds, with soft dusty turquoise and white bedspread seem the ultimate in comfortable luxury, that is, until entering each of the en suite bathrooms with their floor to ceiling windows. Taking a shower, while spying the outdoors, sunshine pouring in, feels like a revitalizing tropical interlude.
Aitutaki lagoon is the endpoint of my personal boardwalk, and early mornings are spent kayaking in the shallow, calm water. Without another person in sight, I could easily pretend that I am on a deserted island. Breakfast is personally delivered, comprising a selection of fresh fruit, bread, pastry, yogurt and cereal. Rumours café, the onsite restaurant, serves an eclectic yet classic menu, prepared with care and attention by Chef-manager Thomas Koteka. Scallops are enveloped in a creamy white wine with local spinach in cheese sauce, New Zealand lamb rack is perfectly cooked, while red seafood curry is delicate and earthy.
What CSL liked Best
There is familial warmth palpable and unique to the property. With only three villas, it is easy to get to know the entire attentive team, and in turn, every need is catered to, with a friendly inquiry by Teumere Koteka-Heather (Mene) or Thomas. I wouldn’t mind being marooned here for a while.
This original hotel article first appeared in the Fall 2017 issue of City Style and Living Magazine.