Pricey and Relaxing - Watch out for Mosquitos A review of Tikehau Pearl Beach Resort
When you arrive at Tikehau airport (really more of an informal hut that happens to have a runway) you are greeted by the concierge of the hotel with a fresh flower garland. The concierge then collects your bags, tags them with your name and puts them onto the truck which you then ride on to the village pier. A five minute ride takes you to the resort.
As you step onto the pier you are handed a chilled scented washcloth and a cold glass of juice. Check in is done at the reception which is just above the pier and it is a lovely experience. Once check in is complete the concierge walks you to your bungalow.
The bungalow was beautifully set out with fresh flowers all over it, the room is airy and light and the bathroom large and clean. There is a glass section in the floor that allows you to look at the fish! The verwater bungalows have an upper and lower deck, the upper deck to sunbathe and the lower for direct access to the water. The lower deck also has a freshwater shower and tap.
The one bad thing about most of their bungalows is a lack of air conditioning, it does get incredibly hot in Tikehau and a fan sometimes is not enough. Not only that, at night, the mosquitos are voracious. Without AC and no mosquito net, you are forced to either wear repellant to bed, or to shut down all the windows before dusk and sweat out the night. We met people in the garden bungalows that have open air bathrooms. There is NO way for them to keep the mosquitos out. It is amazing to me, that an over $300 a night resort would not at least provide moquito nets. They do smoke the motu at might, but it doesn't really help.
Food - There is not a lot of choice a there is only one restaurant! Meals are expensive, and there are no "cheaper alternatives" in the town. The only alternative is to take a boat ride over to the TINY grocery store and buy fruit and snacks, of which there is not much of a selection. Take snacks with you from Papeete, ifyou can.
Breakfast is aobut $25 per person - Is an American style buffet with lots of fresh tropical fruit, lovely French pastries and is you would like eggs the chef will prepare them every which way!
Lunch - Very extensive menu, we only ate lunch a couple of times but it was good, we usually had salads ($15-20), food is expensive but if you make it Tikehau you will understand why, it is just so remote.
Dinner - Every night the chef (Thierry) would prepare a menu with 3 starters (1 salad, 1 soup and hot dish), 3 mains (1 meat, 1 fish, 1 pasta) and 3 deserts. All three courses run about $60 per person. The fish was always dry, which is not what one would expect. I guess I am just not used to French cooking. Everything else was wonderful.
Bar - There is a small bar that serves every drink you could pretty much want along with snacks in the afternoon.
Scuba Diving - The diving is fantastic, the resident dive master is knowledgeable, although not very social. The clarity of the water is incredible and the marine life highly diverse. The dive gear is a little worn. My regulator failed on my. After this trip, I bought my own!
Snorkeling - Is fantastic all around the little island that the hotel sits on, lots of marine life.
Kayaking- The hotel has sea kayaks you can borrow for free, it is fun to go and explore some of the next door motus, but take lots of sunscreen, it gets very hot on the water.
Motu-Walking - Try walking between the motus. The water rarley gets above chest deep, and is so warm and wonderful.
Village Visit - A must do, the village is small but it is interesting to see how the people of Tikehau survive and go about their business on this remote atoll. You will also want to go to the one and only grocery store and buy lots of water and soda as the hotel is incredibly expensive, the store manager will run your purchases to the pier to save you lugging them the half mile! If you want fresh baguets, you have to order them a day ahead at the bakery. The lovely woman there only bakes what she has orders for each day.
Nightlife - There is none
Service - The staff are friendly and allow you privacy. The local Tahitians are so sweet and have beautiful, warm souls. It feels like a family operation, rather than a large resort chain.
I would highly recommend it over visiting Bora Bora which is equally expensive but far more touristy. If you want total relaxation, then Tikehau is the place for you.