The Maitai Dream is Fakarava's only hotel, it is therefore the most comfortable departure point for the exploration of this beautiful atoll. Ideally located along the road to the airport, which happens to be the only tarmacked road on Fakarava, the hotel has its own diving centre enabling you to safely watch the lagoon's underwater wildlife. Back on land, you will be able to visit a nearby pearl farm. Bicycles are available for rent, so that you can ride along the road through coconut plantations.
This hotel review is a translation from the French published on our French site Easyvoyage.com.
Set on the seafront, on the lagoon side, on PK 6.4 of the atoll's north-eastern road (the PK marks, or kilometre points, begin in Rotoava). The road covers a total distance of 11 and a half mi.
The airport is 9 mi away from the hotel, a distance covered in a mini-truck (there is neither a cab service nor any car rental on Fakarava). Allow, therefore, 15 minutes for transfers organized by the hotel (?34 for a return trip).
Fakarava's main village is Rotoava, on the road to the airport, 4 mi from the hotel. The mini-truck transfers to the village cost ?17 and they are available on request.
The Maitai Dream Fakarava is the atoll's only hotel. The other possible accommodation on Fakarava consists of guesthouses, approximately ten of which line the road on the north-eastern part of the atoll. Other guesthouses on Fakarava can also be found on Motus in the south-east, an hour and half's boat ride from the airport.
Request one of the 9 'beach premium' bungalows. Their view of the lagoon is unobstructed. The other 6 'beach' bungalows are set back 50 ft - their view is therefore less spectacular.
Prices and bookings on www.hotelmaitai.com.
Open since 2003, the Maitai Dream seems to be part of the surrounding greenery - a coconut plantation stands on the thin strip of land of Fakarava (650 ft of land separates the lagoon from the ocean). The hotel consists of a main building with all the common areas such as the reception, the bar and the restaurant, as well as the 28 independent bungalows spread out over the estate. The pier which stretches out into the lagoon is the boat rides' departure point and meeting point for diving outings. There is no swimming pool and there aren't any sports amenities at the hotel either (such as a tennis court or a golf course). We're tempted to say that this is a good thing, because the spectacular natural environment can definitely be appreciated without any particular amenities. People go to the Maitai Dream for diving and snorkelling, in particular, however, many also reserve half a day for a bicycle ride. If you decide to do the same, turn left when you go out of the hotel: that will take you to the village of Rotoava within half an hour; then, further down, in the direction of the airport, you will see Topaka's old lighthouse, built of coral stone. If, however, you turn right when leaving the hotel, you can be at Dream Pearls pearl farm within 10 minutes. Visits are free on week days - you will see, among other things, pearl grafters at work and the grafted oysters ready to go back into the basin at the centre of the lagoon.
The hotel consists of a total of 28 accommodation units spread out over 28 bungalows set in staggered rows. 6 of the bungalows are on the seafront; that's the 'beach premium' category, with a wooden terrace overlooking the beach. These bungalows are well spaced out and shrubs have been planted on either side to provide a minimum of privacy. The second row bungalows also overlook the lagoon, but from further away. From the rows beyond, the view is mostly of the back of other bungalows and the surrounding greenery. The accommodation offers a surface area of 538 sq ft (including a 118 sq ft terrace), with a maximum capacity of three guests. Their decoration, which consists of varnished wood (floorboards, panelled walls, coconut tree furniture) gives them a warm atmosphere. As for the bathrooms, they are equipped with a door which opens out onto the gardens, with a shower on that side and the toilet and washbasin between the bedroom and the shower. All the bathrooms are also decorated with varnished wood-panelled walls and floorboards. The facilities are worthy of a high-standard hotel: you will find 50 ml tubs of 'Sorbet' hospitality products, for example, and a small television in case you might like to watch Eurosports. As for the temperature of the room, it will be air-conditioned if you request the 'beach premium' category or one of three bungalows from the 'tiare' category - that is, 9 bungalows out of the 28. All rooms including the air-conditioned ones have a ceiling fan. Tea and coffee-making facilities (with complimentary coffee pods and tea bags) are available for you to prepare a hot drink. Equipment also includes a minibar, a telephone and a safe.
The restaurant of the Maitai Dream is open for all three meals of the day. It is a 'necessity' as there aren't any independent restaurants or small local shops near the hotel. The nearest are 4 mi away in the village of Rotoava. You will therefore be accommodated on a full-board basis, even more willingly when you realise that the terrace overlooks the beach (shaded with coconut trees) and has a quaint exotic atmosphere with a style of service which brings to mind hotels from a bygone era. Having a meal in Fakarava presents a somewhat 'different' experience though, as both ingredients and drinks are delivered by boat and some items often run out between two deliveries. The Maitai Dream's wine menu is updated as you order really, depending on the bottles available. Wine can be ordered by the glass (from ?4 upwards) - something we recommend considering the price. Lunch is served a la carte (pasta, hamburgers and Tahitian-style raw fish being the cheapest options, around ?13 a dish). For dinner, a menu of 3-dishes lets you choose between the fish option (starters and main), and the meat option (starters and main) or the fish and meat mix. You then end the meal with cheese or dessert. For breakfast, a regular hotel service takes over, with a buffet of salami, cheese, freshly cut fruit as well as cooked fruit, yoghurt and cottage cheese, maple syrup pancakes, pastries and bread rolls. Coffee and tea are also self-service at the buffet.
The beach lies just below the 'beach premium' bungalows, which are set 2.6 ft above sea level, the required safety level in order to avoid flooding when the lagoon rises in bad weather. The fine white sand (a real beauty) lies in the shade of tropical trees and shrubs (coconut and pandanus trees). Moulded plastic deckchairs are laid out over a 500 ft line on the beach, which itself continues along either side of the hotel, along the family guesthouses, further down. In the lagoon, the sand is strewn with expanses of stone corals. Take some plastic sandals or rubber slip-ons with you if you want to walk around the beach without looking down every two seconds, otherwise it is easy enough to avoid the afore-mentioned stone corals. The crystal-clear water is first turquoise at the water's edge before turning a deep shade of blue as you go deeper into the water. As it is impossible to see the end of the atoll, it looks like the ocean begins far away off the coast. It is actually not the case because the 'moana nui' is located just behind the hotel. But the lagoon of Fakarava is one of Polynesia's deepest (230 ft in its centre), which explains its deep colour, further away from the coast. If you would like to explore a part of this lagoon, you will find diving equipment at your disposal in the hotel; indeed, multi-coloured fish swim just a few feet away from the shore.