Although we spent a couple of great days in Santiago, the real point of my Mother’s Day Trip to Chile, was to head 5 hours west across the Pacific to Easter Island, which has been near the top of my list of cool places to visit around the world since I was a kid.
Easter Island is actually much farther from the mainland than I thought – at about a 5.5-hour flight on LAN – and flights can be quite expensive, around the $600-$700 mark for economy and anywhere from $2,200-$3,700 for business class. I looked for tickets back in February and found they were going for about $2,700 each for business class on our dates, so I decided to redeem British Airways Avios for our tickets instead.
Each way in economy was 12,500 Avios and 25,000 Avios in business class, and there was a ton of availability, so I booked us both roundtrip business class tickets for 100,000 Avios, getting a value of about 5.4 cents per Avios. Sure it was a lot of miles to use, but it was a fairly long flight, and they actually use the same 767′s that fly the international routes to North America on this one, so the business class we got was the airline’s flagship Premium Business class with lie-flat seats. We had also gotten our tickets down to South America in business class for just $900 each, so using these miles (which only would have covered one business class award ticket from New York to Santiago) seemed like a good idea. I’ll do a full flight review in a later post.
This is one of the most remote spots on earth, and although tourism has been picking up a lot lately in the past decade, when it comes to hotel, it’s pretty slim pickings. None of the major points chains have hotels here, so we decided to stay at the little Taha Tai Hotel based on reader recommendations.
A lot of people had also suggested the deluxe Explora Hotel, which does look beautiful, but room rates were going for around $1,000 a night, which was out of our budget. The other thing I liked about Taha Tai is that it is near the island’s central town, whereas Explora is on the other side of the island, so for two travelers like us who weren’t looking for a ton of privacy or alone time at a resort and who wanted to get out and explore, walk to town and get to know the character of the island, Taha Tai seemed like a better choice.
I decided to book two standard rooms for each of the three nights I stayed there. The price was $160 per night for a standard room, and $200 for a “cabana room” one category higher that’s a bit larger. I also was able to book round-trip transfers to and from the airport for $16 per person each way. The total for the three nights came to $1,324.00 (not much more than what one room per night would have cost at Explora!).
The hotel was pretty basic, but the lobby was bright and airy, and everything was very clean.
The rooms were very basic and the standard was really small, but again they were spotless and very well kept, and they had all the necessities like power outlets, air conditioning and secure safes for valuables.
The bathroom was also pretty spartan and a little crowded for me since I’m so tall, but the fixtures were new and spotless, and the shower, sink and toilet all worked just fine. The one upside was that the room was closer to the public areas so the WiFi worked better here than in the “cabana” room, where it didn’t work at all – but I didn’t come to Easter Island just to sit around emailing all day.
The buffet breakfast spread wasn’t quite as satisfying as some of the Hyatt Diamond breakfasts I’ve had before, but for Easter Island it was good, and there was fresh fruit and cold cuts and it was included in my room rate.
The other guest room, the cabana, was actually a lot more spacious and had a queen-size bed and enough room for a little breakfast table and a small sitting area with a coffee table. Doing this over again, I’d splurge and get two rooms in this category since it was only about $40 more a night and it was much more comfortable.
The hotel offered free WiFi, which worked okay during the day but was dreadfully slow at night (was it solar powered!?), but it was decent enough to get the work done I needed to and to stay in touch with folks back home so I was satisfied – it reached (kind of) the regular guest room but not the cabana room, so if you do plan to use it, you’ll probably have to do so in public areas.
As I mentioned, my favorite aspect of the hotel was its great location, and my mother and I could walk to town for dinner and cultural events and the like, so it ended up being a great choice for us.
All in all, when it comes to Easter Island hotels, I would recommend this due to the good location and the clean rooms. I would just caution visitors that some of the front desk agents did not speak English, but luckily I can speak Spanish well enough, so was able to get checked-in and out just fine. I would have thought for a destination like Easter Island that gets many English speaking guests, the hotels should have front desk agents who also speak English, so before you go, brush up on your useful phrases.
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