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“Exceptional stay from incredible hosts” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Gina's Garden Lodges

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Gina's Garden Lodges
Bellingham, Washington
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Exceptional stay from incredible hosts”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 August 2014 via mobile

Traveling all around the world, you would hope that you can barging with people about staying in one place for an extended amount of time. I stayed with Queen Tutai and Des for 22 days and they were the only place on Aitutaki that would give me a deal for the time of stay.
Starting off with a most warm welcome at the airport. I Me being from Seattle, not used to the humidity, I was dying. She welcomed me with her homemade lei. It smelled amazing. She took me for a drive around the island and set up a rental for a scooter for me. Told me where to shop and where to do all the fun things.
It just so happened that when I was there, the grand-opening of the FishClub was going on. This was a whole community thing. And who did I see, well Queen Tutai and Des of course. She took me around to all the food and had me fill up a plate. It was an amazing night.
I had talked to Des and Tutai about their other property on the other island (Gina's Beach Lodges) and they took me out there when they went out to clean. Since they were gracious enough to allow me to join them to their island, I made sure I earned it. I helped them clean it up. Took quite a while, but after it was all said and done the property was absolutely beautiful. It was my honor to help. They let me use their Kayaks and was able to explore all the little islands, even one-foot-island all by myself. By far the best experience of my entire life.
Back on the main island, at night when riding there are no lights, and I would have trouble finding my way back. I asked her if she would let me paint her sign, which she agreed to. Before the sign was a bit warn, down to the wood. After I was done, it was beautiful and you could tell that her and Des were extremely gracious and after everything they did, it was an absolute pleasure to do that for them.
My girlfriend joined me later on into the vacation, about a week after I had been on the island. She helped me with the sign and also got to meet Tutai. They were always so eager to help and clean, even though I really didn't need much. A couple days I sat outside and helped Tutai with the yard and just talked with her for a couple hours. She really is an amazing person, like a grandmother to me.
The lodges aren't right on the beach, but its quiet and peaceful. And the garden lodges is what they are, a beautiful garden. But the lodges have everything you need. I was a there a little longer than most, so I was happy to see an actual kitchen.
To anyone reading this and considering where to go, trust me, you need look no further. The hospitality you will receive from a small family owned lodge is unlike no other. Their warm welcome will last with you forever. I know it has for me. Thank you.

P.S. Des and Tutai, I hope the sign is holding up well :)

Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
9 Thank Shawn F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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37 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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    7
    6
    3
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (2)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
17 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 December 2013

We were collected from the airport by our friendly host and driven to the shops to pick up supplies. The accommodation was spacious, clean and comfortable with a beautiful verandah in s tropical garden. It is very close to Tupuna's restertaunt which does great dinners. We didn't use the pool (being so close to one of the world's most beautiful lagoons it seemed unnecessary). The location is fantastic but you will need a scooter, bike or lift as many activities are hosted at the other end of the island and its a bit warm to walk.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank fawcettanne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rarotonga, South Pacific
Level Contributor
13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 September 2013

In planning a trip to Aitutaki I needed a place to stay for myself and two colleagues. We travel on a budget, but like to find self catering properties that are tidy and comfortable. Gina's Garden Lodges are located on an isolated inland section, and while it feels like a bit of jungle surrounds you, the grounds and well kept with many mature trees and flowering plants.

Each unit has two beds, one double and one single, in an open plan setting, with a mezzanine that has another two single beds. There is a separate spacious bathroom, and an ample kitchen adjoining the open plan area. The deck is large enough to sit on and have a drink or a meal, and the veranda offers shade from the morning sun.

The entire unit is screened, and although there are some mosquitoes outside, not one was found in our unit. The hosts also provide more than enough mosquito repellent in the form of coils and plug in heat pads.

The units are separated enough that you feel private in your own space. We did not even notice our neighbors except when they made themselves known or were coming and going.

The hosts are a lovely couple, and have been on the island for their lifetimes. They are very well informed of local matters and give great advise on what to see and do. If you have special requests I am sure they would accommodate without a problem.

If you are looking for a secluded place to stay that has room for up to a family of 5 and offers great value Gina's is worth a look at.

Thanks to Des and Tutai Clarke for their hospitality.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled on business
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank TangataMoana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Level Contributor
83 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 July 2013

This is basic, functional accommodation. Compared to many of the Beach front accommodation this is by far one of the cheapest at $150 NZD a night and even though there was only two of us, our unit had 5 beds so I would say it is good for families. It is self catering but Tupuna's restaurant is within easy walking distance. You will need to hire a car or a scooter to get about as it takes about a hour to walk to "the main strip" if you've been to Aitutaki you'll understand the air quotes. The pool was empty when we stayed there so I cannot comment on this facility. Being a garden lodge rather than beach front meant that there seemed to be more Roosters around than in the beach areas of the island so the dawn chorus seemed to be particularly loud and woke me up each morning at around 5am, so that's something to be aware of. You will share your unit with Moko (geckos/lizards) which I liked, but you might not.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Sarah P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Auckland
Level Contributor
5 reviews
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 May 2013

Lovely host who picked me up at airport with gardenias but disappointed I wasn't told at time of booking that the pool was empty with green stuff floating around and looked like hadn't been in use for a while as this would definitely have changed my mind about staying there. It's also quite a distance from anywhere so transport a good idea

Room Tip: Friendly hosts shame about the pool
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  • Stayed May 2013, travelled solo
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Mosquitto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Havlickuv Brod
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 January 2012

Peaceful Paradise!!
Me and my husband were travelling to Aitutaki in October 2011. We had accommodation organized at Gina’s Garden Lodges..We absolutely loved the Lodges, it was the most peaceful place in Aitutaki. Nice and Quite location with swimming pool and a beautiful garden where you can pick tropical fruit yourself. . Right behind the Lodges there are really sweet coconuts and they are easy to reach – nice refreshment. Also our host Tutai and Des were really nice people, they offered free pick up from the Airport (and drop off), also they helped us to hire motorbike and told us where to get groceries. Aitutaki is really small island and it is hard to get everything you want at one shop. Tutai and Des told us everything we needed – where is market (fruit & vegetable) , what you can get in each shop..They also provided us with free map and told us about the best snorkelling spots, best beaches, island nights, lagoon cruise etc.. There is a lot of gecko’s and it was quite fun watching them running around No wonder it is tropical Island, but no worries they don’t bite and you can find them even in the most expensive resorts..There is also a lot of mosquitos but Gina’s Lodge was one of the places where we could hide from them(not too many) Also Tutai seen my interest in knowing the culture and showed me traditional way how to tyedie Because we loved it soo much at the Lodges we decided to spent a bit more money to be able to go to their private island Akaiami and it was just the BEST!! Just the ride on the boat was amazing And when you get there – wow!! Beautiful white sand beach with the best swimming spot on the Lagoon (everywhere else is a lot of corals). Free kayaks so you can take them to get to One Foot Island which is amazing white sand bank on the Lagoon. Best spots for fishing or just chilling on the beach with no one around!! Honestly just breath-taking!! We have travelled through all Thailand and have not seen beach like this one!!

Room Tip: All the Lodges are the same:)
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  • Stayed October 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank NadenkaVojtisek
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brisbane, Australia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 January 2012

In December 2011, I travelled to Aitutaki. This was my first time to Aitutaki; despite being of Cook Islands decendant. From when we were picked up to when we were dropped off to Gina's Garden Lodge; I felt like our host was quite rude. Firstly, on our way to the Lodge (from the airport) we were asking questions about the location of certain places (eg. car hires, beach areas etc). Then suddenly, without our knowledge, she stopped at a car hire/ petrol station saying something like "the car hire here; go inside and ask". With that, we did not at all ask to be taken to a car hire nor were we wanting too as it was late in the afternoon, and we were tired, so we just wanted to settle in our place. Secondly, on our way to the accommodation our hosts decides to pull over, get out and say "this is a shop; come on" and she was gone. By the time I walked into the store, she had taken groceries (her own) to the counter and was ready to leave.Thirdly, when we went into the accommodation, all beds on both levels had gecko fieces. Curtains seemed like they have been there for years; with the dust building. And our towels looked like they were bleached and washed 10,000 times, as they were so warn out and thin -_-.

I believe we were treated differently because my mum is a Cook Islander (we travelled together) and she knew the lingo; however, that leaves no excuse to treat new travellers.

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled with family
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
8 Thank Mem S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
QueenAitutaki, Owner at Gina's Garden Lodges, responded to this review, 29 January 2012
I was very sorry to see the review of my Gina’s Garden Lodges recently posted by Mem S.

I met and greeted both these guests with traditional Gardenia eis at Aitutaki airport and brought them to my Garden Lodges at Tautu. I normally charge a fee of $NZ16 each for round trip airport transfers, but in their case as a welcoming gesture I did not charge them at all and their transfer was free both ways.

Without exception I treat all my guests in a warm and welcoming manner. It is our Aitutaki culture and custom to do so. I am sorry that Mem S and her Mum did not feel that I was friendly as I always try to reach out to my guests with information which will help them enjoy their stay.

We stopped at a food shop for them to make their food purchases. I cannot recall there being any problem with this. I try to ensure guests have enough provisions to take them comfortably through the night until they can get organized for their holiday.

At the request of the guests we made stops at two car outlets to get them a hire car which suited them. Both myself and the car hire people tried very hard to get them a car which met their needs.

Myself and my housemaid make every effort to keep our accommodation clean and spotless. Lodges are serviced every day and guests are provided with fresh, dry clean towels. Aitutaki is a tropical island, which is why people visit us, and part of this is having geckos and lizards – as well as mynah birds – in the environment.We constantly try to keep ahead of the mess they sometimes make. We regularly wash our lodge curtains.

Our towels are not brand new, but we replace them regularly as they become worn.

I deeply regret that Mem S feels that herself and her Mum were treated differently because they are Cook Islanders. I myself am a Cook Islander. How could I treat people of my own blood differently than I would other visitors? To do so would be far worse than racism and would deny what I am myself.

I am pleased to say that as well as guests from all over the world, we have welcomed many Cook Islands guests at Gina’s over the years and I hope to welcome many more in the future.

Meitaki Maata e Kia Manuia

Mrs Tutai Clarke

Manarangi Tutai Ariki ( Queen Manarangi Tutai)
Owner
Gina’s Garden Lodges
Aitutaki Island
Cook Islands
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Gina's Garden Lodges

Property: Gina's Garden Lodges
Address: PO Box 10, Cook Islands
Region: Cook Islands > Southern Cook Islands > Aitutaki
Hotel Style:
Ranked #12 of 13 Speciality Lodging in Aitutaki
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3 star — Gina's Garden Lodges 3*
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Gina’s has two properties on Aitutaki Island, Cook Islands. One - Gina's Garden Lodges, is on the main island, and is about 5 minutes walk from the Tautu landing, on the Eastern shores of Aitutaki lagoon. The second, beach side property is situated on one of the reef islands at Akaiami Island - 5 miles across the lagoon. This is Gina's Akaiami Beach Lodge. We are family friendly and welcome children of all ages. Both of these locales offer an environment that is special to Eastern Polynesia, and in their own way give reality to those Pacific dreams which travelers seek, and which cannot be found at Resort Hotels. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Gina's Garden Lodges Aitutaki, South Pacific - Cook Islands

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