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“A Paradise in Paradise”
Review of Etu Moana

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Etu Moana
Ranked #1 of 10 Hotels in Aitutaki
Certificate of Excellence
Wilmington, North Carolina
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“A Paradise in Paradise”
Reviewed 20 June 2012

This is a long overdo review. My wife and I spent our honeymoon in the Cook Islands last October. We had no idea what to expect as this was a change inplans. We had thought of going to New Zealand and discovered that Air New Zealnd had layovers in the Cook Islands at no additional cost. We had no idea of the relaxed "island time' tranquility that exists there. We were supposed to spend our two weeks on Rarotonga but schedules had to be realigned and we spent the second week on Atutaki.
We thought we had found paradise on Raro but let me just say that Aitutaki and the Etu Moana redefined the term. From the greeting at the airport to the shore side cottage to the aroma of the flowers lining the path to the pool a feeling of total relaxation prevails. The lagoon is lovely and Puna's lagoon tour was spectacular. We even got to tolerate the morning rooster calls. Our last night on the island included dinner at Taunon's Garden Cafe. Words fail to describe the quality and deliciousness of the food there. The last meal before leaving paradise was beyond compare.
The entire staff are very gracious and warm. You feel immediately at home when you arrive. Amanda and Steve many thanks. This is a place deserving of many return visits. We are saving to come back to Paradise in Paradise.

Room Tip: Book far in advance to get to get bungalow 1 or 2 right on the waters edge.
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  • Stayed October 2011, travelled as a couple
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3 Thank John S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Palm Springs, California
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 June 2012

This place is superb. Very boutique and special. We had a beachfront cabin and it was well worth it, although we would not have minded a garden view either as even then, the views are amazing. We were greeted by a wonderfull staff and management team who went out of their way to make us comfortable and happy. The location was perfect as it gave easy access to the town and supermarkets and also the other side where most of the restaurants are. We found the room to be vey comfortable, clean and with a useful array of kitchen appliances for cooking, if you so chose, or at least making tea, coffee and snacks. Very beautiful surroundings and very peaceful. The breakfast which was included, was always very fresh and plenty of food available. The staff were always very friendly and helpful.

Room Tip: All the rooms are the same, just different views and locations...
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  • Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Lovinglifeinusa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 June 2012

To the Etu Moana family:

Thank you for making our honeymoon a wonderful memory that we will cherish for years to come. We would especially like to thank Jo-Ann, Jim, Steve, Amanda, Tere, Cecilia, and all of the staff for making our stay here truly a home away from home.

Aitutaki's beauty and charm is really centred around the warmth and love of the people who reside here. We definitely felt this with as soon as we arrived. And as we prepare to depart for home, we are already missing some of the local experiences that made this trip extra special to us.

As avid foodies, nothing on the island or in Rarotonga made our bellies as happy as Sonja's (of Tauono's Garden Cafe) coconut cake. She also makes a mean breadfruit lasagna and gave us master chef tips on how we could recreate the dishes when we got home. Her intuitive style of cooking is packed with flavour and many local-grown ingredients; garden-to-plate dining that is down to earth. Quite literally. 

To work off Sonja's culinary creations, we chose to embark on Aitutaki Adventures' yellow boat lagoon cruise. Puna and his wife were excellent hosts. Puna's sense of humour and laid back personality allowed us the freedom to see and snorkel in some of the most beautiful spots of the island without feeling the need to rush. And let's not forget the lunch prepared by his wife--simple, homestyle, and oh-so-flavourful.

Thank you again for the heartwarming hospitality and being so kind to us when we needed to see a friendly face.

Meitaki and kia orana!

Stephanie & Daniel
Vancouver, BC, Canada

  • Stayed April 2012
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Helpful?
1 Thank leungste
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Salzburg, Austria
Level 6 Contributor
54 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 June 2012

My husband and I stayed at Etu Moana for three nights as part of our Cook Islands honeymoon at the end of May. We were greeted by Cecilia at the airport with a flower lei and taken to Etu Moana. The Canadian managers Amanda and Steve were already there to welcome us with two coconut drinks, which was such a lovely gesture.

It is little things like these that sets a place apart from the rest. We were even allowed to use their car to drive to the other side of the island to get some groceries (we arrived on a Sunday and all the shops in town were closed.)

The weather wasn't the flashest while we were there but we still had an awesome time. There's free bikes to explore the island with - they aren't fancy but certainly fun to ride! There's a few shops within cycling distance, just head towards town.

The property is small and secluded, and very well kept. We arrived just after/in the middle of a storm and the staff did a great job of cleaning up all the dead branches, coconuts and leaves and make it look tidy again.

The pool is lovely and refreshing and big enough to swim in. Breakfast is served from 8-10am every morning around the pool and is certainly plentiful: Tea/coffe, two types of juice, two types of bread, bages, jam, peanut butter, philly, yoghurt, fresh tropical fruit, two types of cereal.

There's an honesty bar next to the pool where you can also get some milk from if you want to make yourself a coffe in your room. I would have liked to see a price list somewhere though?

The beach is gorgeous and kept tidy. Towards the left you can walk along the beach for hours...

One day there was a coconut demonstration down at the pool held by our favourite Cecilia - we got to climb (read: attempt to climb) a coconut tree (not that we got very far up) and she showed us the different stages of a coconut, and, most importantly, how to husk and open one. We got to taste both the flesh and the water from about 4 different coconuts and the 'show' was finished off with free cocktails for all!


Now to the bungalows. They are just too cute! I'm a sucker for thatched roofs, and these cute wee bungalows were so pretty and very clean.They have a generous deck with table/chairs, sunlounger and a little sofa-like sitting area. There's mozzie netting on all doors and windows. At the back there is an outdoor shower to rinse off after a swim in the ocean. The bathroom is nice and spacious and there's plenty of hot water. The kitchen is small but adequate, there's two elements and pots and pans (no oven or microwave) and of course a fridge and all crockery, glasses, cutlery... The only thing that we found could be improved is the lighting. While the lighting is indirect and quite romantic, another source of light would have helped to find stuff in the dark :)

We booked Bungalow 4 in the 'second' row. We had a bit of a wasp-situation in our bungalow (and in reception) and when we rung reception to ask about bugspray Steve came to our rescue very quickly. Later on it turned out there was a nest somewhere in the roof and they were seeking shelter from the storm in there. We got upgraded into a beachfront bungalow for the first night while the managers tried to fix the wasp problem. But when it came apparent that they just kept coming back, we were moved into number 5 which is one row back. Of course we got the price difference reimbursed but we only noticed back home that we actually got a lot more back per night, what a nice gesture.

The managers were very apologetic and to say 'sorry' they shouted us dinner at Cafe Tupuna's! How awesome is that! We were even given their car to get there. Things can always go wrong and unexpected things can always pop up but my husband and I were extremely impressed with how Steve and Amanda handled the situation!

We would return to Etu Moana any day and highly recommend it as a quite, romantic get away. We felt very well looked after, not only by the managers but also by all the staff.

Room Tip: You still get some oceanviews from 5, but it's a bit cheaper than bungalows 4 and 2 :)
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  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Kornspitz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brussels, Belgium
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 June 2012

Exceptional. The honesty bar is a great idea, makes you feel really at home. We stayed here on our honeymoon, and could not have asked for anywhere more beautiful.

Room Tip: Get the rooms as close to the beach as poss. But we stayed in no.5 and it was still very private wit...
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  • Stayed July 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank ElinBrussels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Palmerston North, New Zealand
Level 6 Contributor
293 reviews
60 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 112 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 June 2012

We recently spent 4 great nights here - have to say it was the most relaxing holiday we have had for some time. Unlike some of the previous reviewers we really enjoyed the non-touristy atmosphere. We too have been to the Maldives & whilst it was really enjoyable I certainly would not rate it above Aitutaki - $18US a glass of wine anyone - $45 US for a meal?!! Surely if you are visiting a "new " place you would do some research & see that the resort does not have a restaurant on-site- there are several not too far away within easy walking distance & the walk along the beach is lovely - also the resort does provide bicycles & scooters & cars for hire are not expensive - the hire firm comes to collect you to both get & return your car. Geckoes & mosquito's are found on most tropical islands & they are certainly no worse here than other tropical islands we have visited - in fact I enjoy the noisy,cheeky little geckoes.Fiji has cane toads everywhere as well as geckoes & mosquitoes & whilst it is a place we visit often ,it has become very touristy & the Fijian people do not seem as relaxed & happy as they were - ? maybe due to the political situation there.

The staff at Etu Moana are outstanding - from the ebullient Cecelia who met us at the airport - a real jewel in the Etu Moana crown ( she can scale a coconut tree too ! ) Steve & Amanda are very welcoming & discreet but always available if any problems ,the groundsmen & the cleaning ladies were always smiling & happy to have a chat - nothing was too much trouble.
We had a great coconut demonstration by Cecelia which included a free cocktail & any restaurant bookings were handled promptly & efficiently by the front office staff.

We had Villa 9 - a recently built absolute beachfront unit & I do agree that the 3 Villa's on the beach are the pick of the Villa's -The Villa'a re immaculate,stylish & private & have everything you may need including extra mosquito coils & an amazing outdoor shower- the breakfasts are more than adequate & you get to meet the other guests - we were lucky in that the other guests were all very nice & a diverse range of ages & nationalities - all very friendly & it was interesting chatting every morning. The Honesty Bar is great -most beverages available very well priced & the pool is just right for the size of the place.

Cafe Tupuna is recommended - Tuna and also Garlic Prawns to die for ! Sonya's Organic Fruit/Vege market is just down the road & Sonya's Kitchen restaurant serves wholesome,organic delicious food (only open for lunch & afternoon tea & not every day. Sonya comes out to chat & is a delightful,interesting lady.) Pacific Resort has quite nice meals too especially the desserts.

We thoroughly recommend this resort for a nice,quiet relaxing holiday - a great place to wind down & chill out.Plenty to do if you feel the need too - kayaking,kite boarding, fishing ,lagoon trips ,snorkelling but also if you desire you can just relax worry free & chill out. It is nice occasionally to have a child free resort too .

We will return! Thank you Amanda,Steve & your lovely staff. (the surprise birthday bottle of bubbles in our unit was wonderfully received too & an indication of the attention to detail at Etu Moana )

Room Tip: Try & get an absolute beachfront room
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  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank FranNewZealand
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level 5 Contributor
66 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 May 2012

We stayed at Etu Moana for three nights for our honeymoon following our week stay on Raro. Aitutaki and especially Etu Moana were exceptional. We were greeted by Steve and Amanda upon our arrival and were told we would be staying in the newly built villa 9. Steve and Amanda were exceptionally friendly and comforting. The villa was phenomenal, very spacious and had a great beachfront view. The Staff were personable and very friendly whether recommending a good place to eat or making reservations for excursions. There was breakfast daily at the pool, which consisted of fresh fruits,breads,juices and yogurts. Directly in front of the resort was great for snorkeling and there were kayaks available if you wished to explore further away from the beach. Everyone at Etu Moana was great, they really make every effort to ensure you are worry free and having the time of your life. If your visiting Aitutaki the place to stay is definitely Etu Moana.

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Willmc226
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Etu Moana

Property: Etu Moana
Address: PO Box 123, Cook Islands
Phone Number:
Region: Cook Islands > Southern Cook Islands > Aitutaki
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Kitchenette Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Luxury Hotel in Aitutaki
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Aitutaki
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:4 star — Etu Moana 4*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Etu Moana Beach Villas offers ten Polynesian style villas with thatched roofing. The Villas are situated on a beautiful white sandy beach and you have a mesmerizing view of the turquoise lagoon from each Villa. The Villas are all self contained and have a kingsize bed, large covered verandas, and Tasmanian oak floors. The style is crisp and modern. We offer complimentary Tropical breakfast, kayaks, SUP, snorkel equipment, and bicycles. In the rooms are smart TVs with 40+ movies on a hard drive. You are also able to listen to your own music by connecting your phone via bluetooth with a sound bar. In addition we also offer a gift USB card, coconut drink, ei's and airport transfers. The lovely Cook Island staff at Etu Moana are waiting for you! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Etu Moana Aitutaki, South Pacific - Cook Islands
Etu Moana Hotel Aitutaki

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