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“Great Place to Stay”
Review of Etu Moana

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Etu Moana
Ranked #1 of 10 Hotels in Aitutaki
Certificate of Excellence
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Great Place to Stay”
Reviewed 15 July 2013

Having read all the great reviews on Trip Advisor, we were not to be disappointed.
Etu Moana is a lovely resort. Amanda and Steve were great hosts as were the staff. Couldnt do enough to help you. These guys really go out of there way to make you feel welcome.
Aitutaki's lagoon is amazing. We were lucky enough to take a private day trip out with Mike & Melee on the Black Pearl. Worth every $. and if we had stayed longer which we wanted to do, we would have gone again. We have been to Raratonga 5 times and this is the first time we have gone to Aitutaki. In future, we will probably just go there..its a little peace of heaven.
The Resort is quiet and peaceful which we find very relaxing and it suits us to have facilities like the Villas kitchenette, so on days when we didnt want to go out we stayed in and cooked.
There are 2 nice restaurants within walking distance, but you probably need a car/scooter to explore the other places like the Boat Shed and the Cafe. Overall Etu Moana gets a 10/10 for quality, price, and service.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
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Thank dnlschofield
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 July 2013

Aitutaki's lagoon is surreal and the boutique resort Etu Moana, beyond beautiful. A lot of attention to details had been put in this place and it shows. The villas are high end, very comfortable and the site is truly magnificent. Our hosts Steve & Ananda are Canadians from Vancouver Island and are very warm & kind. They love where they live and care about their guests. We were very impressed with the lush, friendly and GORGEOUS island!  We highly recommend beautiful & friendly Aitutaki  and this small resort. We only stayed for three nights and frankly, it was not enough. Five nights  would have been better or even longer. We are already talking about coming back!

Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Odette M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fort Worth, Texas
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 June 2013

This is a nice place to stay. The staff is extremely accommodating and helpful. The bungalows are very nice and they do not try to scam you out of money for every single thing like other major hotels on the island. The view is not bad but not the prettiest on the island. The only thing that I would list as a negative are the Roosters the sit right outside your window every morning at 4:30 and call until sunrise. Good luck sleeping past 4:30. I am under the impression that is a normal part of life on this island though.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Batla765
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
101 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 June 2013

All I can say is "WOW' - Etu Moana is the BEST place and we were thrilled firstly to find it then to stay 7 Fantastic nights in Villa 9 Absolute Beach Front!!
Our thanks to Amanda and Steve who are great managers - always happy, helpful and fun! Nothing is ever a bother! The staff - Reception, Breakfast ladies, Housekeeping, Grounds men are always smiling, polite and helpful.
Short of re iterating what all other reviewers say - it's the little things that count AND this resort has them all! The Kitchen and Bathroom with EVERYTHING!! The Villa with 3 doors to outside (the screen, the louvred and glass) all to adjust the temperature and breeze!
At times you do wonder if anyone else is around as it's SO quiet and peaceful with only the sound of waves breaking out on the distant reef and wind gently blowing in the palm trees!!
Take a kayak and snorkelling gear (both complimentary) and venture out to the buoy which is 200-300 metres directly out from the beach and tie up to it! It is still shallow enough to stand carefully but snorkel even further out and you will see bright coloured fish and coral - indeed another life under the sea!!
Though June is their Winter the days and nights were absolutely magic - no need for a jacket! Borrow one of the many resort's push bikes and venture into 'town' to shop just 15mins away- its easy and interesting. At the "Super store" you can buy simple things for making lunches - we bought marinated frozen chicken (6 pieces), egg plant and tomato to BBQ back at the resort! That's dinner and lunch sorted!!
Or a 5 min walk up the beach is resort called Tamanu which has a nice BBQ night and a La Carte other nights plus an island night!
A 5 min walk up the road is Puffy's fish and chips - the fish was a major disappointment - great chips though.
We had dinner at The Black Rock Cafe which is within The Pacific Resort about 15min walk up the beach. It was nice but pricey like all restaurants on the island!! Have a cocktail watching the sun go down!!!
Or if you are game hire a scooter and go further a field! Take a visit to T & S Artworx on the opposite side of the island - there is a usually a sample board at reception! The jewellery is interesting and fun - the only problem is choosing just one piece!! Stephanie, who makes all the jewellery herself is married to a local man named Turua who is a charming and intelligent gentleman and he makes traditional Cook Island ukuleles there.
Another place to visit is Tepunas' restuarant - FANTASTIC food!! In my opinion the BEST food we had on the island by far!!!! You need a scooter to get there OR I believe they can pick you up for a small charge
Until we visit again
Kia Manuia,

Room Tip: Beach Front Villas are worth it!!! Villas 9 and 10 are the most private are both are recently refurb...
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  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank trina027
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 22 June 2013

We are so pleased we listened to reviews on trip advisor about Etu Moana. What a find! A lot of people have commented on the hosting skills of Steve and Amanda. They really are like the long lost friends you've never met before. Very welcoming and nothing was too much trouble. Also, a special mention to Parana, she was very helpful and friendly. My husband and I stayed for 5 nights at Etu Moana. Our villa wasn't beach front but it was a stones throw away from the lagoon. It was clean, comfortable and well maintained! Nothing short of luxurious. I really enjoyed spending time on the verandah, on the day bed, overlooking the tropical gardens. The breeze was perfect! The breakfasts were delicious, I especially enjoyed the passionfruit which I had dreamt about eating before coming to Aitutaki! We had the best holiday and such a relaxing time! We hope to return someday soon.

Room Tip: We stayed in villa 5 and then 6. Both are lovely but 5 was our fav!
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Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank Linda G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney, Australia
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 June 2013

I’ve seen it in movies a hundred times, but to have a fragrant lei of fresh gardenias placed around your neck as you arrive on Aitutaki really is the most beautiful welcome to paradise. The lei lasts only a day which makes it all the more special that someone went to the trouble of making it for you.

The first thing I noticed when we settled into our villa at Etu Moana was the soothing rustle of wind in the coconut palms – an iconic tropical-island sound. Any tension immediately began dissipating. The only other sound that forms a constant backdrop to living on Aitutaki is the distant rumble of surf on the reef edge.

The villas
We stayed in the beachfront villa 3 but they all have the same thoughtfully designed layout. The beds face the glorious view, and screened, louvred side-windows provide a welcome cross breeze across the bed.

The useful kitchen has all the necessary cutlery, crockery and glassware, including a plunger and ground coffee. The bathroom has a comfortably large shower (big enough for two people) but the shower head provides only needle-like sprays which I found too meager for hair washing. I chose instead to wash my hair under the private outdoor shower which had a more generous flow.

Outside the back door of the villa is a small washing line with some pegs thoughtfully provided in half a coconut shell. I found that hand-washed items hung on the line overnight were pretty much dry the following morning. But if you want a load of laundry done for you, drop it in the basket provided and they will be washed and folded for $25 a load.

The bed was very comfortable (needing only a sheet at night), and the local roosters never woke me up!

Weather
I was concerned that by June the weather might be too cool to fully enjoy a beach holiday, but the temperature was perfect – about 30 degrees every day, only dropping a couple of degrees at night. It felt like perfect body temperature, with a soft, warm breeze. The lagoon water was also warm so we could spend hours on end swimming, kayaking and snorkeling. I wore shorts and a t-shirt every day and didn’t need any long-sleeved tops or jeans while on the island.

Food
Although the breakfasts provided at Etu Moana are only continental, there were plenty of luscious options and we never felt the need for anything more before lunchtime.

Buying food on Aitutaki is quite expensive as just about everything needs to be flown or shipped in, and cooking for yourself is easier than it sounds because fresh supplies are limited. You can buy frozen meat and chicken, but only in large packs (six pieces of chicken), and fresh vegetables are few and far between. There’s plenty of tinned spaghetti and tinned tuna. The take-away stores on the island all seem to sell hamburgers (which look good) and fish and chips. We chose to eat at local restaurants – there are four within walking distance of Etu Moana.

A short walk along the beach to the left brings you to Tamanu which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu is quite retro (including tinned fruit salad and ice cream), but their Island Night celebration on Thursday nights ($55pp) is a must! I was fascinated by the large coconut palm fronds that were plaited onto the poles for decoration. To get there, turn left along the sand and walk until you come to a row of single baby coconut palms. Keep going until you reach a small grove of baby palms then turn inland and you’ll see the island-style open restaurant.

We missed it the first time and walked on until we found ourselves at the more expensive and glamorous Pacific Resort (which is great for a celebration dinner.) If you want to walk along the road to get here instead, it takes about 30 mins.

Remember to take a torch (provided at reception) if you go out for dinner because evening falls early on the island and both the beach and the road are very dark at night. A bonus of this is the glittering array of stars that swathe the night sky.

You can reach the other two restaurants by beach, too, but it’s easier to walk along the road. Turn left along the road for Puffy’s for really good fish and chips, or right along the road for Sonja’s Kitchen at Tauono’s Garden Café – delicious organic home-cooked lunches/afternoon teas on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. You’ll get a map showing all these places.

Lagoon
I’ve seen some critical comments about the water in front of the villas being too shallow to swim in at low tide, but the plus side is that you can paddle in the crystal clear, knee-deep water (wearing reef shoes provided) and see wonderfully colourful fish without even having to don a snorkel! Within five metres of the shoreline, right in front of villa 3, we saw small bright blue reef fish, zebra fish, a huge blue starfish (after which Etu Moana is named), an iridescent blue-lipped clam about 15cm across (on top of a large flat piece of coral), and an octopus.

There is also a deep swimming hole about 100m along the beach to the right where you can swim any time. When the tide was higher we had fun kayaking around the lagoon, and also tying the kayak to a yellow buoy about 200m out and then snorkeling in the deeper water there.

Other activities
On Sundays it’s worth going into the town to attend a local church service to hear the beautiful harmonies sung by the local villagers – each village trying to out-sing the others. There are several churches and the one you want is a bright white building PAST the four-way intersection (not the Catholic church AT the intersection).

Hiring a scooter is not for the faint-hearted if you’re getting on a bit, specially if you’re the one sitting on the back. We decided not to have scooter stress on our otherwise totally relaxing holiday and returned ours after a couple of hours.

I strongly recommend a lagoon cruise – you are really only getting half the experience without one. We were delighted with Aitutaki Adventures (and Captain Puna). Swimming and snorkeling in the crystal blue water surrounding the outer islands is purely magical – you feel like you’re in a movie - and hand-feeding brightly coloured reef fish was a treat! The lunch served on One Foot Island was the best food we had during our whole stay. Take a light jacket to wear on the boat after swimming because the wind is quite strong.

A walk up the closest hill is also worthwhile to get a fabulous view of the outer reef and some of the other islands in it. It took us about 20 mins to reach the top (you think you’re there about 10 mins in until you turn around and see there’s more to go).

Our travels around the island confirmed that Etu Moana was the perfect mix of comfort and style, together with an authentic edge. (The plastic thatching on the villas at the Pacific Resort really spoilt the effect for me there.) It is small enough to feel special, but sophisticated enough to feel luxurious.

Room Tip: The view from the beachfront villas is spectacular.
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  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Wongatraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vail, Colorado
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 June 2013

After reading reviews and doing our research, Etu Moana exceeded our expectations! We knew it was going to be nice, but didn't realize just HOW nice it was in every way!
We stayed in 2 different villas - Villa #3 on the beach and Villa #6 by the pool. With such a wonderful beach and beach access, I didn't find it necessary to stay right on the beach, though it was nice. The pool is great, breakfast is delicious and filling, and the honesty bar was such a great amenity. It is definitely a small, quaint place, and not really conducive to having kids, which was fine for us! Having air conditioning was a definite bonus, and they have a library of movies that we could borrow at night. The little touches, like mosquito coils and flash lights for walking down the beach at night are just a few things that really set Etu Moana apart from any other place i've stayed.

Room Tip: Staying 5+ days gave us a discount, which was nice. Wish we could have stayed even longer!
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  • Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Alana_Hanks
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 On the Beach Hotel in Aitutaki
#1 Luxury 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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