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“You Definitely Don't Get What You Pay For” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Aretai Beach Villas

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Aretai Beach Villas
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3.0 of 5 Villa   |   Village, Amuri, PH31645, Cook Islands   |  
Hotel amenities
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“You Definitely Don't Get What You Pay For”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2013

WE PAID TOO MUCH FOR WHAT WE GOT! My family and I stayed here at Aretai for 5 nights. First of all, they clean the rooms every 3 days! I didn't come on vacation to make beds, clean bathrooms and sweep floors. (A place down the rode that charges $94.00 per night cleans daily) I was so upset my husband decides to open up a bottle of wine for me but their wine opener was broken. So he sent our kids to the main house to get a another one. They come back with a can opener. They told my boys to use that. REALLY?? Let's continue.... The towels were cheap and old. I would dry myself with it and I was still wet. The bed sheets and bedspread were ancient. Zero bathroom amenities. For $300 a night plus $50 per per additional person . there was 5 of us.($450) (that's $2250 I paid) they should at least clean the rooms daily, buy new quality towels, sheets, bedspread and at the very least have little shampoo/conditioner bottles in the bathroom. There was no AC. I need AC. At the very least they should install a multi-split air conditioner in the living room. For $450.00 a night I believe they can afford it. There are 4 cats roaming the property that belong to the manager, her name is Mama. Kids love playing with them. The problem is that when I picked up the kitten and saw his belly, 8 fleas scattered! They offer no activities on the premises. Down the rode at another property they have bonfires at night and have a potluck night where all vacationers make a dish from their country. The managers of the property set up two tables on the beach and everyone eats together while they get to know each other. At least it's an option. They have 1 portable BBQ that was filthy! For $450 a night they should at least clean it. The beach in front of the property isn't the best by far. We went in the first day we arrived and never again. The best is near the Aitutaki Lagoon Resort. That beach/water is amazing. Great for families. I did see some rental beach villas that are privately owned on that side. I plan on looking into those the next time I go to Aitutaki. Even though Aretai was bad, Aitutaki is beautiful. We tried to spend every waking moment far away from Aretai. Unfortunately it rained the first two days we arrived. In regards to the fruit. We did receive fruit one day and that came from the lady that runs the transportation vehicle, not from Aretai. The owners of this property live in New Zealand and our making a lot of money from us vacationers. They should either lower their prices or put some money into the property and upgrade it. In the immediate future they should hire an additional housekeeper and clean daily. If I would have paid around $150.00usd per night I would not complain. I would have gotten what I paid for. But to paid $450.00 per night doesn't sit well with me. We work hard for our money. This was our family vacation and I felt we got ripped off. You are probably saying to yourself why did you book it in the first place. Well, we didn't. After staying at the Pacific Resorts in Rarotonga last year and loving it, we again contacted the Pacific Resorts Rep in the USA to book the Aitutaki PR for us. They came back and said they do not allow 5 people in a room. Max 4. However, there are villas called Aretai that they send their guests to if Pacific Resort is full and they will take 5 people. Since this was about 1 1/2 weeks before, we said yes blindly. Why would I think that Pacific Resorts being a 4/5 star property would recommend a 1 to 2 star property. We complained to them as well. All in all, unless you are ready for that, stay somewhere else.

Room Tip: The beach/water is not the best. It's not even pretty in color.
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SueJtravels, Family at Aretai Beach Villas, responded to this review, July 7, 2013
I am sorry to read that you didn't enjoy your time at Aretai Beach Villas. Perhaps your booking agent didn't give you the correct information when you booked.
We have never worked with Pacific Resort for bookings. Next door at Are Matatui, which is more luxurious and more expensive than Aretai, used to take families from Pacific Resort but no longer offer that service either. It is difficult to find accommodation for families in Aitutaki and we prefer to only take 4 people per villa, but realise this disadvantages families with 3 children, hence we will accept bookings for 5.
Our villas are advertised as self catering and are geared for travelers who generally prefer not to be disturbed daily. We also advertise that the villas are serviced every three days however fresh towels are available on request. This would be consistent with properties of this type.
Your points about bottle opener, linen etc are noted and we are in the process of upgrading some of our furnishings and some bathroom fittings.
The normal owner/manager was away for three weeks having some medical treatment and we are aware that perhaps things didn't run as smoothly while she was off the island.
So again we are sorry that your experience spoilt your holiday in the Aitutaki.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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41 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (7)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Auckland Region, New Zealand
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2013

My husband and I spent 4 nights on this paradise island. The villa was spacious with a wonderful deck outside that we made full use of. A good swimming channel just 30 metres to the left along the beach. Full kitchen with stove, fridge etc-great for families. We ate out every night and used the recommendations given in the visitors book-all really good. Mama was amazing and we were provided with fresh fruit and even freshly baked scones!
We will definitely be back with friends to stay at Aretai Beach Villas.

Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 7, 2013

I spent a week here with a group of friends in January. We were made to feel welcome from the moment we arrived at Aretai as we were picked up from the airport by Mama Nicholas. There are 5 villas, with 2 being more luxurious in their standard, and the other 3 simple but with plenty of space and all the facilities you would expect in a beach side villa. Admitedly, there are better places for swiming and snorkelling on the island, but really this is just nit picking on what is itself a beautiful spot.
When you come to Aretai, expect the best standard of hospitality from Mama Nicholas who will adopt you like you were a grandchild of her own for the duration of your stay. Mama was able to organise everything we wanted to do on the island, including the delivery of transport, day trips on the lagoon and a deep sea fishing trip outside the reef. Mama's kind nature and grace alone made staying at this place a delight.
The island itself is not big, so Aretai is within a few minutes scooter ride of any place you might wish to visit. There is a fully equipped kitchen in every villa which we used almost every day, but I would recommend you travel around and visit some of the local cafe's and restaurants dotted around the island and in the resorts. After a long day travelling around the island and swimming in the lagoon, there is no better way to spend an evening than lounging on one of the large villa balconies, or walking the 10 metres to the beach to wade in the warm water and watch the sun go down.
This isand is a beautiful place, and unlike any other place I had been to before. Its warmth and character are captured perfectly by Aretai and Mama Nicholas. Overwall, this was a wonderful stay.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2013

I never thought I would see such a perfect slice of paradise. The welcome was warm and the bungalow was spacious, simple and comfortable with everything we needed. We loved the big verandah right on the beach and snoozed the afternoon away on the chaise lounges under the palms. (Just watch out you are not under the coconuts!) The snorkling was good, but better when we walked along the beach towards the village. It was lovely kayaking in the evenings. We didn't rent a car or moto, but walked along the beach (about 45 minutes) to the village for shopping. Coming back via the road, we were offered a lift. The people on Aitutaki are very friendly and not spoilt by mass tourism. There is a small take-away restaurant next door (Puffy's) who also do a nice Island Night with a dancing and music show once a week. All in all, a dream vacation.

Room Tip: If you are going to do self-catering, take along a knapsack of your favourite stuff. You find all th...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
124 helpful votes 124 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2013

We spent 2 nights here and while the bungalow was very basic it was a good base to explore the rest of the island. Our bungalow view was blocked by palm trees and the cleanliness of the bungalow was of an adequate standard. The beach and swimming area out front is pretty ordinary compared to other places around the island, yet the gardens are lovely and well kept. The lovely host/owner of the property Mama (85 years young) certainly made up for our disappointment in the bungalow with her wonderful hospitality and friendliness. Mama organised our car, day trip out in the lagoon with Aitutaki Adventures which was a magnificent day out and real must for anyone visiting the Island. The snorkelling was fantastic and the lunch provided beautiful. We enjoyed a daily supply of bananas and passion fruit from Mama and wonderful chats. We had a lovely meal at the Pacific Resort which I highly recommend.

I was unsure on how to rate our stay, as the bungalow was average yet Mama was such a delightful character - sometimes your trip is not always about your accommodation or the places you go but the people you meet along the way!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland N Z
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
113 helpful votes 113 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 15, 2012

If you are coming to the Cooks islands go north to Aitutaki and stay at Aretai Villas as its the perfect place to relax and enjoy the beauty of the lagoon. They are in the style of well built and designed beach cottages and perfect for a family or couple. They are well equiped and furnished and have lovely covered verandahs with quality outdoor furniture where you can look at the sea and have your meals. We loved the kitchen and suggest visitors bring some of their own food as local supplies can be limited though all the basics are available. There is a small restaurant very close by by that does OK meals including fresh fish and salad.
They are right on the beach with a swimming area where you can get in over your head a few metres to the left. The grounds are well kept and it is a haven of peace and quiet. Mama who hosts the villas is a delightful, gracious woman who will bring you fresh pawpaw each day.

We loved being able to walk to the far point along the beach and not see anyone or in the other direction to get to a couple of small resorts for meals.

Looking out at the lagoon any time of day is one of life's treats. It is stunning.We loved this place and would love to stay again.

Rent a scooter too, very cheap and with 30kms speed limit very safe and have a meal at Tupunas Restaurant. Gorgeous!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 2, 2012

My husband and I just spent 2 of the best holiday weeks of our life staying at Aretai Villas in Aitutaki. This place really is a little slice of paradise. There are 3 Aretai Villas - 2 are quite literally on the edge of the lagoon beach with one ever so slightly back but still with beach views. The villas are more than adequate for a really comfortable home away from home holiday. Spacious rooms, high ceilings, loads of light and ventilation, screened from insects, ceiling fans, comfortable beds, fully equipped kitchen and a large covered balcony overlooking the beach perfectly screened from the afternoon sun by beautiful coconut palms. The grounds around the villas are large and immaculately kept.

Narnie or Mama as she is affectionately called owns and lives on the property. She is a gentle, warm, wonderful woman who welcomes you to her land and generously shares the fruits of her garden with her guests, bringing you fresh paw paw, bananas, coconuts, lemons and passionfruit. Two of her children have built beach front villas - only 5 in total. Aretai has 3 and the slightly more upmarket Are-a-Matatui has 2. We were fortunate to meet the owners of Aretai who were visiting during our stay. Bobbie and Sue were friendly open people who welcomed us to share music and meals with their friends and family.

The island has an incredibly lay back feel about it. No one seems to be in any hurry. The people are proud and friendly. I’m a big self caterer and whilst the island relies mostly on everything being shipped in if you ferret around you can find more than enough fresh local produce to cook up a storm. The small markets are open early every morning except Sunday. Anything special that you may want to eat during your stay bring with you. I packed one suitcase full of food. As long as it’s not opened you won't have a problem. You can even bring in cheeses and fresh meat so long as it’s cryopaked or still sealed. I brought in a whole slab of smoked salmon without any problems. Steer clear of attempting to bring in fresh fruits and veges, you can get them locally. For those who want to eat out there’s plenty of places to choose from.

Spend as much time on, around and in the Lagoon as possible. It’s the highlight of this place, you won’t believe the colour of the water and the clarity. We spent our 2 weeks exploring the little island on our scooters, sailing the lagoon on a hired Hobicat, deep sea fishing with Mike at Black Pearl Charters where we caught the most delicious yellow fin tuna, snorkeling in a perfect natural ocean aquarium - thanks Matthias at Matriki, swimming, relaxing and eating fresh delicious food. It ticked every box for being an absolutely perfect holiday. 2 weeks was not nearly long enough.

To describe this place one needs to use too many cliches in the one sentence. It really is magic. I can’t speak highly enough about our stay at Aretai Villas. Thanks Mama, Sue, Bobbie and all the Aitutaki folk who made our holiday. Aretai is perfect venue for a quiet romantic holiday for a couple, it's a safe playground for a small family, and would be loads of fun for a group of friends where you could rent more than one Villa. It's a place where you can choose to lay low and relax or make your own fun. Definitely put this one on the must do list.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Aretai Beach Villas

Address: Village, Amuri, PH31645, Cook Islands
Location: Cook Islands > Southern Cook Islands > Aitutaki
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 13 Specialty Lodging in Aitutaki
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Aretai Beach Villas 3*
Number of rooms: 3
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Your private piece of paradise, Aretai Beach Villas provides top quality accommodation on a magnificent stretch of white, sandy, beach, on the sunset side of the island. Guests have easy access to a wonderful safe lagoon and local restaurants. Three, attractive, generously sized, stand alone two bedroom units, are self catering. Each unit has a separate modern kitchen with full cooking facilities, and is well appointed with all you need. Lounge area with quality cane furniture. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Aretai Beach Villas Hotel Aitutaki

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