I wasn't going to write a review after we got back because so many people had already raved about this little tropical paradise but out of nostalgia went back visit the pictures and was surprised by some of the complaints, so we wanted to provide our feedback of our wonderful time there.
Note we visited for four days, which is plenty, when the resort was newer, and the price was quite a bit lower, so we were able to splurge on the oceantfront bungalow by the Etu Moana sign(forget what #). But would have enjoyed the resort just as much in any of the bungalows as the back ones are set in the lush tropical gardens but still look out to the beautiful blue sea. Come to think of it, they may be better since you see the entire resort setting. Next time we'd try those bungalows as they're the only ones we could maybe afford now.
We were warmly welcomed, and efficiently whisked to our villa with a beautiful coconut, juice and all. The service from the lovely owners and local staff were truly top notch. They helped us with everything from taking us to rent a scooter to arranging snorkel trips to see amazing giant clams to calling to see if eateries had room or were open around the island. But they were not intrusive in any way. If you hire a moped, wear your helmet so you can shield your eyes from the many bugs flying around at night. Otherwise rent a car as there's a restaurant inland uphill everyone raved about that you have to get to. The village was great to visit as well.
Our room was as beautiful, spacious, and spotless as the pictures. Towels were lush. Fragrant toiletries but if you put it on without bug spray and go outside, you will get bitten. There was an outdoor as well as indoor shower, which was well thought out so we could wash the sand off before heading inside. The deck/verandah was thatch-covered with a built-in chaise to sit back and read/relax on as well as table and chairs to use while sipping drinks and chilling. I think on very hot days, we would not have minded a hammock option as well. Maybe when the palm trees get strong enough, the owners will put some up around the property when we return ;).
The snorkeling outfront was excellent and the reef contained gorgeous fish and starfish. Wish people wouldn't pick them up but just enjoy their presence. The water was so clean and clear. The snorkel gears and kayaks were always available for use. We were not affected badly by changing tides that others complained about, just as they complained quite a bit about the mosquitoes. I think if the air is still and it is very hot, mozzies and sandflies are more abundant. When the tradewinds come, the insects will get whisked away and people won't be as bothered by them. But I'll have to admit, the first day, we weren't as keen about putting on bug spray and got chewed up pretty good at dinner at a nearby restaurant. You just have to realize this is normal in the tropics and that putting on bug spray should be as routine as sunscreen. After that, we sat out on the deck for hours and were barely bothered by insects, which usually love me a little too much. Also recall some mentioned the sand being rough. While it isn't the silkiest in the world, it varies in texture due to the amount of seashells and a few bits of decomposing coral. We took a few walks on the beach(to one of the eateries nearby even) barefoot and with flip flops and wasn't put off by it, but rather enjoyed the sand crabs that scurried by or the litte fish that came so close to shore so as to be visit to us walking by.
Breakfast was not a lavish spread back then. It was just enough to get the day started with tropical fruits, breads, yogurt(?), coffee/tea and juice. You have to realize, it's not a cruise and you're not there to stuff yourself silly. But hopefully it now does or should offer a bit more since the price has gone up a lot for the resort. Thus giving it a 4 rather than a 5 due to the current cost-to-value ratio.
Etu Moana truly is a small, beautiful resort where one could truly escape the everyday worries of the world and unwind for a few days. Would have loved to have rented out the property and have a small wedding there during the cooler dry months. We go back in two seconds flat.
- 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, snorkel equipment, and bicycles. In addition we also offer a gift music CD, coconut drink, ei's and airport transfers. The lovely Cook Island staff at Etu Moana are waiting for you! ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Etu Moana Aitutaki
- Etu Moana Hotel Aitutaki