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“Amazing oasis offering lovely views with caring staff” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Etu Moana

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Etu Moana
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4.0 of 5 Resort   |   PO Box 123, Cook Islands   |  
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***XMAS - STAY 3 PAY 2***
Ranked #2 of 10 Hotels in Aitutaki
San Francisco, California
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
55 hotel reviews
Reviews in 49 cities Reviews in 49 cities
259 helpful votes 259 helpful votes
“Amazing oasis offering lovely views with caring staff”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 28, 2013

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.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
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658 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (126)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Spanish first
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English first
Hamilton, New Zealand
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2013

Thank you, Steve and Amada and all the staff at Etu Moana , This was truely one of the best holiday experiences we have had in a very long time , The location is stunning,the team very friendly and helpful, and due to the exclusive number of villa's (only 10) provides a very personal experience which larger resorts would always have trouble to match this personal service , Everything is relatively close by and of course once you get a scooter then the island becomes much more accessible and cooler with a 40 km/hr?? air-con unit working as well :-) Steve and Amanda are wondeful hosts . The only problem was 3 days were not enough and can only advise spend longer if you can,... and enjoy Paradise

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2013

Finally experienced what a paradise Etu Moana really is, after reading so many great reviews about it on tripadvisor. We spent 5 nights staying at Villa 3 (Absolute Beachfront), which offers the most amazing view of the lagoon. Wake up every morning, seeing the beautiful lagoon lying right in front of you, the feeling was surreal and totally relaxing.

Both managers Steve and Amanda were great in helping us out from offering tips and advises, organised scooter booking, fixing dvd players in our room etc. All the other staffs at Etu Moana were friendly and helpful as well. Truly amazing services they have provided and we thank them for making this the most wonderful holiday that we had.

Definitely recommended hiring out a scooter while you are at Etu moana. Scootering around the island was fun and you get to see more of the island as well. Scooter gives you so much more convenience while you are at Etu moana as you can get to local shops and restaurants on the islands with ease. I have never rode a scooter before coming to Aitutaki, but learning how to ride one wasn't hard at all. Aitutaki is the perfect learning place of how to ride a scooter. You will hardly see any traffic on the road.

We went on Teking lagoon curise one day and the experience was fantastic. He took us out snorkeling, Honey moon island, one foot island. The view there is just like what you see on the postcard. Teking also offered us a tasty local bbq lunch.

One minor down side of Aitutaki was food, food on the island is pretty limited. I will suggest anyone who is interested in coming to Aitutaki to bring snakes, can food from home if possible.

Overall, Etu moana is a true paradise on earth. You cannot fault anything about it. Word can't describe it, you will have to come and experience it yourself.

Room Tip: Villa 3 offers the best central view of the Lagoon "Absolute Beachfront"
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  • Stayed March 2013, 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wellington, New Zealand
Top Contributor
75 reviews 75 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013

This as our 4th visit to Etu Moana and it won’t be our last. It’s our favourite place to visit. The website and previous reviews outline all the great things Etu Moana has to offer. None of the reviews are exaggerated. It really is a magical place. We have stayed in Villa 3 and 5. Beachfront is beautiful but so is the view from Villa 5… its really lovely looking out over the gardens and pool – and still with a lagoon view

The reason we keep returning is the tranquillity, the peace and the relaxed atmosphere. We also love the staff. We are welcomed as family and kissed and hugged at the airport as we arrive and leave. All staff are friendly relaxed and accommodating. Gives the place a great feel.
Thank you Parana for looking after us with bookings and things and for Tere for the lovely breakfasts

We have visited when the original owners were there and when the previous managers were there. Amanda and Steve have filled Jo-Anne and Jim’s shoes very very well. Amanda went well over the top to help us resolve an issue we had when a dinner booking we had made for our anniversary was messed up - she wouldn’t rest till it was sorted. It was this and many other instances of truly fantastic customer service and attention to detail that keeps us going to Etu Moana – and returning.
Thank you Amanda and Steve. You are the best hosts ever. We had a fantastic week. We’ll be back.
Annie and Nick…. “Villa 5”

Room Tip: villa 5 has a great outlook of garden, pool and lagoon.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Shanghai
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013

We stayed at Etu Moana for 6 nights in Feb 2013. This was our honeymoon and we spent most nights in Atutaki and in Etu Moana with no regrets. It just brings our life changing expeirence.

Eventually our bag didnt arrive for the first couple of days due to the flight delay from Shanghai to Auckland, we got on the flight but our bag didn't. It was a big worry for us as our wedding dress were in there, Steve and Amanda suggested where to buy clothes and also kept ringing the airports for checking the bags arrival. Finally we got them on our bench 2 days after. Thanks Steve and Amanda for your great support for getting our bags.

Apart from that, the cottages itself were well designed and funcational user friendly. We loved it all from the compact kitchen area to relaxing covered bench area (keep you out of the sun) and back area out door shower, clothing line etc....I would say every single details that refects the hotel its "boutique" status and its a peacful spot for refreshing your body, mind and soul. As its also so close to the sea, you can see it through your room in the morning and hear its waves during the night, which made us feel like totally embraced into a sea and just like one of the beautiful fish we saw the other day when we do snorkelling. Bikes, Coral shoes, Snokellor equipments are all provided with no additional charges. We rode the bikes to the far end of the island, where we found " the best lagoon on earth"

One last thing to mention is about Steve and Amanda and their staffs. They are all amazing people, friendly and welcoming. Let me know the chances you saw managers seeing you off at the airport and bring your luggages. This is the first time. Thanks Steve and Amanda. You did the brilliant job managing the hotel.

To conclude, i would say i will definitely recommend Etu Moana for your stay at Atutaki. And when i visit this place again, i will choose it again with no doubt.

Room Tip: We stayed at Room 5. Was good enough, its just 2 steps away from the sea. Enjoyed it.
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  • Stayed February 2013, 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

I did not think it was possible for the actual location to look better than the photo's - but we found it here @ Etu Moana on Aitutaki Island. Everything was perfect - and I do mean 11 out of 10. Service was incredible - as was the breakfast by the pool each day, the gardens, the lagoon, as was out hut, as was the local cat!! We celebrated out honeymoon and we cannot wait to return one day. The perfect accommodation on the worlds most perfect & peaceful island.....I feel sad that we are not still there now!!!

  • Stayed April 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
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New Zealand
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 12, 2013

Mere words cannot describe Etu Moana, you really need to experience it yourself. We have found our own little slice of paradise and we will definately be returning, we loved being there and hated leaving!! Etu Moana is a quiet, exclusive boutique resort with only 10 villas, (4 beachfront and 6 lagoonview) a beautiful swimming pool with a honesty bar in the pool house, and fantastic swimming and snorkelling in the reef just off the beach. If you want a full service hotel with a full restaurant and bar try somewhere else, the magic of Etu Moana is in its simplicity. We stayed in Villa 1, a very private beachfront villa with postcard views of the lagoon from the lovely covered balcony, excellent facilties with full kitchen, well appointed bathroom and spacious bedroom/lounge area. The breakfasts were served around the pool, but you could take them back to your villa if you wanted to. Breakfasts were lovely, local home made breads, a selection of jams, (some local) muesli and cereal, fruits, juices, tea and coffee. We were going to hire a scooter while we were there, (which can be organised by the resort) but we rode the excellent Haro mountain bikes everywhere and absolutley loved it. (Aitutaki is very flat and not very large) We spent a day out on the lagoon with Teking (fantastic day, we had a ball) and were speechless when we came back to find a bottle of excellent sparkling wine on ice in our room as a gift from our fantastic hosts Amanda and Steve to congratulate us on our 25th anniversary, what a fantastic end to the day, and is a good example of the care and attention to detail shown by Steve and Amanda. I cannot fault this resort at all, my only worry is that by recommending it so highly, they wont have any room for us when we want to return. To Steve, Amanda and all your staff, thank you, thank you, thank you for such an enjoyable stay, we cant wait to return, see you next year!

  • Stayed March 2013, 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Etu Moana

Address: PO Box 123, Cook Islands
Location: Cook Islands > Southern Cook Islands > Aitutaki
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Kitchenette Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Aitutaki
#2 Luxury Hotel in Aitutaki
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Etu Moana 4*
Number of rooms: 8
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

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