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“Not a luxury place at all” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Ara Moana Bungalows

Ara Moana Bungalows
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1.0 of 5 Ranch   |   Ivirua, Cook Islands   |  
Hotel amenities
Paris, France
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Not a luxury place at all”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 8, 2012

I visited Mangaia Island in 2012 and spend few nights are this place. Well, the only positive thing is the owner (a sweedish guy), very kind and helpful. But the problem with this place is that there is only one customer going every 2 months or so (Mangaia is not a typical touristic place and for instance, during my week visit, i was the only tourist on the complete island !) so at the end, the place is almost empty 95% of the time. The owner also don't stay in Mangaia during this time and he's flying back to Rarotonga where his family is living. This means 95% of the time, the place is abandonated. It's a pity because there is a lot of potential for this place and everything has been made by the owner, so when you speak to him, you feel he's very proud of his work, but at the same time, he realise he can not maintain it with only 1 customer visiting every two months.

Since the accomodations on Mangaia are very limited, this one has the advantage to be cheap and well, it's still possible to get a decent sleep and correct food (prepared by a local lady). But better to be prepared and understand this is not the place where you can find any of luxury or comfort.

On the other side, Mangaia island is a very interesting island, totally different from others Cook island (almost no beaches, no tourism industry etc ..), only recomended for aventurous or backpackers travellers (don't go there for a romantic or family getaway ...)

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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8 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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    3
    1
    2
    0
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Families
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Rating summary
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (2)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Bellevue, Washington
Top Contributor
147 reviews 147 reviews
58 hotel reviews
Reviews in 66 cities Reviews in 66 cities
183 helpful votes 183 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2011

Besides a hostel, Ara Moana, is pretty much your only game in town/on the island. If you're looking for a 5 star Aitutaki/Bora Bora like pristine lagoon bungalows then Mangaia is not your place! However, if you're looking for GENUINE Polynesian hospitality and warmth, this is an incredible experience. The owner, Jan, even sent over a bike on the airplane so I could bike around the island and not have to walk or rent a moped. I cannot emphasize enough, how very unique this place is, how kind the people are and how unforgettable it is!!! The only downside to here is unfortunately....the price to get out here.....Air Rarotonga charges a criminal amount of money to get out here. You could literally fly to NZ and back and it'd still be cheaper than going out here. However, the experience out here can only be summed up in one word....priceless : ) !

Room Tip: any place will be good!
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  • Stayed November 2010, traveled solo
    • 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.
Lehi, Utah
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2011

I stay in this facility for quite some time, let me say that the friendliness of the host and his wife and the couple of workers (Mam Mas) are second to none. What you will find is that the people genuinely care about your experience and take great pride in being able to make you happy. The meals in the morning and throughout the day are just heavenly I miss them to this day.

This really is a unique experience, I stayed here for a couple months as part of a sabbatical and during that time I helped construct the pathway out to the little sitting area on the edge of the cliffs. I would just go and sit out there in the mornings and listen and watch the waves come on and crash up against the reef.

You will love your stay here, as I did.

  • Stayed February 2010, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 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.
Denver, Colorado
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 8, 2009

This is what an island vacation is supposed to be! If you're not looking for an American-style hotel, but for the "real deal" experience, this is your place. Jan, our knowledgeable host, provided everything needed for a full experience. He knew the right guides, the right tours, the right places to visit. Dinners were accompanied by stories and vibrant conversation. The food was SUPERB, by the way, something we really didn't expect. Sorry that we only booked two days and nights; four would have been much better. We hope to be able to visit again!!

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Melbourne
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 7, 2006

We have just returned from spending 5 days on the island of Mangaia and each one of us absolutely loved it! We had a diverse age group ranging from 19-mid 50's and we all had the same opinion... You have to visit Mangaia before you die!

Our accommodation at Ara Moana Bungalows was comfortable and clean and really suited the surroundings. The standard bungalows are small and I would only recommend 1 person per bungalow for comfort. The spacious bungalows were ample in size and facilities and would easily accommodate 2-3 people. Each has private bathroom facilities and fans inside and the hosts, Jan & Tu, are such wonderful people!

Now let me tell you about the food... 3 meals a day and each and every one is way more than you know you should be eating but we found ourselves unable to stop! I think everyone in the group put on at least 5 kilos in our short stay. The food is so tasty, some would be happy to sit in the open air restaurant and bar all day!

The activities are endless on Mangaia, if you enjoy reef walks and a window into what the Cook Islands was 40 years ago, then this is the place for you.

We couldn't recommend it enough to anyone who is interested in nature andthe culture of the Pacific islands.

  • Liked — The seclusion of the whole place from the outside world
  • Disliked — The fact that I had to leave!
  • Tips/Secrets — Don't pack too heavy, there are no paths for suitcases. Mosquito repellant and reef shoes are a must
  • Stayed October 2006
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Ara Moana Bungalows

Address: Ivirua, Cook Islands
Location: Cook Islands > Southern Cook Islands > Mangaia
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Mangaia
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:1 star — Ara Moana Bungalows 1*
Number of rooms: 8

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