Aitutaki Lagoon Resort and Spa
Our stay: 15-22 Sept 2012
The bad: greeted at the airport with a flower garland; very nice, and warm coconut juice-yuk!
We paid $110 in total for transfers but the resort was less than 5 mins away – should be complimentary.
Travelled along a short dusty road just past the airport and just past the resort sign was earth moving equipment and huge mounds of sand. We should have been pre-warned about the dredging, this is very unprofessional on the part of the resort.
On arrival to reception the floor was covered in sand and looked like it needed a good hose and re-seal, and there was a strong smell of stale cooking odours wafting from the restaurant.
Even though breakfast was complimentary we were advised we will need to pay today as we arrived early!
The room was very boring and drab with no colour at all except for fresh flowers which were dead the next day. We paid $700 PER NIGHT for the “NEW premium beachfront bungalows”, but they are exactly the same as the cheaper ones! EVERY Staff member that bothered to speak to us advised that we must go on a boat cruise, so they obviously get a kick-back for this.
There was a large opening across the top of the bed which looked directly into the shower and needed shutters. It also needed a full length mirror and some pictures on the walls.
We went to (paid) breakfast at the beach bar and ordered a latte and a cappuccino. The coffees took around 20mins to arrive and were terrible; they don’t know how to make coffee.
At breakfast the next day and every other day, the milk was warm and the pancakes were cold. When we asked why the milk was not cold we were told they don’t have ice. We couldn’t have any cereal as we didn’t want to risk illness. Also the manager ate breakfast at the same time as the paying guests which seemed a bit odd.
In both dining rooms the table cloths look very dated, and our view at breakfast was the earth moving equipment and giant mounds of sand. They also had bougainvilleas just sitting in black plastic pots around the garden area which looked cheap and tacky.
On most days we stayed away from the pool area as there was lots of noise from the refurbishments also currently happening. Also, asthmatics beware; they burn leaves on the island and there was often smoke drifting around.
When we borrowed the bikes we walked past old boat parts, building material and bits of rubbish on the beach, and workmen sleeping on a boat.
On one of the nights that we ate at the beach bar a “fillet” steak we ordered well done, arrived charred black on the outside and dried out on the inside. I have my doubts if it was actually fillet; it had the consistency of a stringy bit of rolled roast. When we complained we were offered more sauce.
We ordered a seafood pizza one day which was excellent, but the next day it was awful and only had a few prawn pieces and lots of cheese! Also, they don’t supply table water with meals so you have to buy the bottled water.
There are NO pathways to the restaurants, so even going to dinner your feet are always covered in sand.
On our return home, I sent an email to the resort outlining my concerns, but have not received ANY response. They obviously don’t care.
THE GOOD: the resort is right on the lagoon and has magnificent views
The huge king beds were very comfortable and the rooms were kept very clean
We loved the outdoor shower; it was also handy for drying swimmers and underwear
You can do a little bit of snorkelling right out the front of the resort
Mata at the activities hut made our stay fun and enjoyable and she knows how to play the ukulele.
Get a massage at the spa- wonderful, best massage we have ever had.
The fire show and hula dancing show at the resort was really worthwhile, they also served a very nice meal at that night which we thoroughly enjoyed.
The beach hut makes great cocktails so make sure you get down there at happy hour 5.30-6.30pm
The rum punch at the Manager’s meet and greet and nibblies were also very nice.
Make sure you check your daily newsletter for activities and remind the activities people about them, or they will assume no-one wants to be involved.
They are well-stocked with kayaks, paddle boards, hammocks, beach chairs, beach chess and checkers, and complimentary DVD’s
If you’re fit and a strong swimmer, hire a kayak and paddle way out towards the deserted motu (small islands) and you’ll discover some great snorkelling and dozens of different coloured fish.
For the adventurous, hire a motor scooter and take a trip around the island, meet some locals and see some wonderful sights.
You can also go to a grocery store or the early morning markets to pick up some snacks.
We bought fresh bananas and biscuits to have with afternoon coffee on our balcony.
We also discovered the oldest church on the island and listened to the lovely singing on Sunday.
Ask for a map and go to the lookout for a magnificent view of the island
Borrow a pushbike and snorkelling gear from the resort and cycle just past the end of the runway for some magnificent snorkelling.
Visit the ukulele man who hand-makes ukuleles and his wife, who makes her own recycled jewellery
THE KORU CAFE: just a short walk from the resort - for the best food, best coffee and best service on the island!
They have all day breakfast, fantastic fresh salads, toasted sandwiches, calamari, chicken etc, and they know how to make a coffee. The home-made berry cheesecake is a must – YUM!
All the locals eat here as well, which speaks for itself. Walk in and you will be greeted with a warm smile and friendly conversation. As soon as you sit down a bottle of chilled water & glasses will arrive free of charge. Perhaps the resort could send their staff over there for some training?
Overall- all, as Australians who have travelled quite a bit and been to many resorts, this really only rates as 3 stars. Even though they have the overwater bungalows, the resort in general needs a good makeover. Had we paid a lot less for the accommodation we would have felt more satisfied, but $700 per night NZ is just way OVER priced for this, we came away feeling somewhat ripped off, and for that reason we would not return.
Our suggestion, if you want luxury, stay at the Pacific Resort we visited it and it looked stunning.
If you’re on a budget stay at one of the cheaper resorts or private accommodation on the island, but don’t waste your money on the Lagoon Resort or you’ll be very disappointed.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The only private island, adults only resort in the Cook Islands. It is the only Cook Islands resort to offer that invention of incurable romantics - the Overwater Bungalow. And it is the only resort on Aitutaki with a truly Polynesian flavour, so you can truly savour what the South Pacific is famous for. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Aitutaki Lagoon Resort And Spa
- Aitutaki Lagoon Hotel Aitutaki
- Aitutaki Lagoon Resort Spa
- Lagoon Resort Aitutaki