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“3 STAR RESORT WITH A 5 STAR PRICE!”

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Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa
Ranked #6 of 10 Hotels in Aitutaki
Sydney, Australia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“3 STAR RESORT WITH A 5 STAR PRICE!”
Reviewed September 25, 2012

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.
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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.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Malcolm H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level 4 Contributor
34 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed September 9, 2012

We stayed across the lagoon at Ranginui's Retreat which looked our over the lagoon to Aitutaki Lagoon Resort and Spa. We were horrified to see and hear Diggers and bulldozers going for hours on end removing sand from the lagoon. It was shocking to see. See photos. We also ventured over to the resort when we arrived to check out the restaurant and maybe get a spa treatment. However the front desk staff we found rude. Very abruptly telling us that there were no appointments for that day or the next. Then they asked us how we had got to the resort. We explained we had been snorkeling and ended up over there. The lady at the desk then asked us how we were going to leave??? The resort has a free ferry and I can only say it felt like they didn't want us using their free boat. Needless to say we never went back for a meal or drinks like we were planning to. The guys running the boat were surly and unfriendly, not a good advertisement for Aitutaki. I would never ever stay at this resort, I can't believe the attitude of the staff or the resort management with their interactions with the environment or guests.

Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
4 Thank Erin W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed September 5, 2012

This was our 3rd time back and we enjoyed it as much as our 1st holiday to the resort.
We had booked in for the deluxe beachfront bungalow but as the Pacific Heads of Government were due to stay there, there were a lot of renovations going on so the management offered us an over the water bungalow, a lagoon cruise ,spa treatment and a five course degustation dinner for the inconvenience,which we were delighted to accept.
The staff were apologetic and helpfull.
We did not feel that we were too inconvenienced by the renovations.
Our previous stays at the resort were excellent, hence our return trips and we will be back.

Room Tip: The deluxe beachfront bungalows are excellent and the over the water bungalows are even better.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Janie D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
120 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed September 2, 2012

We were married at the resort late August, staff and wedding planner were brilliant, so helpful and nothing was too much trouble. However our stay was immediately prior to the Pacific Heads of Government staying at the resort as part of their forum so half the resort was pretty much a building site with renovations to bungalows and pool area and only one restaurant open. We stayed in an over water bungalow which was lovely but by the end of the stay we'd definitely had enough of being inconvenienced moving around the property with back hoes and workmen seemingly ever present. Food in the restaurant was average and not a wide selection given the prices. In summary, wedding was everything we hoped for, honeymoon after was a real let down, especially given the prices charged!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Crowey_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed August 28, 2012

We stayed at this resort in May 2012 and had a good time. Aitutaki is a great location if you just want to relax and do nothing all day. The accommodation is not the best, nor is the food and do not expect an abundance of shops on Aitutaki, because you will be disappointed. We also found the snorkling around the island disappointing.

However, the staff are very friendly and sitting on the deck at night watching the sun go down sipping on a cocktail was just a great way to end the day.

Room Tip: Originally I wanted to stay in an over the water room but on arrival glad my wife talked me out of i...
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Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
3 Thank Stuart L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed August 27, 2012

Have just come back from the Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa and must say my wife and I did not want to leave. I don’t know how people can complain about the resort as we found the staff and surroundings very pleasant. We spent 7 nights and did not want to come home and this was even though the resort was going through some major renovations. We started off in the deluxe beach front bungalows and were surprised to see that they we completely new and we were the first guests to use them. Everything was new and freshly painted with the bed being twin singles so it was huge and the mattresses were perfect. As the pacific forum is being held at Aitutaki the resort was going through complete renovations with all bungalows except the over water units being renovated. New sand was being moved to make newer beaches and they were installing a new wireless system so you will have connections from your bungalow.
The food was just fantastic and we were lucky that we payed for a meal plan and had three meals a day that had good variety. My favourite was breakfast and the fruit which was all very fresh and the Paw paw was just to die for but even the cooked food was all very fresh and I thought was in line with the prices charged at other resorts and just as good.
I did notice that table clothe did have stains on some times but nothing too bad and I think it’s a case of conserving resources on the island which are limited. It must be remembered that this small island is very isolated and is supplied from New Zealand & Rarotonga with monthly deliveries so they need to be resourceful in conserving water and power. This is where you need to see why this is such a great place as the people make the place such a great place to relax and blend in with their lifestyle and pace of life. I saw to many guests still running city speed and not just chilling out and learn to operate at island time, I did it a few times when I would walk quickly to go and see something and then realize I was just racing along and not smelling the roses. We rented a car and drove around the island and tried to see how the people live their lives and came away seeing a beautiful church loving people who hold very strong family values. They bury their family on their land as can be seen by the many plots along side houses and the land is past down the generations. One thing I did notice was the protest of the locals about Sunday flights in and out of the airport and how they would like this stoped due to their religious believes, I did not know this and did arrive and leave on a Sunday which made me feel bad and if I had known would not have done this. Even as we passed there protest on the Sunday all the people still smiled and waved very friendly at us which just sums up the people.
We were luck that the resort offered us a stay for two nights in the over water bungalows as we had some earth work machinery in front of our bungalow as well as a free day out on one of the tour boats to see the islands. We had already been out on the tour boats so only accepted the over water bungalow and were totally blown away. I would strongly recommend if yo do go to Aitutaki then stay at least one night on the over water bungalow as they are just sensational as you never need to leave your hut to do any swimming and can just relax on the deck and look over the lagoon all day. I would also recommend that when yo go snorkelling just go at high tide up the front of the island on an incoming tide and drift down the channel in front of the resort as the coral is really very good.

Room Tip: Just do the overwater bungalows.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Alex t
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mosman, Sydney, Australia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed August 15, 2012

My divine husband planned a surprise anniversary break, which we were both sooo looking forward too. After a few nights on the main island, which were ok, for $1200 p/n we had great expectations of Aiututki. He chose it for 3 reasons - The over-water villa, satellite tv (for the London Olympics), and the perception Catriona Rowntree honeymooned here ... surely not??

Our excitement began to fade as we arrived at reception, adjacent the pool area (not shown on the website - for a very good reason!). There was no atmosphere, a seriously tired pool-surround / gardens, a handful of sagging lounge chairs - no towels. I could be kind and simply refer to it as 'retro!'
We were taken to our over-water villa, which was actually ok, if again you ignored the dated tired styling, modest size, and abundance of scattered flower arrangements (at least 12!) - infested with ants. Walking out onto our private deck meant being blown to Hawaii in those ferocious trade winds, so suddenly those over-water villa's, facing S.SW with no sun, at the furthest and most exposed end of the island, became very undesirable. Within a few hours we asked to move, however with a third of the villa's being superficially renovated (during peak season!) we were told there were none avail.

Dinner was a simple curry night menu, which was ok, again we sort protection from the wind. Just. We drank to forget the days disappointments, and basked in fond memories of backpacking, which helped to make this place feel like it maybe was a gem, and we just hadn't realised it yet....

Awoke the next morning with a fresh mind, and the best intentions to make the most of this resort... Arrived at b'fast relaxed, but ended up seated at a freshly set table - on a very very dirty table cloth! Observed the buffet was totally inedible - cold soggy pancakes. mandarin pieces. slices of orange. muesli drowned in something unrecognisable, dodgey white bread to toast, a few packaged style pastries and did I mention the tinned fruit salad that appeared part blended (great baby food!) or the motel style boxes of cornflakes. And that was it!! I asked if they had eggs, which it turned out I could order, at an extra cost ... This room is $1200 p.n! you can't be serious!

Within 10 minutes, we were done w/ b'bast, looked at each other, and burst out laughing. My husband announced, 'I wouldn't send our dog here, and nor would she eat the food!'
13 minutes later, we'd handed in the keys and checked out. (Our first time for this!! I had no idea it felt so liberating).

The manager was kind enough to then offer us a beachfront villa - which are newer and larger, but by this stage this resort was feeling more like a 2 star, $200 p.n experience despite it's stunning lagoon location, IF you can find a spot out of the trade wind. The cook islanders are particularly lovely people, but how they can look you in the eye, and think this is a $1200 p.n / 5 star experience I have no idea!

We hired a scooter, found the Pacific Resort on the western shores - and found paradise, protection from the trade winds, comfort, atmosphere and the 5 star experience we'd anticipated. Sadly, it was very apparent we are not the first to relocate!!!

Aitutaki Lagoon Resort is HIGHLY OVER-RATED & OVER-PRICED. I've since discovered friends who have have been there and had similar experiences, and now refer to it as the 'Crook Islands'. It proved v hard to find value for money. Now that I have seen the resorts website, you can't help but notice the photoshopping too - it's very deceiving.

For an island experience I'd rather go back to Fiji in a heartbeat, Turtle Island, Vatulele, and even the Inter-Continental are all so so superior. 10 yrs ago we had a simple family holiday at Castaway (fiji), which was also far superior to this place.

Our mistake was to book this in haste, not read reviews! and do enough homework. And of course the deceptive web-site!

Room Tip: Villa with sun, protected form the blustering trade winds! unless it's peak summer!
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
19 Thank Michelle B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa

Property: Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa
Address: | Akitua Private Island, Cook Islands
Phone Number:
Location: Cook Islands > Southern Cook Islands > Aitutaki
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#4 Luxury Hotel in Aitutaki
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Aitutaki
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa 4.5*
Number of rooms: 36
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

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