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“Gem of a place on a gem of an island”

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Aretai Beach Villas
Sydney, Australia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Gem of a place on a gem of an island”
Reviewed March 7, 2013

I spent a week here with a group of friends in January. We were made to feel welcome from the moment we arrived at Aretai as we were picked up from the airport by Mama Nicholas. There are 5 villas, with 2 being more luxurious in their standard, and the other 3 simple but with plenty of space and all the facilities you would expect in a beach side villa. Admitedly, there are better places for swiming and snorkelling on the island, but really this is just nit picking on what is itself a beautiful spot.
When you come to Aretai, expect the best standard of hospitality from Mama Nicholas who will adopt you like you were a grandchild of her own for the duration of your stay. Mama was able to organise everything we wanted to do on the island, including the delivery of transport, day trips on the lagoon and a deep sea fishing trip outside the reef. Mama's kind nature and grace alone made staying at this place a delight.
The island itself is not big, so Aretai is within a few minutes scooter ride of any place you might wish to visit. There is a fully equipped kitchen in every villa which we used almost every day, but I would recommend you travel around and visit some of the local cafe's and restaurants dotted around the island and in the resorts. After a long day travelling around the island and swimming in the lagoon, there is no better way to spend an evening than lounging on one of the large villa balconies, or walking the 10 metres to the beach to wade in the warm water and watch the sun go down.
This isand is a beautiful place, and unlike any other place I had been to before. Its warmth and character are captured perfectly by Aretai and Mama Nicholas. Overwall, this was a wonderful stay.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
5 Thank H0wesy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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53 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (12)
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Valais
Level 5 Contributor
43 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed January 18, 2013

I never thought I would see such a perfect slice of paradise. The welcome was warm and the bungalow was spacious, simple and comfortable with everything we needed. We loved the big verandah right on the beach and snoozed the afternoon away on the chaise lounges under the palms. (Just watch out you are not under the coconuts!) The snorkling was good, but better when we walked along the beach towards the village. It was lovely kayaking in the evenings. We didn't rent a car or moto, but walked along the beach (about 45 minutes) to the village for shopping. Coming back via the road, we were offered a lift. The people on Aitutaki are very friendly and not spoilt by mass tourism. There is a small take-away restaurant next door (Puffy's) who also do a nice Island Night with a dancing and music show once a week. All in all, a dream vacation.

Room Tip: If you are going to do self-catering, take along a knapsack of your favourite stuff. You find all th...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank TOOTLE46
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Australia
Level 6 Contributor
41 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 125 helpful votes
Reviewed January 15, 2013

We spent 2 nights here and while the bungalow was very basic it was a good base to explore the rest of the island. Our bungalow view was blocked by palm trees and the cleanliness of the bungalow was of an adequate standard. The beach and swimming area out front is pretty ordinary compared to other places around the island, yet the gardens are lovely and well kept. The lovely host/owner of the property Mama (85 years young) certainly made up for our disappointment in the bungalow with her wonderful hospitality and friendliness. Mama organised our car, day trip out in the lagoon with Aitutaki Adventures which was a magnificent day out and real must for anyone visiting the Island. The snorkelling was fantastic and the lunch provided beautiful. We enjoyed a daily supply of bananas and passion fruit from Mama and wonderful chats. We had a lovely meal at the Pacific Resort which I highly recommend.

I was unsure on how to rate our stay, as the bungalow was average yet Mama was such a delightful character - sometimes your trip is not always about your accommodation or the places you go but the people you meet along the way!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Rooms
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Helpful?
5 Thank whatthe111111
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland N Z
Level 5 Contributor
80 reviews
43 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 124 helpful votes
Reviewed November 15, 2012

If you are coming to the Cooks islands go north to Aitutaki and stay at Aretai Villas as its the perfect place to relax and enjoy the beauty of the lagoon. They are in the style of well built and designed beach cottages and perfect for a family or couple. They are well equiped and furnished and have lovely covered verandahs with quality outdoor furniture where you can look at the sea and have your meals. We loved the kitchen and suggest visitors bring some of their own food as local supplies can be limited though all the basics are available. There is a small restaurant very close by by that does OK meals including fresh fish and salad.
They are right on the beach with a swimming area where you can get in over your head a few metres to the left. The grounds are well kept and it is a haven of peace and quiet. Mama who hosts the villas is a delightful, gracious woman who will bring you fresh pawpaw each day.

We loved being able to walk to the far point along the beach and not see anyone or in the other direction to get to a couple of small resorts for meals.

Looking out at the lagoon any time of day is one of life's treats. It is stunning.We loved this place and would love to stay again.

Rent a scooter too, very cheap and with 30kms speed limit very safe and have a meal at Tupunas Restaurant. Gorgeous!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Mary-53-2004
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed November 2, 2012

My husband and I just spent 2 of the best holiday weeks of our life staying at Aretai Villas in Aitutaki. This place really is a little slice of paradise. There are 3 Aretai Villas - 2 are quite literally on the edge of the lagoon beach with one ever so slightly back but still with beach views. The villas are more than adequate for a really comfortable home away from home holiday. Spacious rooms, high ceilings, loads of light and ventilation, screened from insects, ceiling fans, comfortable beds, fully equipped kitchen and a large covered balcony overlooking the beach perfectly screened from the afternoon sun by beautiful coconut palms. The grounds around the villas are large and immaculately kept.

Narnie or Mama as she is affectionately called owns and lives on the property. She is a gentle, warm, wonderful woman who welcomes you to her land and generously shares the fruits of her garden with her guests, bringing you fresh paw paw, bananas, coconuts, lemons and passionfruit. Two of her children have built beach front villas - only 5 in total. Aretai has 3 and the slightly more upmarket Are-a-Matatui has 2. We were fortunate to meet the owners of Aretai who were visiting during our stay. Bobbie and Sue were friendly open people who welcomed us to share music and meals with their friends and family.

The island has an incredibly lay back feel about it. No one seems to be in any hurry. The people are proud and friendly. I’m a big self caterer and whilst the island relies mostly on everything being shipped in if you ferret around you can find more than enough fresh local produce to cook up a storm. The small markets are open early every morning except Sunday. Anything special that you may want to eat during your stay bring with you. I packed one suitcase full of food. As long as it’s not opened you won't have a problem. You can even bring in cheeses and fresh meat so long as it’s cryopaked or still sealed. I brought in a whole slab of smoked salmon without any problems. Steer clear of attempting to bring in fresh fruits and veges, you can get them locally. For those who want to eat out there’s plenty of places to choose from.

Spend as much time on, around and in the Lagoon as possible. It’s the highlight of this place, you won’t believe the colour of the water and the clarity. We spent our 2 weeks exploring the little island on our scooters, sailing the lagoon on a hired Hobicat, deep sea fishing with Mike at Black Pearl Charters where we caught the most delicious yellow fin tuna, snorkeling in a perfect natural ocean aquarium - thanks Matthias at Matriki, swimming, relaxing and eating fresh delicious food. It ticked every box for being an absolutely perfect holiday. 2 weeks was not nearly long enough.

To describe this place one needs to use too many cliches in the one sentence. It really is magic. I can’t speak highly enough about our stay at Aretai Villas. Thanks Mama, Sue, Bobbie and all the Aitutaki folk who made our holiday. Aretai is perfect venue for a quiet romantic holiday for a couple, it's a safe playground for a small family, and would be loads of fun for a group of friends where you could rent more than one Villa. It's a place where you can choose to lay low and relax or make your own fun. Definitely put this one on the must do list.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank LeesaMSydney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tauranga, New Zealand
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed October 16, 2012

What a fabulous spot right on the edge of the lagoon nestled amongst the palm trees. Well appointed spacious villa with everything we could want - the perfect base for a perfect holiday spent swimming, snorkeling, kyaking, walking and generally lazing around. And yes, the weather was perfect and the water warm.
And yes we saw whales jumping just outside the reef - 2 times!
And then there was Mama who looked after our every need and kept us enthralled with here stories. What a gem of a lady.
We will return.

Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
2 Thank Tony M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Zealand
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed September 27, 2012

We had a wonderful stay at the aretai beach villas. Wonderful location, quiet and kept in tip top order. Mama couldn't do enough for us and we thoroughly enjoyed her fresh fruit and veges. We loved the island night at Tamanu Beach which was great value with a huge choice of food.
We bought a lot of our own food from Rarotonga and so enjoyed using the kitchen facilities at the villa to do most of our own cooking.
Island lagoon cruise was suberb with Aitutaki Adventures - best snorkelling ever. A wonderful place to stay.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
Helpful?
2 Thank morgandNewZealand
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Aretai Beach Villas

Property: Aretai Beach Villas
Address: Village, Amuri, PH31645, Cook Islands
Location: Cook Islands > Southern Cook Islands > Aitutaki
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 13 Specialty Lodging in Aitutaki
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:2 star — Aretai Beach Villas 2*
Number of rooms: 3
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Your private piece of paradise, Aretai Beach Villas provides top quality accommodation on a magnificent stretch of white, sandy, beach, on the sunset side of the island. Guests have easy access to a wonderful safe lagoon and local restaurants. Three, attractive, generously sized, stand alone two bedroom units, are self catering. Each unit has a separate modern kitchen with full cooking facilities, and is well appointed with all you need. Lounge area with quality cane furniture. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Aretai Beach Villas Hotel Aitutaki

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