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“Exceeded All Expectations”
Review of Etu Moana

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Etu Moana
Ranked #1 of 10 Hotels in Aitutaki
Certificate of Excellence
Sydney, Australia
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Exceeded All Expectations”
Reviewed January 7, 2012

After reading many of the reviews for Etu Moana we had set out expectations quite high. I can safely say that our recent 8 night (29 December 2011 - 6 January 2012) stay exceeded all our expectations.

We arrived during a heavy tropical storm and were greeted at the airport by Cecilia. We were presented with a lei each and quickly out of the airport and on the way to the hotel. On arrival to the hotel we were very warmly greeted by Steve and Amanda, given a coconut drink and showed around the property.

We stayed in Villa 1 for 3 nights and Villa 8 for 5 nights. I now know why the Absolute Beachfront Villas are booked so far in advance. The view from the bed and deck is amazing. There are 2 other beachfront villas being constructed next to villa 3 at the moment which might make it a little easier to book these types of rooms in the future.

The villas are well equipped, large and really comfortable. The addition of a private outdoor shower was great to wash off the sand/salt water before coming into the room. Villa 1 and 8 were basiclly identical apart from the view/location. Villa 8 was still only about 25 metres from the beach with views of the beautiful gardens and a slight view of the ocean. The rooms have a dvd player and there is a selection of movies at reception which is handy at night or on a rainy day.

The pool area is really nice and great for relaxing. The water was always a perfect temperature for swimming too. It was fun swimming in the pool every day and looking around the gardens at all the new flowers that had blossomed over night. The small size of the hotel was great as all guests were really comfortable and it was easy to make new friends.The honesty bar was great and drinks are really cheap ( e.g. I think it was $3NZ for a Coke) It was also fun mixing cocktails at the bar using the receipe book. There are also deck chairs on the beach to relax on and soak in the views.

While there is no restaurant at Etu Moana, breakfast is served every morning. There is a selection of cereal, breads, bagels, tropical fruit, tea and great cofee. The girls at breakfast provide great service and will organise a tray to take food to you room if it is raining. There is also a BBQ available for use which is great. Just ask reception for fresh fish and they can deliver it. We actually got some fish from a place called Baxter's Waterworld which was towards the middle of the island.

Service was amazing. Honest recommendations were given in relation to both restaurants and things to do, reservations made quickly and any requests were dealt with promptly and with a smile. All staff were fabulous expecially Cecilia and Lovely. Every staff member ranging from Steve and Amanda to the houskeepers to the gardeners would all smile and greet you whenever you walked by. The cocunut demo done by Cecila once a week was really fun and enjoyable (drinks from the bar are also on the house during the show too).

The only downside (not the hotel's fault at all) were the mosquitoes. Pack enough repellent for your stay and then pack some more as it runs out fast.

We saw the other resorts on the island were really pleased with our choice to stay at Etu Moana. While the other places are nice, they didn't have the same vibe as Etu Moana. You are really made to feel comfortable and at home at Etu Moana and it makes the stay even more relaxing.

Overall, I would say that our stay was perfect. I can't think of anything that could of made the stay better. I have stayed at many luxury resorts in South East Asia and Etu Moana is easily on par, if not better, than those resorts.I know why Etu Moana has so many return guests. Aitutaki is heaven on earth and Etu Moana is by far the BEST property to stay at.

Room Tip: The Absolute Beachfront Villas are well worth the extra money but you will need to book well in adva...
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
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4 Thank jskiba55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Melbourne, Australia
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed December 30, 2011

We stayed at Etu Moana a while ago, but I still dream of returning. There is no better place to stay on Aitutaki. The staff are amazing, the rooms are excellent, and the honesty bar was brilliant (and cheap).
We stayed at a MUCH more expensive hotel on Rarotonga before arriving on Aitutaki, but Etu Moana beat it hands down, at a fraction of the cost. Do not miss out.

Room Tip: Book early (VERY EARLY). The beach front rooms are worth the (minor) additional cost.
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  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank Gary_Walsh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nelson, New Zealand
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed December 22, 2011

Etu Moana deserves the reputation it has on this site. We just returned from 10 days there and the hotel was everything we expected. We moved from villa 2 (which is one row back from the beach) to villa 1 (beachfront) because of a slight hiccup with our a/c and would definitely recommend that you book a beachfront villa if you can. I won't go over the same details as other reviewers have because everything's been said plenty of times before. There are a couple of things, however, wroth mentioning: These are nothing really to do with Etu Moana but more with Aitutaki as a whole and you should be aware ...


- Some reviewers comment about the lagoon and its being shallow and not suitable for snorkelling. Yes, it is shallow (especially when the tide is out) but even then you can just wade out and see the array of fish. If you want to go deeper, easily, use the hotel kayaks - there are plenty of them. The most off-putting thing about the lagoon is the huge number of sea cucumbers but you just need to remember that they serve their purpose in helping to keep the lagoon crystal clear.
- Etu Moana doesn't have a restaurant but they do serve a fresh and delicious breakfast. I know that others have commented about the lack of a restaurant and been slated because they knew what they were letting themselves in for before they went to the island. There is an important point to be made here, however. We thought there would be no problem at all without a restaurant because there were plenty of places to eat and shops on the island where we could get fresh fish and produce if we wanted to cook ourselves. Yes, there are plenty of restaurants (more about them in a minute) but self catering really isn't an option. The majority of islanders grow their own veg and catch their own fish. This means that the shops aren't stocked at all well (unless you happen to shop the day after the monthly container arrives from NZ). Supplies are incredibly tight and self catering really isn't an option.
- There is no public transport on the island. Cycling or being on a moped wasn't our thing so we hired a car for a few days. On the days we didn't have it, though, we felt very 'stuck'. Taxis are expensive (usually NZ$30 for a return trip to a restaurant). There aren't many restaurants within walking distance of the hotel.
- We ate lunch at Puffy's (good), Koru Cafe (fabulous - went back again, and then they dropped off a meal for us at our hotel on another day), Tapuna's (although we didn't actually eat there at all as there were so many mosquitos and sandfly things that we left before we even ordered), Boatshed (twice - good food and the Indonesian chef is planning some new things on the menu) and Pacific Resort (after our aborted attempt at Tapunas). Pacific Resort is over-hyped - the service was ridiculously bad and when four of us dined there, there was no point at which we were all eating together!!
- TeKing's snorkelling cruise - this was good but there were too many on it and on the last part of the snorkelling we seemed to be concentrating more on following the person in front through the coral than on actually seeing the fish. That said, he prepared a first class meal and overall it was a good day.
- A place worth mentioning which I have never heard about before is the Marine Research laboratory. Go along and have a look at their clam research project. I never knew clams could look so beautiful. They're really informative and don't charge you but leave them a donation in their shell.
- The Mosquitos. Well, I deliberately gave them a capital M because they really are a very special breed all of their own. Now before you all jump and say that it's a tropical island, etc. etc., let me just say that I have holidayed on other tropical islands and never come across things as vicious as these - ever. By the third day of our stay I had 70 bites all over my body. This was in spite of taking Vit B supplements for two months before the trip, using special creams (which apparently (!) they don't like, and spraying myself every time I went out of the room. I resorted to using 80% deet which is incredibly unhealthy but which still didn't put the little darlings off ... If they like your blood, they like your blood and NOTHING will deter them. There are very effective mosquito nets on the doors and windows of all the villas in Etu Moana - make sure you sidle in and out of your room carefully. It is the only place - anywhere - where I have had to burn mosquito coils on the beach. The only place they don't get you is when you're swimming in the lagoon. Just be aware that if nosquitos like you then Aitutaki probably isn't a place you should be visiting.

Finally, the people of Aitutaki are respectful and friendly. It's very important to realise that there's no way they can offer the service that westerners perhaps expect in terms of supplies so we have to adapt to their standards instead and muddle through. The friendliest of all are the people in Etu Moana, hence my posting title. Steve and Amanda will go well out of their way to make sure your stay is trouble-free. The staff, without exception, are fantastic.

Room Tip: Definitely beach-front if you can.
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank icemaidennz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Zealand
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed December 14, 2011

Everyone who gets a chance to visit Aitutaki should consider Etu Moana, you won't be disappointed. Our villa was fantastic, spotless and had an amazing view of the lagoon. Even the pool is spotless. Coupled with the fact that the staff go the extra mile to make you visit special, our only regret is that we didn't stay long enough.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank MadDog747
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adelaide, Australia
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed December 12, 2011

We have recently returned home from 5 amazing nights in Villa 1 at Etu Moana-we have nothing but praise for this beautiful paradise and the caring, friendly people that set the resort apart.

We were greeted warmly at the airport by the lovely Alone with beautiful lei's- when we arrived at the resort the managers Steve & Amanda were waiting to welcome us in person with coconuts.

We received a lovely bottle of chilled champagne in our gorgeous villa to congratulae us on our recent wedding.

Do yourself a favour and upgrade to Absolute Beachfront-the view is unbeatable-we spent many an hour lying on the day bed taking in the view-it never gets old and no photo can capture the beauty of the lagoon.

The villas are immacutely maintained-the attention to detail is superb-they even tie little bows on the toilet paper! But it truly is the warmth and friendliness of the staff that sets Etu Moana apart-Alone and Cecelia always had a smile and time for a chat giving us great recommendations for places to eat and things to see.

On the 1 day it rained Steve and Amanda joined us by the pool bar for a drink and a chat-Steve was even kind enough to offer us a ride in his truck to pick up some takeaway so we didn't get soaked on the scooter-nothing is too much effort for the staff at Etu Moana.

The Honesty Bar is a real asset and so convenient-easy, a great choice and super cheap prices. The pool is beautiful and again, immaculately clean.

We made great use of the free kayaks and snorkelling gear-kayaking out to the buoys, tying up our kayaks and exploring the lagoon.

Being a smaller resort there is a real sense of privacy, relaxation and luxury.

Our Tips
*Hire a scooter-the best way to explore Aitutaki
*Teking's Lagoon Cruise-Teking is a real joker but he has a true passion for the lagoon and his knowledge is second to none-you'll be taken places you thought only existed in travel brochures!
*Get a Polynesian Massage on your balcony-bliss!
* Eat at Tupana's for a real island experience
*Koru Cafe for a delicious lunch

All in all we could not fault Etu Moana-it was everything we were looking for in a honeymoon and more-the staff did everything they could to make our stay as enjoyable as possible and the villas and lagoon themselves could not be more picturesque.

We hope to be back-sooner rather than later!

Room Tip: Absolute Beachfront is absolutely worth the money and booking in advance-unparalelled views and priv...
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank Laura B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Louis, Missouri
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed November 28, 2011

Aitutaki is a special place and Etu Moana is an even more special place there in.

You will discover for yourself that these people love everyone who comes to their island and the people of Etu Moana love everyone who stay with them in their villas. They love life and it 's apparent everywhere you go. It's contagious.

When you begin looking at Aitutaki, you will come to find that there are a lot of options. The people at the desk of Etu Moana will take care of it all for you. They're so helpful in making reservations and making plans; it saves hours and hours of vacation time.

Their service doesn't stop at the front desk. The villas were always so clean and the garden is beautiful. Furthermore, they provide easy access to kayaks and snorkeling gear for great adventures in the reef just beyond the villas. A delicious breakfast is served every morning and an honesty bar is open all day. It often felt like we had the whole of Etu Moana to ourselves.

Thank you so much Amanda and Steve, and Cecilia, Lovey, Parana, and all of the staff.

Room Tip: The absolute beachfront villas are incredible. It's like sitting on the beach all of the time
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Mike M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed November 25, 2011

We stayed at Etu Moana for the first five nights of our honeymoon and could not have asked for a better start. We were met at the airport (even after getting switched to an earlier flight at the last minute) where we were greeted with beautiful leis. Once we got to Etu Moana, our coconut drinks were waiting for us, as were the friendly faces of the Etu Moana staff and managers Steve and Amanda.

Our villa (Villa 4) was ready, again despite our early flight. The Villas are spectacular! Exceptionally well maintained, beautifully decorated, with large floor to ceiling sliding glass doors that look out to the lagoon. Villas have a fully equipped kitchen and plenty of space.

The tropical breakfast was delicious (great coffee) and the staff had great recommendations for things to do and places to eat. All of which they would arrange for you - so all you needed to do was relax and enjoy.

Etu Moana lets you experience the beauty of Aitutaki at your own pace. We certainly hope to go back.

Room Tip: We stayed in Villa 4 and thought it was perfect - privacy and a view
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Mark-Kristina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Etu Moana

Property: Etu Moana
Address: PO Box 123, Cook Islands
Phone Number:
Location: Cook Islands > Southern Cook Islands > Aitutaki
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Kitchenette Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Aitutaki
#1 Luxury Hotel in Aitutaki
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Etu Moana 4*
Number of rooms: 10
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, SUP, snorkel equipment, and bicycles. In the rooms are smart TVs with 40+ movies on a hard drive. You are also able to listen to your own music by connecting your phone via bluetooth with a sound bar. In addition we also offer a gift USB card, coconut drink, ei's and airport transfers. The lovely Cook Island staff at Etu Moana are waiting for you! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Etu Moana Aitutaki
Etu Moana Hotel Aitutaki

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