This accommodation is in a beautiful setting overlooking the lagoon. We stayed in a beachfront cabin (but smaller / cheaper cabins with a partial beach view are available) It’s clean, spacious, has a rest area (settee & dining table), and a really well stocked kitchen (fridge / microwave / hob, free tea / coffee) hot water showers, fan and AC, pool, free use of kayaks, a BBQ and free water refills. There is a book lending library. You can also rent scooters / cars from the owner and he can organise tours. The owner is friendly and very helpful.
WiFi is available from the property to purchase (like everywhere in the Cook Islands) and very good - you can use it all over Aitutaki and Rarotonga as long as you’re in a hotspot) It’s a 30minutes walk to the airport and is near 2 restaurants and a cafe however you need transport to get to the shops / grocery store. There are no buses on the island.
We loved our stay here and would definitely recommend it.
We stayed at Ranginuis Retreat in Aitutaki for 5-nights in early-May (NZ$145/night). The retreat was located among a cluster of hotels near the S end of the airport, well away from the town on the mid-west side of the island. While isolated from town, this was actually a good location because 3 good restaurants were in walking distance, while on the other side, restaurants were few & widely scattered. The hotels here included one Aitutaki's best resorts, the Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa, & Aitutaki Village, a new, clean, well-maintained mid-range option. As for Ranginuis Retreat, think of a cross between a backpacker's hostel and a badly maintained holiday camp run by Basil Fawlty, and you will be close to the mark.
The retreat, which consisted of 7 beach-front cabins (2 of which were under reconstruction) & a dorm-style unit at the back, was on a flat area strewn with odd bits of construction debris. Facing a narrow channel off the lagoon, the beach was steep, gravelly & narrow – it was possible to swim here, but a current from the strong winds made it tricky. We took the kayaks (complementary) across the channel to the beach at the resort & spa. The retreat's best feature was a small, well maintained pool amid the beach-front cabins; however, there were no lounge chairs at the pool or beach, only a couple of seating areas with old, partially rotting wood furniture. The lack of a place to simply kick back and relax was a big drawback.
Other amenities included scooters rentals ($20/day) and airport pick-up & drop-off. Anything else was difficult to obtain because of the managers' attitude. When asked for basics like beach towels, clothes pegs, or shampoo we were told that they “didn't do that;” when asked for new bathroom towels or new bed linen after 3 days (services they do offer), the reluctant response was “we are not a 5 star resort, you know” - we knew!
Our cabin, a beach-front single, was small & cramped, furnished with a double bed crammed against a wall to allow space for a bench, table & chairs against the other & a pathway between to the kitchen. At the rear was an alcove with a bench & hangers, and the bathroom with its small vanity & shower (wildly fluctuating temperatures). The room had an overhead fan & a wall-mounted AC unit ($15/day – unappealing because of the black mould along the bottom). The room was old and poorly maintained; a cabinet door was falling off, the floor was gritty with sand, and all of the plates, glasses & cutlery were filthy & had to be washed before use. The bed was soft and uncomfortable and, when coupled with pillows that had lost most of their stuffing, a good night's sleep was difficult.
A scooter rental was mandatory to get to the island's convenience stores in town (very basic, think beer & wine, not anything that you could cook in the room), and the few sights like the church, the overlook, and a few mediocre shore-accessed snorkeling sites. Should you stay here? The positives were the price (this can be an expensive island), the proximity to restaurants, and the pool. The negatives were obvious. If you do not mind the inconveniences of an old and poorly maintained motel & can ignore the sometimes unprofessional attitude of the manager, you can save money. Otherwise, stay at the resort on the other side of the channel. The unfortunate thing is that Ranginuis could be so much better with not a lot of effort.
What a fabulous find Ranginui's is.. For what others are paying astronomical prices for straight across the lagoon..Ranginui's offers exactly the same view and stunning location at a fraction of the cost. Tidy, comfortable rooms at the back if your on a budget (Room 4 has a perfect view of the lagoon) or for slightly more a beach front bungalow..you can't go wrong.. They offer a summing pool, use of a BBQ..daily linen change and lovely shower.. and fresh water, Kayak & board use..Bike Hire & all walking distance from every other bar and restaurant around Ootu Beach. Thanks for sharing such a fab spot with everybody..
The location was amazing. Get the bungalows with the view - it is worth it! Each morning, we woke up, grabbed a kayak and paddled around watching the sunrise. The area was so quiet but we felt it was the perfect location. We didn't use the pool but it appeared to be in good condition. The bungalows are a bit older, the beds aren't terribly comfortable, and the shower tests your patience but we would happily stay here again.
Koru Cafe is perfect for breakfast (went every day) and is just up the road from Ranginui's with wifi (for a fee). The Boat Shed was just a bit further and was perfect for dinner and drinks. We rented a car at Popoara, in the same building as Boat Shed, which allowed us to travel to the main area of Aitutaki.
With that, the attitude of the on-site manager, Lani, was not the most pleasant. After she had verified that she would be at the airport to pick up our luggage (I have the emails) as we were going on a lagoon cruise (Teking!) straight away, she was very rude to us and our tour guide and made us feel like we were putting her out and that we had not informed her this was going to be happening. Regardless, we apologized for any confusion there may have been. Thankfully, we had an amazing day with Teking allowing us to forget about the earlier interaction. During our stay (only 3 days), we only had to get help twice - once to rent a paddle board, and once to get a ride to the airport when we left. Each time, she was very vocal about her frustrations with the property owner, Steve, which was kind of awkward for us.
All in all, the manager was the only semi/non-existent issue we had with Ranginui's and I recommend this place to everyone.
We didn't expect much and were just stoked. Stayed there 4 nights in March, had plenty of peace and quiet, enjoyed the free kayaks, loved the hammock, and our room was just perfect. The view is photogenic to the max! Swimming in that part of the lagoon wasn't much fun but the swimming pool is exquisite and super clean. You can also rent stand-up paddle boards!! Just loved it there, wanted to stay longer. The owner is really nice&helpful. I truly recommend it :-) Steve, if you're reading this, thanks for everything!