The Most Unique and Unusual Places to Stay in the Cook Islands
The formula is pretty same-same: bungalow + pool + by the beach = Cook Islands resort. But where can you stay that’s a little different? We’ve compiled a list of the most unique accommodations in Rarotonga, Aitutaki and the Cook Islands, so you can “wow” your holiday group, whether it’s your family, friends or partner, and create a memorable experience in the islands.
And for some unusual activities to go along with your unique stay, how about the 10 Most Unique Things to Do in the Cook Islands?
1. Ikurangi Eco Retreat
Easily one of the most unique accommodations in the Cook Islands, Ikurangi Eco Retreat not only offers the unusual location of stay inland on Rarotonga but also safari tents for an adults-only glamping experience. Be treated to a different contemporary breakfast delivered to your deck each morning and make use of the garden swimming pool and bikes to explore the Rarotonga backroads. Your outside bathroom has a composting loo, as well as other initiatives to ensure a more sustainable stay – just make sure you have plenty of mosquito repellent! Check out more sustainable stays in the 10 Best Eco Resorts in the Cook Islands.
Check Ikurangi Eco Retreat out:
- Ikurangi Eco Retreat on Booking.com
- Ikurangi Eco Retreat on Trip.com
- Ikurangi Eco Retreat on Expedia
2. Aitutaki Lagoon Private Island Resort
The only true overwater bungalow accommodation in the Cook Islands, Aitutaki Lagoon Private Island Resort is another one of the most unique places to stay on the islands. The overwater bungalows extend over the turquoise lagoon waters of Aitutaki with a ladder into the lagoon from your deck should you want to go for an easy snorkel (personal snorkelling gear is provided). Although the resort is on its own private island, it’s close enough to Aitutaki’s mainland with a regular ferry service going back and forth. See more effortlessly romantic resorts like this in the 20 Most Romantic Wedding & Honeymoon Resorts in the Cook Islands.
Check Aitutaki Lagoon Private Island Resort out:
- Aitutaki Lagoon Private Island Resort on Booking.com
- Aitutaki Lagoon Private Island Resort on Trip.com
- Aitutaki Lagoon Private Island Resort on Expedia
3. Rainbow Villas
A bit of the hidden gem on Rarotonga, Rainbow Villas offers two boutique villas nestled among unique permaculture gardens on the back hills of Nikao. Pick whatever is in season in the lush gardens surrounding the outdoor pool and cook up a storm in your luxury self-catering villa, beautifully designed for couples. Enjoy an alternative view of Rarotonga as you unwind on your elevated deck overlooking the golf course. Of course, we also list this option in the 10 Best Self-Catering Accommodations in the Cook Islands thanks to the supermarket in your garden.
Check Rainbow Villas out:
4. Ocean Escape Resort & Spa
The aesthetics of this boutique resort on Rarotonga are so different that we had to include it on this list! Instead of the usual Polynesian theme, Ocean Escape Resort & Spa has design features that are sure to impress between the ocean-water lagoon pool and nautical touches that evoke images of a classy pirate ship! Join friends in the poolside cabana and barbecue area or enjoy tapas plates with your loved one at the on-site bar of this adults-only retreat in Muri. See more adults-only stays like this in the 20 Best Adults-Only Resorts in the Cook Islands.
Check Ocean Escape Resort & Spa out:
5. Motu Beachfront Art Villas
Rarotonga‘s only “art resort”, Motu Beachfront Art Villas or simply “MOTU” offers a unique stay in the Cook Islands. Working in harmony with the locals and environment, the boutique resort gives back to the local community with proceeds from your stay going toward healthcare, education and the arts. Speaking of the arts, the villas have a fresh and minimalistic design to emphasise the collection of works inside and around the premises. What’s more, everything is here for a self-sustaining stay between your villa’s sleek kitchenette and the complimentary use of e-bikes to explore the island.
Check Motu Beachfront Art Villas out:
- Motu Beachfront Art Villas on Booking.com
- Motu Beachfront Art Villas on Trip.com
- Motu Beachfront Art Villas on Expedia
6. Vivian’s Homestay
On the less-visited island of Mitiaro, Vivian’s Homestay consists of a traditional kikau bungalow, which sits in her garden in Atai village. The bungalow is made from woven panels of “kikau” (coconut palm) leaves, which makes the room airy if not a little weather-beaten, but that’s all part of the experience, right? Your host, Vivian, or her family will look after you with three meals a day included, as well as arrange a rental vehicle for you if desired.
See more stays, particularly guesthouses and homestays, across the island in The 4 Best Mitiaro Accommodations.
7. Akaiami Paradise
Get the Robinson Crusoe experience by staying on one of the private and uninhabited islets of the Aitutaki Lagoon. Akaiami Paradise is not only remote by being on the islet of Akaiami, but it sits on the site of the original TEAL terminal where the “flying boats” on the TEAL Coral Route would land on the water – find out more in the 10 Best Historical Sites on Aitutaki. The accommodation here is pretty basic, especially for the price tag, but it certainly fits the bill for a unique stay in the Cook Islands.
More Unique Accommodations in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands
Now that you know some of the most unique accommodations in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands, discover more stays that are a little different in the lists below:
- 8 Best Eco Resorts in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands
- 20 Best Holiday Homes in the Cook Islands
- 10 Best Resorts for Snorkelling in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands
- The Best Homestays in the Cook Islands
- 10 Best Spa Resorts in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands
Finally, if you haven’t yet found the perfect place to stay in the Cook Islands, start from the beginning with Where to Stay in the Cook Islands: The Best Cook Islands Accommodations or The Top 50 Resorts in the Cook Islands.