‘If you like the idea of your own private island complete with luxury resort on what is often called the Cook Islands’ most beautiful lagoon, now could be your chance,’ read the story’s intro, leading in to a description of the resort gleaned from New Zealand online auction website TradeMe.
Apart from the fact that Aitutaki is more often described as having the most beautiful lagoon in the world, not just the Cook Islands, the resort has actually been listed for sale on TradeMe since March 4 of last year.
CINews reported on the resort – and several other commercial operations belonging to local businessman Tata Crocombe – being for sale in October 2014, back when it was still called Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa.
Despite this, the recent story from Stuff evidently caught the eye of several other news agencies, leading to similar reportage first in New Zealand before going worldwide in British online publications the Daily Mail and Metro, then heading over the Atlantic to be reported on in the American business news website Business Insider.
Owner Tata Crocombe seemed a little bemused by the global interest in the sale of his resort when CINews spoke to him earlier this week, saying that while the international media stories had generated a lot of enquiries, “it’s a long way between an enquiry and anything happening”.
In the meantime, it was “business as usual” for the resort, he said.
“We’re basically getting on with running the resort. We’re spending money on upgrading it, hiring additional chefs and what-have you, so it’s not like we’re holding out for it.
“(The stories have) stirred up a lot of interest around the world, but it’s business as usual for us. We continue to work day-to-day with our busy hotel and we’re still spending a lot of money on it, going forward.”
Currently priced on TradeMe at just a touch under $32.3 million, the Aitutaki Lagoon Private Island Resort is described as a “five-star beach resort” with 36 bungalows and “a full range of amenities including two restaurants and bars, spa, air-conditioned gym, swimming pool, activities and watersports hut, gift shop, guest laundry, etc.
“Set on a prime location on the fabled Aitutaki Lagoon on a 60-year lease, this 27-acre private island offers unlimited potential for further expansion and development.”
Individual bungalows and villas within the resort are also up for sale on the TradeMe website, with a current asking price of $720,000 each.
There are also options for “shared ownership” of several beachfront villas, with $45,500 getting you a 10 per cent share, or $455,000 for the entire villa.
“Alternatively, for $1,250,000, a special opportunity for an onsite manager to own and operate a cafe, front desk, laundry and maintenance as well as live on-site in a three-bedroom residence,” adds the website.