Most romantic hotel in the world named

JO-ANNE BRITTIJN puts it down to the dimmer switches. "It's all about the lighting," she says, explaining why Etu Moana, a tiny resort in the Cook Islands, has been named as the most romantic hotel in the world by the behemoth TripAdvisor, the world's largest online travel community, claiming more than 20 million visitors a month.

Brittijn says she and her husband, Jim, along with six locals, built the resort on Aitutaki, 220 kilometres north of Rarotonga, from scratch, opening in 2005.

When Smart Traveller called, the eight villas were filled with guests from Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands.

Not surprisingly, honeymooners comprise a large percentage of the clientele.

Apart from the lighting, Brittijn says, the resort offers privacy and one of the world's great locations.

Accommodation is priced from $335, including breakfast for two.

The only Australian entry on the 60-strong list decided by readers of the site was Thala Beach Lodge, 16 kilometres south of Port Douglas in Far North Queensland.

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Free connections


Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts believes it is the first international hotel group to offer free WiFi and wired internet to every guest.

The service is available in all areas of the group's 60 hotels, including guestrooms, public areas, restaurants, lounges and function areas.

"Getting connected while on the road is the No. 1 priority of our business travellers," says Madhu Rao, the managing director and chief executive.

"No longer considered a luxury, guests are demanding high-speed internet access as an essential room requirement and as something that should be included as a standard service by any international hotel group."

The group has two hotels in Australia, in Sydney and Cairns. See