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Reviewed 5 October 2017

The area in Rarotonga where the hotel is situated is probably as good as it gets with beatiful beach and sea. Unfortunately, however, the same can't be said of the hotel itself. Some nice friendly staff and some not so good. The rooms are particularly disappointing.

Stayed: September 2017
1  Thank Redkinnell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 7 October 2017

Kia Orana Redkinnell
Thank you for your feedback.
We are pleased to hear you loved the beautiful beach and Aroa Lagoon Marine Reserve with stunning sunsets, and plenty of tropical fish affording you world-class snorkeling directly in front of the resort.
I am sorry to hear that you found some of our staff not so good, and your room to be disappointing.

We have introduced additional training for our front line staff in an effort to improve on our service levels, and as you have probably seen during your stay we are undergoing soft refurbishment of public areas and rooms as occupancy allows, and with minimal guest inconvenience.
Yours sincerely
Haimona Browne, Resort Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 October 2017 via mobile

Good value resort on south side of the island with everything right on your doorstep. Kayaks and paddle boards free to use and good restaurants and bars on site. Great spot for sunsets with beautiful beach and decks to watch from

Stayed: September 2017, travelled with family
Thank Tim G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 7 October 2017

Kia Orana Tim,
Thank you for your glowing review.
We are thrilled to hear that you enjoyed the wonderful beach location of the resort, and happy that you had the opportunity to take advantage of the complimentary water sports equipment available to our guests.
I am pleased to hear that you also enjoyed our food and beverage outlooks.
Thank you for choosing to stay with us, and we hope to welcome you back to Rarotonga in the near future.
Kind regards,
Haimona Browne, Resort Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 September 2017 via mobile

The rooms, facilities, beach are all great. Food also was really nice. Particularly enjoyed the the a la carte menu and definately chefs specials. However having stayed at many resorts in Fiji, Asia, Jamaica, Mexico, Australia, Hawaii, this place is very dull. Im not sure if it's a cultural difference (we visited resorts in Aitutaki Lagoon that were more lively) or not but the staff are very nonchalant, there is no real entertainment, no cultural shows or dancing. Nothing to make you consider sticking around once the sun goes down. Daily resort activities are boring and not attended. For those who do show up you leave wondering why you bothered. Thankfully we were there with friends and entertained ourselves. I recommend leaving the resort and taking the bus or scooter to see more of the island. Overall the place is clean and tidy but if you are looking for a fun and superfriendly resort, i would recommend elsewhere....like Fiji. They have really finessed great fun family fun.

Stayed: August 2017, travelled with family
2  Thank Janet P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 7 October 2017

Kia Orana Janet
Thank you for your feedback.
We are pleased to hear that you found your accommodation, the facilities and location to be great. We are also pleased to hear that you enjoyed the scrumptious meals our chefs prepared for you during your stay.
Our Tour Desk offers guests various options to book tours and cultural events on the island, such as the famous Te Vara Nui cultural show, Highland Paradise cultural show, Koka Lagoon Cruise and many more. These tours offer pick-up and drop-off service from the lobby.
We have taken on board your comment regarding our daily activities programme, however I must say that I am a little surprised as our Activities programme is one of the favourite features of our guests stay, and we tend to receive glowing reviews of the staff who look after our Activities Hut.
Yours sincerely
Haimona Browne, Resort Manager

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Reviewed 29 September 2017

After reading Trip Advisor reviews prior to our holiday I was a little nervous about staying here, but I was pleasantly surprised!

Our garden room with a King bed and a set of bunk beds was clean, spacious, and comfortable. Everything worked. The team at the Rarotongan were friendly and accommodating, going out of their way to make sure my kids and I were happy (something I appreciated even more as a single mom).

The game fish on the menu at the restaurant was superb, they have great cocktails, along with an extensive drinks menu for the kids. My kids loved the kids club and the activities they had on offer.

The best thing of all though is the beach and lagoon. The water is crystal clear and teeming with fish. We spent most of our days swimming, snorkelling, and kayaking which was bliss! The activities hut was well stocked and we appreciated being able to get fresh beach towels each day. Eating breakfast overlooking the water we even got to see a whale.

We will definitely be back!

  • Stayed: September 2017, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
3  Thank Tanya J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 7 October 2017

Kia Orana Tanya,
We are thrilled to hear that you and the kids had a great family holiday with us.
We are glad that you were well looked after and that you enjoyed the beach location and the crystal clear Aroa Lagoon Marine Reserve, along with the complimentary water sports equipment and cultural activities, as well as the kids club.
I have passed on your compliments to the Chefs and they are ecstatic.
This is the best time of year for whale watching, and we are delighted that you and the kids experienced this over breakfast from the waterfront deck.
Thank you again for staying with us, and we can’t wait to welcome you back to Rarotonga.
Wishing you and the family all the best for the upcoming festive season.
Kind regards
Haimona Browne, Resort Manager

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Reviewed 19 September 2017

So, my wife and I have visited over 40 foreign countries, and stayed at the hotel for 12 nights/13 days in Sept '17. My best advice on this place is to first dial back your expectations. Rarotonga is literally a speck of land in the vast Pacific. Almost everything has to be shipped in by air or sea. The nearest major seaport is in Papeete Tahiti over 700 miles away and the nearest major city is Auckland 1800 miles away. So, just due to the geography there are limitations. You are not going to find the same quality in a 4 star hotel here as you would in Las Vegas, New York, San Francisco or Dubai so you need to scale back your expectations accordingly..

That being said, I thought this was a wonderful place to stay. Staff were very friendly and helpful. Be advised everything is on "island time" and so service can be pretty slow. The rooms, as reviewed by others, are fairly dated but very clean and comfortable as were the beds. It was also in good repair. Showers had great pressure and were hot. No problems with insects. I would suggest bringing a roll of black duct tape in case the bottom of the screen door need mending, (ours did) then donate it to the hotel when you leave. Be prepared that the food here is expensive, (think Manhattan) with a regular burger running about $20NZ.

The lagoon was beautiful and clean and the water was crystal clear. Fish everywhere and close to shore. BUT the best thing about the lagoon was just on the other side of the waves were WHALES! We saw whales on 8 of the 13 days we spent at the resort. Literally on three mornings I walked out my room door and saw whales across the lagoon! So cool.

You should also be advised that, pretty much, after the sun goes down the only things to do at the hotel are to drink or make babies. And drinking at the bar all night is an expensive proposition. (Think Las Vegas Bar prices.) They really need to do a better job of providing evening entertainment. There is a free billiards table and ping pong table in the activities area.

We found Bryan at the activities hut both engaging and helpful.

Some other words of advice. Forget about what you read on the hotel website. Half the things they advertise they no longer do and have not done for a long time, like the cultural show or each night they advertise a themed buffet night, which they now only do on weekends. When pointed out the number of discrepancies between their website and reality the answer was, "...yeah... we really should update the website."
(Island time.)

One final point. This is, I was told, the largest hotel on the island. However, VERY FEW of the rooms actually have an ocean front view. If that is something you are looking for or expecting the first floor is the best bet. We booked an ocean front view room on the second floor on advice from reviews and we were treated to a 100 percent obstructed view of the dense tree foliage. However, we did speak directly with the day manager named Charles, a very amiable man. and he skillfully solved the problem for us.

The exercise room, all things considered, is adequate. The gym equipment is very basic but it will do the job until you get back to your home gym. I was told there are two gyms on the island but they are reportedly expensive to use.

The TV is a bit odd. The first couple of days we were there we got 12 channels including CNN, Then for about 5 days it was blacked out. I heard a guest complaining about the TV situation and magically it was back on and all channels stayed on the remainder of our trip. Made me wonder if they forgot to pay their bill. They also have a washer and dryer on the grounds.

One other really nice thing the hotel does is that if you have a late flight they will let you stay on the hotel grounds and use all facilities as long as you want after you check out. Our flight was at midnight back to LA and checkout was at 10AM. So even after checkout we were able to spend all day at the beach. I do think however that a 10AM check out is really too early, should be more like noon. They do provide a room to shower and you can still get towels from the activity desk to dry off with. Also we arrived at 7AM and check in time is not until 2PM but no problem, they gave us a breakfast voucher even though we had not checked in and let us have the run of the hotel until we checked in. There was a problem with our room and we had to move rooms. It was not going to be available until 5PM so to make our situation more comfortable Charles the day manager bought us lunch.

So all in all we were pretty happy with the place. In fact, my wife is already making plans to return next year. She was enthralled with the lagoon and the whales. I understand that the snorkeling is just outstanding out by the reef.

  • Stayed: September 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Kathyey1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 28 September 2017

Kia Orana Kathyey1,

Thank you for your review and recommendation of the Rarotongan resort. We are thrilled to hear that your wife is already planning your return visit.

Whale sightings are an absolute bonus and they generally migrate in these waters directly in front of the resort at this time of the year.

We are pleased to hear that your first floor room was very nice, and the staff were friendly and responsive. We also value your appreciation of our lush tropical gardens and spotless grounds which we work hard to maintain.

Our complementary daily activities include snorkeling lessons, marine reserve snorkeling tours, scuba lessons in the pool, fish feeding, island drumming & dancing lessons, ukulele lessons, pareu (wrap around sarong) tying, palm-frond weaving, flower garland (lei) making, coconut husking, crab hunting, crab racing, guided village & nature walks, karaoke, as well as stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, beach towels, sun loungers and hammocks.

October is a great month to visit Rarotonga as it is the start of our summer, and is also known as our flower season and the arrival of exotic tropical fruits which are normally not available during the middle part of the year.

Once again, thank you for choosing the Rarotonga Resort, and if we can be of any help with your return visit please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Yours sincerely,
Haimona Browne, Resort Manager

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