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“The perfect dream all over the Southern Pacific” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Little Polynesian Resort

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Little Polynesian Resort
4.0 of 5 Resort   |   PO Box 366, Titikaveka, Cook Islands   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Titikaveka
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“The perfect dream all over the Southern Pacific”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2009

The best resort we ever had in the Southern Pacific. The location, the accommodation and the service were top and we felt at home with the friendly crew in the hotel. The beachfront bungalow is a dream, everything you need is there and much more.
And Rarotonga is a beautiful island with fantstic beaches, better than any island in French Polynesia when it comes to value for money.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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336 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (92)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Top Contributor
87 reviews 87 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
71 helpful votes 71 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 1, 2009

We came to Rarotonga from Aitutaki, so it was like coming to the big city, but a slow and easy city. Transfers were prearanged for us by Raro Tours and eventually we got to Little Polynesia. I was not impressed by Raro Tours but I cannot say the same for Little Polynesia and ALL of its staff.

Little Polynesian staff were warm, friendly, extremely helpful, and professional and took care of anything we wanted - one day my husband went to Tiemi, the assistant front of house manager, with a list of eight things we neede to have done (like organising a car, confirming flights etc) and returned with all things being covered, and very successfully, by various of the staff.

Jeannine, the general manager, said when we arrived that they were not a big resort and so did not have some of the things other resorts had, but that because they were not large they could, and would, treat each guest individually and help in any way they could to make everyone's stay enjoyable. And, as far as I am concerned, they did just that and more. I have never come across a more helpful and obliging set of staff. Carlos, the chef, cooked special vegetarian dishes for us - and excellent they were too Carlos, thank you. Billie, Matilda and the other restaurant and waiting staff were always keen to see we got what we needed - and the long blacks even got longer and blacker, I believe with the incomparable Billie in charge!

The gardens were very beautifully tended and our rooms always clean (twice a day) with plenty of towels available and more ready to be supplied if needed.

We had come to Little Polynesia to have a renewal of vows ceremony and I can honestly recommend that anyone thinking of doing this should come to Little Poly. Orchestrated, organised and masterminded by Jeannine, we had a most beautiful ceremony, with leis and head flowers, Polynesian wedding bands which we had bought at Beachcomber (after being introduced to Ben, from Beachcomber, by Jeannine), a partial arch prepared by their wondeful gardener and laced with gardenias, a DVD made of the ceremony (and delivered to us before we left), champagne ordered and chilled, and dinner (at the Tamarind) and transport organised for the evening. When we returned our room was strewn with gardenia petals and our bed with gardenia flowers - it smelled divine! Te Tika Mataiapo Dorice Reed, Jeannine's sister and co-owner of Little Poly, officiated at the ceremony and read all of the lessons, reading and poetry most beautifully. We were entirely honoured to have been able to have our ceremony at their establishment and cannot thank them enough for making our event so special.

But the good things don't stop with the staff. The hotel is newly built three years ago and the Are's are fresh, beautifully and simply decorated and furnished, and also well appointed. The beachfront ones look out onto the lagoon where swimming, snorkelling and kyaking are all able to be done at any time of day. It was so very beautiful, and such a lovely setting it was hard to leave. Snorkelling equipment and kyaks are provided free of charge.

We did hire a car - organised by the hotel staff, again - but that was mainly to get to Avarua. They island cars (from Budget) are very new, shiny and easy to drive on the 50klm per hr roads.

I can't say a lot about the rest of the island because we didn't go exploring too much. Do try to get to the market in Avarua on Saturday morning, there are lots of local crafts - the woven hats are especially beautiful, and even if you are not religious, go to church if you want to hear fabulous singing. Beachcomber (where we got our Polynesian wedding bands) are also experts in the balck pearl and have lots of well priced and beautiful examples.

I would go back to Rarotong and I would most definately stay at Little Polynesia again.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 25, 2009

The location of the Little Poly cannot be beaten- only a few steps to a quiet beach (which was deserted most of the time we were there). The water is clear and calm. There is great snorkelling (and the water is so calm it is suitable for even nervous swimmers). I felt like I was in a film the location was so perfect.

The rooms are beautiful and well equipped. The TV only picks up one channel but there is a DVD player so take some DVDs if you need some in room entertainment.

We stayed in one of the 'cheaper' non-beach front bungalows. We were perfectly happy with this and didn't feel like we were missing anything that the beach front ones had. (especially since when we booked the beach front bungalows were twice the price of the rate we paid). The only difference was the beach front bungalows had a day bed in the front. However, it seemed like the view/ sunbathing from this day bed would be limited by the big palm trees to the front of each bungalow.

There are only 14 rooms or so in the complex so there is an intimate atmosphere. We felt like we were in our own private hotel most of the time.

Billie was fantastic and so friendly. The other staff service (in general) is relaxed, casual, island style so when you need or want something quickly it can be a little frustrating- but then you have to remember you are on a relaxing holiday so by the end of the holiday we embraced the slow pace of island life.

Two downsides of this small resort are:

1. Limited food dinner menu- but everything on there was delicious so it is not much of a drawback. We also liked to get about and see other places on the island so this was not a major disadvantage to us.
2. The staff pressure you to commit very early on each day whether or not you will be eating there for dinner and what time you want to eat. We found this off putting as we didn't want to commit until we saw how the day unfolded. Also we found if we ate at the latest sitting (8pm) there would only be 1 of the 3 main courses available.

To be fair to the Little Poly, we noticed that most Raro restaurants outside of Avarua required bookings since they were small.

Overall I think this is one of the best hotels I have ever stayed in and Rarotonga will be the place that we measure all future holidays against!

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 21, 2009

My wife and I stayed at the Little Poly for our honeymoon. We are glad that we chose this hotel as we had superb time and can't wait to go back. Our package came with a daily breakfast which was very nice and filling. It included muesli, yoghurt, big plate of fruit, toast, juice and milk. You could choose to have this in your room or at the cafe.

ROOMS: We stayed in an over beach are and it was literally only a few steps to the ocean. Had a day bed out the front and nice deck furniture too. As the day bed was in the shade, I would recommend sun tanning in the main pool area. In side the room was modern, clean and tidy. Bed was very comfy. Bathroom was large with two sinks, double head shower. Outside had another shower and spa bath. The only downside to this is that there is sand outside and after a bath/shower you get sand all over your feet when you go back inside.

GROUNDS & AMENITIES: This is a small property and it does not allow children under 15. For us on our honeymoon, this was big plus as we wanted to relax without screaming kids everywhere. Grounds are well maintained with daily raking of sand along pathways and gardens tidy too. Rooms are private. Pool area is lovely with very nice loungers around. My iPhone did pick up the hotel wifi in the cafe are but not our room - didn't ask about pricing. Hotel has a very small bar/cafe with about 8 tables. However it was just the right size for the hotel. The do breakfast, lunch and dinner.

SERVICE: All staff were very friendly but we were most impressed with Billie from the cafe and Jannine from the front desk. We had dinner a couple of times at the cafe. Food was well presented and tasted great. Menu is a bit limited but we found something we both enjoyed (you must try the choc souffle!). Service could be a bit slow at times but as we were on holiday and expected "island time", this wasn't a major.

OTHER NOTES: *Room only comes with one bath and beach towel each. Being a tropical island and swimming often, we found ourselves running out of towels. Once we asked for some more at the front desk and were told we will have them at turn down but this didn't happen.
*The hotel is located on a very nice beach in raro. Crystal clear water and lots of fish only a few meters out. Also, the beach had very soft sand and was not rocky.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 7, 2009

Ok...We are two "honey mooners" and we visited Cook islands in the second part of our trip after visiting Fiji islands. We thought Fiji was pure paradise (and it definitely is!) but Cook islands are the Paradise VIP Lounge! Just mind blowing.
In Rarotonga we stayed at The Little Polynesian. It matched exactly what we were expecting from the Cook islands: white sandy beach literally three steps away from the beachfront bungalow's front door, crystal clear water where you can actually swim (the water is not as shallow as in other areas), delicious food (the Chilean chef Carlos mixes traditional and international ingredients perfectly), a stylish room and least but not last, amazing people. This is what really makes the difference in this place: as soon as you walk in the Little Polynesian you are welcomed with the brightest smiles and a real friendly atmosphere. Here they say (and that would be Billie) that you come as a tourist and you leave as a friend. This is definitely true. We could name them all but we have already written a poem....
There is no internet access for guests but this is not necessarly a bad thing...you can just plug yourself off the real world!
Finally we defo recommend Little Polynesian to all couples!

Ciao a tutti, Massimiliano & Raffaella

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. Lucia
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2009

I have just returned from a wonderful, albeit too brief, trip to Rarotonga and can't say enough great things about Little Polynesia. In all my years of travel, I have never felt so embraced and truly cared for at any property I have visited... even when I was working full time as a travel journalist.

Little Poly is a stunning property and it is well worth the extra expense to stay in one of their beautifully appointed over the beach bungalows. The decor is contemporary and stylish, the bathrooms to die for with enough room for a rugby team, an outdoor jet tub, and indoor and outdoor showers, while the outdoor deck and day bed are heaven-sent.

My only regret is that I was travelling alone and didn't have anyone with me to share what is arguably one of the most romantic resorts in one of the loveliest locations anywhere. I have fond memories sitting on my deck with the morning light hitting the lagoon and enjoying an ample daily breakfast of fresh tropical fruits, yoghurt, toast, meusli, and perfectly brewed coffee... included in the room rate with no extra charge for room service.
A very nice touch especially for those with more reason than me to stay in bed!

The restaurant at the edge of Little Poly's stunning salt water infinity pool, offers a wide range of reasonably priced lunch and dinner options, with the Happy Hour bonus of tapas and cocktails from 4pm to 6pm. (The chicken wings and prawn wontons are a must-try.)

A word of warning: Portions are HUGE on European standards with appetizers the size of your average main course in the UK, but the food is delicious with Chef Carlos harnessing the freshest local ingredients in dishes that showcase his own Latin American culinary spin. The shrimp with a chorizo ragout was delicious as were the super-fresh scallops wrapped in proscuitto. Again, for those wishing to share romantic moments back in their bungalow, room service is provided gratis.

While most of my time was spent on the sun lounger soaking in the rays, I did make use of the local bus service which provides an affordable, reliable and fun way to see the island. At only NZ$7 for a return trip to the capital of Avarua, it's excellent value. I was lucky in that my visit coincided with the Saturday market just outside the centre of town and well worth the effort of dragging yourself away from the beach. Replete with local craft, food, and entertainment (there was a lively dance group performing to raise money for an upcoming trip) you can easily lose yourself for a couple of hours and come back with plenty of souvenirs for the family back home.

Another highly recommended activity is the hike across the centre of the island. The scenery is magnificent and if you are lucky enough to have Pa as your guide, it will be filled with marvellous stories about the power of medicinal herbs and the ancient history of the Cook Islands. Anyone with bad knees should avoid this particular hike as there are some scrambling uphills and some pretty steep downhill sections too.

But of all the attractions this little South Pacific gem has to offer, the true jewels are the people themselves, most especially the owners and staff of Little Poly-- Jeannine, Dorice, Mereana, Teina, Billie , all of the beautiful women in housekeeping and in the restaurant. It's not easy to smile and exude genuine enthusiasm at 2am, or to deliver seamless and discrete service at a property which emphasised relaxation and privacy, but they managed brilliantly to do just that. They are the ones who will continue to bring me back to Little Poly... next time for longer and with boyfriend in tow!

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, England
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 22, 2009

My wife and I spent two nights and three days at the Little Polynesian. From the moment we arrived, at 01:30 to the time that we left (late check out), we enjoyed ourselves.

Upon our early arrival we were greeted with a smile and information about the resort and the surrounding area. The options for breakfast were explained to us, that is, cold tropical breakfast or hot and the dining hours.

Our luggage was taken to our room, and when we arrived would could not have been more pleased. We were room number one which meant that we were at the end and even more secluded with only one room next to us. The shades had already been drawn and the room ready for sleep. The room was spacious and clean. I have previously read reviews of people encountering all sorts of insects. Whilst we did notice the odd ant, even a gecko or some sort of lizard, one has to remember that the resort is right on the beach and little things like that will occur. The outside day bed is perfect for those lazy afternoons.

We were particularly impressed by the efficiency of the cleaning service. Everything was cleaned including the sofa and day bed pillows.

The Little Polynesian offers you snorkeling and kayak equipment. The snorkeling is fantastic! You need only venture a couple of meters or yards before you encounter the most colourful tropical fish.

The restaurant provided high quality food. Surprisingly, we found the prices to be extremely reasonable for this type of resort. Like many others, we dined every night at the resort restaurant. Though a word of caution, the dinner menu does not change that often with only one or two dishes changing every night. Longer stays may require more variety.

If you are looking for an island paradise away from the masses of tourists you could do no wrong at the Little Polynesian. Kia orna!

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Little Polynesian Resort

Address: PO Box 366, Titikaveka, Cook Islands
Location: Cook Islands > Southern Cook Islands > Rarotonga > Titikaveka
Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Titikaveka
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Little Polynesian Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
As Humble As Our NameOur facilities have all been completed upgraded to provide you with everything you need to experience the finest Polynesian experience that you can imagine. Here at the Little Polynesian we take great pride in our name, to us it signifies everything we have aimed to share... a humble, intimate, luxurious and yet remarkably friendly environment to warm your heart and recharge your soul. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Little Polynesian Hotel Titikaveka
Little Polynesian Titikaveka
Little Polynesian Resort Rarotonga, Cook Islands - Titikaveka

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