Not at all what we expected as we chose this hotel from trip advisor member comments thinking it would be pretty good - and it wasn't. The room was ok but not good given the price. The breakfasts were included in the package and we think they would be equal to the worst breakfasts we have had any where in the world. Tinned fruit, packets of cereal a little bit of fresh fruit and what ever it was each day in the warmers we didn't wish to try. Food & alcohol expensive. The hotel motor bike hire rates are more expensive than most and the bus transfer fees to and from the airport were more expensive than a taxi?? The 5 to 6 dogs each day running around the beach right in front of the hotel where you are to sit is not good. The staff were either exceptional or extremely average. This is the 4th time to Raro, a great holiday option but would not recommend staying at Muri Beach Club Hotel.
Any on the top floor - wouldn't want a ground floor unit
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Although we are always delighted to read positive reviews, we are likewise concerned to read a review such as this, which seems totally negative and, with respect, in some instances less than accurate with regards to some of the information provided.
Cost of Transfers verses Taxi :-
All of the accommodation establishments on the Island use the Airport Transfers provided by Raro Tours, because their service is without question cheaper than using a taxi. The minimum fee [after some considerable negotiation] is invariably in excess of $40.00, and if one requires a taxi for a flight late at night, this fee increases considerably - whereas, the Airport Transfer System works out to be only $20.00 per person, regardless of the time of day.
Tropical Breakfasts :-
The cost of our Tropical Breakfasts are indeed included in our room rate.
A typical Tropical Breakfast on the Island offers a range of different breads, the occasional pastry, local fruit, cereals, jams, juices plus tea / coffee. We are the only establishment that offers a range of hot options [see further] including eggs prepared in various ways - free of any additional charge to our Guests. In addition to this, we have a separate a la Carte Breakfast Menu which offers unusual and exciting menu choices that are also gluten and / or lactose free.
Our standard weekly complimentary hot buffet section is as follows :
Monday : Scrambled Eggs, Sausages, Grilled Tomatoes, Danish Pastries.
Tuesday : Poached Eggs, Fish Cakes with Hollandaise Sauce, Rukau [young Taro leaves - an equivalent of 'Island' spinach...], Paw-Paw Muffins.
Wednesday : Quiche with tomato/cheese/onion, Baked Beans, Sautéed Mushrooms, Croissants.
Thursday : Poached Eggs, Pancakes and Grilled Banana, Grilled Tomatoes, Savoury Muffins.
Friday : Scrambled Eggs, Hash Browns, Cajun Chicken Livers, Danish Pastries.
Saturday : Poached Eggs, Tempura Pineapple with Hoisin Sauce, Bacon, French Toast.
Sunday : Frittata with cheese and onions, Sauté Potatoes, Grilled Tomatoes, Pineapple Muffins.
Our full range of Breakfast Cereals areindeed all packaged, for hygienic reasons. The inclusion of tinned fruit, in addition to our delicious organic local tropical fruit, is deliberate - as this is more often than not specifically requested by our European Guests, who have developed a taste for [exclusively] tinned, sugar added, fruit.
To date, these additional complimentary options have met with very enthusiastic approval from our Guests. However, we regret that you apparently found our range of breakfasts provided to be " ...the worst breakfasts we have had anywhere in the World..."
Re. your reference to the Food and Alcohol being expensive :-
As we are situated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, any items not grown locally and imported, are indeed a lot more expensive than say, the average supermarket in NZ or Australia. These cost factors are further compounded by the rigorous tax levies that are imposed by the Cook Island's Government [for the purpose of protecting the commercial interests of our local farming families]. These levies range from 25% to 75% [on any items that can indeed be grown / produced locally.] Further to this, there are considerable loadings on the import of alcohol, soft drinks, tobacco and 'luxury' or electronic products.
In addition to the cost of Food and Beverage items, is the considerable cost of the Island's Diesel-Generated Power, to chill and store Bar and Kitchen Stocks. It is widely accepted that the cost of power in Rarotonga is between 3 to 5 times more expensive than the cost of power in NZ and Australia.
The aforementioned factors are simply the unavoidable costs of our logistical position on the Planet, and are often dubbed ' The cost of living in Paradise...'
Re. your comments to the effect that the ".....hotel motor bike hire rates are more expensive than most..."
Firstly, it needs to be pointed out that the motor bikes hired via the assistance of the Hotel Reception Department, are not owned by the Hotel. We act only as a conduit for the hiring of same, by allowing the vehicles to be parked in our grounds and taking the bookings / fees on behalf of the owner.
What we do provide, absolutely free of charge for the benefit of our Guests [and more as a duty of care than anything else], is the free use of motor-bike helmets; although there is no legislative requirement in the Cook Islands to wear same]:- plus the provision of free motor-bike driving lessons, as a prerequisite to the hire of motor-bikes to any of our Guests - regardless of whether they hold a current license from another Country. The cost of both of these initiatives is borne by the Hotel, as a gesture of genuine goodwill towards our valued Guests.
The costs of hiring a motor-bike via the Hotel Reception are as follows :-
$20.00 per day for a single-seater 50cc. [this is $4.00 more expensive than the nearest competitor]
$25.00 per day for a two-seater 125cc. [this is $3.00 more expensive than the nearest competitor]
If hiring for 3 days, the 4th day is free of charge. [a similar discount is available from the nearest competitor].
When taking into consideration these rates, it is important to note however, that the other local motor-bike hiring businesses require a $200.00 to $500.00 deposit, and there is no such requirement when hiring through the Hotel. Additionally, the other hiring companies close at 4pm on week days, and 2pm on weekends. Whereas motor-bikes can be hired from our Hotel Reception Staff - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with the additional convenience of there being no requirement for our Guests to pay a deposit.
Re. your comments on the local dogs :-
The dogs you are most probably referring to, are dogs owned by our immediate neighbours, some of which have enjoyed the beach that runs in front of all the Hotels situated along the magnificent Muri Beach Area before this Hotel was even built. These dogs are well looked after, very friendly and spend most of their days paddling up and down the shoreline in a fixated state of mind - in the hope of finally catching one the myriad of brightly-coloured fish that populate our Lagoon.... Three of these dogs are particularly popular with our Guests [as can be seen from the numerous blogs that have been posted about them....]. These being :- 'Shaggy' who delights in hitching a ride, on anything that floats .....in his daily quest to make it to the nearest island for the 'free' BBQ lunch that is put on by the Captain Tama's or Koko Lagoon Cruises. Then there is 'Shadow', who follows Shaggy everywhere in obvious adoration of her friend; and is occasionally permitted to join Shaggy with his chosen 'Guest du Jour...'. Finally, there is 'Trypod', a young male that had the misfortune of being hit by a car, and when found had no apparent owners - so the Esther Honey Animal Protection Foundation,[ who provide free medical assistance to all lost / injured animals on the Island] kindly put him back together again [minus one back leg]. The Management at the Muri Beach Club Hotel are still looking for Trypod's rightful owners, but in the meantime he has been recuperating well with our Guests and Staff providing him with lots of love.....
We regret that you did not enjoy the sight of these dogs, and their daily playful antics.
Re. your comment that "The Staff were either exceptional or extremely average ."
It is company policy to continually train our staff, by means of specific training programmes, as well as 'On the Job Training'. As we have staffing requirements that are effected by Seasonal demands, we do experience the need to induct and / or train new staff on an almost permanent basis. Clearly the difference between our experienced staff and 'staff-in-training' was obvious to you, and we sincerely regret that this seems to have been the case. As we have not received any comments on our 'How Do we Rate' forms [that all Guests are encouraged to complete upon check-out] to this effect, we thank you for bringing this matter to our attention now, and appropriate action will certainly be taken.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.