Kia Orana, My wife and I have just returned from beautiful Rarotonga, in the Cook Islands staying in the Crown Beach Resort's luxury "Adults Only" private courtyard pool villas, which we must state are absolutely gorgeous.
The Private Villa's themselves present guests with there own lockable carved double doored entrance surrounded by beautiful coral rock walls leading through to a paved courtyard complete with gazebo, table with seating for four plus sun lounges and private plunge pool with its own mini waterfall and gardens. the Villas are spacious and tastefully fitted out with all the mod cons like air-con, flat screens and DVD/CD player, attention to detail is flawless with marble tiling throughout there is traditional island motif carving on bespoke dark wooden furniture from the entertainment unit in the lounge area to the side tables and matching bed head, the same motifs are repeated in the custom kitchen and storage area leading through to separate toilet and bathroom fitted with a luxurious black and white enamelled bath standing proud on silver clawed feet with granite double wash basins and a shower you could wash a baby elephant in, combine to make you not want to leave the confines of your villa and therein lies the secret, having extensive experience in hospitality management myself I was a bit let down when we checked in as there was no concierge on duty so we had to carry our own bags to the villa then had to wait as reception had not only forgotten the key but also the villa number we were staying in, bless Tina the house maid who took it upon herself to get the complimentary bottle of bubbly and even brought us the promised fresh fruit cocktails herself. Now whilst the villas are beautiful a bit of an introduction would have been nice, for instance the combination of switches required to turn on outside lights or more importantly that you need to switch the solar panels on during the day or there is no hot water (took a day to figure that out), DVD's........unless you know how to use the buttons on the television itself forget it as the resorts guide is not for the universal remote supplied. One wardrobe door didn't close properly so the light inside stayed on all the time, had to jam folded paper in the top to close it so we could sleep, these little things were easy to forgive even sometimes providing fun discovering all the features and how to use them. Now the down side, we took the time to learn some basic phrases in but everyone responded in english making us feel a bit silly, and be aware despite the claims on their website the Crown Beach Resort is not Adults Only, there were children everywhere, the service in Oceans restaurant was very slow, sometimes having to remind staff that we had already ordered drinks and look out for the Pub Crawl that descends unannounced, the bar is suddenly full of young revellers having a good time and whilst there is nothing wrong with that (we could have joined them ourselves) I felt sorry for all the other resort guests as staff attention was monopolised leaving all paying guest's waiting until the whole bus had been served cocktails. The dinner menu at Oceans restaurant saw several meals left uneaten (they kindly didn't charge us for one of those) the breakfast menu is great, waiting for half an hour for orders is not. I am aware that no one wants to work over Christmas but the hospitality industry by its very nature must surely be exempt, one would expect a luxury resort full of guests would have the capacity to cater for them and giving us such wonderful vouchers for the Spa was just a tease as the 24hrs notice required to book anything combined with the fact that it was closed over the break made the vouchers virtually unusable.
I highly recommend the Crown Beach Resort villas for honeymooners and couples who want a private luxury escape but be aware the beachfront and poolside villas offer very little privacy. My suggestion is to provide an up to date calendar of events on the website prior to booking including information regarding which parts of the resort will be closed for the holidays.
There was a beautiful staff wedding held on the beach during our stay but as guests were not invited this essentially closed the beach off for the event and the onsite wedding reception continued until 2 in the morning! Finally Caveat Emptor the list of fees and charges if something breaks, for example a myna bird landed on our table knocking over a wine bottle and smashing a glass which we were charged $5 NZ for and if your resort supplied (used) snorkel and mask break when you use them it's $150 but $1500 fine if you cross the reef in a kayak....really? A very beautiful resort!
I highly recommend the Crown Beach Resort villas for honeymooners and couples who want a private lux...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Thank you for your constructive comments about your recent stay at Crown Beach Resort & Spa.
Firstly, your description of our Courtyard Pool Suite is absolutely perfect - you have highlighted the subtle nuances that detail the room presentation. Thank you.
I have discussed your other equally important points with our department managers and would like to respond with the following reply:
a. Concierge - our Concierge operates fixed hours and is supported by the team at Reception. We are about to employ porters to provide baggage services for all in house guests.
b. Reception team - our Reception team usually schedule pre-arrival room checks, which includes turning on villa lights, air conditioning, placement of fresh flower and other package inclusions such as the bottle of bubbly and fruit platter. If they did not do this, your reservation probably did not provide arrival flight details (flights vary between mid afternoon 3pm to early morning 2am) as well as your contact details. Most reservations from online travel websites, such as Expedia, do not include flight arrival details, rendering pre-arrival room checks & setups difficult to plan.
c. Villa Light Switches - all villa light switches are marked indicating the lights that each switch controls.
d. Hot Water Booster - housekeeping should have switched on the hot water booster when a rainy / cloudy day presents itself. Our housekeeping manager has briefed her team on this to ensure it does not happen again. A phone call to Reception would have resolved this issue immediately.
e. Flat Screen TV / DVD Remote - we have just installed universal remote controls that can control all appliances in the entertainment centre (flat screen tv / dvd player / sound system-ipod station) and our room compendium / guide will be updated to include new user instructions.
f. Wardrobe Door - maintenance has been notified to check all wardrobe door locks to ensure they 'connect' and lock, turning off the internal light, ensuring you have a peaceful sleep.
g. English Language - our team members have been trained to speak to guests in English.
h. Adults Only - we permit guests 16 years and older to 'live in' the resort. We permit families with young children to dine at our restaurants.
i. Slow Service at Oceans Restaurant - at peak dining times (7-8pm), service levels slow down due to high demand. 45% of our restaurant crews are on holiday and are due back into the Cook Islands very soon. We will return to normal operations soon.
j. Pub Crawl - our Oceans restaurant manager is dealing with her team members to ensure diners are not affected by the sudden arrival of large groups stopping by for a beverage or two. 45% of our restaurant crews are on holiday and are due back soon. We will return to normal operations soon.
k. Oceans Dinner Menu - we are improving Oceans Restaurant with new chefs, new kitchen equipment and will soon adopt the previous Pacific Rim menu from our beautiful signature restaurant: Windjammer (which has recently been converted into an Italian Restaurant - with fantastic feedback).
l. 30 minute Wait on Hot Breakfast - our a la carte hot breakfast suffers delays during peak breakfast times (8.30-9.30am). Food service will speed up when our restaurant crews return from overseas holidays.
m. Spa - half of our team at Spa Ariki are on their annual holiday in New Zealand and Australia. Timely services will resume when they return to Rarotonga.
n. Calendar of Events - we will put together a Calendar and have it posted on our website. It is essential that guests have all information before them while they plan their holiday at our resort.
o. Staff Wedding - the staff wedding was held on the beach from 3-6pm. It was a miserable rainy / wet day. Hotel guests usually avoid the beach area directly in front of Oceans Restaurant when it rains. The wedding reception was staged at Tang Tapas Restaurant located away from villas, directly adjacent to the Reception / Administration Block. Music was kept under control with a live string band featuring ukulele's and guitars.
p. Replacement Fees - Masks & snorkels are provided in all villas on a 'free to use' basis. Guests frequently take these offsite to other snorkeling spots around the island - many forget the snorkeling sets on the beach or at restaurants/bars that they have lunch at along the way. The replacement fees are what we buy the sets for from our local supplier Palm Trading Limited. The replacement fee system ensures guests look after our equipment and return them to their villa.
q. Kayaks - guests are urged not to kayak & swim too close to the reef where surging waves become volatile & dangerous. We have had several emergencies where previous guests have kayaked over the reef, capsized, have nearly drowned, and are slapped with a $3500 search & rescue fee from our national Emergency Response Centre; $1000+ medical fees from Rarotonga Hospital; and $1500 for a replacement kayak (in the event we are not able to retrieve the lost kayak). Our rules & regulations are designed to minimise risk and maximise guest satisfaction at our resort and around Rarotonga island.
All in all, we will fix up the small errors to ensure guest experiences are smooth as silk. Our continued upgrades and service training programs will ensure we are worthy of our 4.5 star rating.
We hope you continue to holiday in the Cook Islands.
Crown Beach Resort & Spa, Cook Islands, South Pacific Islands
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.