We flew from our home in southern California to Rarotonga in January 2012. About the only entertinment we were looking for was snorkeling. The flight on New Zealand Air is aout 9 hours from Los Angeles. We flew business class, but at that time (and perhaps even now) ANZ did not have lie flat seats, so while the seats were bigger and more comfortable, they were not good from sleeping on the flight. ANZ should really update their planes.
Nonetheless, ANZ service was on time and excellent, coming and going. The trip from the airport to the hotel was quick. So was check in. Service was very good throughout our visit. Nonetheless, I would never be crazy enough to book a wedding in such a remote place for the reasons suggested by other travekers, especially those concerned about toe-nail colors. Contrary to management (who were also great), the entire island of Rarotonga IS on Island Time, especially if you are from a big city like Los Angeles. Nonetheless, we were expecting a relaxing and SLOW vacation in Rarotonga, so we enjoyed Island time. (Why would you go to Rarotonga if you did not want to live by Island time?)
I generally note that disatisfaction at such resorts begins with misplaced city folk expecttions of service. Time and again, I have seen excellent out of the way retreats berated by someone who expects a Hilton, a drink with a tiny umbrella, and the expecations of a New Yorker. Now these same people bring along android phones and lap tops and expect to relax. If you don't want to vacation in the tropics, at a tropical pace, do not come to Rarotonga.
The weather was warm for two weeks in January, and only one day where it rained so much you could not go out. You can circumnaviage the Island in one hour by bus if you go clockwise or "anti-clockwise." Other than scenery , there is not much else to see. Buy food at a local market. You will save time and money. The Ocean restaurant was nice though its menu was limited. The windjammer was magnificent, and the italian restauarant down the street was good even if un air conditioned. The spa was clean and friebdky.
I would not suggest snorkeing near this hotel; the coral is bleached, denude of fish, and where there are coral and fish, the tide is so strong as to flail you against very painful rocks and coral.
Taking the bus over to the Muri side of the island, you can probably snorkel more tranquilly. But since we did not tke our snorkel gear to Muri Beach, we have no idea whether there are any fish there. The view and the bay are much nicer than Crown Beach. And the water was like glass. Study carefully before leaving for Rarotonga.
One warning for trravelers to Rarotonga. It is so out of the way that it is one of the places where you have to alert your credit card company BEFORE YOU LEAVE HOME or they won't honor your credit card.
I really enjoyed Crown Resort because I wanted peace and quiet. My wife did not like it as much for the same reasons. (She also objected to a mouse at the buffet table.) She expected Bora Bora and was disappointed in not getting it. She also thought that staff was pushy for trying to get her out of our room while they tried to clean it on Sunday. I did not think this was a problem as I just sat and read by the pool with a bear.
Nonetheless, after everything, the trip was just as expensive as, say, Moorea, so we did not save any money by going further out of the way. Also if you do insist on using American dollars, you will find that the bank and hotel exchange rates are very bad for Americans.
We actually travelled in Januay 2012, not MAY, but the website won't let me choose that date.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
April 10, 2013
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Thank you for your constructive comments about your recent stay at Crown Beach Resort & Spa.
We are pleased to read that you enjoyed your stay with us in the Cook Islands and are sorry to read that your wife expected a Borabora experience - possibly better delivered by our sister island Aitutaki - with her magnificent turquoise lagoon, only 45 minutes by plane due north of Rarotonga.
The New Zealand Dollar has strengthened and does impact the value of the US dollar.
All in all, thank you for visiting the Cook Islands and we hope to see you sometime in the near future.
Crown Beach Resort & Spa, Cook Islands, South Pacific Islands
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.