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“Palm Grove Resort” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Palm Grove

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Palm Grove
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   P.O. Box 23, Vaimaanga, Cook Islands   |  
Hotel website
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Vaimaanga
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Yarragon, Australia
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“Palm Grove Resort”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2012

My husband and I have just returned from a trip to Rarotonga and we stayed at Palm Grove for two weeks in Jan/Feb over the holiday period. We really enjoyed our garden view self contained bungalow as we found it to be very comfortable, with privacy assured due to the lush dense tropical garden in the space between them, you didn't feel like you were staying right next door to someone else. These excellent self contained units were very spacious inside and had split system air conditioners, a must for excessively humid weather, especially at night.
The management were lovely to us and were available to help when ever we needed it. We found one member of staff whose customer service skills could have done with a little upgrade and wasn't particularly helpful when it came to asking for information.. We asked her if we could have a late checkout as our flight left at 0100 the following day. She told us we would have to pay an extra $75 which we agreed. When we came to settle our account, a different member of staff told us that we had already paid for it when we booked the actual accomodation, there was also another issue we had as well. Although she did recommend some good tours for us. A little help can go a long way. The staff in the restaurant and housekeeping were lovely and overall we had a lovely relaxing time. Although we found customer service was much better when we visited the Rarotonga Resort and the Pacific, Palm Grove is a lovely place to stay and would certainly recommend.

Room Tip: The end room no. 8 is on the end and very quiet.
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PalmGrove, Owner at Palm Grove, responded to this review, February 16, 2012
Kia Orana Helen,

Thanks so much for taking the time to post a review of Palm Grove. We are so pleased that you and Peter enjoyed your stay with us and that you would recommend us to others! But I wanted to explain about the mixup with your late check out request for the benefit of other TripAdvisor readers.

When you came to the office on Thursday 05 Jan to enquire about purchasing a late check out, Toko (the receptionist) correctly quoted you $75. When you returned to the office to pay your bill later that day, I was helping you and when I reviewed your bill I realized you didn't need a late check out; your room had been booked and paid for until 10am on Friday 06 Jan but your flight departed at 1.05am on Friday 06 Jan. The Pacific Blue flight you were departing on (DJ163) flies out of Rarotonga at 1.05am on Friday AND 1.05am on Saturdays. Toko thought you were booked to checkout at 10am on Friday and weren't departing until 1.05am on Saturday, so she booked you a dayroom from 10am to 6pm Friday per your request. When you came to the office to settle your bill Thursday afternoon and said you were leaving that night, I realized you were departing at 1.05am on Friday and therefore did not require use of your room from 10am to 6pm on Friday, so I voided the dayroom charge. I think the miscommunication is that you thought you were booked to checkout at 10am on Thursday when in fact your actual checkout was 10am on Friday. So I sincerely apologize for any confusion regarding your actual checkout date and which date we thought you wanted a late checkout.

If anyone has any questions about my comments or our late checkout fees/policy, please feel free to contact me directly at beach@palmgrove.co.ck

Kind regards,

Betsy Eisler
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395 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (144)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
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English first
Mackinac Island, MI
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2011

The location is perfect for a relaxing holiday. Choose a beachfront villa, after all you have come all the way to the South Pacific to treat yourself. The villas are clean, comfortable, and decorated with attention to detail. The staff friendly and helpful.
Stroll the beach with the dogs at sunrise and sunset. Be entertained alongside the locals by the live music at Friday night Happy Hour. Drift through the water with your snorkel and mask at high tide. You are half way, either way, around from the downtown, the quiet side of the island. Relax and Enjoy. You won't be disappointed.

  • Stayed March 2011
    • 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 7
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
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 25, 2011

Stepping off the plane & being met by Nga and being given a floral garland, I knew then I was going to having a great holiday.

On arriving at the Palm Grove it was late in the evening, however not late enough to see exactly how near to the sea and sand we were.

When we woke up early with the sun shining we headed out the studio, a few steps on the glorious beach, which was ideal. Over the next few days we went snorkling every day and tried kayaking (kaks were available at the reception). The room was adequate for the purpose of this holiday as this is a tropical island and really only slept in the room and showered.

Food at the Palm Grove was outstanding and the staff were second to none really really really nice and very friendly. So much so I will return in the new year with my family.

I would recommend the Palm Grove to anyone that loves the outdoor life of swimming, sun bathing, eating and relaxing all with a smile on your face.

10/10 for Palm Grove from me.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland Region, New Zealand
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2011

My partner and i stayed at palm grove for 7 nights 8 days and we loved it we had a beachfront bungalow i highly recomend staying in 1 they are beautiful.beds are huge and comfy as. i loved the vanished floors,decent sized bathroom,it was perfect one of our friends stayed at another resort and i might add payed alot more for it and they couldnt belive how nice it was for the price much better than theres.where it is the beach is amazing best on the island!cheap scooter hire and decent ones.breaky was great good choice of fruits and yummy yogurt best ive tasted all the staff and housemaids were lovely and very helpfull we will be back!!!

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver Island, BC
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 6, 2011

We revisited the Cook Islands after a 21 year absence and decided to stay at a smaller more intimate location. What a good choice. The staff were amazing and treated you just like family. The beach was probably the best on the island. Joanne and Na were great, and Mata seemed to be there 24/7, always friendly, always helpful. Friday night happy hours were a favorite with free wine and beer, and great island music. The owners, Betsy and Grant mingled with the crowd, and were very approachable. We will definately return and keep in touch with our new island "family".

Room Tip: The garden units are bigger and close to the pool, but the ocean cottages are amazing.
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Melbourne, Australia
1 review
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 1, 2011

My wife and I travelled to Rarotonga from Melbourne for my son’s wedding (at the Pacific Resort). We stayed at Palm Grove for 10 nights. My 20-year-old daughter, who travelled separately from New Zealand, was also staying at Palm Grove. We were in adjoining garden bungalows. Having been met and welcomed by a very friendly Junior at the airport with a beautiful and fragrant lei garland, we were excited and happy to have arrived. However, our excitement rapidly turned to disappointment on seeing our room for the first time. What a let down. The furnishings looked very dated and tired, and the place had a real 1980’s feel to it. The ceiling fan didn’t work (it was fixed very quickly when we reported it next day), the ‘safety deposit box’ was a wooden door built into the shelving space, not very re-assuring, and the shower was cold. Okay, we thought we’d have a quick cup of tea before some much needed sleep. There was no electric kettle however, just an old-fashioned ‘singing-kettle’ for use on the gas stove. We tried the stove – which again had seen better days, the markings had been worn off through time and we were not sure what was ‘on’ or ‘off’. Not that this mattered, the knob came off in my hand and there was no ‘electric’ ignition and no matches. We don’t smoke, so no light for the stove, no cup of tea. Not a good start - but by now we were so tired we fell into bed looking forward to a long refreshing sleep. Wrong. 4:30 am the ‘dawn chorus’ starts, right outside the garden bungalows, and continues for a couple of hours. Roosters, chickens and who knows what else screeching at the top of their lungs. If you enjoy getting up at 4:30 every day on your holiday the garden bungalows are for you. Don’t bother with an alarm clock, you won’t need one. We did not get one decent sleep during our stay. In the light of day we determined not to let our disappointment about the room spoil our holiday and wandered over to sample our complimentary breakfast.
This was yet another letdown. There was a very limited selection of cereals and fresh fruit. The bananas and the passion fruit were delicious, but were available on only half the days we were there. The juice was heavily watered-down. The freshly-baked muffins were also very good but again, were not available on several days. A very inconsistent offering. It was also disconcerting, not to mention unhygienic, to have families of chickens of various shapes and sizes under our feet, as well as the ‘house dog’ – docile as it was, wandering around the dining room. We had dinner in the Yellow Hibiscus on three occasions. The food was good, although the service was hardly welcoming, and the dog was hovering around the tables on every occasion.
Not one staff member ever introduced himself/herself to us. ‘Service with a smile’ is obviously not part of the culture at Palm Grove, especially in reception where we almost felt bad that we were interrupting when I asked for information or assistance. Apart from one or two kitchen staff members who had a cheerful disposition, we wondered if the staff actually enjoys what they do – it didn’t seem like it. We could have forgiven the shortcomings with the standard of accommodation if the customer service had been good, but this was not the case. Our room was not serviced at all on two occasions, and the ‘cleaning’ was very cursory. In addition, at one point on our second day, as my wife walked to our bungalow, she was asked by a staff member, who did not identify herself, where she was staying. My wife was surprised and embarrassed, and given no reason for the question. The staff member turned out to be Joanne, who was also involved in the low-point of our holiday. My daughter was walking to her room one afternoon when she passed a group of staff members talking outside on the patio. One was heard to comment, “That’s G12’s daughter – she’s the one from Christchurch”. With no introduction, one of them, Joanne again, asked my daughter “to do her a favour” and hand-deliver ‘some photos” to someone in Christchurch. My daughter, being placed ‘on the spot’ reluctantly agreed so as not to offend, but immediately advised me that she was very uncomfortable about the situation. I subsequently spoke to Joanne and made it clear that this was not acceptable and that my daughter would not be complying with her request for several reasons, (notwithstanding I felt it was a totally unprofessional). Joanne told me she did no take offence to this (good of her) – no apology was forthcoming to either my daughter or myself, and from then on we felt decidedly uncomfortable with any interaction involving Joanne or her staff.
Palm Grove is set in well-tended gardens with a variety of lush vegetation growing right up to the door. As the website says, it has a swimming pool. What it doesn’t mention is that it is so small you can touch both sides with outstretched arms. We referred to it as the ‘swimming puddle’. No morning laps in this pool. We did not use the the Laundry Room as the equipment itself looked in need of a wash. Kayaking and snorkelling equipment was readily available and we enjoyed kayaking on the lagoon. The snorkelling is probably the best on the island and we saw a huge variety of sea life. The beach was really beautiful and we strolled along it at every opportunity – sadly this was regularly spoiled by the annoying presence of gangs of stray dogs, which seemed to view our being there as an intrusion on their territory. We found this a huge annoyance.
Within the local area, Wigmore’s supermarket, which is 2-minutes’ walk away, has a good selection of all the basics required for self-catering. Another 2 minutes further on from Wigmore’s is the Vaima Restaurant. This was the highlight of our stay on the island. We dined there twice and on both occasions the food was superb, the ambience warm and inviting, and the service friendly and professional. The sunset from our beach table was absolutely stunning! We also had lunch at Trader Jacks’s on several occasions and would highly recommend it. An excellent menu and the service was top rate too.
My wife and I got married in Fiji, so we could not help but compare the two. They are both beautiful places with stunning beaches, crystal lagoons and lush vegetation. There the similarity ends. In Fiji, we were greeted every day with a smile and ‘Bula!’ Fijian locals and staff seemed genuinely pleased to be there and to have us as their guests. This was not the case in Rarotonga. In Fiji the customer service was excellent – in Rarotonga in general, and at the Palm Grove in particular, customer service principles were largely non-existent. In Fiji (and in most other countries we have visited) we have been able to have a peaceful, romantic walk along the beach together. In Rarotonga this was impossible without a pack of accompanying local mutts harassing us, yelping and defecating on the beach. We didn’t choose to go to Rarotonga - we went to attend my son’s wedding. The wedding was fantastic and we will always have the wonderful memories of that day. As for the rest of our time in Rarotonga – well, we’re glad we didn’t choose it as a holiday destination. Our expectations were certainly not met and we won’t be returning to Palm Grove or Rarotonga, and will not recommend it to others. A big disappointment all round.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PalmGrove, Owner at Palm Grove, responded to this review, January 25, 2012
Kia Orana BrianC878,

Thank you very much for taking the time to post a review of Palm Grove. We’re so pleased you enjoyed our wonderful location, beautiful gardens, and gorgeous beach and lagoon.
We are sincerely sorry that you did not enjoy your stay with us. But we appreciate all reviews, positive or negative, as they help other potential travellers learn more about Palm Grove and what to expect when staying with us.
Palm Grove is a very popular Rarotonga midrange accommodation and other TripAdvisor readers will see that we have a large number of positive reviews. We are very surprised at how many of your comments differ so greatly from our other guests and reviews, especially since several of our most recent reviews were written by guests that were inhouse at the same time as you. I don’t know where these inconsistencies arise from and can only chalk them up to a difference of opinion and levels of expectation. TripAdvisor is an opportunity for users to read honest comments about our accommodation but unfortunately I find some of your comments to be exaggerated for effect or just simply untrue. You may have been trying to be funny, but I take all comments extremely seriously. So I’d like to take this opportunity to comment on some points raised in your review.
I am at a loss as to how you came away with such a poor opinion of my staff – and me as well, as I personally helped you on several occasions. The Cook Islands in general and Palm Grove in particular are known for being very friendly, and my staff is mentioned again and again in our TripAdvisor reviews as being friendly, helpful, and treating guests like” family.” Reception is primarily staffed by Joanne (the manager) and me (the owner) and so we have daily interaction with almost every guest. We pride ourselves on offering genuinely friendly service and promote a casual atmosphere at Palm Grove (for which we generally receive a lot of praise), so I’m sorry if our lack of formality was not to your liking. I do wish you’d brought some of your concerns to our attention during your stay; having seen you multiple times during your visit, I honestly had no idea you were not happy and just wish I had an opportunity to improve your opinion of Palm Grove while you were here.
I’m upset that you and your daughter were so offended regarding the package that Joanne asked if your daughter would post in Christchurch, and I’d like to clarify the situation for the benefit of other TripAdvisor members. The favour was not for Joanne but for another Palm Grove guest. What you’ve referred to as “some photos” was a wedding album belonging to a guest that had departed two days earlier after getting married on the Palm Grove beach. Unfortunately the independent wedding photographer did not have the wedding album ready for the bride before she departed home for Christchurch. Because our local mail service is very slow and somewhat unreliable we didn’t want to take any chances that the wedding album might be lost. So we thought it might be better to post the album from NZ and Joanne asked your daughter as she was from the same city as the bride. I was standing there when Joanne spoke to your daughter and at no point was she asked to hand deliver the album! Joanne just asked if she would be willing to post the album upon returning home (at Palm Grove’s cost). When you came back and declined on behalf of your daughter, we assumed “no harm, no foul.” I’m truly sorry if you felt we owed you or your daughter an apology and that this lack of an apology or your refusal to post the album then made you feel uncomfortable interacting with any further staff during your stay. We did not mean any offence and were simply trying to help out the bride. But were so very appreciative when another guest immediately offered to post the album for us!
I have spoken to our housekeeping supervisor regarding your room not being serviced. Her housekeeping log notes that you were still in your room on two occasions when they came to service the room, and the staff understood you did not want the room serviced on those days. Joanne also specifically spoke to you on one of these days to ensure you didn’t want the girls to do a later service for you and you assured her it was fine to skip the servicing. I’m unsure as to why this has been added to your list of complaints; my staff understood they were following your wishes.
Regarding our swimming “puddle,” our inground freshwater swimming pool is located in the garden and the main pool measures 6m x 4m, with an additional attached children’s pool measuring 2.5m x 3m. While I would not describe the pool as large, is it more than adequate for a refreshing dip. The pool area has lounge chairs available for relaxing, plus several sets of tables and chairs under a shaded covering, as well as our guest BBQ available for complimentary use for all guests. Most of our guests much prefer to spend their time on our gorgeous beach, but the swimming pool area can be a quiet oasis as well. We are very excited to report that we are completely redoing the pool area (including construction of an entirely new pool) in 2013!
It is a fact of life on Rarotonga that there are some wild chickens and unleashed dogs around. Other readers will see mentions of chickens and dogs in previous reviews. But it is simply not true that there are “families” of chickens in our restaurant, nor “gangs” of stray dogs on our beach. Our restaurant is open-air with a breakfast room with floor to ceiling bi-fold doors, a bar area with 3 walls, and an outdoor deck. The intent is to bring the outside in, and that does sometimes mean a bird or chicken will wander into the table area.
The One Bedroom Superior unit that you stayed in was constructed and opened for rental in 2004, so I’m struggling to understand why you felt it had a 1980s feel to it. The unit is currently furnished with Polynesian cane furniture and bamboo ceilings, along with tile floors, modern appliances and bathroom fixtures, and a private Kwila deck overlooking the lush mountainous interior of southern Rarotonga. These units, along will all rooms, have lock boxes for security; guests are also free to use the office safe to secure any items. This room category has solar hot water and is also equipped with an electric booster should the solar need a bit of help after several days of rain. But we had no reports of a hot water fault during your stay – you haven’t mentioned whether the “cold” shower was something you experienced throughout your stay or just the night you arrived. Perhaps you hadn’t let the water run long enough that first night? I can only assume you had no further issue with the hot water as you never reported any problem to the office during your 10-night stay. You are correct that we have been replacing all electric jugs with stove-top kettles in an effort to be more environmentally friendly. This is just one of several “green” policies which we are proud to have adopted in the last several years. All rooms have several boxes of matches under the sink to light the stove or for use with candles, etc. Extra matches can be readily obtained from housekeeping, the office, the restaurant, or security.
I’m very pleased to let TripAdvisor readers know that all rooms at Palm Grove are receiving new furniture, mattresses, linens, and pillows in March 2012. Guests that have stayed in our Beachfront Studios in the past 14 months will have already experienced the premium mattresses that were installed in Nov 2010 – we’ve received excellent feedback about the mattress upgrade (Sleepyhead Elegance Plush pillowtop mattresses, more normally found in 4-5 star accommodations) and we are very excited to be installing these mattresses in the rest of our room categories! This upgrade, along with the new furniture and linens, will further increase our level of accommodation and our great value for money, ensuring guests have an even more pleasant stay at Palm Grove.
Again BrianC878, I am very sorry you were unhappy with your time at Palm Grove. We truly try our hardest to make sure every Palm Grove guest has a lovely stay with us and I’m confident that we are successful the vast majority of the time. If you wish to rethink your opinion of Palm Grove and give us another try, please contact me directly and be happy to offer you a special discount on your next stay. If anyone needs any further information about my comments, please contact me directly at beach@palmgrove.co.ck

Kind regards,

Betsy Eisler
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Cleveland, Ohio
Top Contributor
133 reviews 133 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 60 cities Reviews in 60 cities
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 28, 2011

The Palm Grove is a small complex with personalized service. Upon arrival we did not have New Zealand dollars, Joanne loaned us $25 dollars for bus tickets for us to go to the bank.

Betsy and Joanne were always available to help out, including researching the Southern Cross constellation for me.

They also shared their cat Palmy with us!

The tropical breakfast was sufficient but could have been a bit better with the addition of yogurt.

The Palm Grove location is the islands best...snorkeling and kayaking (complimentary equipment) were superb, we saw as much snorkeling as we did on scuba.

I would not hesitate to stay there again.

Room Tip: Beach front have exceptional views and are actually located across the road from the restaurant and...
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.

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Additional Information about Palm Grove

Address: P.O. Box 23, Vaimaanga, Cook Islands
Phone Number:
Location: Cook Islands > Southern Cook Islands > Rarotonga > Vaimaanga
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Vaimaanga
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Palm Grove 3.5*
Number of rooms: 25
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set in the enchanting area of Vaimaanga on the stunning southern coast, Palm Grove enjoys the tranquility of one of the best locations on Rarotonga. 26 individual bungalows are scattered over 5 acres of landscaped beachfront and garden property. Bungalows are available in studio to 3-bedroom layout and feature kingsize beds, kitchen facilities, aircon, flatscreen TV, and private patio/balcony. Property amenities include our onsite restaurant and bar, swimming pool, guest BBQ, laundry facility, tour desk, and motorbike rentals. All guests receive complimentary daily tropical breakfast buffet and use of kayaks, snorkel equipment, beach chairs and beach towels. Welcome to Palm Grove, your private piece of paradise! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Palm Grove Hotel Vaimaanga
Palm Grove Rarotonga, Cook Islands

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