We only spent one night at the Palm Grove and were quite disappointed. Admittedly, we arrived on Good Friday (a holiday) but the reception was closed and the other staff were not helpful or welcoming. They couldn't assist with getting us enough towels or phone service or a quieter bungalow. Then at 4pm, the happy hour at the bar began. We were forced to listen to loud music for the next 5 hours. It would have been nice if they had warned us about this when we booked - especially as we were staying only the one night. Upon getting home, I have discovered they have double charged us for our stay - so yet another problem to sort out.
On a positive note, the bungalow was quite nicely laid out, was clean and the bed was comfortable. Just don't expect peace and quiet at this place.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kia Orana nitpicker101,
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Thank you for taking the time to post a review of Palm Grove. We are very pleased that you enjoyed your bungalow and especially our premium mattresses! But I’m sorry that you were disappointed with your 1 night stay and I’d like to take this opportunity to respond to your comments.
I’m sorry that you were unhappy with our shortened reception hours, in observance of the Good Friday public holiday. As with overseas travel to any country, local customs and observances may be different than you’re used to at home. In the Cook Islands, Good Friday and Christmas Day are the two most religious holidays all year and are more strictly observed than any other holiday. This means that almost every business, store, tour operator, cafe, restaurant, and bar on the island was closed all day. At Palm Grove, our housekeeping service, groundskeeping, maintenance, and restaurant (including breakfast, lunch, and dinner) all operated as normal. The only difference was that we closed reception at 1pm. But the restaurant staff were notified of your arrival and were expecting you when you got to the property at 1.30pm. Apii, the restaurant cook, showed you to your Garden Studio room and then returned to the restaurant. She has reported that you came back to see her a little later to complain that there were only two beach towels in the room (there were three of you); as she didn’t have a key to the housekeeping area, she suggested you use a bath towel in the meantime and tells me you then went for a swim in the pool. A little later you came back to see her, asking about the rental car you booked through a third-party rental car company. She correctly told you she’d didn’t know anything about that, but has reported that the rental company arrived a few minutes later to pick you up. She says you then returned to enquire about moving rooms, and she told you that you’d have to speak to the office or a supervisor about that. She admits she didn’t make it clear to you that the restaurant supervisor, office manager, and myself (the owner) would all be at the property by 4pm, to prepare for our weekly Happy Hour function. So I am sorry you weren’t put in contact with us regarding a room change. Unfortunately, we only had one vacant room that evening and it was a Beachfront Studio that could not have accommodated the three of you, so changing rooms was not an option.
Our long-standing Friday evening Happy Hour is a guest favourite, and to my knowledge is the most generous happy hour available in the Cook Islands (and probably almost anywhere!). Your review seems to indicate this took place starting at 4pm for 5 hours, but I’d like to clarify our happy hour details for the benefit of other readers: from 4.30pm to 6pm we offer FREE drinks (house red/white wine, Heineken by the glass, and all soft drinks; all other beers/spirits are half price = NZ$2.50 or NZ$3.00). In addition, we offer live music 5pm – 8pm. As it was Good Friday, we were one of only a handful of restaurants open that evening, so Happy Hour was very well attended by the majority of our guests, plus other tourists and locals wishing to dine out for dinner. I was at Happy Hour and did smile and say hello when I saw the three of you come and go from your room twice, once to the beach and once to get in your rental car to go out. I remember thinking it was a shame you didn’t join us for Happy Hour but certainly that was your prerogative. When it got closer to 8pm there were a host of guests up dancing, so I asked the band to continue for a little longer. It was just a few minutes after that that I saw the three of you return to your room, so I immediately asked the restaurant supervisor to ring you to let you know the live music was finishing very soon; the supervisor told me she’d spoken to you and you’d indicated there wasn’t any problem. So I’m very dismayed to now read that you were upset with the music at Happy Hour that evening. As for “warning” you about Happy Hour, we would never have thought to do such a thing since this is the first time I can remember ever receiving a complaint about Happy Hour; instead most guests tell us that Friday evenings are the highlight of their stay.
As for incorrectly double-charging you, I sincerely apologize. You paid your room bill at the restaurant on Saturday evening before departing. When the cash and credit card receipt was sent to the office Sunday morning, it was mistakenly noted as room B1 (rather than your room G1) and was applied to that room. Our system them automatically charged your “outstanding” balance to the credit card on file. We did not realize the error until you emailed us about it the day after posting your review. Upon receiving your email, a credit was immediately processed to your card. I am very sorry for this human error on our part but I trust you were pleased with the prompt response to your email and I thank you for bringing this to our attention.
Palm Grove is located on the stunning southern coast of Rarotonga, in the village of Vaimaanga. We are as far from town (Avarua) as you can get, and many locals refer to this area of the island as the “country.” As such, we are in a quiet and peaceful location, as many guests have noted in previous reviews. So our guests can definitely expect peace and quiet, and I do not think this is marred by the live entertainment we offer during our weekly Happy Hour. But I will definitely take your comments under advisement. We are revamping our website in the next month so I will take that opportunity to more clearly mention the hours that we offer free live music, should there perhaps be another future guest that wants to avoid live music.
Thank you again for your feedback. Please feel free to contact me directly should you or any TripAdvisor reader have any questions regarding my comments.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.