We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Really just part of the Rarotongan Hotel.” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach

Best prices for -
Enter dates for best prices
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 4 more sites!
Save
You added Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach to your Saves list
Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Aroa Beach, Aroa Beach, Cook Islands   |  
  |  
Hotel website
  |  
  |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Aroa Beach
NSW
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Really just part of the Rarotongan Hotel.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2011

Our travel agent booked us two nights here at the end of our Cook Islands holiday. If this is all we knew of the Cook Islands we probably would have loved it, but after staying at the Pacific Resort Muri Beach and the Aitutaki Lagoon Resort we found the Sanctuary quite noisy and commercialised.

The Sanctuary is really just the adults only wing of the Rarotongan Resort. Reception is at the bar (I think to reduce the number of staff required) and it feels like things have been crowded in to maximise the dollars per square meter.

The beach and lagoon are nice, but there is a large rock wall along the front of most of the hotel, so access to the water is only from a small beach. Snorkels, fins etc need to be picked up from the beach hut of the Rarotongan so you will need to compete with the masses from there. We were only able to get beach towels ONCE in three days... they would run out very early in the day. We were also told by staff to get to breakfast early or we wouldn't be able to get a table.

We also found the the surrounds of the Sanctuary/ Rarotongan were grubby. Tables not cleared quickly (I'm talking hours here), rubbish in the sandy floor of the restaurant, room service plates left outside of rooms all day and general litter just left around.

To us the attraction of the Cook Islands is the relaxed and simple way of life without the crowds. There are plenty of other options in Rarotonga were you can find modern, comfortable and luxurious hotel rooms without feeling like you are in any large beach hotel anywhere in the world.

Room Tip: Get a room away from the bar/restaurant/reception as otherwise you will have a noisy room 24hours a...
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

268 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    76
    89
    65
    22
    16
See reviews for
11
197
4
8
Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (113)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Hamilton, New Zealand
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
80 helpful votes 80 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2011

Stayed for a week. Was pleasant but not amazing nice beach out front great for snorkling with lots of fish. Staff were helpful. Thought pricing couldve been slightly better

  • Stayed March 2011
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
New Plymouth
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 16, 2011

The Sanctuary is a great place to stay if you are visiting the friendly and stunning Cook Islands. It really is a part of the Rarotongan Hotel complex (but for Adults only) and we treated it as such during our recent visit, flitting between the two all day.
From the warm welcome to the comfortable rooms, great food and relaxing atmosphere, the Sanctuary laid the foundations for a memorable holiday. Having devoured the other reviews on here they are all pretty accurate, and provided a good "heads up" of what to expect so I won't repeat. But rather than worrying about the small things like some others do, they were able to be brushed off as the positives far outweighed the negatives.
Somehow we managed to land Room 701, which is the closest unit to the ocean in the whole complex, mere steps from the crystal clear waters of the Lagoon. Waking up to the gorgeous sunrise each morning, things only got better with the complementary breakfast that set you up for the day.
Every time you needed to interact with the staff, they were exceptionally helpful. Special mention must go to Lisae who went above and beyond from the moment we arrived, and the barman at the Rarotongan was also a gem.
We can't wait to come back, and as travellers who don't tend to visit the same place twice, that's probably the ultimate compliment.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
Adelaide, Australia
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2011

We got married at the Rarotongan in 2001 and decided to spend our 10 year wedding anniversary at the Sanctuary. Pleasant surroundings and rooms very adequate. The service has a lot to be desired and the staff seem more friendly and motivated next door at the Rarotongan. I will return to the Cook Islands but not the Sanctuary, better value and atmosphere next door. Capt Andy's Grill serves a good meal unlike the restaurant at the Sanctuary.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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
    • 2 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.
Auckland Central, New Zealand
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 10, 2011

My wife and I stayed at the Sanctuary on our way back from Etu Moana in Aitutaki (see my other review). We have had many trips as a family to Cook Islands/Rarotonga over the years and think it’s the best location in the world to relax in.

However, despite the great location the Sanctuary has some work to do!!

We were picked up from the airport, so they knew what time we were arriving. Then when we arrived at the resort around 10am we were told our room was not ready, and told very crisply, “check-in is at 2pm”. OK, I can go with that, but the next part was they the room could be ready if we paid an early check-in fee. Hang on, first the room is not ready, then it’s ready for a fee!! But you knew what time we were arriving because you picked us up!! That’s when I saw read…

Anyway, long story short, we got to check-in to the room (without a fee), but the whole thing left a very bad taste in the mouth. During our stay I was amazed at just how ‘official’ everything was for an adult only resort (you even had to sign the beach towels in and out every day), and after coming to Raro for over 5 years, really this really didn’t sit with our experience of the wonderful the local culture.

On top of that, we had to ring many times during our stay for dry towels, as they seem to take all the towels away in the morning clear (around 10-11am) and not bring them back until about 4-5pm!!

So I remarked to my wife, the place must be run by either and accountant, or an engineer...turns out he is an engineer.

The saving grace to the whole experience, cocktails at the pool bar, and the really great attitude at reception from the local ‘lads’ once the book keeper had departed her shift!!

Recommendation to the hotel management: Get the little officious book keepers of reception, get the local lads behind the counter, burn the beach towel register and don’t try and save money by rotating one set of towels across the whole resort, it just doesn’t go down well for a resort that is supposed to be at the top end.

Nice location, shame about the service.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland Region, New Zealand
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 9, 2011

Great, Fantastic, Will Return - what more can we say. Lovely resort, staff, facilities and food. Have visited twice, and on both occassions we had a really wonderful holiday.

Room Tip: If you have a problem, just ask, it will be sorted
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 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
    • 5 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.
Waikato
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 27, 2011

A fantastic adults only resort where you can chill by the pool, snorkle right in front of your room or hang at the bar and chat with the fantastic staff. Food was amazing and not badly priced. Was costly but if you can afford to treat yourself this is definately the place to go.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Price Your Stay

Been to Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach

Address: Aroa Beach, Aroa Beach, Cook Islands
Phone Number:
Location: Cook Islands > Southern Cook Islands > Rarotonga > Aroa Beach
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Aroa Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach 4*
Number of rooms: 48
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A true taste of the exotic Cook Islands in the heart of the South Pacific, Sanctuary Rarotonga is an adults-only resort located on the pristine white sand shores of Aroa Lagoon. All suites are absolute beachfront. Tropical buffet breakfast, many resort activities, and daily activities program are included in the nightly rate. The perfect location for a romantic honeymoon or a relaxed beach holiday. Three effortless Weddings in Paradise packages. A true South Pacific paradise. ... more   less 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Orbitz, Booking.com, Expedia, Travelocity, Hotels.com and Priceline so you can book your Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Sanctuary Rarotonga-On The Beach Hotel Aroa Beach
Sanctuary Rarotonga-On The Beach Aroa Beach

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.