We stayed at the Sanctuary for the first time in March 2013. We have previously stayed at the Rarotongan and enjoyed it very much. This time we visited Rarotonga, we decided to stay on the adult only side - the swim up bar was a big attraction.
The room was very nice, with a king sized bed, and balcony overlooking the water. The sliding mirrors in the bathroom were an interesting touch, and the room was well appointed with a safe, jug, TV & DVD player, iron, hairdryer, etc. The air conditioner was mounted directly above the bed but it was disconcerting to have the cooler air blowing on and off (as the thermostat stopped and started the air conditioner) all night.
The location is fantastic. The views from the room are amazing, and the snorkling is really good. There are several restuarants/shops/takeaway places nearby (although not really within easy walking distance). I particularly liked how the reception/restuarant/bar area had no walls and was all completely open. The pool was lovely, surrounded by lots of greenery and good seating.
Unfortunately the service really put a damper on the trip. We travelled with two other couples, all mid-to-late 20's and we were there to have a good, relaxing time. Sadly, the staff at the Sanctuary seem opposed to people having fun - we were told to 'Shhh' several times when swimming in the pool approximately 9pm one evening, and the reason for this was that we "must be considerate for other guests" (some of the accommodation is very near to the pool). Although we were having fun, laughing and talking, we were not acting obnoxiously, we were not over-the-top loud, nor were we intoxicated. We all felt quite disbelieving that the bar staff felt as though they could speak to us in the manner that they did. Sadly the hotel seemed unable to take this advice themselves, and we were bemused to see karoke loudly start up the next night at 9pm - right beside the pool and guest rooms.
We were also quite disappointed that the bar on the Sanctuary side of the resort refused to serve anything other than canned soft drinks or beer after 9pm - we took to keeping some bubbly in our rooms and bringing a glass down to the pool with us in the evenings - the only other alternative was to go to the bar on the Rarotongan side of the resort, which was a particularly unattractive option due to the pool & poolside seating area there being closed for maintenance.
Although the overall experience we had on our holiday in Rarotonga was one of enjoyment, I would not recommend the Sanctuary if you are in the late-20's to early-30's age range. The staff were dismissive of us, and we felt as though we were being 'naughty' swimming in the pool in the evenings. As I paid over $NZ2,000 for my six night stay at the resort, I found this attitude to be quite unbelievable. The staff do not seem to realise that tourists' expensive holiday accommodation choices result directly in their ongoing employment!
As I had firmly recommended The Rarotongan/Sanctuary to our four friends, I feel particularly let down. If only the resort service had been good, it would have been a perfect trip.
Choose a room away from the pool/bar/restuarant area.
See more room tips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
June 24, 2013
Kia Orana “xLeahx_26”
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Thank you for your review in regards to your stay with us at our adult’s only boutique resort, Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach and sister resort to The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Spa and Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa.
We are very happy that you enjoyed your previous stay with us at The Rarotongan so much that you decided to return to stay with us once again, this time at our newest sister resort. Many guests, like you also enjoy the fantastic location and facilities that Sanctuary Rarotonga has to offer including the swim up pool bar, stunning Beachfront Suites and its location on the traditional Aroa Marine Reserve “raui”.
We apologise that you did not feel that the service standards met your expectations. Our staff certainly did not intend to come across the way you interpreted and according to reports from our Front Desk and Security staff, they were responding to requests from other guests who had asked for the level of noise to be lowered.
Also Karaoke is not held at Sanctuary Rarotonga, but at The Rarotongan in Captain Andy’s Bar which is a fair distance from the closest guest rooms. If the volume of our Karaoke activity does affect guests in their rooms, the noise is reduced immediately. We do try to ensure the comfort of each and every one of our guests during their stays with us and if we do receive reports or concerns – we work hard to resolve issues as quickly as possible and with minimum inconvenience or discomfort to all involved.
We apologise that you were only able order soft drinks and beer after 9pm during your stay. This is not normal practice and the Sanctuary Bar is open for full bar service until at least 11pm.
It appears that your stay coincided with our emergency renovations to our main swimming pool at The Rarotongan - I am pleased to advise that our brand new Waterfall Swimming Pool has been a popular attraction for those looking for recreational leisure as well as a relaxing location in the tropical sunshine.
We appreciate that you recommended Sanctuary Rarotonga to your group of friends and we have many young adults that have thoroughly enjoyed their island escape and Sanctuary Rarotonga experience.
Kia Manuia & Kind Regards
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.