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“Would love to go back...” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach

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Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Aroa Beach, Aroa Beach, Cook Islands   |  
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Hotel website
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Aroa Beach
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Would love to go back...”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2013

We went to the Sanctuary on the Beach for our Honeymoon in February. We went with an open mind and weren't too concerned with what to expect because the price was pretty good. We stayed for 5 nights and really enjoyed ourselves. The pool was lovely, the room was a great size and had everything we needed. The view was like the dreamy billboards you see when you're stuck in awful city traffic....blue water, white sand, hammocks, palm trees. My husband knocked coconuts out of the tree and we'd open them and pour it straight into our malibu and pineapple juice....it was heaven! The staff were friendly but we sometimes had to really prompt them to help. The food was a little hit and miss, but that's not we were there for so we didn't mind. It was great being able to wander over to the Rarotongan, we spent a couple of evenings over there. Overall we had a wonderful, relaxing stay and we would definitely go back again.

Room Tip: We checked this section out before booking so we knew to request a downstairs room in the 700 block...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
RarotonganSales, Guest Relations Manager at Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach, responded to this review, June 24, 2013
Kia Orana “Joanna M”

Thank you for your wonderful review in regards to your stay at our adult’s only boutique resort, Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach in February 2013.

Congratulations on your recent wedding nuptials and it was our sincere pleasure to have been able to host you for your romantic Cook Islands honeymoon escape.

We are delighted that you had such a lovely holiday and enjoyed the fantastic location, services and friendly staff at Sanctuary Rarotonga ~ sister resort to The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Spa (located directly adjacent) and Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa (located on it’s own private island on the Motu Akitua in Aitutaki).

Sanctuary Rarotonga is a beautiful honeymoon destination for those seeking island romance in a stunning tropical location but also priced competitively with other similar resorts on the island and in the South Pacific. It enjoys magnificent views at it’s doorstep of the amazing traditional Aroa Lagoon Marine Reserve (or locally known as “raui”).

Sanctuary Rarotonga offers 48 Beachfront Suites – all of which are located directly on Aroa Beach. Guests located in our ground floor Beachfront Suites are able to walk straight out of their rooms straight onto the white sandy beach, however many guests also enjoy the sizzling sunsets over Aroa Beach from their first floor Beachfront Suites :)

Sanctuary Rarotonga also offers two fantastic dining options include the Bluewater Grill – a tropical “sand between your toes” dining experience or our Ginger Garden Asian Restaurant with delicious teppanyaki style cuisine.

Once again, we would like to thank you for your wonderful review and hope to be able to welcome you back to Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach as a valued return guest in the near future.

Kia Manuia & Kind Regards
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244 reviews from our community

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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 (103)
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English first
Yattalunga
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 31, 2013

we stayed for 6 nights and had the best time, went with another couple, the rooms were clean and plenty big eneough, the view from our bed was awesome, palm trees with a hammock swinging inbetween the the amazing crystal clear waters of the lagoon. The staff could not have done a better job,Gold, the restaurant manager was one of the nicest friendliest people I have ever meet .I am Coeliac and I was totally looked after, nothing was a problem for them, in fact everywhere we went on the island to eat I had great gluten free meals. would recommend a visit there, I will definitely going back

Room Tip: we had the room next to the restaurant and i was fine
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
RarotonganSales, Guest Relations Manager at Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach, responded to this review, June 24, 2013
Kia Orana “Davina1312”

Thank you for your wonderful review in regards to your stay at our adult’s only boutique resort, Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach in February 2013.

We are delighted that you had such a lovely holiday and enjoyed the fantastic location, services and friendly staff at Sanctuary Rarotonga ~ sister resort to The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Spa (located directly adjacent) and Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa (located on it’s own private island on the Motu Akitua in Aitutaki).

Sanctuary Rarotonga is a fantastic destination for adults seeking a peaceful holiday destination and priced competitively with other similar resorts on the island and in the South Pacific. It enjoys magnificent views at it’s doorstep of the amazing traditional Aroa Lagoon Marine Reserve (or locally known as “raui”).

Sanctuary Rarotonga offers 48 Beachfront Suites – all of which are located directly on Aroa Beach. Guests located in our ground floor Beachfront Suites are able to walk straight out of their rooms straight onto the white sandy beach, however many guests also enjoy the sizzling sunsets over Aroa Beach from their first floor Beachfront Suites :)

Sanctuary Rarotonga also offers two fantastic dining options include the Bluewater Grill – a tropical “sand between your toes” dining experience or our Ginger Garden Asian Restaurant with delicious teppanyaki style cuisine.

Thank you for your lovely comments with regards to our friendly staff ~ Sekoula is indeed a very popular member of our team at Sanctuary Rarotonga :)

We are very happy that we were able to accommodate your dietary needs during your stay as well as while you were out and about the islands. It is recommended that guests with special dietary requirements speak with the Restaurant & Bar Manager or our Head Chef upon your arrival to ensure your holiday is as stress free and relaxed as possible.

Once again, we would like to thank you for your wonderful review and hope to be able to welcome you back to Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach as a valued return guest in the near future.

Kia Manuia & Kind Regards
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
2 reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2013

Location was, well, what was described - beachfront, beautiful lagoon, palm trees etc.etc.
Room was terrific - Staff friendly & helpful. Restaurant was Island Style, open, clean, great place to have breakfast - We had an early check-in & a late check out & everything was spot-on. Undoubtedly would recommend.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RarotonganSales, Guest Relations Manager at Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach, responded to this review, June 24, 2013
Kia Orana “Steve L”

Thank you for your wonderful review in regards to your stay at our adult’s only boutique resort, Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach in March 2013.

We are delighted that you had such a lovely holiday and enjoyed the fantastic location, services and friendly staff at Sanctuary Rarotonga ~ sister resort to The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Spa (located directly adjacent) and Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa (located on it’s own private island on the Motu Akitua in Aitutaki).

Sanctuary Rarotonga is a fantastic destination for adults seeking a peaceful holiday destination and priced competitively with other similar resorts on the island and in the South Pacific. It enjoys magnificent views at it’s doorstep of the amazing traditional Aroa Lagoon Marine Reserve (or locally known as “raui”).

We are pleased that your early check-in and late check-out requests were accommodated to your satisfaction. This is a great option for guests arriving on early morning flights and looking to enjoy their stays a little bit longer on their departure. Early check-in and late check-out can be booked or arranged directly with our reservations team or through your travel agent.

Sanctuary Rarotonga also offers two fantastic dining options include the Bluewater Grill – a tropical “sand between your toes” dining experience or our Ginger Garden Asian Restaurant with delicious teppanyaki style cuisine. We are delighted that you found your dining experiences with us thoroughly enjoyable and at a reasonable price.

Once again, we would like to thank you for your wonderful review and hope to be able to welcome you back to Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach as a valued return guest in the near future.

Kia Manuia & Kind Regards
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Whangarei, New Zealand
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2013

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.

Room Tip: Choose a room away from the pool/bar/restuarant area.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RarotonganSales, Guest Relations Manager at Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach, responded to this review, June 24, 2013
Kia Orana “xLeahx_26”

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
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bowen,Qld,Australia
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013

The resort was just what you would expect on a Pacific Island, beachfront, palm trees, ocean and reef. The front desk doubled as the bar and dining reservation area and as such was a little vague at times, but that is Island Style as the saying goes. The room was terrific, right on the beach front and tho maintenance work was ongoing in one of the other blocks it only impinged on us when we found we had no laundry facilities. Dining was in a restaurant at the front desk area and was unique in having a sand floor, giving the feeling of beachside. Meals were fantastic, fresh and plentiful and at just the correct price. We would definitely stay again.

Room Tip: Top floor rooms get a balcony but ground floor just exit straight on to the sand.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RarotonganSales, Guest Relations Manager at Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach, responded to this review, June 24, 2013
Kia Orana “dalmoran”

Thank you for your wonderful review in regards to your stay at our adult’s only boutique resort, Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach in February 2013.

We are very happy that you had such a lovely holiday and enjoyed the fantastic location and services we have to offer at Sanctuary Rarotonga.

Sanctuary Rarotonga is a fantastic destination for adults seeking a peaceful holiday destination and priced competitively with other similar resorts on the island and in the South Pacific. It enjoys magnificent views at it’s doorstep of the amazing traditional Aroa Lagoon Marine Reserve (or locally known as “raui”).

Sanctuary Rarotonga offers two fantastic dining options include the Bluewater Grill – a tropical “sand between your toes” dining experience or our Ginger Garden Asian Restaurant with delicious teppanyaki style cuisine. We are delighted that you found your dining experiences with us thoroughly enjoyable and at a reasonable price.

We do apologise for the inconvenience our maintenance program caused during your stay. We have a comprehensive and regular maintenance schedule in place for our guest rooms and public areas and although we try endeavor to avoid this affecting the quality of our guests’ stay with us, this is not always possible.

Once again, we would like to thank you for your wonderful review and hope to be able to welcome you back to Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach as a valued return guest in the near future.

Kia Manuia & Kind Regards
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Taupo, New Zealand
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

Awesome place, amazingly wonderful and kind staff, a really magical spot. We stayed in one of the upstairs beach front rooms. The view when we laid our eyes on it our first morning there truly took our breath away. So close to the beach you can hardly believe it. All the photos you see of this place online are pretty darn accurate. Top snorkeling spot right on site. Nice and peaceful. And right next to The Rarotongan so you don't have to venture far to get in on the resort style action if you wish. It's also very close to a scooter hire HQ so totally convenient. We will be back!

Room Tip: Go for the beach front rooms!
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RarotonganSales, Guest Relations Manager at Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach, responded to this review, June 24, 2013
Kia Orana “SV22”

Thank you for your wonderful review in regards to your stay at our adult’s only boutique resort, Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach in June 2012.

We are very happy that you had such a lovely holiday and enjoyed the fantastic location and services we have to offer at Sanctuary Rarotonga.

Sanctuary Rarotonga is a fantastic destination for adults seeking a peaceful holiday destination and priced competitively with other similar resorts on the island and in the South Pacific. It enjoys magnificent views at it’s doorstep of the amazing traditional Aroa Lagoon Marine Reserve (or locally known as “raui”).

It’s close proximity to sister resort, The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Spa (located directly adjacent) also makes it’s a popular and convenient location for family, wedding and conference groups looking for a diverse range of facilities and services that can cater for not only adults but for families as well.

Once again, we would like to thank you for your wonderful review and hope to be able to welcome you back to Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach as a valued return guest in the near future.

Kia Manuia & Kind Regards
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mount Maunganui
2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2013

Amazing people, amazing environment, perfect place for a get away!! We had stayed at the Rarotongan before so thought we would stay at the Sanctuary for our honeymoon. All the same staff were there from 2 years prior and remembered us - how special did we feel :) The room was just what we wanted, right on the beach front, big bed & spacious shower! The room service was well done each day to a high standard! The food is exceptional, the swim up bar is just amazing, the lagoon is paradise but best of all - the staff are beautiful people! They all made our honeymoon just so much more memorable, they are all friendly, open, caring & fun!! We will be back for sure :)

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RarotonganSales, Guest Relations Manager at Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach, responded to this review, June 24, 2013
Kia Orana “CourtneyFaass”

Thank you for your wonderful review in regards to your recent stay at our adult’s only boutique resort, Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach.

Congratulations on your recent wedding nuptials!

We are very happy that you had such a lovely honeymoon and enjoyed the fantastic location, services and friendly staff during your romantic stay at Sanctuary Rarotonga.

Sanctuary Rarotonga is a fantastic destination for adults seeking a peaceful holiday destination and priced competitively with other similar resorts on the island and in the South Pacific.

Once again, we would like to thank you for your wonderful review and hope to be able to welcome you back to Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach as a valued return guest in the near future ~ perhaps your first wedding anniversary.

Kia Manuia & Kind Regards
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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 
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Also Known As:
Sanctuary Rarotonga-On The Beach Hotel Aroa Beach
Sanctuary Rarotonga-On The Beach Aroa Beach

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