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“Had a ball” 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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Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Aroa Beach
Mackay, Australia
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Had a ball”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2013

Just got back from the COOK islands, went to a wedding on the 18th may at the Rarotongain
very well presented
We stayed at the Sanctuary, 8 nights they are both in the right spot on the lagoon
We only ate twice at the restaurant, food was ok but service was good
Day time around the pool was even better, the staff, Agie, ,Monica and Ratu made it a pleasure to be there,
We stayed in the 700 block, nice and quiet, room cleaning was ok.
They had just experienced King tides which did nothing for the look of the beach, the snorkelling made up for that. and they did get the beach area cleaned up after a couple of days.
Would we go back, probably not as we would normally say been there done that and will end up at some other place, which is more our style, not the same area twice
Found the news letter every day told you what to expect each day for activities
The staff we fell went out of their way to be helpful.
had a good look around the island and ate at different places most nights

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 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
    • 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 “Kiwipeter1”

Thank you for your wonderful review in regards to your stay at our adult’s only boutique resort, Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach in May 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 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 happy that you found our friendly staff met your expectations ~ Aggie, Monica and Ratu are delighted to have read your review :)

We have also raised your concerns with regards to the food with our Head Chef who is currently reviewing our menus to reflect a fresh selection of local cuisine to accommodate a diverse range of tastes and needs for our guests.

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 :)

We did recently experience some king tides which had an impact on the beach however, as you experienced during your stay, this was addressed over a couple of days following the clearance we received from the Cook Islands Meteorological Office that the king tides had passed.

We are pleased that you found our daily Guest Newsletters useful in planning your stay with us and that the staff you came across were friendly and helpful.

Rarotonga has a fantastic selection of wonderful dining options to suit all tastes and requirements and we are happy that you were able to discover some of these wonderful restaurants while in our tropical paradise.

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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263 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 (110)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013 via mobile

My husband and I went here for part of our honeymoon back in November/December 2012. We wanted an adults only resort so we didn't have screaming kids splashing around the pool. This place was perfect! Swim up bar in the pool was our favourite hang out, with friendly bar staff to make us many cocktails!
Our room was basic, we actually stayed in an upstairs and downstairs room as we stayed here before and after going to aitutaki. The upstairs room was a bit nicer, not so closed in, but the bonus beach chairs in the downstairs room was great too.
Food wise: we had a meal voucher for breakfast only. Breakfast was basic but we weren't fussy. Fruit, yoghurt, cereal and pastries. You could order hot breakfasts but not on your voucher. We tended to skip lunch, and just turned up for happy hour every night at 5pm to sample all the great cocktails. Dinner we had a few choices. We had the restaurant in the sanctuary, the Chinese restaurant at the sanctuary, captain jacks at the sister resort and room service. We didn't get room service or the Chinese, but the other food was great. Nice pasta, nice steak. We don't eat seafood so couldn't comment.

Overall this place was the perfect start and end to our honeymoon. Recommend it to anyone looking for a quiet, relaxing place to just be with a loved one.

  • Stayed November 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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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 “Charfoz”

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

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. As you have mentioned above, guests of Sanctuary Rarotonga are also welcome to dine with us at The Rarotonga in Captain Andy’s Beach Bar & Grill for casual meals such as pizzas, pastas, steak and fish and chips or in our TE VAKA Restaurant for our Legends of Polynesia Island Night Feast & Show or Island BBQ & Fire Dancing Show with Tamariki Manuia.

Our complimentary daily tropical breakfast served in the Bluewater Grill from 7am until 10am includes a selection of fresh and preserved seasonal tropical fruits, cereals, juices, tea, coffee, freshly baked bread and pastries, jams and spreads. Guests are also able to order a selection of cooked breakfast items from our a la carte menu or try our daily changing cooked breakfast special which includes breakfast items such as island frittatas – a diverse range of dining options to suit all tastes.

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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Brisbane, Australia
2 reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 4, 2013

The Raraotonga was the worst resort I have ever stayed at. My sister had her wedding there and there were approximately 60 of us that travelled over. I have never witnessed such poor customer service from any resort. The staff were rude and treated us like we were an inconvenience. One example was upon asking for a towel at the activity hut, I was refused as they closed in 10 minutes time and was left to drip dry. Furthermore, the staff treated us like liars on several occasions. When I asked for a glass for our room, as the room service attendant must have taken it, they insisted on trying to charge us for losing the original one. They refused to give ALL of us guests the $100 that we received for staying there for 5 nights, as we didn't remind them to do it. I really cannot advise you enough to seek a better resort. I will never return there. The included breakfast was the worst I have ever seen. Cereal and fruit... eggs and bacon etc are additional costs charged to your room.

Room Tip: Just don't stay there at all.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
RarotonganSales, Guest Relations Manager at Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach, responded to this review, June 24, 2013
Kia Orana “Kay B”

Thank you for your review in regards to your stay with us at Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach in January 2013.

Sanctuary Rarotonga is our newest sister resort and adult’s only boutique resort to The Rarotongan Beach Resort and Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa.

We do appreciate the time you have taken to provide us with comprehensive feedback. Each of the issues that you have raised has been reviewed in detail with our management team and as a result we have implemented thorough training and system reviews throughout the company.

We have also relayed your feedback in regards to Housekeeping and Activities services on to our Executive Housekeeper and our Guest Services Manager who are both actively addressing these concerns with our Housekeeping and Activities department staff.

In terms of breakfast, we provide all our guests with a complimentary daily Tropical Breakfast Buffet (Continental Breakfast) of a variety of seasonal island fruits, homemade yoghurt, fresh-baked muffins, Danish pastries, croissants, toast, spreads, tropical juices, tea & coffee, is served for your enjoyment in the Blue Water Grill Restaurant from 7am to 10am daily. Guests can also select from a variety of cooked and light breakfast options from the Breakfast Menu.

The quality of each guests’ stay is important to us and as such, we have Duty Managers on duty from 7am until 12midnight daily. They can be reached by dialing 0 from one’s room phone or asking for them at Front Desk (their names are posted on the wall at Front Desk), and we would have welcomed the opportunity to address any matters of concern which you experienced during your stay.

Kia Manuia & Kind Regards
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Travelers are raving about these Aroa Beach hotels

Melbourne, Australia
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 29, 2013

After a forgotten reservation on arrival (our honeymoon, so not a great start), and a room too close to the restaurant, things picked up. We asked for and received a transfer to the 700 block (better than the 600 block as mentioned on here by others), and had a pleasant and happy stay. The room was serviced daily, with only minor gripes being the fact cups and glasses were not cleaned, but the lady who did the cleaning was always friendly. We had to ask for the lock on the screen door to be fixed, which it was instantly. There was a safe, which we used, as we would always do if leaving money or prized possessions in a hotel room.

The front reception staff were mostly really friendly and sweet, but not quite as on top of the local sights or suggestions for things to do as perhaps they should have been. The restaurants actually cooked good food, but were let down by service. The breakfast was basic yes, but certainly more than adequate, but to be fair we always got there early-ish whilst it was well stocked and being replenished. And to those who gripe about the little odd flies - come on, it's a tropical island and this is an outdoor restaurant. They did their best to protect the fruit, and mostly flies got in if other guests weren't considerate enough to close the lids.

We might not stay here again, simply because we would like to try to see something else, but would still recommend it to someone who wanted somewhere pleasant to stay with no kids about. We didn't use the services over at the Rarotongan, although we could have, but that just isn't our sort of holiday. Instead we hired a car, took ourselves on our own trips, and had a fabulous time on this beautiful island full of friendly people. We didn't use the pool or the pool bar - didn't see the point when there was amazing snorkelling and swimming every day right outside our room in the clear beautiful lagoon waters.

Yes, it's not like big city service. But if you go with an open mind, a friendly disposition, and treat others they way you want to be treated, then you will get along just fine at this very nice resort.

Room Tip: Ask for 700 block not 600 block, as the latter is right next to the restaurant and pool.
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  • Stayed April 2013, 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
    • 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 “Ronny D”

Thank you for your review of your stay with us at Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach in April 2013.

We are very pleased to read that after the initial hiccup upon your arrival at Sanctuary for check-in, things progressed much better afterwards.

Sanctuary is such a popular tropical island destination, whether for a honeymoon, wedding or simply a relaxing escape.

We do apologize that the housekeeping staff missed a few areas during your stay but are happy that you found them friendly. We are also very pleased that an issue with your screed door was fixed quickly by our staff.

Each of our guest rooms is equipped with an in-room safe and we do recommend that guests take full advantage of this for the security of personal and valued possessions.

Thank you once again for your feedback and we hope to be able to welcome you back to Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach in future.

Kia Manuia & Kind Regards
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 24, 2013

the rooms were awesome,the wedding planners were awesome,reception was poor,would stand and wait and they would walk past ignoring you.while we were renewing our vows money was stolen from our room and no one took us seriously,in fact we were made to feel like liars! waited for something to be done but never heard back from anyone including management.food service was shocking and at breakfast everything was empty(all different times)and no one made an effort to fill things.we got tired of asking.overall we made the best of our break but was disappointed.

Room Tip: all good rooms,left hand corner of resort not so good view.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 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
    • 1 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.
RarotonganSales, Guest Relations Manager at Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach, responded to this review, June 24, 2013
Kia Orana “Michelle B”

We are extremely disappointed to read your comments regarding your recent stay with us at the Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach.

Our resort has a zero tolerance policy regarding staff theft. Any thefts of guest, staff or resort property results in an instant dismissal with the case being referred to the Police for prosecution. The Courts in the Cook Islands take a dim view of theft when it is proven and the penalties can be quite harsh. Further, we reference check all employees and do not employ anyone with a conviction.

Also, our room attendants maintain records of the time that they enter and leave a guest room. The electronic card locking system on the guest room door also notes the times that room attendants enter and leave guest rooms and our investigations did not identify reasons to doubt the integrity of our staff.

We do apologize that you did not receive an update from a senior staff member in regards to the outcome of the investigations.

I have also passed your feedback on to our Food & Beverage Manager in regards to the standard of service you experienced while dining with us.

We apologise for the inconvenience caused.

Kia Manuia & Kind Regards
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Papamoa
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 22, 2013

On a recent trip to Rarotonga we upgraded from the Rarotongan Beach Resort and Spa to it's sister resort The Sanctuary.
It was a lovely hotel ,very friendly ,helpful ,smiling staff ,well appointed room with a million dollar view of Aroa lagoon and the coral reef.
The Blue Water Grill restaurant is fantastic ,with its coral sand floor ,very tasty food and again a view to die for .
I would recommend this for anyone who wants a wee break from the kids ,as its an adult only resort .The great thing is you get the best of both worlds ,as you can still use all of the services ,bars ,restaurants and activities hut at the Rarotongan Resort next door.
A wonderful break in one of the worlds truly beautiful places .

Room Tip: Beachfront Suite is a must ,to wake up to that view each day!
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  • Stayed April 2013, 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
    • 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 “Wildzog”

Thank you for your wonderful review in regards to your stay at our adult’s only boutique resort, Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach in April 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 beautiful island destination for those looking for R&R in a relaxing 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 :)

Not only does Sanctuary Rarotonga offer two fantastic dining options, the Bluewater Grill – a tropical “sand between your toes” dining experience and our Ginger Garden Asian Restaurant with delicious teppanyaki style cuisine, guests are also able to take full advantage of the facilities and services available at The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Spa located directly adjacent.

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.
Christchurch, New Zealand
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2013

A very nice resort, in a handy location, very peaceful. did find it quite a small resort, hwoever you have full use of the rarotongan resorts facilities & activities. Breakfast was very basic, but this seemed to be the case everywhere. Pool bar was only open from 11am-6pm, and also this area also doubled as the restaurant, activities hut, and reception. great area to snorkel, however check the tide times as we were there with low tides during the day and we kept on bumping into things while trying to swim/snorkel.

Room Tip: we stayed in 700 block. try to stay away from 600 block as is very close to restaurant area.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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 2
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 “Flopsynz”

Thank you for your wonderful review in regards to your stay at our adult’s only boutique resort, Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach in April 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 beautiful island destination for those looking for R&R in a relaxing 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 :)

Not only does Sanctuary Rarotonga offer two fantastic dining options, the Bluewater Grill – a tropical “sand between your toes” dining experience and our Ginger Garden Asian Restaurant with delicious teppanyaki style cuisine, guests are also able to take full advantage of the facilities and services available at The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Spa located directly adjacent.

Our complimentary daily tropical breakfast served in the Bluewater Grill from 7am until 10am includes a selection of fresh and preserved seasonal tropical fruits, cereals, juices, tea, coffee, freshly baked bread and pastries, jams and spreads. Guests are also able to order a selection of cooked breakfast items from our a la carte menu or try our daily changing cooked breakfast special which includes breakfast items such as island frittatas – a diverse range of dining options to suit all tastes.

In regards to the tides, a daily Guest Newsletter is distributed to all guest rooms and includes information such as the activities program for the day as well as weather forecasts. A schedule of tides is posted daily on our Guest Notice Board.

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.
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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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