Te Vakaroa is in an absolutely beautiful location, Muri Lagoon in our opinion is the most stunning place in Rarotonga - just paradise. Words cannot describe the colour of the water until you see it for yourself.
The Villas are fresh and modern, and because there are only six Villas in the complex it never feels too overcrowded. We were on our honeymoon and appreciated the secluded and laid back feel of the property. We were greeted at the airport by a lovely man who presented us with traditional necklaces (at just after 1am I might add) and were taken by minivan from Avarua to Muri Beach, which from memory was about a 10-15 minute drive to the East side of the Island. We were promptly led to our villa and as soon as we walked in, we knew we were in for a great stay.
The Villa was lovely and open planned, with a beautiful bathroom and bedroom connected together (basically a large ensuite). The living area was spacious and looked straight out over the infinity pool and Muri Lagoon, completely unobstructed. The kitchen facilities were more than adequate, however we found that the quality of meat and produce on Rarotonga to be very expensive and lacking quality, the mince we used from the supermarket for our pasta one night was quite ordinary and would not make the shelves in Australia. The bedroom had it's own little private courtyard which was nice, but we did not use it as we much preferred to sit on our patio out the back facing the pool and lagoon. The TV was adequate however it lacked variety of channels, which is expected in a remote location such as a Pacific island.
Now to the criticisms, and unfortunately there were a few. The white sheets on our bed were dirty and stained, and when you consider the price you are paying for the accommodation that is not acceptable. We mentioned it to the cleaners but they were not replaced. Our sheets were changed only twice the whole time we were there, which was 8 nights. Again, paying this amount of money I would expect them to be replaced every two days at least, and definately not every four days.
The toilet had a dark mark on the silver push button which appeared to be faeces from a previous occupant. The cleaners did not clean this off so instead I did, it was not nice.
The main back door that lets air in (composed of wooden slats) did not lock due to the latch not lining up properly, so anytime we left the Villa we had to close and lock the glass doors, which meant it was always hot when we came back. The slats on the wooden doors also did not latch up and close on two of the sections (due to being broken), meaning that our inside living area was not private as this was the "curtains" meant to block people's view in at night.
The pool was freezing cold, absolutely frigid. Granted we went in June/July but it is Rarotonga, and the lagoon was very pleasant to the point of warm, so it wasn't the weather. I was really looking forward to swimming in the infinity pool but I managed to build up the courage once only and swam from one end to other and jumped out again, unusable. They desperately need some solar heating for the pool. The hot spa was nice however.
The tropical breakfast served daily was ordinary. One morning it was served infested with ants and we had to go to Reception and request another, which was promptly given to us. I read on another review that they received croissants that were to die for served on a fresh palm leaf, ours were bland and cold and no palm leaf to be seen. Most mornings we got muffins, slices of bread, some fruit and 250ml tetra-pak fruit juices. The bread was the pick of the breakfast.
The service was generally good, however we did not appreciate having someone bang repeatedly on our front door every single morning for breakfast. We were on our honeymoon, and it is not nice to wake up to this every mornng! One morning we found they had let themselves in and left breakfast on the kitchen bench. One or two knocks is fine, and if nobody answers by all means leave a note to come and collect it yourself later, but to just keep knocking and have someone calling out to you until you answer was irritating.
All in all, I have great memories of Te Vakaroa and Muri Beach in general. I would love to go back some day. If nothing else it is special because it was our honeymoon. I would definately recommend Te Vakaroa to anyone thinking of going to Raro without hesitation and I think it is one of the best presented accommodations on the Island. I give it a score of 90/100. If they fixed the points above, I would easily give it 100/100.
As a side note - make sure you go to Portofino Italian Restaurant in Avarua! The food was amazing and the service excellent, and at a good price! The other pick was a cafe across the road from the beach on the southern side if the Island, I think it was called the Saltwater Cafe, the Saltwater Burger is the best burger I have ever had, ever!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This new property offers six beachfront villas that face Muri Lagoon. 3 x 1 Brm Villas at the ground level and 3 x 2 Brm Villas at the 1st level each with views across the pool to the beach and lagoon. All villas are highly appointed, with large terraces, full kitchens complete with dishwashers, microwaves, frig/freezers, DVDs, surround cinema with flat screen TVs, satellite TV reception. Blue Tooth connectivity to in room speakers,and WiFi internet connections. Each Villa has its own laundry. A freshwater pool, spa and large daybed are located right above the beach. Welcome fruit platter provided on arrival and complimentary tropical breakfasts delivered to your villa daily, with room service available from the adjoining restaurant. Private car meet/greet and airport transfers $ 20 per person each way are recommended given our property is only manned between 8.30am and 4.30pm. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Te Vakaroa Villas Hotel Muri
- Te Vakaroa Villas Muri, Rarotonga, Cook Islands