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“Magic setting, great value for money”
Review of Vara's

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Vara's
Ranked #16 of 17 Specialty Lodging in Muri
Reviewed November 7, 2012

We stayed in 2 studio units for 9 days in October. The accommodation is basic, in keeping with the budget price. But it was clean and relatively spacious, and with about 20 steps to the sea, how can you complain. Muri beach is absolutely stunning. The office has limited opening hours as previously noted, but we found all of the staff friendly and helpful. We had an evening flight and requested a late check out. This was granted as there was no-one moving into the units immediately and we were allowed to stay until pick-up for the airport, which was most appreciated. The units were clean and serviced daily.

Being animal lovers, we loved the beach dogs that accompanied us on walks. We also loved the free range chooks, even though the roosters had a lot to say at all times of the day and night.

There are a lot of restaurants within easy walking distance of Vara's. We particularly enjoyed The Rickshaw for authentic Vietnamese food. The Deli-licious cafe which is next door to Vara's has great coffee.

Overall a great experience. I will definitely go back to Raro and Vara's

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank GiveMeTheW0rld
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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38 - 44 of 149 reviews

Reviewed November 5, 2012 via mobile

The perfect budget accomodation. Clean rooms, fantastic staff, cosy feel. Right on the beach. With nearby everything (groceries, restaurants, bike or snorkel hire...) Great Range from Self Contained to Shared Bath to Dorm. We had the best time.
The Highlight: a patio right above the waterline, overviewing the lagoon islands.
Left and right you would pay 5 times as much.
More than recommendable.

  • Stayed: October 2012
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Thank timsteini
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 31, 2012

I booked my stay at Vara's more or less blind, going only for the price and the hint of a friend that Muri beach is awesome. I got exactly what I expected to get concerning my room. A pricy and simply furnished room. I had a bed in Unit 3, which is a five bedroom dorm. In the room are beds, a closet and bed tables for each bed, so just everything you need. All the rooms (as everywhere on the island outside the resort) have their private randomly ringing alarms: Roosters. I have a tight sleep so I did not really hear them, but other people might find it annoying, so if you do so: Bring earplugs.

The two kitchens are located close to each other and very central, one of them overlooking the very nice veranda. They are cleaned everyday except for sundays. Cleaning means that also the tea towels get changed, sadly though that is of no use in a tropical region lice this, because after about two hours the towels just don't really dry again. But this is to be expected.
The kitchens have everything you need: stoves, pots and pans, cutlery and crockery. Even can openers, but they are not very useful, you better have your Army Knife with you if you plan on eating canned food. It would be a waste though since there is lots of fresh fruits to get and vegetables. Food prices are as expected as well, after all it is a tropical island that has to import everything. One kitchen even has an oven.

The bathrooms are good too though they could need some minor fixes. Everything is cleaned regularly and is working the way it should work.

Big highlight: The veranda overlooking the beach and the lagoon and the beautiful sunrises that you can see from there. I spent every morning here watching the sun rise, if the weather allowed it (I had a bit of bad luck with the weather) and having breakfast there afterwards. It is also a great place to hang out with the other people who stay there, share some stories or a beer or both and just enjoy the beautiful view.

The staff is very friendly and helpfull especially Jenny from the reception and the cleaners.

A supermarket is close by in each direction, also a bakery and a small cafe that provides internet. The Koka lagoon-cruise is very recommendable and right next to the premises, you can also hire snorkel stuff there and they have a wifi hot-spot (but it is very expensive, better to take a telecom hot spot).

I really enjoyed my stay, thanks to the nice people I met there and all the nice tings you can do (snorkel, dive, hike, swim, etc.) and I will definitely come back!

P.S.: People who want a super clean bathroom and hot showers at all times of a day and all these unnecessary extras: Go to a resort and pay the price it costs. Vara's is a very lovely place to stay at but it is not a luxury honeymoon facility. So don't expect it to be one.

Room Tip: Try to get the room at the veranda, you will think you live in a tropical photoshop fantasy! (there...
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled solo
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1  Thank Taki D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 21, 2012

I stayed here recently for just a few nights. I was very impressed with the location right on Muri Beach and the cleanliness of the entire place. Staff were friendly and it was a great atmosphere. Best of all there were no bunk beds! How fantastic when you are used to dirty, bunk bed hostel rooms. I would recommend this place to any backpacker, as well I heard the studio aparments were quite nice.

A few tips though. The stoves and oven are gas and lighter is nowhere to be seen, so bring one or buy in town. The utensils were a bit lacking in the kitchens meaning my can of tomatoes was a bit impossible to open. But overall, the kitchens had everything you needed.

I will be back!

Room Tip: Try to book the dorm room on the beachfront!
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled solo
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Thank pacific2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 21, 2012

I booked our stay at Vara's going by other reviews. Can say it was everything I expected for it's price! Booked a double room for myself and my daughter for our week long stay and got a triple room.
First room wasn't that great, was close to the washroom, cabin 1. Was quite noisy as being close to reception you heard everything and everyone.
Got swapped half way through the week to the cabin at the back which was much better which also had it's own fridge, jug and ensuite. Downside to that room was the light shines straight through the glass door at night and the shower dripped all night,
Apart from that, the room was very clean, the cleaners do a fantastic job alright. The kitchen is shared and most people cleaned up after themselves which was nice. A few things went missing from the fridge which is to be expected, people helping themselves but on the whole most were happy to share. There was a huge feeling of communal living at Vara's with everyone just happy to be on the island and chill out, enjoy the sunsets on the deck and have a good catch up!
If I stay again, would book one of the self contained units near the front. Receptionist Jenny was lovely, always helpful and very friendly. Organised for her friend to take a group of the backpackers shrimping at night. Nothing was too much of an effort for the staff at Vara's. Well done guys!

Room Tip: Watch out for the roosters! Bloody annoying Take ear plugs
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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Thank matu64
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 10, 2012

I came across this gem of a place two years ago on my first trip to Rarotonga and knew I'd found a "home away from home" at Vara's.

Where else can you walk from a shared dorm out onto a deck overlooking a lagoon? As a budget traveler, you are a set of stairs away from being on the beach or in the water!! What an amazing value!

Vara's has an excellent location right on Muri Lagoon and within walking distance of everything you need for your vacation. If you are looking for or need more than what Muri has to offer, the bus stop is at the end of the driveway or car and bike rentals are near by.

On this last trip, I stayed in the beachfront dorm for four weeks. It was a fantastic place to enjoy my vacation and stay within budget. The shared facilities were clean and much nicer than many others I've used before. There are two large kitchens and two bathroom locations. The clothes line out the back was great for drying as the breeze from ocean funneled up to it.

I found the staff to be very friendly, helpful and they went out of their way to do what they could to accommodate guests needs time and time again. From security, to the front office, to maintenance, to the cleaning staff everyone had a smile on their face and time to say hello and check in with the guests to see how things were going. I really felt welcome.

In my book, Vara's is a great place to stay. I will be booking in again on my next trip to Raro!

Room Tip: the beachfront dorm is excellent
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Stayed: September 2012, traveled solo
2  Thank pacific_h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 20, 2012

I booked a single room, and when I got there was in a nice big room with a double and a single.
It is a fantastic location, and very very clean. You always see the cleaners scrubbing and cleaning.

I found the office hours incredibly unreliable. On my last day I knew the office was closing at 3pm so got back at 2.40pm and it was already closed. I killed some time and waited for my shuttle to take me to the airport (which I ad booked and paid $10 for that morning). It was supposed to pick me up at 3.30pm, for the 5.30pm flight back to NZ. I wasn't even down on the driver's manifest to get picked up! After the nice people at the snorkel hire hut beside the hostel called 'whoever' for me, I had another 15 min wait and then called them myself.
I finally got picked up about 4.15pm. Nearly missed my flight! So that was a huge balls up on their part and a terrible end to my stay there with them. Not impressed at all.

It's a great hostel, but needs to sort some things out!!

Room Tip: room 4 is right on the door and you will get woken when people arrive from the 5.30am flight
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled solo
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Thank L0ve2Travel11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Vara's

Address: Muri Beach | P. O. Box 434, Muri, Cook Islands
Location: Cook Islands > Southern Cook Islands > Rarotonga > Muri
Amenities:
Beach Free Parking Kitchenette
Hotel Style:
Ranked #16 of 17 Specialty Lodging in Muri
Price Range: $501 - $647 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Vara’s Beach is the only budget accommodation set right on beautiful Muri Beach, the most popular and prime beach on Rarotonga. Famous for its perfect white beaches and small islands called “motus” that you can swim, kayak or walk out to. We offer budget style accommodation with lovely fully self-contained Beach Studios, Ensuite as well asTriple/double/single and Dorm rooms. Vara’s Beach is situated on the Eastern side of Rarotonga only 15 minutes drive from main town Avarua, with bus stop, bike rental, souvenir shop and a pharmacy at entrance. koka Lagoon Cruise is located on the property and offers the best Lagoon Curise on the island. Absolutely convenient to everything with bars, dive centers, sailing club, and much more only minutes stroll. Vara's Beach is the place for those looking for fun and excitement, or for those just wanting to relax and unwind and get away from it all. Meet and mingle with our friendly staff and make new friends... ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Vara`s Beach House Hotel Muri
Vara's Muri, Rarotonga, Cook Islands

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