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“Great place for a great price!”
Review of Vara's

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Vara's
Ranked #16 of 17 Specialty Lodging in Muri
Reviewed April 1, 2009

Going into my humble 40's I thought I would be a little old to stay at Vara's but heard so many good things from fellow travellers. I loved Vara's not because I was a single person, but because I found you could do it all or nothing. There were always others to meet if you wanted to and yet I had the privacy of my own beach studio which was about 20 metres from the best beach on Rarotonga. It was very clean and fresh and had everything you needed. I read other comments from fellow travellers, most of which were good but of those that were bad, I must ask you what are you expecting from a budget place in the South Pacific...... you really should be staying at a hotel. My room was only $90 for me and it came with kitchen, bathroom, large studio style room, super comfy huge bed, the towels were changed and I had a private balcony. I even decided to see if I was "missing out" on something so checked the accommodations right next door and along Muri Beach and prices started FROM $165pn and I swear some of them were not much bigger than my studio. So for $90 for a private room was a bargain! I did not hear noise too afterhours and there seemed to be a security walking around at night keeping everyone in order. I must admit this was one of my worries. They even have a sign on the board to say that noise must stop at 11pm so knew I didn't have much to worry about.
The place seemed full of all sorts of people too which made it so much more interesting for everyone from couples, to singles, to mature age people and a few families who were in the studios above me. So there was definately life buzzing and felt like it was the only busy place around. The location is unbeatable, not only because of the beach but there is everything you need right next door or a few minutes walk. The island is small and town closes about 4pm so trust me, you don't want to be staying anywhere else as Muri Beach is full of restaurants, shops, cafes, rental places, you name it, and most things close late at night. Make sure you hire a scooter to get you around the island cause its definately worth it.
If you want your room service and aircon and bell boys, then this place is not for you.
Varas is value for your $$$$$$. Will return if I get the chance and hopefully not so single next time around.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled solo
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2  Thank DaisyladyTaranaki
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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104 - 110 of 149 reviews

Reviewed March 29, 2009

I recently stayed at Varas as I was Attending my brothers wedding in the Cook Islands. Varas has one of the prime locations On Rarotonga and is closely situated near many other resorts with good eateries. It is budget accomodation so you get budget style rooms. Splash out and pay a little extra for your own room with an ensuite, you will regret it if you don't. As with any resort frequented by backpackers it is a complete lottery whether you will have a peaceful stay or a non sleep type stay. The office is unatteded from 3pm so the guests are left to self regulate their behaviour which at times works poorly. If you just want somewhere to sleep and then get out and about its great. Do your self a favour and go out big game fishing for $100 NZ, its the best value I have come across.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled solo
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2  Thank andrewbugg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 21, 2009

I was very nervous when we arrived at the airport in Raro as I had just read bad reviews about Vara's before we left - bed bugs and unhelpful staff etc. This was not helped when the lady who was meeting us at the airport was kinda rude and barked at us. HOWEVER, she warmed up on the ride to Vara's and was helpful, stopping so we could get suppliers and listing what was at each block of shops as we went passed. We were taken straight to our rooms when we arrived as it was midnight and we could check in in the morning. I was presently suprised with the rooms. We had a beachside studio with a deck with views to the beach. Maybe 20 meters to the beach? Good value for $120 pn. Clean with all the stuff we needed. Comfortable beds, clean sheets (I checked!), clean bathroom. Obviously the room was basic for the price.
Only downfall was no air conditioning - it was very hot! but we had a fan so we made do with that.
Usually we stay at hotels but decided to stay at a cheaper option since we are saving for our wedding. I had a great time. There was a mix of friendly backpackers and older people. Heaps of activities run by the dude at the shack. Great sunbathing deck looking over the ocean.
BEST BEACH ON THE ISLAND. Some of the other beaches were just reefs for snorkling wheras Varas has a reef area on one side and swimming area out front. There are also two little islands to swim out to.
Take as much food with you as possible. Food is pretty rubbish and expensive on the island - remember your energy drinks if you are addicted to them! Even taking your cereal can save you a bomb! Did have one fantastic dinner at a small Italian place down the road run by a husband and wife. Best meal ever and so friendly.
Another tip - save buying your duty free spirits until you arrive in Raro - $20 for most spirits. And the tabacco is crazy cheap if you are that way inclined!
Wish I was still there.

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank AotearoaKiwi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 4, 2009

Myself and two other girlfriends stayed in the dorms on the beach at Varas and had the time of our lives. Every morning we would get up we were blown away with the view of Muri Beach and just enjoyed watching the sunrises on the deck and chilling out with the other travellers. The Koka Shack at Vara's organised heaps of things for us to do as well so there was never a dull moment. The rooms were very clean with the whitest sheets on our beds. We had an awesome time there, honestly no regrets and none of us wanted to move elsewhere on the other side of the island (heard too many reports of theiving and the beach is nowhere as nice as where Vara's is). The only downside I can think of is the office closes early, around 3pm so kinda got to rush back from where ever if we needed something from the safe. We found the staff polite and always willing to help out, but I can see why people think they can be rude, their office is always so busy with people! Excellent value for money and if we get the chance to one day return to this paradise, I know where we will all like to stay!!!!

  • Stayed: January 2009, traveled with friends
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1  Thank KatyLove
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 3, 2009

We booked our much needed holiday at Vara's with trepidation (due to the various reviews) but had everyone who we met on our travels recommending it, (and trust me we met many). We decided to give it a go and were so happy we did. The location was stunning, probably the best on the island with everything you needed nearby. The rooms in the Beach House were simple but very clean with fresh sheets and not noisy like expected. We decided to treat ourselves at the end of our stay with an upgrade to their Studios on the beach and were really impressed with the room for that price range......everything private and just a few steps to the best beach.... really what more could you ask for. The couple next to us who were of older age had moved to Vara's from the otherside of the island as were not happy where they were....so we are just glad we made the right choice! Anyone who is expecting resort style accommodation should just do that, stay in a resort as you must remember Varas is budget style, and one of the best we have stayed in on our travels!

Stayed: January 2009, traveled as a couple
Thank LIN35
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 28, 2009

I stayed at Vara's for about 10 days and it was awesome, but that was due partly due to the good weather on the first few days and mainly all the entertainment Matt organised at the Koka Shack. When staying there got bitten by bed bugs and the office were incredibly unhelpful, and didn't want to admit they were bed bugs, firstly saying that they were mosquito bits, fleas or dust!! They cleaned the room 3 times with what appeared to be just a steamer and put the beds in the sun and recommended putting bags in sun as that is how to get rid of bed bugs.
Would still go to Vara's because the entertainment run by Matt is awesome but would stay at hillside instead as accomadation there is meant to be nicer and bed bug free.

  • Stayed: January 2009, traveled solo
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Thank Saz_Brent
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 9, 2009

G'day everyone!

I stayed at Vara's Beach House from the end of December 2008 until about mid January 2009.

During this time I had nothing but an AWESOME experience from start to finish!!! Everyone needs to know that Vara's is THE BEST!

I did my booking directly with Vara's via email. Initially I spoke with Apia via email and then Moana. These two lovely girls promptly and professionaly replied to my questions via email and before you knew it I was booked for my holiday stay! The prompt email replies gave me great confidence that Vara's was "on the ball" and confidence everything was in order!

When I arrived in the Cook Islands on my Virgin Pacific flight it was about 1.00am in the morning. As soon as I left the Airport terminal I was greeted ("Kia Orana") and directed where to go for my transfer from the Airport. I along with my fellow arrivals were driven from the airport, through town and towards Muri Beach where Vara's is located. The Vara's mini-van vehicle was clean and comfortable also, and during our ride to Muri Beach we were given tips on great places to eat and where various facilities nearby where (like ATM, Pharmacy etc).

On my first day on the Island I met Moana in the front office. Moana was really friendly and helpful and gave me some expert local tips on where things were, what to do and see, and answered all my questions enthusiastically (even though the poor girl's probably had the same questions everyday from others visiting). Moana highlighted good spots on my locat map for Snorkelling also and gave me some advice about the Cross Island Walk.

Vara's has it all:

- Neat and clean common facilities.
- Volleyball on the beach.
- Internet facilities (and Facebook Group - join it!)
- Various beach gear and sun lounges.
- Equipment hire.
- Hire scooters
- Great kitchen for budding chefs.
- Activity board.
- Maps and local info.
- Clean, comfortable, well maintained accomodation.
- and MOST OF ALL => REALLY HELPFUL AND FRIENDLY STAFF to help you settle in and feel welcome and make bookings for various activities.

During my entire time with Vara's I felt welcome and comfortable and well looked after at all times.

If you are looking for good value, friendly, fun and comfortable accomodation on Rarotonga - you need to put Vara's at the top of your list!!! I'm glad I did!

If you don't put Vara's at the top of you list, you need to get your head checked! ;-)

Anyone who'd like to ask me some more questions about my experience at Vara's or my stay on the Cook Islands is welcome to contact me via Trip Advisor.

I had a great holiday, and great accomodation is allpart of it.

All the best,

From Kim J.
(Melbourne, Australia).

PS: Happy New Year for 2009 all!! :)

PPS: Moana - you're the best! ;-)

  • Stayed: January 2009, traveled solo
    • Value
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    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
2  Thank ksjack
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: $427 - $734 (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 
Also Known As:
Vara`s Beach House Hotel Muri
Vara's Muri, Rarotonga, Cook Islands

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