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“First and ONLY bad experience in 8 weeks of travelling!” 1 of 5 bubbles
Review of Sunhaven Beach Bungalows

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Sunhaven Beach Bungalows
Certificate of Excellence
Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
22 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“First and ONLY bad experience in 8 weeks of travelling!”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 4, 2013

Call it a bad match, planets not aligned, not meant to be or just a plain bad hair day for the owner but I have never been treated as such. I wanted to change hotels after my first night because I did not feel comfortable at this hotel. The fact that a hand written notice on the patio door of my bungalow stated to keep all important belongings at the reception safe does not do much to reassure a single female traveller...
The bungalows are remote, the café restaurant was closed, and the owner was insulted because I wanted to leave and told me I should have done my research on the location and that I am the problem and not his hotel! I believe he forgot I was the customer. I asked him if he was a Kiwi because I had been travelling NZ for the last 6 weeks and was surprised by his attitude. I had to ask him repeatedly how much I owed him so I could just leave ASAP. Bad vibe, bad energy. However the two Indian persons that do all of the housekeeping, garden tending and pick-ups at the airport were lovely.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled solo
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Mirella D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Uncledennis, Owner at Sunhaven Beach Bungalows, responded to this review, March 8, 2013
My first reaction to this review was to ignore it and let readers see it for what it is. However it has become my practice to respond to all reviews therefore, for the record, I will give readers some insight into the correct version of events.

Mirella D booked 5 nights in our garden bungalow online through Booking.com. When Mirella booked the garden bungalow her credit card payment was declined. When advised of this she replied she didn’t know why that was but she wanted me to keep the room for her and would pay cash on arrival.

She spent less than 7 hours in the room after arriving after midnight. By 8am next morning she had decided she wanted to leave. Her reason was she hadn’t slept all night, didn't feel safe because the place was too quiet and her room was isolated. She said she had felt the same way about a property she booked in New Zealand and had left there after the first night also.

She was alarmed at a notice (not hand written) we have by the front door of the room warning guests to lock the door when leaving the room to not encourage theft. Some guests do leave their rooms unlocked. In the room compendium, as a precaution, we advise guests to put their passports and valuable documents in the reception safe. As owner of Sunhaven it is my responsibility to ensure our guests are aware of their security needs as some get in the holiday mode and can be a bit careless.

As a woman traveling alone Mirella said she would feel safer where there were more people. To try and make her happy I offered her a free upgrade to one of our beachfront bungalows where she would be closer to our other guests and perhaps feel more comfortable but she wasn’t interested. She said she had met some friends on the plane and preferred to go and stay with them at another resort.

We advertise the garden bungalow as our most private room as it is set in the garden aside from the beachfront rooms. Guests usually book this room for two reasons, one it is secluded and two the rate is $40 a night less than an equivalent beachfront bungalow. Otherwise everyone else prefers to be on the beachfront.

After 7 hours she wanted to leave and pay for just one night. As per our cancellation policy she was obligated to pay in full for all 5 nights booked. However as she had become quite agitated and unreasonable I charged her only 50% of her booking and included free arrival transfers with flower neck ei.
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186 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (66)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Christchurch, New Zealand
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 21, 2013

Such a wonderful place to relax. Beautiful location right on the beach with well furnished, comfortable rooms a lovely pool to float around in relaxing. Kayaks, reef shoes and snorkel gear to freely borrow for exploring the reef right out front. Dennis and Patti and their very friendly and always smiling staff looked after us exceedingly well. Patti herself went beyond the call of duty - she took it upon herself to provide coconut milk and sliced fresh fruit for my partner when she was feeling a bit off-colour, and even gave me some tuition on how to climb coconut trees and how to get in to them when I showed interest. I would love to stay here again if I went back to Raro - highly recommended!!

Dennis and Patti and their small friendly team of diligent cleaners and groundskeepers

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank gavinharriss
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Uncledennis, Owner at Sunhaven Beach Bungalows, responded to this review, March 7, 2013
Kia Orana Gavin,

Thank you for your review. Don't imagine you're getting a lot of coconut milk to drink right now. Or that there are many coconut trees for you to practice your newly found talent climbing. You'll have to come back to Raro for that.

Hope to see you again.
Take care,

Kia Manuia,
Dennis, Patti, and the always smiling Ali, Sandra and Shynal.
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Upper Hutt, New Zealand
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 22, 2013

What an absolute pleasure it was to spend our 6 nights on Rarotonga firmly ensconced within the Sunhaven Beach Bungalow's boundaries.

Dennis and Patti and their small friendly team of diligent cleaners and groundskeepers do, as stated in all the other reviews here, keep what must be one of the cleanest, neatest, yet still relaxed places to stay on the island. From our top-notch bungalow and it’s fabulous deck to the pristine pool and the white sand stretch of beach. Our favourite and unexpected ‘extra’ received was the welcoming breakfast basket including pawpaw, bananas and passion fruit, cornflakes and toast. The local passion fruit and bananas were so sweet and full of flavour. We mentioned our enjoyment of the passion fruit to Patti and for the next couple of days we would return to our beautifully serviced bungalow to find a tall glass of passion fruit pulp on the bench waiting to be sipped as a unique tropical drink. We’re sure she must have picked every ripe passion fruit on her vine!

We rented a car for the first few days, enough time to circumnavigate the island a few times and stop at lots of points of interest. It’s also easier for stocking up with supplies on your first opportunity, although the bus does run regularly and stops conveniently at the end of the drive. After that we stayed put, venturing off during the day for beach walks and sea swims before returning for a refreshing fresh-water pool swim. With the covered deck of our bungalow, the deep pool a few steps away, clean bar-b-que or in-room cooking options available and a unique sunset to view every night we didn’t really want to go anywhere else in the evenings. Patti also grows some of the hottest chillies I’ve tried for cooking, do ask if you need one!

The airport pick-up and drop-off service is perfect and does enable you to enjoy a quick and effortless transfer. There’s also a DVD and book library at Sunhaven Reception which looked great as well as a small supply of incidental bits and pieces you could purchase if caught short. Otherwise there’s a small convenience store a couple of minutes walk away.

Wrapping up, if you want a totally clean fully insect-screened comfortable room with a great pool and absolute beachside location on arguably the best side of the island hosted by a great couple and brilliant staff – you’ve found it! We will be returning to Sunhaven on our next visit to this fantastic island and Dennis we’ll be asking for directions to climb up to the lookout at Raemaru peak.

Room Tip: The stand-alone bungalows offer good ventalation with windows on all sides, but as all reviews point...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Craig and Kim H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Uncledennis, Owner at Sunhaven Beach Bungalows, responded to this review, February 4, 2013
Kia Orana Craig and Kim,

Thanks so much for this amazing review. I should get you to pen my promo and marketing material. Seems like all that passion fruit has filled you with passion for Sunhaven. Great job! Patti knew what she was doing keeping you topped up. But hey ... go easy on the hot chillies :-(

Take care and we'll look forward to seeing you next visit.

Kind regards and Kia manuia,

Dennis, Patti, Ali, Sandra, Anjila and Shynal.
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Sooke, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 17, 2013

I spent 3 weeks at Sunhaven over Christmas and New Year's. My decision to stay at Sunhaven was based on favourable comments of a neighbour who has stayed there.
I needed to get away from everything and everyone and The Cooks and Sunhaven seemed to be a perfect match for my needs.
Patti and Dennis were extremely helpful and saw to it that all my questions were answered and that I received everything I needed. My flight arrived at the Rarotonga airport at 7:00 in the morning and I was greeted by Anjila and Shynal from Sunhaven. They were warm in their welcome. And they had a wonderfully scented lei for me. This was just the start to the care and service at Sunhaven. Patti and Dennis took special care of me but allowed me my space. The staff were so friendly and polite - so unlike workers in other resorts/hotels that I've stayed at where employees do not always treat women who travel alone as a priority.
My bungalow was perfect. I loved that I had the choice between eating in the dining area or out on the verandah. The television viewing was dreadful but that was a non-issue. It was good to get away from that "beast". I used the internet service offered. It was expensive but I found the speed to be fine for my needs and the pricing did not have anything to do with Sunhaven but rather the service provider.
The small size of Sunhaven was perfect for me. I felt as though I were in my own home. Lounging in and around the pool was superb. There were never more than 1 or 2 other guests using the area and this was a big seller for me.
The sound of the surf breaking on the reef was just the best. I live on the water front of the north Pacific but we are in sheltered water and never get to enjoy what I consider to be the glorious sound of crashing waves.
Sunhaven has to be commended for its emphasis on cleanliness. The rooms were immaculate as were the grounds and pool area.
I left Sunhaven a changed person. If I can manage it financially I will definitely return to my "perfect paradise".

Room Tip: I would definitely recommed a beach frong bungalow. I stayed in #2 which was great. #1 was right b...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Sheila Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Uncledennis, Owner at Sunhaven Beach Bungalows, responded to this review, January 30, 2013
Kia Orana Sheila,

Thanks so much for your thorough review. We are pleased that Sunhaven met all your needs during your 3 weeks with us. I hope the "changed person" is as nice as the previous one ;-)

I should just clarify your comments re the numbering of the bungalows. You should have said #3 is next to the pathway and #1 is the most private.

Save those pennies and with a bit of luck you will return one day to your "perfect paradise"

Kindest regards,

Dennis, Patti, Anjila, Sandra Ali and Shynal
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Tauranga, New Zealand
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 20, 2012

We just had six nights staying at Sunhaven. On arrival, we were impressed by our spotless room with sparkling windows and shiny tiled floor complete with a tempting basket of fresh fruit. The room was airy, light and spacious, with excellent kitchen and bathroom facilities.
The grounds and beach were tended and groomed each day. The pool was of good depth and size and was a welcome relief at times from the hot sun as it was sheltered by tall coconut trees. This is a place that is easy to relax in with hammocks, deck chairs and kayaks.
Dennis and Patti were generous and sociable hosts. The staff were friendly and gave exceptional service.
We would undoubtedly recommend this resort to others. We stayed in room 5 which was excellent and so handy to the pool we couldn’t help but have many cooling dips. Next time we might try out the bungalows on the beach front.
The location of Sunhaven was just great; relatively close to the airport and Avarua. Being on the west side of the island, the sunsets were awesome.
Patti and Dennis went the extra distance in supporting us in our stay right up to the last goodbye.

Room Tip: Room 5 was next to the pool with a medium sized deck, spacious and loads of natural light. We liked...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Peter H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Uncledennis, Owner at Sunhaven Beach Bungalows, responded to this review, November 24, 2012
Kia Orana Peter H,

Thanks very much for your comprehensive review and recommendation. It sounds like we provided you with all your needs for an enjoyable "hot" tropical holiday in the sun. Room 5 is one of our more popular rooms with that "wow" factor vista. Yes try a beachfront bungalow next time for comparison. I'd be interested in your comments.

Take care and we'll see you both next time.

Kia manuia and Merry Christmas,

Dennis, Patti, Ali, Sandra, Anjila and Shynal.
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Auckland Region, New Zealand
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 1, 2012

We have just spent six nights at Sunhaven. What a unique and beautiful piece of paradise it is. I have been to Rarotonga several times before and sadly it was not until this trip that I found Sunhaven. I will not be staying anywhere else on future trips, it is an absolute gem.

We were lucky enough to stay in Bungalow 1 and the choice each day was difficult - beach, hammock or beautifully clean swimming pool and as the day rolled by the next difficult choice was whether to eat out at one of the many great restaurants close by or bbq yourself a meal on the bbq which is cleaned daily.

The rooms are spotlessly cleaned daily with fresh flowers and there is never a thing out of place or not working.

Thank you Patti, Dennis and your fantastic staff for an amazing holiday. Sunhaven is the only place that I will be staying on any future trips to Rarotonga.

Room Tip: Bungalows 1,2 or 3 would be my choice
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Vicki M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Uncledennis, Owner at Sunhaven Beach Bungalows, responded to this review, November 11, 2012
Kia Orana Vicki M,

Thanks for posting a great review. Wow, how did you miss us all those trips? Sunhaven must surely be one of Rarotonga's best kept secrets!

All those difficult choices each day must have been really tiring for you. Just think next time you'll already know what to do and have even more time to snooze in one of our tree strung hammacks.

Until then.......

Take care and Kia manuia,
Dennis, Patti, Ali, Sandra and Anjila.
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KAITAIA
Level Contributor
29 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 28, 2012

Just returned from lovely 7 nights at Sunset Haven. Nothing more could have been done by Patti and Dennis's staff to make our trip more enjoyable..... they even sweep the beach in the morning! Many thanks to Anjeli and her chap who were a very warm welcome and farewell. Gorgeous fresh flowers daily, and room attendance every day is exceptional.
Snorkeling not too far away, and the pool is pristine. Many restaurants quite close by.

Room Tip: All rooms good.....right on the beach.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank jedlid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Uncledennis, Owner at Sunhaven Beach Bungalows, responded to this review, November 11, 2012
Kia Orana KAITAIA,

Thank you for posting a review. I take it you saw a good sunset or two during your stay to call us "Sunset Haven"! Yes we groom the beach daily to keep it pristine as that's what sets "Sunhaven" apart from the rest.

Glad you had a good time and we look forward to seeing you again.

Kia manuia,
Dennis, Patti, Ali, Anjila and Sandra.
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Additional Information about Sunhaven Beach Bungalows

Property: Sunhaven Beach Bungalows
Address: Main Rd, Arorangi., Arorangi, Cook Islands
Phone Number:
Location: Cook Islands > Southern Cook Islands > Rarotonga > Arorangi
Amenities:
Beach Free Parking Kitchenette Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 13 Specialty Lodging in Arorangi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Sunhaven Beach Bungalows 3*
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Absolute beachfront. A private secluded boutique property hidden amongst mature tropical palms on a pure white sand beach on the west side of Rarotonga. Superbly equipped modern self contained bungalows, suites & studios. See breathtaking views from your verandah of the lagoon and the Pacific Ocean beyond with tropical sunset backdrops. Huge freshwater pool with BBQ area. Catering mostly for couples looking for total relaxation. Our NO CHILDREN policy ensures peace & quiet. Good old fashioned friendly personal service by owner hosts. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sunhaven Beach Bungalows Hotel Arorangi
Sunhaven Beach Bungalows Rarotonga, Cook Islands

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