We stayed for two nights at Palm Grove's three-bedroom house. We find that multiple-bedroom properties are a life saver when travelling with our 1.5- and 4.5-year olds.
The Palm Grove property straddles the main road around Rarotonga (some reviewers who have called this a "busy two-lane highway" are laying it on a bit thick; it is a two-lane paved road but the traffic toodles along at 50 kph and we never had any issues crossing the road with our little ones). On the beach side, there are nice little beachfront bungalows and the inland side has the main office, the pool, the restaurant, the two- and three-bedroom houses, plus some apartments.
The house was a bit cabin-like and rustic; cinder-block walls, wood paneling, all that. The fixtures and fittings were a bit 1970s as well, bordering on being dingy. The place could definitely use a face-lift. However, everything worked, and it was pretty clean and very spacious. You could comfortably sleep six people and probably cater for ten in a pinch, though there would be stiff competition for the single bathroom and shower!
There was a bit of an ant problem in the kitchen so you had to ensure everything was spotless all the time, and even then the tiny (harmless) ants would explore around the wash basin.
It sort of reminded me of staying in a cabin (or "bach" in Kiwi-speak)... a bit utilitarian but gets the job done.
Every bedroom had ceiling fans and very good air conditioning, which was a lifesaver! The beds were comfortable and the linen clean.
The house is set in their own garden areas with its own yard bordered by hedges, so it's kind of like having you own house. The staff are even happy for you to drive your car across the lawn and park directly in front of your door, which is very convenient if you brought too much luggage on holiday (like we did!).
The staff were relaxed and friendly, and there's a decent and reasonably-priced restaurant on the property. Breakfast was okay, no hot items (unless you count toast) but juice, yoghurt, cereals, fruits, coffee, tea, etc. We made our own cooked breakfasts, there is a well-stocked supermarket a few hundred metres down the road.
I guess I would characterise Palm Grove as "functional". It's friendly, it's in a decent location (the beach and snorkeling are good), the restaurant's okay, and there are shops and infrastructure nearby. I think it's pretty good for families and pensioners. However, if you're looking for a slick resort property with modern design, marble, glass and polished stainless steel fittings, gourmet dining, and white glove service, Palm Grove is not for you.
In short, I would definitely stay here again but wouldn't spend months eagerly anticipating my stay. It's a decent place to stay but not a destination in itself.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Set in the enchanting area of Vaimaanga on the stunning southern coast, Palm Grove enjoys the tranquility of one of the best locations on Rarotonga. 26 individual bungalows are scattered over 5 acres of landscaped beachfront and garden property. Bungalows are available in studio to 3-bedroom layout and feature kingsize beds, kitchen facilities, aircon, flatscreen TV, and private patio/balcony. Property amenities include our onsite restaurant and bar, swimming pool, guest BBQ, laundry facility, tour desk, and motorbike rentals. All guests receive complimentary daily tropical breakfast buffet and use of kayaks, snorkel equipment, beach chairs and beach towels. Welcome to Palm Grove, your private piece of paradise! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Palm Grove Hotel Vaimaanga
- Palm Grove Rarotonga, Cook Islands