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“great place to stay”
Review of Palm Grove

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Palm Grove
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Vaimaanga
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 17, 2013

my friend and i stayed in the 2 bedroom garden bungalow we just loved palm grove but what made it special was all of the staff we felt like we had known them forever the food was very good breakfast was very varied nothing was too much trouble they aranged our day trip to aitutaki and sorted a rental car for us we were also taken to church it made for a wonderful time the pool was out of action and we were advised what was happening in regard to this we were given a guided tour of the changes going on in the new garden bungalows the beach was lovely does it sound like we enjoyed ourselves a big yes thank you betsy joanne nga mata kura and all the rest of your staff

Room Tip: depending on your needs we were spoilt having the 2 bed bungalow so much room
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank maggymay185
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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261 - 267 of 558 reviews

Reviewed April 10, 2013

We stayed in a one bedroom garden room.

Our issues with the place:

- we were on the wrong side of the beach
- noisy roosters at 3am! (although this will be a problem everywhere, most likely)
- for the price, I think we could have done better. We paid roughly $200 per night.
- the pool was being dug up. There were piles of sand everywhere.
- breakfast. I chose the place specifically because breakfast was included, and paid extra as a result. However this turned out to be cereal packets, sliced bread and fruit (tinned pineapple and fresh watermelon/paw paw). That was disappointing.
- decor. The room was tired and dated. I wasn't hoping for something spectacular, but I was hoping for some sort of beachy "hut". However although there are huts there, we didn't get one. And the inside wasn't the quintessential beachside villa - rather it was sort of "tired granny-flat"

There are some lovely rooms across the street right on the sand - so if I returned here, I would make sure to book one of them.

The staff were lovely and helpful.

  • Stayed: April 2013
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3  Thank Evelyn_Louise86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PalmGrove, Owner at Palm Grove, responded to this reviewResponded April 15, 2013

Kia Orana Evelyn,

We very much appreciate your feedback so thank you for taking the time to post your review of Palm Grove. It’s wonderful to see that you were so pleased with our staff and the friendly service they provide. But I am sorry to read that you were unhappy with some aspects of your stay and I’d like to take this opportunity to respond to your comments.

At Palm Grove, we are very careful to make sure that our marketing and advertising is honest and accurate in all respects. We always want to ensure that guest’s expectations are met, so our property/room photos and descriptions are kept up to date, both on our website and on third-party websites. To that end, none of our garden room categories are ever described as being on or near the beach. I note that you booked your stay through Expedia.com. It’s a shame that one of your main complaints is that the garden room you booked was not beachfront – but the room description on Expedia.com does not indicate that this room type is on the beach or offers a beach view. So your room was not on the “wrong” side of the beach; the room you were allocated was located in the garden because you booked a garden room.

As our TripAdvisor readers know, our April refurb project (swimming pool and Garden Studio rooms) has been talked about repeatedly for many months now, both in guest reviews and my management responses. We officially announced this project was taking place back in September 2012, more than 6 months prior to work commencing. As required, we notified all third-party websites such as Expedia.com, and our accommodation listing on Expedia.com has had the dates/details of the refurb project posted under the Renovations and Closures section of our listing since last September; this is the first section listed under Hotel Details, directly below the room descriptions/prices. This is the page you would have had to see to make your booking at Palm Grove. I’m sorry that you did not notice this information when you made your booking. It might be worth contacting Expedia.com to tell them that you feel their Renovations and Closures section should be made more prominent. We made every effort we could to ensure all guests staying with us this month knew about the refurb project. I’m upset to hear this adversely affected your stay and I wish you’d said something while you were here so I could have explained this to you.

Our complimentary tropical breakfast buffet includes 3 types of bread, 5-6 types of cereal, 4-6 types of fruit (depending on what is in season and available), 3 types of juice, coffee, tea, and milk. This is a fairly standard selection for included tropical breakfast in the Cook Islands; on average, Rarotonga accommodations offering a lower price would not only not offer breakfast but would also have a lower star rating – hence the lower price. In addition our breakfast buffet has unadvertised “bonus” items of freshly made yogurt and muffins/scones. These bonus items are made daily and are available first come first served (which is why we don’t advertise them). We also offer one of the most reasonably priced cooked breakfast menus on the island (priced NZ$5-12) including eggs, omelettes, pancakes, and French toast.

Your One Bedroom Superior room was completely refurnished last year (along with every room at Palm Grove) and features the same high-quality furniture and premium mattresses as the rest of our rooms. In addition we repainted the interior of all the One Bedroom Superior rooms. These rooms also feature beautiful panadus ceilings and private patios overlooking tropical gardens and the lush mountainous interior of Rarotonga. As explained, this is not a beachfront room so I’m sorry it didn’t live up to your expectations of a “quintessential beachside villa.” However, I feel that your description of the room as a “tired granny-flat” is very inaccurate and definitely not an opinion shared by many of our guests.

Thank you again for your feedback. If you or any TripAdvisor readers have any questions about my comments or would like to see a current photo of the One Bedroom Superior rooms, please feel free to contact me directly at beach@palmgrove.co.ck

Kind regards,

Betsy Eisler
Palm Grove

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 6, 2013

We have just returned from 7 days at Palm Grove and we had a brilliant time. The resort is located on what must be the best beach in Rarotonga -it is pristine with few people on the beach. The staff couldn't have been more helpful in settling us in (14 of us) and getting us set up with car and scooter rentals and giving us helpful hints of places to see and restaurants to dine at. Some of us stayed in the villa on the beach and it was very nice. What a great night we had on Good Friday - free drinks and great live music. Who the heck was Alice?

Room Tip: Go for a beach front room if possible.
  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Happynzers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 5, 2013

We only spent one night at the Palm Grove and were quite disappointed. Admittedly, we arrived on Good Friday (a holiday) but the reception was closed and the other staff were not helpful or welcoming. They couldn't assist with getting us enough towels or phone service or a quieter bungalow. Then at 4pm, the happy hour at the bar began. We were forced to listen to loud music for the next 5 hours. It would have been nice if they had warned us about this when we booked - especially as we were staying only the one night. Upon getting home, I have discovered they have double charged us for our stay - so yet another problem to sort out.
On a positive note, the bungalow was quite nicely laid out, was clean and the bed was comfortable. Just don't expect peace and quiet at this place.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank nitpicker101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PalmGrove, Owner at Palm Grove, responded to this reviewResponded April 8, 2013

Kia Orana nitpicker101,

Thank you for taking the time to post a review of Palm Grove. We are very pleased that you enjoyed your bungalow and especially our premium mattresses! But I’m sorry that you were disappointed with your 1 night stay and I’d like to take this opportunity to respond to your comments.

I’m sorry that you were unhappy with our shortened reception hours, in observance of the Good Friday public holiday. As with overseas travel to any country, local customs and observances may be different than you’re used to at home. In the Cook Islands, Good Friday and Christmas Day are the two most religious holidays all year and are more strictly observed than any other holiday. This means that almost every business, store, tour operator, cafe, restaurant, and bar on the island was closed all day. At Palm Grove, our housekeeping service, groundskeeping, maintenance, and restaurant (including breakfast, lunch, and dinner) all operated as normal. The only difference was that we closed reception at 1pm. But the restaurant staff were notified of your arrival and were expecting you when you got to the property at 1.30pm. Apii, the restaurant cook, showed you to your Garden Studio room and then returned to the restaurant. She has reported that you came back to see her a little later to complain that there were only two beach towels in the room (there were three of you); as she didn’t have a key to the housekeeping area, she suggested you use a bath towel in the meantime and tells me you then went for a swim in the pool. A little later you came back to see her, asking about the rental car you booked through a third-party rental car company. She correctly told you she’d didn’t know anything about that, but has reported that the rental company arrived a few minutes later to pick you up. She says you then returned to enquire about moving rooms, and she told you that you’d have to speak to the office or a supervisor about that. She admits she didn’t make it clear to you that the restaurant supervisor, office manager, and myself (the owner) would all be at the property by 4pm, to prepare for our weekly Happy Hour function. So I am sorry you weren’t put in contact with us regarding a room change. Unfortunately, we only had one vacant room that evening and it was a Beachfront Studio that could not have accommodated the three of you, so changing rooms was not an option.

Our long-standing Friday evening Happy Hour is a guest favourite, and to my knowledge is the most generous happy hour available in the Cook Islands (and probably almost anywhere!). Your review seems to indicate this took place starting at 4pm for 5 hours, but I’d like to clarify our happy hour details for the benefit of other readers: from 4.30pm to 6pm we offer FREE drinks (house red/white wine, Heineken by the glass, and all soft drinks; all other beers/spirits are half price = NZ$2.50 or NZ$3.00). In addition, we offer live music 5pm – 8pm. As it was Good Friday, we were one of only a handful of restaurants open that evening, so Happy Hour was very well attended by the majority of our guests, plus other tourists and locals wishing to dine out for dinner. I was at Happy Hour and did smile and say hello when I saw the three of you come and go from your room twice, once to the beach and once to get in your rental car to go out. I remember thinking it was a shame you didn’t join us for Happy Hour but certainly that was your prerogative. When it got closer to 8pm there were a host of guests up dancing, so I asked the band to continue for a little longer. It was just a few minutes after that that I saw the three of you return to your room, so I immediately asked the restaurant supervisor to ring you to let you know the live music was finishing very soon; the supervisor told me she’d spoken to you and you’d indicated there wasn’t any problem. So I’m very dismayed to now read that you were upset with the music at Happy Hour that evening. As for “warning” you about Happy Hour, we would never have thought to do such a thing since this is the first time I can remember ever receiving a complaint about Happy Hour; instead most guests tell us that Friday evenings are the highlight of their stay.

As for incorrectly double-charging you, I sincerely apologize. You paid your room bill at the restaurant on Saturday evening before departing. When the cash and credit card receipt was sent to the office Sunday morning, it was mistakenly noted as room B1 (rather than your room G1) and was applied to that room. Our system them automatically charged your “outstanding” balance to the credit card on file. We did not realize the error until you emailed us about it the day after posting your review. Upon receiving your email, a credit was immediately processed to your card. I am very sorry for this human error on our part but I trust you were pleased with the prompt response to your email and I thank you for bringing this to our attention.

Palm Grove is located on the stunning southern coast of Rarotonga, in the village of Vaimaanga. We are as far from town (Avarua) as you can get, and many locals refer to this area of the island as the “country.” As such, we are in a quiet and peaceful location, as many guests have noted in previous reviews. So our guests can definitely expect peace and quiet, and I do not think this is marred by the live entertainment we offer during our weekly Happy Hour. But I will definitely take your comments under advisement. We are revamping our website in the next month so I will take that opportunity to more clearly mention the hours that we offer free live music, should there perhaps be another future guest that wants to avoid live music.

Thank you again for your feedback. Please feel free to contact me directly should you or any TripAdvisor reader have any questions regarding my comments.

Kind regards,

Betsy Eisler
Palm Grove

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 4, 2013

Thank you to everyone at Palm Grove for making our stay magical, especially Joanne for organising all the details for our wedding so we didn't have to think about a thing and we could just sit back and relax for the week before it.
Our room on the beach B1 was just perfect....our little piece of paradise with the water at our doorstep!
Everyone is so helpful and friendly jo, betsie, nga, mata and all the staff and all are there on friday happy hour for a chat and a drink.
Nga is such a lovely man and welcomes you at the airport with a fantastic smile and is always around if you need help with anything.
The new beds are devine and i look forward to the rest of the refurb when we next visit!!
The food is fab...ika mata to die for! Free breakfast is a lovely touch and free happy hour as well....its little things like this that make you feel looked after and that its value for money.
So happy to hear you aren't putting prices up that will ensure all loyal repeat customers and that will include my partner Dave and myself will come back year after year.
Thank you again for making our special day so amazing....and a special mention for our photographer she is a talented lady and i love love love every picture she took!
Your wedding package is value for money for what we got and our wedding....holiday...honeymoon in one came in under $9000 which would be hard to do in NZ so best decision we ever made having it with you!!
So thank you thank you a million times thank you for being the best little place in the world...where you treat people like family and make us never want to leave.
See you all soon
Cathy and Dave Alder

  • Stayed: March 2013
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Thank cathyalder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 3, 2013

We spent 7 days at the Palm Grove (our first visit to Rarotonga). We had a Matenga bungalow, which are set a bit off to the west of the resort which is great as they have their own beach front which was extremely quiet. We did spent one day in the regular beach front bungalows and they have spectacular beach and reef views. When we return, I think we would choose the beach front bungalow over the Matenga. The bungalows are well appointed and have all the necessities. The staff were very friendly, accommodating, helpful and, I think, very sincere in their desire to ensure you have a good stay with them. Free use of snorkel gear, kayaks and reef shows was much appreciated. The Wigmore Superstore is a short walk away and has all the necessities if you wish to cook on your own. We mostly ate at the restaurant (The Hibiscus) but did shop for breakfast and snack items (although breakfast is included in your room rate at the Palm Grove).

Although this was only our first visit to Raro, we would be hard pressed to decide to stay anywhere else. We have had many beach vacations in Hawaii, Bali, Australia, Belize and throughout the Caribbean, but this was by far the best beach vacation ever - due in large part to the location, staff and service offered up by Palm Grove.

Room Tip: Choose a beach front bungalow over a garden bungalow. The Matenga bungalows are a bit larger and of...
  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Brian M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 3, 2013

It was our first time in the Cook Islands and Palm Grove was a perfect place to be introduced to the hospitality and cultural experiences of Rarotonga. The hospitality, the food, the accommodation, the service, the really personable staff, ... All were really wonderful. There were several "little touches" that made it a special time for us - Joanne's very considerate approach, the continental breakfasts (with great local fruit), the Happy Hour Fridays, the other guests, the flowers and landscaping of the grounds. It was a thoroughly enjoyable two weeks. Thanks for making it all possible. If you wish to relax, this is an excellent place to do that. It's clean, quiet and friendly.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank RonM669
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Palm Grove

Address: P.O. Box 23, Vaimaanga, Cook Islands
Phone Number:
Location: Cook Islands > Southern Cook Islands > Rarotonga > Vaimaanga
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Vaimaanga
Price Range: $149 - $279 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Palm Grove 3.5*
Number of rooms: 25
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

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