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“We would defintely return to paradise!”
Review of Palm Grove

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Palm Grove
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Vaimaanga
Certificate of Excellence
Sarnia, Ontario, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
320 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 168 helpful votes
“We would defintely return to paradise!”
Reviewed April 10, 2010

We stayed for 12 nights in one of the garden units that are situated around the pool. Our room had everything that we needed - kitchenette with small fridge, microwave, toaster, kettle, dishes, utensils, etc., a table and 4 chairs, dresser and bedside tables, small closet with lockable security box and shelving space in the bathroom also. The room was bright and had several windows for ventilation. We were only a 1 minute walk across the road (which was never busy) to the beach and some fabulous snorkellling. We had a little patio outside our room with a table and chairs where we could read when it was raining (we had alot during our stay) or eat meals prepared in our room. There was a clothesline on each patio. Beach towels were provided in the room. The bathroom had a stand-up shower, hair dryer and fresh towels were provided each day if you wanted. Soap, shampoo and hair condiioner were in the room on our arrival, but were not replaced (we had our own and maybe that is why). There was a ceiling fan which kept our room comfortable and we did not need to use the air conditioning at all. There was always a nice breeze through the windows and sliding patio door.

From the time we landed in paradise and were picked up at the airport by Nga, to the time we left this island, the service and attitude of everyone we encountered made us want to stay forever. Paula, Mata, Mary and Norleen in the kitchen and dining room made our dining experiences pleasant. Kura at the reception desk was invaluable in helping us book day trips, decide on where to go for island night, helping us check our return flight home, and in answering many of our questions. The managers Joanne & Nga were on-site frequently and very approachable as was Betsy, the owner.

We found the tropical breakfast included with our package to be everything that we needed. There was a good variety of cereal (2 types of muesli and at least 2 other choices or more), beautiful selection of fresh fruit (bananas, coconut, papaya, mango, guava, custard apple, starfruit), bread for toast, jam, marmalade, peanut butter, butter, marmite, juices, tea and coffee. All of this in a pleasant open-air dining room where you can look at the beautiful landscaping of the resort and even see across the road to the beach. There were also several options for cooked breakfasts (at a reasonable additional charge) if you wished.

The dinner menu had a good variety, but unfortunately there were a few items missing during our stay. However, we always found something to eat and the fresh fish dishes were always delicious.

Wigmore's Supermarket is just a 5 minute walk to the right when you leave the parking area. They have some freshly prepared meals (curried chicken, chicken chop suey, etc.) and some great desserts (chocolate cake and coconut pineapple cake) if you want to eat in your room without cooking. The prices were reasonable and the food was very good.

Happy hour was a very generous gesture on the part of the resort and we enjoyed the entertainment by Rose & Tani, especially the island dance that Rose did for us. The Sunday night BBQ was delicious, but we would agree with other guests that it is a little overpriced ($30 NZ per person). The choice was steak (very good) or fish (broadbill the night we had it which was excellent) and lovely salads.

The property is kept very clean and the landscaping is very attractive. We found the whole island to be lush with plants, flowers and trees and the beautiful green peaks in the center of the island seemed so close that you could touch them.

We enjoyed the resort pets - Polly the dog and Palmy the calico cat, both of which were super friendly and gave us our "pet fix" while missing our own animals back home. There are several dogs in the area which have their own territory on the beach. They are all owned by someone and were all well cared for. They are all friendly and wander on and off the resort.

We used the buses to get around the island and found them very easy to use. We got the 10 trip pass ($25 NZ) and got everwhere that we needed to go. You can use the designated bus stops to get on or off, but you can also flag down a bus anywhere on the route or request to be dropped off at other than set stops.

We visited the Panangi Nui market on Saturday in town that we would highly recommend, did a 4 x 4 Safari Tour with Tangaroa Tours (with Mr. Useless, who was absolutely hilarious), went to church with Victoria who owns the Green House Cafe just down the road from the resort, a 5 minute walk to the left when you leave the front parking area), did the day trip to Aitutaki (expensive but worth it to see the most beautiful lagoon and the islands in it), did an island night at Highland Paradise and generally made our way around the island.

We snorkelled out front of the hotel which was excellent. We also found good snorkelling across the road from Fruits or Rarotonga (you can leave your belongings at the cafe while you snorkel). At both locations we saw large schools of beautiful parrot fish, sargent majors, wrasses, picasso triggerfish, moorish idols, puffer fish, assorted other fish that we don't know the names of, an octopus, an eel and the most beautiful sapphire blue starfish. We snorkelled out to one of the islands at Muri Beach but here wasn't much to see underwater. When we snorkelled in the lagoon on the island of Aitutaki, we saw giant clams.

We tried a variety of restaurants and cafes on the island and found everything to be fresh, delicious, nicely presented and portions were generous. We did not find the prices to be expensive considering the quality (and in comparison with our prices back home in Canada). Some of the places we tried and would recommend are Garden House Cafe (just a 10 minute walk to the left of the hotel), Maire Nui Gardens (try their delicious chocolate cake), Vaima Restaurant (just down from Wigmore's Supermarket and about a 10 minute walk from the hotel) where we sat right on the beach, Tamarind House near town (beautiful setting, classy restaurant and delicious food especially their chocolate pudding cake), Kikau Hut (our favourite restaurant on the island with delicious food and unique desserts and super friendly owners Kevin & Cathy), Cafe Salsa in the town of Avarua, The Cafe at the art gallery for the best cappucino we have ever tasted and good desserts too, Sails Restaurant on Muri Beach and ,as mentioned, Yellow Hibiscus at Palm Grove. We also had some good food from the stalls at the market - chicken curry with rice, mongolian chicken, both of which were very generous portions for very little money. There is a little coffee stand on the road in front of the market that has the best coffee.

We had a hard time leaving Rarotonga and would definitely return if we found a great deal like the one that brought us here in the first place. It was worth the almost 15 hour flight from Canada. Palm Grove resort is in a perfect location, approximately half way around the island from town and on a great beach. Everything that we needed.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank LeeMike
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Australia
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed April 5, 2010

My husband, daughter and I recently stayed at Palm Grove for 4 nights and I do not think it deserves the high ratings it seems to get on Trip Advisor from other travellers. We did not stay in a beach front villa as there were three of us and maybe my impressions would be different if we had been on the beach. We had a two bedroom unit in the garden. The unit was very spacious, which we appreciated, but the furnishings were very ordinary and the whole place was looking very much in need of a refurbishment. The lounges provided were so broken that it was not possible to sit comfortably on them. The ambiance of the resort is somewhat spoilt by the fact that the main road runs right through the middle of it and the units on the non-beach side of the road do not have water views. The breakfast which was included was also below expectations. There was a very limited choice of cereals - usually Coco Pops or Muesli, the juice was very watery and there was a very poor selection of fruit. I did not feel that we got value for money at Palm Grove and would not stay there again.

  • Stayed April 2010
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank jgowdie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PalmGrove, owner at Palm Grove, responded to this review, April 6, 2010
Kia Orana jgowdie,

Thanks for your review of Palm Grove.

I'm sorry to hear that you don't agree with our other guests that have commented on Palm Grove on tripadvisor. But we are always happy when someone posts a review as it helps provide additional information to other readers and potential guests, and it gives me the opportunity to respond.

Our 2 Bedroom unit is one of our most popular units as it provides great value for money: a large living area, a private yard and BBQ, and sleeps 4 people for about $315/night. It is a garden unit and you are correct that none of our garden units have a water view. But that fact is reflected in our pricing.

The daily breakfast buffet that you've mentioned is complimentary. I must apologize - you are correct that the cereal selection during your stay wasn't as good as normal; the main supermarket had run out of many of the individual breakfast cereals we normally provide and we were stuck waiting for the next shipment to arrive. Most of the dry foodstuffs are delivered to the island by ship and it's a fact of life here that we sometimes have to wait longer than we'd like for stores to replenish their stock. But we've had an excellent selection of fruit recently, including passionfruit, mango, pawpaw, custard apple, starfruit, guava, watermelon, and coconut.

I've just been over to the 2 Bedroom unit to inspect the lounges because we have had no previous reports of them being broken, and I can't find any problem with them. We replaced the dining table and chairs, bookcases, and side chairs last year, but did not replace the two lounges at that time, planning to replace them this year. In fact I have already purchased new lounges for the unit and they are due to arrive around 1 May. The livingroom curtains are also being replaced at that time.

We believe Palm Grove to be very well-priced for what we have to offer and we normally get a lot of praise on our value for money. I am sorry that you didn't find that to be the case, and I would urge tripadvisor readers to compare our prices to other midrange accommodation on Rarotonga and decide for themselves.

Thanks again for taking the time to post feedback on Palm Grove. Please contact me directly at beach@palmgrove.co.ck if I can help you with anything further.

Kind regards,

Betsy Eisler
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Christchurch, NZ
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 27, 2010

We have just returned from a week in a family unit at Palm Grove and had so many great experiences that will never be forgotten. Our only meal in the restaurant was the Sunday night bbq which we enjoyed but thought it was a bit overpriced. The staff were all extremely friendly and helpful. We hired a car for a couple of days instead of using the Island bus. The Friday night happy hour went down really well - complimentary drinks, nibbles, music. The fish life inside the reef was amazing. Pity about the sea slugs. I went out on Captain Tama's glass bottom boat and thoroughly enjoyed that, while the guys went game fishing on the Seafari. They caught three tuna and their share fed us for three nights. Beautiful beach, helpful staff, great location - will we be back? Definately on the cards.

  • Stayed March 2010
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank bjd120
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
england
1 review
Reviewed March 23, 2010

We started our honeymoon there and we didn't want to move on! People are just so friendly, and kind. The beach was just out of this world. We'll be going back as soon as!

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank thinktink46
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lake Country
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed February 7, 2010

My wife & I stayed @ the Palm Grove for 12 nights on our visit to the Cook Islands.We stayed in one of the beach front cabins (& they were amazing!)...exactly what we were looking for!
I would like to thank Joanne & her staff for looking after us for our stay! We couldn't have found a better location for our holiday! The Cook Island's are truly one of the most beautiful spots in the world!
The staff were friendly & very helpful! Every question we had or request was met with a smile & helpful hints on how to enjoy our stay in the Cook Islands. The rooms beach front were amazing the view out our front deck was beautiful.
The beach was absolutely amazing the snorkeling was incredible, we totally enjoyed our exploration of the lagoon & coral right in front of our room you will see hundreds of fish & every species you can imagine. We went for many walks in either direction down the beach morning & night that has left us with some memories that we'll cherish forever!
You feel very safe where ever you go & the locals greet you with huge smiles & a friendly greeting.
We rented a scooter for the full time we were in the Cook Islands & I would highly recommend having a mode of transportation for your stay. The ease to get around the islands made our holiday. We visited other beaches went on sight seeing tours & explored a number of restaurants during our stay & found some amazing food & service.
Our favorites were the Coral Reef, Trader Jack's in town & the SaltWater (lunch or early dinner) 1 km away from the Palm Grove. Also the Garden Cafe 50 Meters down the road for breakfast or lunch (they have the most amazing cinnamon buns ever!)
Again we would like to thank the staff of the Palm Grove (Joanne,Kura, Na) & Mata & her girls @ the Yellow Hibiscus for making our visit to the Cook Islands a memory that will be with us forever! Thanks Varu for the Shark brand it will stay with me forever!
Kia Orana!

Dan & Michele
Lake Country B.C. Canada

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank holidayhound_8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland
1 review
Reviewed January 17, 2010

I just want to extend my thanks to everyone at Palm Grove for making my stay so wonderful.

This is my second time at Palm Grove first time was for a friends wedding in January 2009 and this time was for a romantic date with my lovely boy from Switzerland.

I highly recommend Palm Grove, as the staff are friendly and the rooms are fantastic especially the beach bungalows. The crashing of the waves on the beach makes you totally relax and realise you are on a tropical island.

The food at the restaurant was delicious and it was often hard to decide what to have for dinner as all the items on the menu were yummy.

I can't wait to get back to Raro and I know I will be heading back to Palm Grove for my stay.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank blucat74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Zealand
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed November 19, 2009

Ideal location halfway around the island. Hire scooters from the office. Decent superette 2 mins walk away. Restaurant on site, we did the BBQ Sunday, wouldn't rave about the food. Best ever Happy Hour on Friday night, free drinks for guests, band and food. Lots of great restaurants 10 mins either way on scooter. The beach is a beautiful sandy beach, with lots of tropical fish in close in the lagoon. We had a beachside bungalow, very nice, but we heard every vehicle that went along the road, like they were coming through the door. Ask for any other beachside bungalow than B3 or B4. The garden units are A framed and look very spacious and comfortable. At the back of the property, facing the mountain are the superior units, they looked very nice. It can be windy on the beach and the sea crashing on the reef is very loud, but thats part of the islands, eh. Don't expect great things from the staff. Sometimes they are really friendly and others can make you feel a bit of an intruder. They are helpful if you need to know something though.
Take your own snorkel gear or hire some decent stuff, theirs is not the best. The pool is quite small, enough to get wet, but we only used it a couple of times. Didn't go to sit around a pool. We thought we got good value for our money at Palm Grove.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Val063
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Palm Grove

Property: 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 (Based on Average Rates): $$
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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