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“Love the island Rarotonga”

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Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Aroa Beach
Reviewed October 22, 2012

This was our 3rd trip to the island of Rarotonga. Enjoy it so much so have gone back every couple of years. This was our first time to stay at this resort. I don't think that it was value for money for the high room rate we paid. Staff very friendly but oh so casual. Had to regularly sit at breakfast where tables hadn't been cleared and had to ask for them to be cleared. You never knew what time of the day or evening your room was to be serviced. One time we actually left to meet for friends for dinner at 7.30 and it still hadn't been done. Although on our return it had been serviced. Had to ask for the uht milk to our fridge as it hadn't been stocked. Had to ask for a loo roll one time. I just think when you are paying high dollars you expect a little service. There never seemed to be anyone around that looked official or managerial or overseeing things. Would choose other properties over this one next time. Sorry Sanctuary Rarotongan but have to be truthful.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Rubi M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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361 - 367 of 470 reviews

Reviewed October 22, 2012

There's no point beating around the bush; it's simply not up to the standard you'd expect given its price, great location and excellent website. To be fair, the room was perfectly fine. It's nothing more than a room and perhaps not quite there with the furnishings, but the bed was comfortable, pillows good, air-conditioning effective and the balcony views are lovely. The problems are the food, which can only be described as dreadful, and the service, which is usually given without a smile. In fact every time someone smiled at us, we commented on it - that's how rare it was!! The food for breakfast was sparse, for lunch was OK but just ordinary lunch type food, and for dinner was inedible. We tried dinner twice. Trying it once was a mistake, trying it twice was stupidity. We then ate at several other restaurants (Windjammer, Tamarind House, Vaima) and all were so superior it's simply not worth wasting your time here. We then had a wander through a couple of other hotels around Muri Beach and when we go back to the Cook Islands (which, by the way, are fabulous) we'll be staying at one of those. We also spent two nights at their sister resort on Aitutaki - the accommodation was fantastic but the food there was dreadful too. Might be company policy!!!

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank 4StarsOrMoreOnly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 16, 2012

This is the second time we've stayed at the Sanctuary in 3 years...it was just being finished during our last stay in 2009. We were disappointed in many things...it seems that the Rarotongan Resort is trying to make a "separate" resort out of the Sanctuary...sometimes we had to go the both front desks and then were sent back...several things didn't work in our room and they never did show up to fix them, the air being a crucial one...fortunately it was cool enough we didn't need it most of the time. The food has gone down in quality, especially the breakfast buffet. They could mix it up a little, but it was the same thing everyday, and some days very minimal. I even noticed an indifference in the staff...not warm and friendly like our previous 4 other visits to the island...maybe they're getting sick of tourists? Getting waited on in the restaurants was ridiculous! Most of the time we just got up and left! They seemed grossly understaffed. We took friends for the first time, and were terribly embarrassed and disappointed. Our next stay will be somewhere else, but we will return to the island...its in our blood.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank salukigirl57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 8, 2012

We stayed at the Rarotonga Beach Resort - Sanctuary for 3 nights on route to Aitutaki. The room we had was clean and had a great view of the ocean (as do most rooms). The Sanctuary is part of the Rarotonga Beach Resort but the adults only section. Aside from being clean, the room was air-conditioned, had a fan and was serviced twice daily.
One of the down sides of Sanctuary is the service is a bit hit and miss. Depending on the staff member, it can be outstanding and helpful or at other times you are made to feel like everything is a bit of a hassle.
The equipment supplied at the hotel - snorkels, fins, reef walkers, beach lounges, hammocks, kayaks - are all in very good condition. And the beach snorkeling out the front of the rooms is excellent. There is a lot of fish to be viewed very close to shore.
Breakfast is included but it is toast, fruit and cereal only. There is an extra charge for hot breakfast. We had a dinner at the resort which was average.
Access to town is via bus or taxi. The bus is cheap and reliable.
All in all, sufficient for a short stay but we would not have stayed much longer than a couple of nights.

Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
2  Thank AMandCP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 5, 2012

When we first visited here 2 years ago this was an idyllic situation with excellent service and good food. OH how it's changed.

The Restaurant had paper lanterns once. The shades have gone and now compact fluorescents hang bare

The dinner menu in the restaurant is dreadful and expensive. It's much better next door at Andy's in the Rarotongan. There used to be another restaurant at the Sanctuary but it's closed
We did find good food at the Coco Putt 800m down the road
The rooms are not serviced until after 4pm. Too few staff although the remaining were very helpful

Will we visit again? Probably because the location and lagoon are excellent. However I do hope they do some maintenance and serious cleaning

Room Tip: Ground floor we had 702, was good location. Direct access to te lagoon
Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
2  Thank Kiwifrank
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RarotonganSales, Director of Sales at Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach, responded to this reviewResponded October 7, 2012

Kia Orana Kiwifrank,

Thank you for your review in regards to your return stay with us at Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach. Sanctuary Rarotonga is our newest sister resort and adult’s only boutique resort to The Rarotongan Beach Resort and Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa.

We are pleased to read that you thoroughly enjoyed the fantastic beachfront location that Sanctuary Rarotonga enjoys. We are indeed located beachfront with it taking only a few steps to have access to our stunning traditional Aroa marine reserve “raui”. Many of our guests spend hours snorkelling amongst the jewel colored marine life including fish, star fish and even recently a juvenile turtle :-)

In terms of the concerns you have raised, we appreciate the opportunity to respond as below.

The lighting shades have been removed due to wear and tear and we expect to receive the replacements for these from overseas in the next few days.

We are also disappointed that you found the Blue Water Grill Restaurant did not meet your expectations. As you can see from previous reviews, many guests have found the menu quite satisfying and returned on several occasions throughout their stay to dine with us there. However, if there was a particular experience you were unhappy with, our Duty Manager’s on shift or the Restaurant & Bar Manager would have been very happy to assist you with addressing your concerns.

Guests of our resorts are able to have quick and easy access to a number of Restaurants including:
• Blue Water Grill Restaurant at Sanctuary Rarotonga
• Ginger Garden Asian Restaurant at Sanctuary Rarotonga
• Poolside Pergola at Sanctuary Rarotonga
• TE VAKA Restaurant at The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Spa
• Captain Andy’s Bar & Grill at The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Spa

We do apologise that the Ginger Garden Restaurant was not available at the time of your visit however we are pleased to advise that this is once again opening very shortly.

We appreciate your feedback in regards to the delay in servicing your room during your stay and we are happy to advise that since your stay, our Housekeeping department has actively been trialing a new system which we hope will assist with addressing this issue.

Once again, thank you for your kind feedback and we look forward to welcoming you back to stay with us in the very near future.


Kia Manuia & Kind Regards

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 26, 2012

Recently stayed at The Sanctuary and was very disappointed by the terrible service.

Breakfast tables weren't cleared and had to be done ourselves. For lunch on day one, no menus were provided nor was our order taken.

Requesting beach towels brought amusement; there is some very "complex" form to fill in to get these, and if it is not done right we were reprimanded.

We asked if there was any snorkelling map and were told that it was not the receptionists job to provide this.

Housekeeping happened irregularly - for the price you pay you would expect your room to be made up daily, and the sheets changed at least once during the week. Our room was only made up twice during the week, with one of those occasions being the day before we left.

We would have drawn attention to all of these issues if the staff seemed interested, generally any request made was responded with a "not my problem" or look of confusion. It got to the point where it was just amusing, but for the price you pay you would expect helpful, responsive staff.

We Stayed in beachside rooms which was exactly what you want and what you would expect. The rooms were good sized with stunning views.

Breakfast was what you would expect for a tropical Breakfast and was nice and light.

I think if the service improves then this would be a great place to stay... Not now though currently.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with friends
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4  Thank Paulos27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RarotonganSales, Director of Sales at Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach, responded to this reviewResponded September 30, 2012

Kia Orana “Paulos27”

Thank you for your review in regards to your recent stay with us at Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach.

We are pleased to hear that you enjoyed the stunning beachfront location of your Suite during your stay, in particular the amazing snorkelling available straight off the beach front of your room.

In terms of the concerns you have raised, we appreciate the opportunity to respond as below.

We apologise for and have addressed your concerns regarding the tables being cleared promptly at breakfast and the slow service you experienced while dining with us, with our Restaurant & Bar Manager.

We have also addressed your experience with regards to the issuing of beach towels with the staff involved and with the concerns you raised with regards to your enquiry for a snorkeling map.

Our Executive Housekeeper is actively addressing the feedback you have raised with room servicing times with our Housekeeping department staff. Our Resort Compendiums also provide information in regards to the housekeeping services available at the Resort. Guests are welcome to contact our Reception desk during their stay to request a standard daily housekeeping service time.

The quality of each guests’ stay is important to us and as such, we have Duty Managers on duty from 7am until 12midnight daily. They can be reached by dialing 0 from one’s room phone or asking for them at Front Desk (their names are posted on the wall at Front Desk), and we would have welcomed the opportunity to address any matters of concern which you experienced during your stay.

Kia Manuia & Kind Regards

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Reviewed September 25, 2012

We choose this adults only resort/hotel as we were looking for a "quiet & peaceful" setting, which it is most of the time, with the exception of trolleys being wheeled up & down the cobble like pathways by the kitchen & housekeeping staff as early as 6.00am in the morning.
Checking in at 2.00am, the last thing we wanted or expected is the overwhelmingy frequent loud rumble of trolleys whizzing past our room at the crack of dawn!
Rooms are adequate & clean although the shower had a constant drip, the view beautiful from the beachfront rooms. Staff friendlyness average & there was no porterage checking in or out.

Room Tip: Choose a beachfront room, the views are gorgeous.
  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Martina A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RarotonganSales, Director of Sales at Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach, responded to this reviewResponded September 30, 2012

Kia Orana “Martina A”

Thank you for your review of your recent stay with us at Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach.

We are very happy that you enjoyed the fantastic location of the Resort as Sanctuary Rarotonga takes great pride in its incredible location with a traditional marine reserve at its doorstep.

We appreciate the opportunity respond to the concerns you have raised in regards to your holiday at Sanctuary Rarotonga.

The quality of each guests’ stay is important to us and as such, we have Duty Managers on duty from 7am until 12midnight daily. They can be reached by dialing 0 from one’s room phone or asking for them at Front Desk (their names are posted on the wall at Front Desk), and we would have welcomed the opportunity to address any matters of concern which you experienced during your stay.

We do apologise for the maintenance issue you experience with your shower dripping during your stay. In addition to Duty Manager’s on shift, we also have Maintenance staff available between the hours of 7am and 12midnight to attend to any maintenance concerns – by advising our Front Desk staff of the issue with your shower, they would have been pleased to organize a Maintenance staff member to be dispatched quickly to attend the leak.

We are also concerned and do apologise that you experienced a few disruptions during your stay with our housekeeping and portering trolleys moving along the walkways close to your room. We are pleased to confirm that we have identified a solution to this issue with upgrades to the trolleys to avoid further experiences of this nature in future.

In terms of porterage services, this can be organized with our Front Desk staff. Guests are welcome to contact the Front Desk directly and request assistance with the collection or delivery of their luggage when they arrive or check out.

Thank you once again for your feedback and we hope to be able to welcome you back to Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach in future.

Kia Manuia & Kind Regards

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Additional Information about Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach

Address: Aroa Beach, Aroa Beach, Cook Islands
Phone Number:
Location: Cook Islands > Southern Cook Islands > Rarotonga > Aroa Beach
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Aroa Beach
Price Range: $203 - $503 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach 4*
Number of rooms: 49
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A true taste of the exotic Cook Islands in the heart of the South Pacific, Sanctuary Rarotonga is an adults-only resort located on the pristine white sand shores of Aroa Lagoon. All suites are absolute beachfront. Tropical buffet breakfast, many resort activities, and daily activities program are included in the nightly rate. The perfect location for a romantic honeymoon or a relaxed beach holiday. Three effortless Weddings in Paradise packages. A true South Pacific paradise. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sanctuary Rarotonga-On The Beach Hotel Aroa Beach
Sanctuary Rarotonga-On The Beach Aroa Beach

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