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“Perfect honeymoon destination”

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Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Aroa Beach
Reviewed December 19, 2012

Beautiful rooms, right on the beach. Amazing view. A nice private resort within a larger resort. Would love to go back!

Lots of options within the resort for food. The staff are lovely. Plenty of activities at the resort or hire a scooter and explore the whole island- the mountains on Rarotonga are amazing. The sand floored restaurant is beautiful. The resort's day spa, Spa Polynesia is fantastic and will leave you spoiled and relaxed.

We spent 5 nights here which was perfect but if you're not exploring any other islands I would recommend staying on Rarotonga longer!

  • Stayed: November 2012
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Thank Kimberly D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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360 - 366 of 486 reviews

Reviewed December 12, 2012

I stayed here for 5 nights for our honeymoon in December. I'll start by saying that I really did enjoy my stay at Sanctuary Rarotonga. Ok, good things:

1. I requested a room in the 700 block and I was happy to see they delivered, we were situated in room 701 and it was lovely. Great views, beach front and a nice large room. Our room was tidy and clean and we loved the addition of the lounge chairs and table out the front of the room.

2. The food at the Blue Water Grill was so good. The lamb rack was to die for and we ate there almost every night.

3. The "Cook your own bbq" was great. We paid to have it delivered as room service and cooked it on our varanda. It was something different and we got to be in the privacy of our own room.

4. Beach was gorgeous and lovely to swim in, and the pool was lovely, we didn't get to use it at the start because there were crowds of roudy drunk people in there and it wasn't very welcoming but at the end of the trip we used it a few times and the water was lovely and warm.

5. Room was clean and tidy and when we requested new sheets they were provided straight away.

6. The location really is beautiful and the lagoon is idelyic.

Ok, a few negative things:

1. All the events the entire 6 days we were there were cancelled! It was very frustrating, everytime we booked in for something they would cancel it at the last minute. I expressed my frustration at reception and they said that there wasn't enough people. But I couldn't help thinking that if they didnt keep cancelling things all the time then people would come!

2. There were only 2 restaurants really. On the website it looked like a lot more, but when i got there the asian restaurant was closed and when I enquired about it opening they said they didn't know. The menu for Sanctuary and Raratonga beach resort are the same for lunch and the menu is the same at night and day for dinner over at Raratonga so the food gets very boring. I was dissapointed that the other restaurant was not open. The food at the Sanctuary did seem to be better then the other resort though, so I would tend to stick there for lunches as well.

3. The staff were mostly friendly and nice but most of them I found were very unknowledgable about the resort, we kept trying to settle our account with cash every few days and there was only one lady in the whole of Sanctuary who knew how to do this which was quite frustrating. It also took three people to finally organise our cook your own bbq as nobody seemed to have a clue how to do it or knew that you could have it in your room even though we explained that we had spoken to another couple who had done it only the previous evening. Alot of the time we also found them quite unhelpful and we felt like on our honeymoon we would have appreciated just a little extra kindness to ensure we had a great stay, we quite often felt ignored or like we were causing a nusiance if we asked for anything

4. Breakfast was pretty average, is they just added the addition of a few hot items e.g some eggs, pancakes etc it would be a lot more interesting.

So, overall it was an enjoyable experience and we loved Rarotonga. If the Sanctuary could just work on those view things I think it would be a perfect place to stay.

Room Tip: 700 block has great views
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank aussiealyce
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 12, 2012

We just came back from rarotonga yesterday and were so glad we chose Sanctuary at the Rarotongan - the adults side of rarotongan resort. the rooms were amazing and all beachfront. we could cross over to rarotongan for daily activities and come back at night to our own lovely private decks facing the beach and stunning lagoon.
the swim up bar was the best at sanctuary, drinks and food amazing.
snorkelling was amazing, good or bad weather the fish come out to play , saw lots of colourful fish and clams
We have stayed in heaps of resorts and sanctuary rarotongan resort has been the best so far in terms of staff and the service they provide day in day out.
We walked around to other resorts on the island but could not see better places to snorkel. Local restaurants are really good – food is amazing but the presentation and quality at the sanctuary was second to none.
duty manager Naitani and his friendly staff made our stay really memorable – definitely coming back

Room Tip: choose to stay in the bottom rooms so you can just lazily crawl in and out from your snorkelling and...
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank kris s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 10, 2012

Good location, excellent friendly service, great value for money.
Perfect for adults travelling as a couple, alone or with a group of friends - if your wanting somewhere relaxing without kiddies. Pool area is lovely, especially early evening with the garden torches. There are an ok range of cocktails on offer.
The beach isnt the best part of the island, but is still ok for swimming & snorkelling.
The breakfast selection is continental only, very basic - but all your fresh fruits ect. We had room service once, was the price of your norm run of the mill and food was satisfactory.
For what we paid (mid range) I think we did very well. Everyone was very helpful, the rooms were great (clean!) and we had a view of the water.
Thanks to all the lovely staff :)

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank alanaa123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 8, 2012

Just had my second trip to Cook Island in less than a year. Decided to stay up market and booked Sanctuary Rarotongan. Advertises that it is a ädults only"resort, quiet, romantic. Well the lagoon is about the only quiet place. During our stay they booked a "conference"into the romantic accomodation. Noise all night, couldn't even get into the private pool for adult kids bombing competition. They partied all night for three nights straight. Second night we complained , responded eventually . then stepped up the party after they left. When we spoke to manager, third in line mind you, they said they had no other complaints. We later found out that there were only four other couples other than the conference and three of them left after the first night. I know some local people who live there and they were told that it is now a TRAINING HOTEL for FIJI. That explains the lack of service, friendly atmosphere and all the rest. I would stay at EDGEWATER RESORT again with no hesitation Far, far more professional for half the price. Will never never recommend Sanctuary to anyone including my travel agent. I have been all over the world and never had such bad sevice and unfriendly staff.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Debbie8015
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 4, 2012 via mobile

Me and my partner stayed here at the end of august for a week.
I had spent alot of time on trip advisor reading reviews so went with a very open mind as some of the reviews were great and others not soo. So this is our feel on the whole trip.
The positives were we thought the resort itself was lovely the gardens flowers just beautiful!! We really enjoyed the pool area as alot of the time it was very windy at beach and we were able to find shelter around the pool. The room was great size big bed nice bathroom loved the open layout and was very clean. Room got serviced daily sometimes in the afternoon but that didnt bother us we realised there was alot of rooms to be cleaned and not all could be done at once. Loved having breakfast by the pool each morning. Had no problems hireing out gear always were towels and were very flexible with us with returning equipment abit later.
Things that could have been improved
Breakfast was pretty average by the end of the week it would have been nice to have a bit of a different selection. Fridge was very noisy in the room which made it harder to sleep at night. Overall service was abit hit and miss sometimes it was ok but most of the time i felt as tho i was a hassle to ask for anything, to the point our safe didnt work in our room and i didnt want to bother anyone to get it fixed as when i first asked i felt as though i was blown off. Me and my partner got engaged infront of the resort so now looking back we really should have had the safe working as for the money we payed to stay here it was important instead we resorted to trying to hide the ring in the room when we went out swimming. Also with doing research on trip advisor prior to going we had decided we really wanted a room in the 700 block as this has direct water access so booking almost 7months early we had put in our requests for this which in my opinion should be more then enough time to reserve it unfortuantly this was not meet and we were put in the 600 block when i talked to reception they just said it was a busy time of year and made no attempt to accommodate us.
We advise other visitors to hire scooters from across the road unfortunately we didnt see this shop as we arrived and went with the resorts recommendation which was a shuttle would pick us up in 10mins and take us to the hire shop in town, after 1.5hrs wait a group had formed all waiting then a car with room for 3 people turned up saying that only one of us could go at this point a friendly other guest told us about the hire shop not even 5mins walk across the road we hired a scooter in less then 15 mins and we were off so just for anyone else staying here this is to let you no just walk across the road :-)
We had massages while we were there and also our package came with a hydrotherapy treatment which unfortuantly think the staff need to be better educated on what everything is and advising guests on what they needed ect as this lead to alot of confusion and for the prices we paid for our massages it should have been better.
Overall for the price we payed there were a few simples things that could have just made our stay so much better, there is alot of potential in this resort but it didnt give us the wow factor.
We both absolutely loved rarotonga it was a fantastic holiday and we cant wait to go back highlight was ridding the scooter, dinner at the flame tree, captain tamas cruise, snorkelling infront of the resort amazing!! (Best on island) and of corse getting engaged in the hammock infornt of resort at sunset!!

  • Stayed: August 2012
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Thank Linnell3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 26, 2012

We just returned from a week stay at the Sanctuary Rarotonga. This was our third trip to Rarotonga. We had previously stayed at the sister Rarotongan Beach Resort and Spa. We arrived at the Sanctuary at about 1am, the staff were waiting for us with a ice cold fruit punch (welcome drink). We woke in the morning to the most incredible view of the beach and lagoon, we started each morning with a coffee on our balcony. The beachfront rooms are lovely. Each with a huge super king bed, air conditioning which makes sleeping at night very comfortable and a modern bathroom with a huge shower. A tropical breakfast daily was included, on offer was fresh fruits, yogurt, cereals, toast with delicious spreads (honey, jams, peanut butter etc), pastries ( Danishes, muffins and croissants) as well as fresh fruit juices, coffee and tea. I looked forward to breakfast each morning it was tasty and just filled the gap. Cooked breakfast options are available at an additional cost. We spent a lot of our time at the Sanctuary swim up pool bar. The pool area is very peaceful and is set amongst the lush tropical palm trees. We wondered over to the Rarotongan Beach Resort which is only a few steps away for a delicious lunch at Captain Andy's Bar and Grill. The swimming and snorkeling from both the Rarotongan and Sanctuary beach is amazing!
There were so many options for dinner at the resort. We had 2 meals at the Blue Water Grill at the Sanctuary which was extraordinary! You can also wonder over to the Restaurants at the Rarotongan Resort or an island themed night or BBQ. The bus stops literally 3 steps from the front of the resort, so getting into town and around the Island is no hassle.
I will definitely be going back to Rarotonga in the near future and I will be staying at the Sanctuary! The resort exceeded all of our expectations, we have not one complaint. The staff are wonderful, they are always smiling and so friendly. Gold was one of the highlights of our stay, she was exceptional.
The only thing I would have changed about our trip is to have had more time in this beautiful resort!

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Candice G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach

Address: Aroa Lagoon Marine Reserve | Aroa, 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: $199 - $481 (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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