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“Enjoyable 2 weeks”

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Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Aroa Beach
Reviewed January 31, 2013

I read the reviews on TA for a couple of months before arriving, and I am pleased I took them with a grain of salt. We had a very enjoyable stay at The Sanctuary! We learnt pretty quickly to stay away from the Rarotongan side of the island (kids, dated, less than friendly staff, poorly executed activities program, bingo - avoid, pearl info session - she didnt turn up and staff didnt know what was going on!). We built up some great relationships with the staff - special mention to Gold, Peaches, Iva, Ruth and Leilani who made our stay a true pleasure, nothing was ever a hassle, always a friendly smile and interest in what we were doing. We stayed for 2 weeks and survived a tropical depression (2 days rain) and Cyclone Garry on our last day, but we did stay in the low season which is Cyclone season. We ate in the Blue Water Grill 4 times, the food was great and well presented. I admit the tropical breakfast got repetitive, especially with blueberry muffins for 9 days straight - I didnt have to eat them! We stayed on the bottom floor in room 703 - rooms 701 - 705 are the best rooms to stay in. The hotel can offer car hire, tours and directions, and will make bookings on your behalf. The Cook Islands is an expensive place to visit (the bus transfers from airport is NZD$55pp return for a 15min ride...), fuel is $2.64 L and a can of Coke in the Supermarket is $2.20, but hey your on holiday and you make do. From our numerous clockwise circuits around the Island and checking out the accommodation on the Island, I would put the Sanctuary in the Top 5 of places to stay.

Room Tip: We stayed on the bottom floor in room 703 - rooms 701 - 705 are the best rooms to stay in.
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank MattBushby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 27, 2013

We visited the Sanctuary Rarotonga in Jan 2013 we stayed there for 2 weeks. It was really good. The pool swim up bar excellent. The food was great at the restaurant. The snorkeling right at your doorstep was really good lots of fish to see. The atmosphere was very relaxed and friendly and quiet. The staff and service was very good. The staff are so friendly and happy to do anything for you. I would definitely stay here again!!!

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank kerry r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 21, 2013

Spent a week here over New Years 2012 and had our wedding on a local beach.
Beachfront room was outstanding, staff were lovely and very helpful. The resort is very clean, and the staff just cannot do enough for their guests.
Although we didn't arrange our wedding through the resort, the staff decorated our room with fresh flowers for our return after our ceremony which was a lovely surprise and gesture on their part.
Food was beautifully prepared and cooked and eating /dining at the resort was reasonably priced compared to NZ.
Would happily stay here again.

Room Tip: Ask for a room, away from the Rarotongan side of the resort if you are looking for total peace and q...
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Sporran7266
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 17, 2013

Stayed at the Sanctuary for 3 nights. Unfortunately had 2 says of continuous rain. I was told that this was the first time in 6 months where there was continuous rainfall. Just my luck. The resort itself was nice in terms of its sense of tranquility. There definitely is a significant difference between sanctuary and the rarotongan. It's just more peaceful and quiet on the side of Sanctuary. On the 1 sunny day I had, saw only a few people on the beach. You can go snorkeling or kayaking as well. The shore is pretty, though sand is a bit rocky. I think they have made some improvements with service when I think back to some of the other reviews. My room was always serviced at least by 1pm. However they seem to forget some of the common details, like restocking toilet paper or tissue boxes. My first night they forgot to give us a bath mat and bath towels. The rooms are ok. Bathroom shower stalls need some dusting. King beds are actually just 2 twin beds attached together. Food was alright. Would definitely recommend the club chicken sandwich and French fries. Their pizza was a bit on the greasy side, had to use a couple of paper napkins to blot out the puddles of oil. Their nachos are just doritos with meat sauce. Calamari was scant in their calamari dish. Food in general was fairly expensive, though this seems to be the case in general with Rarotonga, especially with alcohol cocktails. They also have a policy to return beach towels by 530pm. And I don't know if its a cultural thing but every time we asked for a fresh set of towels, they asked, 'didn't they leave towels when they serviced the room?' Overall, I think if you can accept some of the shortcomings going in, you'll have an ok to good experience. However I would probably try other resorts just to change things up if I ever returned to raro.

Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
Thank gatzbee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 8, 2013

I didn't love this place. Aside from the location on the beach, which did afford us some of the best snorkeling in Raro, the hotel itself was just okay. The service was fussy with their towels and equipment rentals and the food was not very good and very expensive. It feels a bit dated as well. I loved my trip to Raro and will be going back, but probably would not stay here again.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank snarkycat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 5, 2013

I went here for New Year's with my best friend. The location is brilliant - right on the beach, and best of all - no screaming kids! You can be totally lazy here and just eat and drink which is pretty much what we did. You can also use all the facilities at the Rarotongan next door. Our room was a little noisy as it was right next to the restaurant, but the entertainment stopped at 9pm so we could at least sleep. The room was simple but clean and comfortable, with air con that worked well as well as a fan. The food is delicious - we found the Sanctuary Blue Water Grill to be a little too pricey but it was lovely. Better value is Captain Andy's at the Rarotongan next door, though still pricey. The staff we had were mostly very welcoming and friendly. We felt very well looked after. We had hysterical times singing karaoke and doing crab racing, and the New Year's Eve party they put on was a lot of fun. We hardly left the place but were able to rent bikes and helmets for the day and go exploring as well. There are a lot of other fun activities to do at the Rarotongan The swim-up bar is a novelty and the cocktail list not bad and good value. I couldn't really fault this place too much - sometimes the service is a bit slow (but hey! this is island time!) and they don't seem to sterilise the snorkels after each use, just rinsed in seawater. Also while the spa treatments were worth it in the end, the booking system is poorly-organised and they didn't have some treatments in stock despite advertising them in the spa menu. The Tropical Breakfast included in our package was adequate but was the same stuff everyday and didn't include any hot options - these were extra and were pricey for what they were (e.g., approx $20 for eggs benedict or pancakes) I would definitely come back here to stay though - it is pricey but worth it.

Room Tip: If you are after peace and quiet better to get a room away from the restaurant end
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Charlotte S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 31, 2012

We had a room in 700 block on the ground floor - beautiful location - walk straight out onto the white sand. It was quite windy the whole time we were there so didnt spend a lot of time on the beach but explored the island instead. LOVED the fact that sanctuary is adults only - a few times we visited "the other side" and were always very happy to return to the peace and quiet on our side. No children anywhere on the Sanctuary side. We found food on both sides to be great but dont be in a hurry for anything!! - everything operates on island time and you just have to learn to relax and go with it. We ate at a couple of local restaurants and they were also excellent. Rooms were serviced well every day , staff were always very friendly and helpful. Our only problem was with internet access - took me 5 tries to get access that wasnt already half or fully used - always check the data available first. This was also the only time I came across a staff member who was less than polite and not very helpful. Also we paid to go to the Fire Dancing only to find out at the end that there was actaully no fire dancing!!!! It wasnt a bad show anyway - they just failed to tell us the actual fire dancing was cancelled. When I mentioned this to a manager he wasnt very concerned - but that was probably just the laid back attitude coming out. Was disappointing just the same as it wasnt cheap - food was good once again though!. We explored the island on the local bus which does laps around the island every half hour - good way to see the real island and locals. A day trip to Aitutaki is also highly recommended - expensive but beautiful. We also took the Raro Island Safari which was good fun. Accomodation isnt the best I have stayed in - the bed wasnt overly comfy and the TV was rubbish - but you dont go there to watch TV anyway. Its all about the location really!!! Dont forget beach shoes - quite a lot of coral!!

Room Tip: Ask for a ground floor room to walk out onto the beach - 700 block is away from the pool and recepti...
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank LeahjBendigo
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: $200 - $476 (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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