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“Stunning location....resort didn't really match!” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach

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Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Aroa Beach
Wellington, New Zealand
Level Contributor
186 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
“Stunning location....resort didn't really match!”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 4, 2013

The resort is right on the beach in a stunning location and the snorkelling and water frontage is fantastic.

We stayed for eight nights recently. The breakfasts were fairly basic but sufficient. Housekeeping fairly hit and miss and we had to ask for our room to be serviced as had only been done once in four days and the restaurants for evening meals had pretty poor service although food was of good quality. The service in The Rarotongan at lunchtime was appalling....didn't seem to be enough staff on or serving and poor Stu was run off his feet but did his very best for us.

The accommodation was dated, overpriced and disappointing and in need of refurbishment....certainly not 4 star by international standards. During our stay they spend two days rebuilding the beach and the pool area was being refurbished which we were not warned about.

We had a good time but overall felt it was a hefty price that we paid and think we may have been better off at another resort.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank DAFYDDHD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RarotonganSales, Guest Relations Manager at Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach, responded to this review, November 7, 2013
Kia Orana “DAFYDDHD”,

Thank you for taking the time to upload your review to Trip Advisor in regards to your stay at Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach.

We are pleased to hear that you enjoyed the beautiful Beachfront Suites offered at Sanctuary Rarotonga however, are concerned that the standard of service from our staff on the Front/Tour Desk or SpaPolynesia did not meet your expectations. As a result of your feedback we have comprehensively revised our customer service standards provided and implemented refresher training to prevent further experiences of this nature.

We apologise for the experience you encountered with your rooms not being serviced in a timely manner. We have also relayed your feedback in regards to Housekeeping services on to our Executive Housekeeper who is actively addressing these concerns 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.

We have addressed your concerns regarding the standard of service you experienced while dining with us, with our Food & Beverage Manager. He is working with our restaurant and bar team to address the concerns you have raised. Stu is absolutely thrilled with the positive feedback about his service.

Thank you for the comments with regards to your breakfast and we are pleased that you found it sufficient. A complimentary Tropical Breakfast Buffet (Continental Breakfast) of a variety of seasonal island fruits, homemade yoghurt, fresh-baked muffins, Danish pastries, croissants, toast, spreads, tropical juices, tea & coffee, is served for your enjoyment in the Blue Water Grill Restaurant from 7am to 10am daily. You can also select from a variety of cooked and light breakfast options from the Breakfast Menu.

In terms of the rebuilding the beach and pool area, our Resorts maintain a regular and thorough schedule of renovations and refurbishment throughout the year. For obvious reasons, some work can only be completed during lower occupancies.

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
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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412 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (166)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Auckland, New Zealand
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 30, 2013

We had a wonderful honeymoon at the Sanctuary, with the added bonus of having the Rarotongan beach resort right next door where we could use their facilities while still having our quiet adult only resort to go back to. Staff we're very friendly and helpful. Would definitely return

Room Tip: We had the honeymoon spa suite which was huge!
See more room tips
  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Hayley A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RarotonganSales, Guest Relations Manager at Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach, responded to this review, November 5, 2013
Kia Orana “Hayley A”

Thank you for taking the time to write such a wonderful review.

It was a pleasure having you stay with us at Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach for your very special Honeymoon.

We are very happy that you had such a lovely, relaxing and peaceful holiday and enjoyed the fantastic location and services we have to offer at Sanctuary Rarotonga.

We do have an extensive activity list that will keep you occupied for most of your stay. Here at the Sanctuary, you may do as much or as little as you like:-)

We thank you once again for your positive feedback and hope to welcome you back to our resorts again in the very near future as a valued return guest.

Kia Manuia & Kind Regards
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland, New Zealand
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 27, 2013

We have just come back from the most amazing holiday ever! We stayed at The Sanctuary and would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a really relaxing time. So good for the soul. We had a ground floor unit which was awesome as we could walk straight onto the beach. We so enjoyed snorkeling in the clear blue waters and seeing all the amazing fish. The food was fantastic, we didn't eat one thing we didn't enjoy. The staff were amazing, always smiling and ready to help. This hotel definitely ticked all the boxes, we will be back! :-)

Room Tip: Ground floor unit, walk straight onto the beach!
See more room tips
  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank JackieandGordon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RarotonganSales, Guest Relations Manager at Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach, responded to this review, November 5, 2013
Kia Orana “JackieandGordon”

Greetings from the Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach! Thank you for taking the time to post such a wonderful review with regards to your stay.

We are very happy that you enjoyed the fantastic location of the Resort and are delighted that you enjoyed the stunning location and amenities offered in your Beachfront Suite during your stay. Sanctuary Rarotonga takes great pride in its incredible location with a traditional marine reserve at its doorstep.

We are delighted 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 and the great selection of complimentary activities for our guests.

The Sanctuary Rarotonga takes great pride in its incredible location with a traditional marine reserve at its doorstep.

Once again, thank you for your kind feedback and from our team of hardworking and friendly staff at Sanctuary Rarotonga, we hope to be able to welcome you back again.

Kindly contact us for a very special “returnee guest” quote as we would love to be able to welcome you back for your next tropical escape.

Kia Manuia & Kind Regards
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Level Contributor
194 reviews
117 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 104 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 20, 2013

I have come back from my trip to Cook Islands and I am still dreaming about the turquoise blue waters of this place. The food was fantastic. The weather was perfect. Warm during the day, 30ºC, and fresh during the night, 22ºC.
The staff was always there with a big smile in their faces and ready to help you and make your stay just memorable. My favourite activity was snorkelling at the Blue Lagoon, which is inside their private beach. Our room was ocean front, with a nice breeze coming through and a nice sound of waves breaking after the reef.
I need another week there. Soon!!!

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank maurorisch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RarotonganSales, Guest Relations Manager at Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach, responded to this review, November 5, 2013
Kia Orana “maurorisch”

Greetings from the Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach! Thank you for taking the time to post such a wonderful review with regards to your stay.

We are very happy that you enjoyed the fantastic location of the Resort and are delighted that you enjoyed the stunning location and amenities offered in your Beachfront Suite during your stay. Sanctuary Rarotonga takes great pride in its incredible location with a traditional marine reserve at its doorstep.

We are delighted 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 and the great selection of complimentary activities for our guests.

The Sanctuary Rarotonga takes great pride in its incredible location with a traditional marine reserve at its doorstep.

We are delighted that your enjoyed your dining experience. The Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach, has three dining options available;

- Bluewater Grill featuring a wide range of fresh game fish and seafood as well as traditional favourites; and
- Ginger Garden featuring the international favourites from the cuisines of Asia including Teppanyaki, Wok, Steamboat and Mongolian BBQ
- Poolside Pergola casual dining

Once again, thank you for your kind feedback and from our team of hardworking and friendly staff at Sanctuary Rarotonga, we hope to be able to welcome you back again.

Kindly contact us for a very special “returnee guest” quote.

Kia Manuia & Kind Regards
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 19, 2013 via mobile

Like its sister resort, The Roarotongan, the Sanctuary has potential, but since it seems the inmates are running the asylum (ie no management to be seen), things constantly fall through the cracks.

The Good: Food is decent. Not as good as other resorts on the island but light years better than the Rarotongan. If you're stranded due to rain like we were one night, it will do. Although the prices will crush your budget. The room itself was nice enough and had a cool layout.

The bad: service is as lazy and slow as the Rarotongan, but I'll give the Sanctuary staff the credit for at least being friendly. When I ate at the restaurant I had to get up and order drinks at the bar myself. That's just ridiculous and why I barely tipped. She was nice but dear lord, wake up.

The ugly: housekeeping is just as poor here as Rarotongan next door. We found a dead cock roach in the bathroom and it was never thrown away. That sucker just laid there for 3 days. Unfathomable for any hotel, let alone one charging $400/night.

If I ever return to Rarotonga, I'm staying in Muri where all the hotels looked really nice and the food in the area is amazing.

Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Jim D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RarotonganSales, Guest Relations Manager at Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach, responded to this review, October 21, 2013
Kia Orana Jim D

Thank you for taking the time to post your review with regards to your stay at the Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach and The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Spa.

We are pleased that you found the food satisfactory and liked the layout and location of the Blue Water Grill restaurant.

We apologise for and have also addressed your concerns regarding the standard of service you experienced while dining with us, with our Food & Beverage Manager. He is comprehensively working with our restaurant and bar team to address the concerns you have raised.

We have also relayed your feedback in regards to Housekeeping services on to our Executive Housekeeper who is actively addressing these concerns 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
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tauranga, New Zealand
Level Contributor
14 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 23, 2013

Nice resort, not over the top in pricing (food, drinks or room) and friendly helpful staff.
A little windy on our 5 days but still managed to snorkel on two days in the lagoon which was only a matter of metres from the door,
Rarotonga as a whole is pretty laid back and the Sanctuary offers a bit of this without compromising the service you would expect on holiday.
Cant wait to return.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Jeff D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RarotonganSales, Guest Relations Manager at Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach, responded to this review, October 21, 2013
Kia Orana Jeff D

Greetings from the Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach! Thank you for taking the time to post such a wonderful review with regards to your stay.

We are very happy that you enjoyed the fantastic location of the Resort and are delighted that you enjoyed the stunning location and amenities offered in your Beachfront Suite during your stay. Sanctuary Rarotonga takes great pride in its incredible location with a traditional marine reserve at its doorstep.

We are delighted 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 and the great selection of complimentary activities for our guests. The Sanctuary Rarotonga takes great pride in its incredible location with a traditional marine reserve at its doorstep.

Once again, thank you for your kind feedback and from our team of hardworking and friendly staff at Sanctuary Rarotonga, we hope to be able to welcome you back again.

Kia Manuia & Kind Regards
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 21, 2013

In search of a destination primarily to snorkel we selected the cook islands following advice from bendigo flight centre. There are many accom
Choices but we selected the sanctuary and were not disappointed. Really great resort and in the sanctuary resort we had a high degree of privacy while still accessing all the resorts restaurants and facilities. Superb snorkelling straight off the beach with whole range fish big and small ! Excellent friendly staff who worked tirelessly and always with a big smile.

  • Stayed September 2013
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank JillKF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RarotonganSales, Guest Relations Manager at Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach, responded to this review, November 7, 2013
Kia Orana JillKF

Greetings from Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach! Thank you for taking the time to post such a wonderful review with regards to your stay with us.

We are very happy that you enjoyed the fantastic location of the Resort and are delighted that you enjoyed the stunning location and amenities offered in your Beachfront Suite during your stay. Sanctuary Rarotonga takes great pride in its incredible location with a traditional marine reserve at its doorstep.

We are delighted 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 and the great selection of complimentary activities for our guests. The Sanctuary Rarotonga takes great pride in its incredible location with a traditional marine reserve at its doorstep.

Once again, thank you for your kind feedback and from our team of hardworking and friendly staff at Sanctuary Rarotonga, we hope to be able to welcome you back again.

Kia Manuia & Kind Regards
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach

Property: 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 (Based on Average Rates): $$
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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