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The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Spa
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Reviews (1,195)
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Reviewed June 24, 2008

WOW--we got home this morning at 1 am--FREEZING. Have been in Rarotonga for 9 nights mid June and stayed at the rarotongan resort-----------DONT let ALL of the bad reports put you off. We have stayed at great places in Fiji and of course compared this place to them - all in all this place was great.
We are a family of 4 and only had a garden room which was ok- could have done with a bigger one, but you really only need it for showers and sleeping - the snorkelling was Magnificent and better than the coral coast on Fiji. Walk 3 steps off the AMAZING beach and there are hundreds of fish at your feet. we went a further 10 metres and still only shoulder height and swam over a giant 90 yr old clam-WOW!!!.
The food is quite pricey in raro and the resorts - we took 19 kilos of snacks and food with us - and left a whole bag for the cleaning lady. Some good supermarkets and NO, milk is not $12 per 2 litre-we only paid $3.50 per 1 litre. Water is very dear, pineapple juice is cheaper====got a love it, aye!
you have to do the ""Scooter thing"", even if you dont like bikes like me!, he he--what a crack up---we had a blast, hubby got his license, had his test (around the block with a bike cop) and paid $15 which included his Car license. Speed limit on the whole Island is 50k's, if NO helmets you can do 40k's - NO-ONE has helmets and its so much FUN.
Have to do Captain Tamas lagoon cruise the giudes are way cool and have you in fits of histerics - great BBQ lunch, coconuts show etc.
The kids aged 9 & 11 had a ball at the kids club - not over run by kids at the resort as it is not school holidays yet - would perhaps NOT go in the holidays, I imagine it would be too much!.
If you are hungry go and order food early - they are on Raro time, food is really nice and we ate twice at the Spaghetti House, also the Nu Bar - awesome--really great feed and a good price!.
we had a cool convertible car hire free for 24 hours courtesy of the resort and went round the island, petrol is $2.60ish??, but after the whole time and cruizing alot we only used about $5.00--well worth it! After checking out most of the island I can definately say the Rarotongan Resort has the best beach and snorkelling, we went in almost everyday. They had a great range of activities and water stuff for us to use FREE, yes you do need the towels back before 5.30 so they can wash them etc, but its well signposted and we were never caught short or charged. Overall I think the Fijians are a wee bit friendlier that the Rarotongans, but we did make some friends and most of the staff were great!.
Our last night and we were ready to pack up as we had a 4am wake up call - BUT DAMN, went to tea at Captain Andys and there was a sign saying our flight the next morning was delayed 11 hours from LA - OH CR@P, not ------we had an extra day on the resort Free, Air NZ were fantastic and paid for our $17.50 Tropical breakfasts each and paid for us to have $25 each for lunch, the resort were also great although we still had to book out at 10am - we could stay at the resort until 3.30.
Back to reality now and looking forward to travelling again.

  • Stayed: June 2008, traveled with family
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5  Thank rhad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 19, 2008

Terrible property, terrible beach, terrible service, terrible everything! We arrived here after spending 8 days in paradise at Atuitaki Lagoon Resort & Spa and could not have been more disappointed. They were supposedly sister properties, which is how we ended up here, but they couldn't have been on further ends of the spectrum. Would not recommend this to anyone!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Stayed: September 2007, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank paoztraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 14, 2008

When we stayed there were renovations going on. After 3 days of constant banging and general noise, we asked for a quieter room. We were shown to a room which was damp and so old fashioned it was untrue, so we started looking around for somewhere else to stay. Luckily we found a lovely beach bungalow for the rest of the trip and so we moved. We had travelled from home for days, and had planned this trip for months, and this resort was so disappointing. It may be that we were unlucky, but this is how we found it. The resort is too big, look around for somewhere more intimate, after all, it is the south seas you are going to, not Waikiki.

  • Stayed: February 2008, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank AlanAbernethy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 3, 2008

Travelled to Raro a couple of weeks ago an our first family holiday and had chosen this resort on recommendation from the travel agent and the fact that the smaller more boutique hotels that we normally stay in don't accept children.

On arriving at the hotel it was chaos - 30 people trying to check in at once with only 2 desk staff and not once did I hear a please or thank you a theme that was to continue throughout. The reception has that decidely 80's feel with big wooden flowers and palm fronds that have gathered dust since they were put up in the same era. The resort was built in the 70's and feels like the last time it had any money spent was the 80's - think Butlins in the Pacific .The mould on the ceiling struts was a nice touch.

The room was ok although the bathroom needed a refit, and this was in an upgraded "suite". Don't let the fact we had to ask housekeeping to mop the floor on the first night because our son got filthy crawling about.

I'd have to agree with all the other reviews that the food was absolutely appalling, not one meal came out hot and the menu is pretty dull. It didn't help that the first thing you smelt as you walk over the "ornamental" pond with the eel is the overwhelming smell of stale fat and food. The tropical breakfast is what it says but the service is even worse than the night service which is terrible. Generally we had to find our own high chair, with nice touches of mould, ask for more glasses and hearing the manager say that because the catering toasters cost 2,500k they decided to put out domestic two slice toasters. There were always tables left with plates, the floor greasy and sticky all in one and the bird droppings on the uncleaned window frames topped it off. If your thinking that the kids menu is any better it is if they want chips with their hotdogs, pizza and spaghetti - you get the drift.

The pool is small considering the size of the place and only has room for 10 loungers, maybe that's because the constant blaring "Rarotongan" music drives most people away - by the way that plays from very early morning till late at night.

But the kids club is great, if they are under 4 you have to stay, and the snorkelling is great straight off the beach but mind if youdon't have your towell back by 5pm it's a $20 fine. That's just one of the rules of the activities hut.

If you're thinking you might like a late checkout be prepared for the $95 bill unlike any other hotel I've ever stayed in. And weddings, well there were 8 in the 5 days we stayed there and it's all on the public beach so beware of those swimmers with less than appetising figures that turn up in your photos.

I found the service very offhand, slow and not once did anyone say please or thankyou and in some cases it was very abrupt.

So all in all not somewhere I would return to or recommend.

  • Stayed: May 2008, traveled with family
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4  Thank speedyc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 11, 2008

Just come back from Rarotonga, stayed a week at the Rarotonga Resort and had a fabulous time. This was our first trip away without kids in nearly 7 years so it was to be expected that we would enjoy it lol!

We enjoyed 7 days of warm weather, it rained only once on our second morning there. We hired a scooter, got our license ($10 + $5 to sit the test) and spent the week eating, drinking, snorkling and exploring the island on our scooter.

We had a Garden room, which was a little small for our liking but clean and tidy and sufficient for our needs. The fan and air conditioning were a must as the nights got very humid. Didnt have trouble with mozzies, but tiny ants did get into my M & M's and after that I couldnt get rid of the things. I'm sure some even came home in my suitcase.

Food and alcohol was a little pricey within the resort and at restaurants, but at the supermarkets you are looking at similar to NZ prices for some things. However, we were aware of the costs before we left and budgeted accordingly so we werent disapointed once we got there. $200 a day for food and beverages (excluding breakfast as this was included in our accomodation price) was very comfortable.

The staff at the Rarotongan were delightful. Loved all the Fijian guys working in the bar/dining area. So cheerful and happy in their jobs. We never had dirty plates sitting waiting to be collected and never experienced slow service (despite all the talk of Island Time lol)

Attending at least one show has to be compulsary, almost a Rarotongan Resort rite of passge I would think! Just get into it, and have some fun. Ladies, some of those guys are really nice to look at LOL!

Snorkling was fantastic and a highlight of our trip. The only thing I reccomend there is if you cant take your own snorkling gear, try out the masks they loan you at the resort in the pool before heading out to the lagoon, we had terrible trouble with leaking masks.

Next time we go back we will be bringing our kids, they would absolutely love it.

  • Stayed: May 2008, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank two_little_kiwis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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