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Sunrise Beach Bungalows
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Reviews (222)
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Reviewed December 10, 2007

We booked a two week stay direct with Sunrise and were looking forward to our break in the sun. Then due to an overseas job offer we had to cancel our holiday.
Under their terms and conditions we gave them 30 days notice and were therefore entitled to a NZD300.00 refund. It has been over two months now and despite many emails requesting this refund and replies from Sunrise to say that it's coming it has not eventuated - and now they are not replying to my emails at all.

I am extremely disappointed with the owners of this property as they seem very dishonest and would like to warn other people who are thinking of making a booking direct with them - don't if you want to see any refund you may need to get back!

  • Stayed: November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Service
4  Thank JonesyLeeds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 14, 2007

Sunrise Bungalows is definitely an interesting place!

Firstly, I've got to mention the location - which I think is its biggest positive. It's about 5 minutes drive from the tourist mainstream of Muri Lagoon and is situated on the south eastern coast of Rarotonga. It looks directly out across the South Pacific and we found it surprisingly therapeutic to sit out on the deck of our bungalow and just watch the heaving swell crash onto the coral reef before us. I likened the thunder of the surf to having a jet engine roaring outside your room which can affect ones sleep a little - but hey... this is part of the island experience. The beach, while rocky and not suitable for swimming, is strewn with the most amazing array of coral bits and shells on the island!

Finding crabs of all description wandering about the outside of the bungalows was memorable and quite unique and a reflection of the ocean environment in which we were living. We caught them for posterity on camera.

The Sunrise staff were a bit of an odd lot. While informative, Caryn can talk like a machine and some of the instructions she gave us seemed to be in a perpetual state of change. However, we found Caryn and Brian pretty good on the whole - but then perhaps we were the lucky ones. I had kept steady contact with Caryn between booking accommodation in April and arriving in September for my brother's wedding down at Muri. I had also emailed her 5 days prior to our departure and to confirm our airport pickup which in hindsight was vital. Caryn and Brian got us a good deal on a rental car though and gave us the use of their house on the day of the wedding to prepare.

I had provided Caryn with our flight arrival date and time when I booked/paid. I was a bit surprised when, after corresponding with her by email in July, she came back to me requesting clarification again of our arrival date/time. As it happened, her office laptop computer had been evidently stolen (they don't lock their doors at Sunrise!) and with it half their booking information. As a result -we were lucky our booking was issue free. My uncle, aunt and cousin though - also in Raro for the wedding and who had also booked at Sunrise got caught out. Caryn would have had no idea that they were coming if we had mentioned them in passing at the time of our arrival. They were then crammed into one bungalow having paid for two!

Caryn had boasted by email of having “the best cleaner on Rarotonga” who was evidently from the Philippines. Maybe something changed between the time of my initial enquiry and our arrival because we definitely saw no Filipino cleaner – in fact our bungalow would have been totally un-serviced were it not for our efforts to keep it liveable.

Being absolute beachfront and with the quantity of salt spray floating about in the air takes its toll on premises like these. It makes investing in their upkeep essential. In our bungalow, everything metal seemed to be rusting - the fan, oven, framing, cutlery. Heaven knows how the TV survives. The door onto our front deck opened, but not without the application of a great deal of sheer force. The sink in the bathroom was coming away at the wall - nice touch. The place had so much additional potential if only the necessary investment back into it were given.

Caryn had promised us a free breakfast on our first morning. This turned out to be a small box of Weetbix, two mini-cartons of cornflakes, half a paw-paw (tropical fruit), some butter scooped out on a plate in the fridge, an opened loaf of bread and an opened carton of milk - also in the fridge. We thought a bit unusual but did not make an issue of it as had brought in our own supplies from New Zealand... we simply binned hers.

Sunrise have a mid day check-out policy. This prompted our only issue when Caryn arrived on our doorstep on the morning of our departure and tried to move us out 90 minutes early! Fortunately we were about to leave anyway - so once again a non event for us.

In the whole, the Sunrise experience was "okay" but probably not one that we would risk again next time. There just seemed to be too much confusion happening all around us at any one time to provide peace of mind.

Some points to be aware of though:

1. As soon as Sunrise have your credit card details they will charge the accommodation to it - ours was charged in April for a September stay.

2. If you book at Sunrise, maintain communication with them - they do not seem to have a hardcopy backup of their bookings

3. Their website is woefully in need of updating and the bungalow facilities listed there are misleading - we did not have any of the following: "dishwasher, microwave, stereo or video" and the "separate shower and toilet" is totally wrong - they're in the same room.

4. Bungalows at Sunrise do not seem to get cleaned during guests stay. We were at Sunrise for 6 nights and never saw a cleaner.

5. Beware of communicating with Caryn – she uses a semi-cell phone-type text-dialect in her communiqués which can make deciphering interesting.

If you're lucky - like us you will have a good stay - but there seems to be a very fine line between that and a holiday from hell.

  • Stayed: September 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
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6  Thank holidaysinc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 20, 2007

Caryn and Brian saved our holiday, we were staying in the worst accomodation possible KiiKii Motel holiday house it was so mouldy after 1 night my daughters we ill. After a chance meeting when I called into Caryns shop to get some DVDs she insisted we go with Brian to check out her beachfront bungalows. I could'nt afford to pay to transfer so I left there but later that night at 8pm Brain and a friend Dennis turned up at our house and insisted we move to the bungalows whether we managed to transfer the money to them or not they just wanted to help and get us out of where we were.

We loved her bungalows they looked straight out to the ocean and were lovely and clean. The pool was a great place to swim and Caryn helped us get a cheap rental car for a day but still offered to take us to town anytime we needed.

I cannot put into words their kindness, the bungalows are a peaceful hideaway where they made us feel like family even sharing dinner with us.

I would highly recommend them to anyone, Caryn is a hardworking lady who also runs the local store fron 6am to 8pm so yes she can be hard to track down sometimes but Brian was there often or not and we never had any concerns.

We were luck also to have the whales outside our bungalow.

  • Stayed: July 2007, traveled with family
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
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    • Cleanliness
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1  Thank horseynurse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 27, 2007

This was my first trip to Rarotonga with my family.

We wanted to stay in the village my grandfather came from.
Brian and Caryn, our proprietors, had bungalows directly across from my family land.
They were friendly, informative, too busy to see much of us but extremely helpful when asked.

We liked our independence, the free use of their 6ft deep pool, linen and sturdy washing machine. (tons of laundry lines on site)
The general look and feel of the bungalows and environs really felt like our own natural jungle.

This place is good for those who have good mosquito repellent, and are used to camping, cabins, that sort of thing.
Our toddlers found it too hot without air conditioning.
The bungalows are pleasant,a nice size, tidy, have an assortment of working appliances and furniture.
Parking is ample and off street.

The beach is not a swimming beach, but a quick 10 min trip in your car will lead you to many swimming areas.

Overall the Sunrise Bungalows are a modestly priced, private place.
But if you want air con and prepared meals, look elsewhere.

5  Thank NewZealandCookie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 22, 2007

We booked the Sunrise contacting the owner by email, we gave our credit card details and she charged also the expensive $10 each way for the transport, only because we just make an enquiry. We tought she was cheeky but we didn't want to create problems.
On the arrival, the owner, a new zelander, accommodated us in a apartment on the ground floor, below her own apartment. The place was nice and clean, but we previously agreed for a beachfront bungalow. She (the owner) appeared somethimes to be a little bit intimidating to us, even if she gave the freedom to borrow snorkeling equipment and a bycicle whenever we want. She brought us to the most expensive rental scooter in Rarotonga, but, worst of everything, she upset my wife when she proudly told her that she arranged to shoot 3 stray dogs near her area.
The place was nice but we don't have good memory because of this person

  • Stayed: October 2004, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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3  Thank inabigcountry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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