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“Relaxing” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Sunrise Beach Bungalows

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Sunrise Beach Bungalows
Certificate of Excellence
North Carolina
Level Contributor
73 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“Relaxing”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 24, 2008

We wanted a quiet place on the ocean in a tropical setting and that is what we got. Caryn and Brian were excellent hosts, very considerate and kind. If you are expecting 5 star accomodations then stay somewhere else and pay the price. We enjoyed the simple setting, the constant ocean breeze and the ocean at our doorstep. When they advertise you are "on the beach", you really are so there will be salt spray and salty air. Salt corrodes metal so expect that.

We particularly enjoyed the fresh fish at the market Caryn recommended. A pan fry lunch every day with fish fresh from the ocean. The Saturday market is a delight, with interesting foods available throughout the week at the same location. Delightful island meal and show at the staircase Thursday night- ask Caryn what to do and where to go.

Some of the reviews are not kind, so I should point out that besides taking care of the cottages, Caryn helps a sick friend run their store. She is intense and talks sort of fast, but she is the kind of person I would like as a friend. She does enough work for 3 people every day, but always finds time to help out if you need it.

  • Liked — Quiet
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed November 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank netbob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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202 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (61)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Canada
Level Contributor
10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 23, 2008

We have been going there to the Sunrise for the past 5 yrs (inc this one). If you check into it you will be told that this is not a beach for swimming but beachcombing OK.
We love the bungalows right along the ocean so you hear the ocean and its very relaxing
We look forward to going again next year as this is our type of holiday for a month. Yes the bed sheets feel damp for the first night but it is so humid there, you get used to it if not you have picked the wrong country to go to
Caryn and Brian are just the best hosts they never bother you but are there if needed or not hard to find. Cant find something just ask and it shall be delivered or told where to look.
You cater to yourself with the cooking, restaurants not to far away but we like to do our own thing other then the great waffles at the market place on Sat.
Brian and Caryn have become great friends and our mark is there beside our bungalow and we cant wait to go back.
Agreaqt holiday , but they are what you make them and this is the best for us a far way but darn its worth it for the serenity and peacefulness away from the nustle and bustle of crowds THE BEST PLACE TO LAY BACK AND RELAX. BEST HOLIDAY EVER.
GREAT PEOPLE.
We even went through the storm that beached the freighter in the towns harbour in Jan/08.

  • Liked — The greatest place to RELAX
  • Disliked — Nothing that I can think of
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank Potion
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wpg. MB
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 29, 2008

I can understand some of the dissenting views of the Sunrise Beach Bungalows and the seemingly inconsistent manner in which Caryn acts and does business: the problem is excessive liquor.

When I first contacted the Sunrise, I received a bizarre email in return, full of swear words and written to the level of someone in about grade three: odd considering we were potential customers, but I had already made up my mind and was sold by the pictures on the web page. When we arrived in Rarotonga, Caryn picked us up at the airport (she was late even though it's ten minutes up the road) and in the time it took us to drive back to the Sunrise, she told us everything about the Sunrise and Rarotonga without so much as inhaling once: it was a blur or manic description.

The bungalow was largely as advertised, on a rocky beach looking out to the ocean, with the waves crashing like a freight train about fifty meters from our patio. This is not a swimming beach and you have to wear shoes on the jagged rocks. It's about a twenty minute walk to Muri Beach up the road and likewise a fair distance to the nearest grocery store and restaurant. Much of the metal in the bungalow was rusted due to the persistent sea spray, but the place was clean and pleasant if you didn't look in the cupboards and drawers. (Cockroaches were an annoyance).

Nevertheless, we enjoyed our first day on Rarotonga and upon returning from a walk that evening where invited upstairs to party with some locals and a few of the other guests in the bungalows. There was about ten of us there, drinking, smoking and singing. The party went well on into the night, through numerous beers and two magnums of "Cougar" brand bourbon.

I can generally handle myself in these situations be we turned in about 1:00 am, completely intoxicated, while Brian and Caryn and several others continued the revelry much later--with Brian's slurred singing drowning out the waves at high tide. The following morning, we awoke to the smell of smoke. Brian was burning garbage on the beach and drinking beer! Later that day, the party, and same revelers were back at it and again partied well into the evening. By day three, after a night on the town, Brian and Caryn looked like hell and we felt the whole mood around the Sunrise became quite dour and gloomy, much like the storms that rolled in from the South. Caryn was very moody, and any favour we asked seemed like a chore.

We told her we were thinking about going to Aitutaki and she slayed the sister island, saying it was "commercialized" and "mosquito infested" and that we were wasting our time. She convinced several others at the bungalow to avoid Aitutaki, but we persisted, had Caryn drop us off at the airport and took off to Aitutaki, realizing everything Caryn said about Aitutaki was the complete opposite of the truth.

We stayed one more night at the Sunrise on our way back to Rarotonga before heading off to Mangaia, and Caryn told us we couldn't stay there again, that it was booked for a wedding. We were relieved, we spent our last week in Rarotonga at Kura's Cabanas and had a wonderful relaxing experience, what we never felt at the Sunrise.

Two months after returning from the Cook Islands I got an email from Caryn saying they lost our credit card information and that we owed her from the stay. I re-submitted my number, was billed the proper amount (thankfully) and never heard from her again--not even a Thank-You for paying even though I was now on the other side of the world.

There are far better places in Rarotonga to recommend the Sunrise Beach Bungalows. The bungalows are not well run and Caryn is not efficient managing bookings, money and keeping the place maintained. I imagine it's pretty difficult running a business when you're intoxicated for days on end. The bizarre email now makes sense; I've written similar passages while in the stage of advanced drunkenness. So if you're looking to party until the wee hours, consider the Sunrise Beach Bungalows for all its faults. If you're looking for a relaxing vacation, avoid this place. Better yet, spend a week in Aitutaki, you will not be disappointed.

  • Liked — The sound of the waves.
  • Disliked — Management
  • Stayed May 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Rastaman10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Whangarei
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 29, 2008

The Good The Bad & The Ugly - Double Booked - Double Charged - Double Deceived

I do not understand how this place gets great rave reviews as well as really bad ones - Does Caryn have a problem which rears its ugly head from time to time.
The Cook Island people are lovely and we loved the island - Caryn says she had A Cook Grandmother but I am ashamed to say I think she is a New Zealander and she is not a good look for either country.
We have traveled to 49 countries and I have never needed to put pen to paper about shabby treatment.

GOOD
6 Months of anticipating 2 tropical bungalows on the beach - Caryn's recommendation - arrive in the dark - awake to the view as shown on her web page - this was to be a day of luxury at a resort before moving on to the house we had booked.
She told us she was the only place that would accept two night bookings.
Confirmed booking - Caryn requests we give details of who the travelers are so she can arrange something special for the group?
We asked by email if all 0kay a few weeks before arrival - no reply - rang and had confirmation of booking - no problems.
Yes - good that she collected us from the airport and provided the advertised "complimentary tropical breakfast" of cornflakes, slices of bread, eggs and tinned spaghetti.

BAD
2 days before arrival we were informed that we were bumped to another company with more expensive cabins down the road but she would pay the difference. Caryn met us at the airport - and took us to the other place - the basic cabins were not on the beach and there was no beach in front of them - just reef - very disappointed as the magic / romance of a tropical holiday is the picture the web site showed. She said we could pay either her or the other company for the two nights and that she would be down at 1pm the next day to sort out the difference. The next morning she rang to say she could not make it - The other owner was not happy and told us she would not see the money so we paid her in full - what we did not know was that Caryn had already deducted the full amount for the stay 6 Months earlier using the visa card number provided. (the person handling the holiday expenses was not one of our group so we were horrified on our return to find that we had in fact already paid the full amount.) We heard elsewhere that she never refused a booking and chose at the last minute who was the best deal and bumped the overflow elsewhere.
The next day we drove to her place to get the difference refunded and she told us she did not have any money there -this was her home and office which we found strange - we asked if she would show us what we had missed by being bumped and she led us to a beach bure - walked us through it to have a look around and we were disturbed to find guests bags and belongings in there- We asked how could we avoid being bumped if we wanted to come again and she said just email me - we thought we had done that - told her we had booked 6 months ago and she threw at us that we had not even paid a deposit - we said you had the credit card details so not our problem - she then said she would be down the road all day tomorrow at her shop and if we called in she would give it to us - we called in 3 times during that day and no sign of her and no money left for us with the shop manager, so by now feeling angry so we drove back to her resort to wait her return.

UGLY
She came roaring out of her car - yelling - I've got your money and slammed it in our hands and told us she did not like our attitude and we had got a great deal - we informed her of a few home truths about her nonsense and lies - she was very angry - anger is the best form of defence - this was done in front of other guests who mouthed at us - we understand.

We now have received the full refund of the $500 Visa charge after a couple of emails and weeks with an excuse that an error had been made - I wonder - and I wonder how many others have not double checked their holiday expenses. Had we not made a stance on getting the small difference in accommodation back between the two companies it would not have become an issue to discuss with the accounts payer at home and she may have got away with it. We dug our toes in because it was obvious all along that she would avoid paying us if she possibly could.

  • Liked — Distance from the road
  • Disliked — The Owner
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
6 Thank MichelleWhangarei
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Christchurch
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 25, 2008

In late July we booked out the whole of Sunrise for a family wedding. It was just perfect. We had the wedding on the beach, the reception in their own area ( which had toilet and kitchen facilities). Caryn and Brian arranged for the wedding bower, cake, catering and hairdresser and everything arrived in time (even if it was Rarotonga time, it still got there). They couldn't have been more helpful, giving advice on where to hire scooters, fish charters etc. You need to like or tolerate animals, the pool is great, the children spent huge amounts of time in it. Being able to take the BBQ down onto the beach and have communal meals there was great.
Don't expect 5 star, there are problems with rust from salt spray etc, but these are minor. You get what you pay for and probably a little more, without the crowds of resorts. Perfect for a laid back wedding for a group of up to 40. Having the whole complex to ourselves was a great advantage. Be aware that everyone in Rarotonga owns roosters and you have to put up with the crowing or take earplugs. We hope to go back.
Heather

  • Liked — Had everything you needed, self cater if you wish.
  • Disliked — The roosters crowing early in the morning.
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank ChristchurchSunlover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Russell
Level Contributor
28 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 19, 2008

After finding that Sunrise was booked out for when we wanted to stay there, there was a bit of dissappointment as it looked fab. But Caryn still helped us out with our stay in Rarotonga giving us a variety of places to stay, in the end we did stay at Sunrise for the last three nights. Even though when we arrived we where staying elsewhere Caryn still picked us up from the airport at 3.30 am and was determined to make our stay in Rarotonga a special one, getting the car hire guy to pick us up from our accommodation the next morning, making things so much easier.
So great hosts at Sunrise, as mentioned before you are beachfront, about 200m from the road, (believe me that is a huge bonus!!) even the rosters seemed quieter! The Bungerlows where in a clean comfortable state, just a little maintenance require.
But the highlight of our evenings were the hermit crabs!! Our four year old (and dad) would have spent hours outside if they could, a must for all to see just after dark! Caryn and Brian also have other interest on the Island so if they look over worked they are!!!! Thanks again guys, hope to see you again one day. =o)

  • Liked — The great view over the reef!!
  • Disliked — nothing to complain about!
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank happyoneRussell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
designrider
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 10, 2008

We stayed 6 nights at Sunrise in April 2008. We made our reservation with a credit card a month in advance and charges were immediately made for full payment. Then nearly 2 months after our stay (which was a very sub-par accommodation), we received an additional $400.00 unexplained charge on our credit card from Sunrise. Confused, I contacted Caryn and Brian by email stating that they needed retract this unexplained charge. They acknowledged the error and said “We get our accountant to do our terminals for us, he will put through this for you on Monday”. I waited a week with no results, so I contacted them again. Their response: “this will be done tomorrow for you as our accountant is sick”. I waited a couple more weeks… Then I sent an email demanding they fix this immediately or else I would file a formal dispute with my credit card company. With no response from sunrise following this, I filed a dispute. Visa is fortunately very helpful with issues like this, but it all takes time. Additionally, in fear that more charges would come through I canceled the credit card and requested a new number. Now, nearly 2 months later Visa was able to verify that the charge does not bear authorization of any kind. WHAT A CORRUPT BUSINESS…WHO WANTS TO DEAL WITH AFTER A VACATION!!!!

  • Stayed April 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
9 Thank designrider
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sunrise Beach Bungalows

Property: Sunrise Beach Bungalows
Address: Main Rd, Sunrise Beach, Cook Islands
Phone Number:
Location: Cook Islands > Southern Cook Islands > Rarotonga
Hotel Style:
Ranked #36 of 77 Specialty Lodging in Rarotonga
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Sunrise Beach Bungalows 3*
Number of rooms: 3
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Absolute oceanfront ocean and garden bungalows and 2 bedroom family house.9m from Muri Lagoon fully self catering bring yourselves and your bagsset in 4800 square metres of sand and garden privateswimming pool gas bbeque tour desk complimentary snokelling equipmentideal for groups families and couples ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sunrise Beach Bungalows Hotel Rarotonga

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