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“The Ultimate Hosts....in paradise!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Ambala Garden Lodge

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Ambala Garden Lodge
Ranked #3 of 3 Muri B&B and Inns
Alberta Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“The Ultimate Hosts....in paradise!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 April 2009

This was our second visit to the Cook Islands (last time 5 years ago). This visit was even better than expected. We chose Ambala Gardens from reading the great reviews it received. They were accurate on their rating. What a great experience! What phenomenal people Nancy and Esa are! We were treated like family almost immediately, comfortable there from the first day. (we stayed for 12 nights) The Frangipani Suite was huge, having a large living area, large bedroom, nice bathroom, kitchen, and private deck. (though we didn't use the private deck - either visited with our hosts Nancy and Esa, or were out enjoying all that Rarotonga has to offer).

We can't even express well enough, how it felt to stay with these two, "at their home"......

Being that we had stayed in Raro before, in one of the more pricey resorts, we thought we would try out a smaller, less expensive, and more relaxed accommodation this time. The resorts may be right on the beach, but they don't hold a candle to the treatment we got from our hosts at Ambala! We got the best of all worlds....the use of the finest beaches....(walking through the resorts to get to Muri beach), and the spoiling and care by Nancy and Esa. What a way to start every day..... with the unbelievable tasty and huge breakfast and great conversations with them! There was not a thing we needed that wasn't provided for us - with a smile. They actually went over and above....on many, many occasions. Over and above. Super friendly......unbelievable really.

Their grounds are as beautiful as the pictures....with the refreshing clean pool (though we only cooled our feet in it...the beach always called us), and the lovely patio areas. Their friendly cat Smithers made sure he stopped by for a pat from time to time too! Nice cat.

We can't express enough, our contentment, and satisfaction with this accomodation, and how Nancy and Esa made us feel. It has been written on other reviews, but we have to repeat it. " We came as strangers, stayed as guests, and left as friends". This is an understatement.

When Esa drove us to the airport when we left, a tear was shed. Literally.

It was the best vacation ever. A true paradise. A true vacation. Hard to leave, but certain we will meet again.

Only one regret….we should have stayed longer…..

  • Stayed April 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank tw0cat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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56 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
London, UK
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 April 2009

I picked Ambala based on TripAdvisor reviews and there's not much I can add except to say that all the good stuff is true! Nancy's breakfasts are fantastic. The rooms are spacious and well-appointed. The location is great - Muri beach is definitely one of the best on the island.

I definitely plan on coming back!

  • Stayed March 2009, travelled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank LaLo10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ONTARIO
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 April 2009

We stayed with Nancy and Esa for a delightful and relaxing week in February '09. It was truly enjoyable. Their B&B is located in the middle of a generous and beautiful garden of tropical delights. We picked breadfruit, avocado and papaya which appeared on the menu the next morning as part of a sumptuous breakfast prepared each day by Nancy. Her creative presentations are truly memorable. Equally appreciated was the information on local culture, customs, government, tourist sites and island idiosyncrasies generously offered (with probing) by Esa at breakfast or "happy hour". His knowledge of the island and its people made visits to local attractions more poignant and interesting. We occupied the Linden Suite located upstairs with a balcony overlooking the garden and the ocean, in the distance. The suite is comfortable with all the amenities we needed. While not air conditioned the heat was not a problem as the island cools significantly at night. With Esa's information we explored the island by car and bus and took advantage of the incredible beaches and snorkeling located a short walk from the units. Each afternoon, usually with other guests, we saved time to swim in the fresh-water pool adjacent to the B&B. Again, following the advice of familiarity, we walked or drove to local restaurants each evening to taste the "catch of the day" for the most part. Above all, what we appreciated most about this unique property was the sincere personal attention so willingly offered by Nancy and Esa. We shall return! Anne and Don

  • Stayed February 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank EDUSERVICE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
UK
Level Contributor
30 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 April 2009

A friendly welcome from Nancy & Esa after a long haul flight was very much appreciated; they made you feel at home immediately. The Ambala Lodge is a great place to relax. The well kept swimming pool, an essential requirement if you are holidaying in Rarotonga, is beautifully positioned in a tropical garden. I would recommend the poolside appartment; spacious and comfortable. Whilst shops and restaurants/hotel are within walking distance, hiring a car or scooter is to be recommended as it takes a few days to acclimatise to the heat/humidity. Nancy & Esa are great hosts and I look forward to seeing them again one day.

  • Stayed February 2009, travelled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Travelcrazie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Calgary, AB
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 April 2009

If Muri Beach (just a short walk down the road) is THE best beach on Raro, then AMBALA GARDENS is THE best accommodation property on the island.
Our 2 week visit was absolutely the most relaxing, enjoyable vacation we've experienced -- in a large part, to Esa and Nancy - the incredible hosts of the Ambala Gardens.
From the property's incredible variety of fresh tropical fruit trees - which formed the base of Nancy's terrific everchanging breakfast offering each day, -- to Esa's anecdotal, impromptu "interesting island facts" -- to the great time spent during the "happy-hour story swap" on the patio with other guests....as a Canadian traveller, this locale was as perfect a one as we have ever experienced. The freshwater swimming pool was a welcome respite from too many hours snorkelling in the fabulous lagoons of Muri Beach. The gardens provided a chance to soak in the natural beauty of the island of Rarotonga......and if you are TRULY fortunate, you may even be able to talk Esa into one of his memorable "island tours"....it's really hard to believe he's not a native Cook Islander with his knowledge of the local history and quirky facts! It was truly a trip-of-a lifetime, that we hope to repeat at least once more...in this lifetime. After a 12 hour flight, Ambala Gardens (and Nancy & Esa) was like staying with lifelong friends that we had just met for the first time....it was THAT comfortable.
I HIGHLY recommend a stay at Ambala Gardens, even if it's only for a few days during your stay.
And if you get a chance, paint a smiley face on a freshly fallen coconut to leave for your hosts!

  • Stayed March 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Statskeeper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Baja California Sur, Mexico
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 April 2009

It's hard to add much to the accolades already here, except to say that we only had three nights with Nancy and Esa and regretted the short stay (needless to say we're planning to return!). Our hosts were both solicitous of our comfort and relaxed raconteurs, and Nancy's cooking featuring fresh Island produce is attractive and tasty. Lots of good chats and insights into Rarotongan life at breakfast and "happy hour." The day we flew to Aitutaki Nancy packed us a special breakfast, and esa drove us to the airport for our 3 a.m. flight out. We opted for the Frangipani Suite-light and roomy- and very much enjoyed a small private balcony area overlooking the garden and the fields next door. The short walk to the road and to Muri Lagoon gives you an opportunity to walk off a few calories and on the evenings we returned after dark our hosts supplied us with flashlights and bug repellent. The gardens are lush and worth exploring. We LOVED our experience on Rarotonga and Aitutaki Islands and will happily revisit Ambala Garden Lodge. Thanks Esa and Nancy!

  • Stayed February 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Cabogrrl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Frankfurt
1 review
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 April 2009

We have been on a Worldtrip and we stood at Ambala Garden for 2 weeks. We had a
great time and found new friends.
The location is situated in a peaceful wonderful green garden with views to the
ocean.
It is only a 2 Minute walk to the beach.
The appartments (we lived in the Frangipani Suite) are big and nice.
We liked the breakfast every day, which had no repeats. It was great and very
yummi.
The hosts Nancy and Esa are absolutely friendly and helpful with informations
about the island.
We can recommend this B&B and for sure we will come back!!

  • Stayed October 2008
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Weltreisender08
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Ambala Garden Lodge

Property: Ambala Garden Lodge
Address: Ambala Garden Road, Muri, Cook Islands
Region: Cook Islands > Southern Cook Islands > Rarotonga > Muri
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 3 B&Bs / Inns in Muri
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 2
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
BED & Breakfast set in a beautiful tropical garden, just a 5 minute stroll to the beach. Sea and mountain views. Queen size beds, ensuite rooms, use of lounge, TV & DVD room, deck, barbecue and swimming pool. Close to shops, restaurants and bus stop, and near to watersports, scuba diving, white sandy beach, mountain walks and deep sea fishing. Air port transfers can be arranged. English or Continental breakfast. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Ambala Garden Lodge Muri, Rarotonga, Cook Islands

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