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Palm Grove
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Reviewed 7 January 2011

We recently stayed at Palm Grove for Christmas and New Years 2011. It is in our minds the best location on the island! Stay in one of the beach bungalows if possible, as it is so close to the beach, it's like being on your own private beach when sitting on the deck of your private bungalow! The kitchen was clean and well stocked with all needed supplies. Even had fresh cream in the fridge for the coffee! Bed was extremely comfy, and bathroom had a neat feature of gaps in the floor for ventilation! Fresh fruit, cereal, and toast for breakfast included in their restaurant "Yellow Hibiscus". Cooked breakfast for a reasonable price, if you want it. Good snorkeling right there out to reef. Supplied kayaks, snorkeling equipment if you want it.

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Unplannedtraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 December 2010

So it has been almost a year since our visit to Rarotonga and the Palm Grove. We are from Idaho and this trip was to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. I almost hate to write a review because I guess I am selfish and don't want too many people to discover this place.

Why the Palm Grove? We have friends who visit the Cooks regularly and they recommended the Palm Grove. (See mightyhunter's review)

What we liked: Run by local folks, not touristy, Nga and Joanne as well as the rest of the staff were great. Great beach, not crowded and great snorkeling right outside our door. If you are looking for a 5 star resort with lots of exciting night life and a boxed experience--stay elsewhere. The staff is wonderful and once you are here a few days treat you like family--which means a lot. If you are looking for a comfortable base to explore the island and get away- this is it. To give you an example of the stuff we like: I asked Nga how kumara- a local sweet potato was grown. He hoped on his scooter and gave us a fairly extensive tour on the back road of all the island plants. Might seem boring to some but we like finding out about local things and exploring when we travel. I don't think you can put a price on that type of experience.

Cook Islands:
Rarotonga What we liked: The people, the island, the beaches, the Saturday market, the friendly attitude of everyone we met, the Cultural Village tour and Island night. Did I say the people. Is there any group of people in the world friendlier that the Cook Island Maori?

Recommendations: I would recommend paying the extra money for the Beachfront Studio and I would bring my own snorkel gear if possible. Just because you are so close to the beach and it saves you time. Rent a scooter, a car is overkill. We are in our 50's, had to take the driving test but it is just too much fun. Go to Muri lagoon. Don't miss the Saturday Market. Eat there. The food is inexpensive and is locally prepared. Visit the Cultural Village. It has a really local flavor that is a little missing from some of the resort Island nights. Take the day trip to Aitutaki and book a snorkel trip with Bishop Cruises there. Buy one of the quilts- we didn't and regret it. Relax and enjoy island time.

Aitutaki: We booked a flight separate from the package tour and then booked a snorkel trip with Bishop's. Cost was about the same and our friends told us the package had a much shorter time on the water. Annie at Bishops was really helpful. She arrange for a scooter after the snorkel trip for us and we spent a couple of hours exploring before taking the last flight back to Rarotonga.

Overall experience: I have read some reviews here that talk about unfriendly people on both Raro and Aitutaki. Really? I have to say we did not have one experience that I would classify as even marginal. Everyone had time to talk, was super helpful in answering my almost constant cultural questions and explaining their view of the world , and recognized us if they saw us more than once. Always had a kind word or greeting.
This is paradise and I hope not loss before we can get back.

Now for a disclaimer: This is a fairly remote island. Some things are expensive. It is not Hawaii, Cancun or the Bahamas. Don't go here if you are looking for bright lights, constant action in the form of bars and discos. Don't go here if you don't like talking to the regular folks who make this a permanent home.

We will go back and when we do we will stay at Palm Grove.

  • Stayed: January 2010, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank pete397
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 December 2010

Friendly accommodation, superb quality rooms in a beautiful location.

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank clivegil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 November 2010

We stayed for 10 nights in a beachfront bungalow. The beach was at the door with the ocean 40m away. The beach is the best one in Rarotonga - white, fine sand not shingle. With palms to the edge the view was amazing. The snorkling was great - had a huge range of fish around your feet while you were only up to your knees to waist in warm water - no previous skill required! Snorkling gear and reef shoes are available to borrow from reception. You can walk for miles down the beach with no people & cleaner than Muri.
The bungalows are great - good storage and plenty of room with a great ambience from the natural wood floors and woven ratan wall linings and cane furniture- strange thing is no side windows - it does keep it cool, but dark inside - but who wants to sit inside when the view from the deck is sublime! The bungalows are indivdual and set back from each other so you are not looking at your neighbours.
Went to the Yellow Hibiscus (the restaurant on site) Sunday BBQ night - fantastic fish steaks. The Friday night free drinkies with fantastic live band was fun.
Included breakfast was fine - you could choose to buy a cooked breakfast.
The staff were friendly, very laid back and not at all pushy. We booked an Uncle Tama cruise - was a fun day but the snorkling was pitiful even though it was 20 mins out in a boat - much better at Palm Grove.
A great place to stay for peaceful R & R.

  • Stayed: November 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Winnifan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 October 2010

Great location for snorkelling with fullsome (complimentary) breakfasts, incorporating plenty of good coffee - and weekly (free) drink session for guests. Close to a supermarket (Wigmores) and the cafe/reception have great staff. Visit the local brewery (Matutu) by cycle down the road towards Muri where there are more pristine beaches. On-site BBQ's available. Not big and flashy like other resorts. Beachfront - and across the road garden units and pool available.

  • Stayed: October 2010, travelled with family
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1  Thank Stoney040
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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