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“Relaxing!”

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Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Aroa Beach
Whanganui, New Zealand
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Relaxing!”
Reviewed 12 November 2013 via mobile

The staff at this resort were lovely the food, atmosphere, and views stunning!
Had one issue while I was there but that was quickly corrected by a lovely manager.
Would highly recommend for a couple needing some time out

Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Jodie D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
RarotonganSales, Guest Relations Manager at Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach, responded to this review, 13 November 2013
Kia Orana “Jodie D”

Thank you for taking the time to post such a wonderful review in regards to your recent stay at the Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach

We are very happy to read that you thoroughly enjoyed the location and service provided during your stay with us at Sanctuary Rarotonga.

The Sanctuary Rarotonga on the beach is the Cook Islands’ iconic adults only beach resort. Here, modern comforts blend with the charm of traditional Polynesia to add up to perfect relaxation on the sun-soaked beach. The Sanctuary Rarotonga is renowned for its warm and friendly staff with open hearts and smiles.

Set on Aroa Beach, Rarotonga's most beautiful white sandy beach on the shores of Aroa Lagoon (the Lagoon of Love), Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach is located on the island's sunshine southwest coast where guests can enjoy all-day sun, stunning sunsets, all-tide safe swimming and excellent off-beach snorkelling in the traditional marine sanctuary directly in front of the resort.

Set out amidst lush tropical gardens featuring hibiscus, banana and coconut palms. All of the Sanctuary’s forty eight rooms are no higher than two storeys and are set on absolute beachfront, and feature an authentic Pacific aesthetic combined with the charm of Polynesian-style architecture. It’s a perfect destination offering a tranquil and relaxing atmosphere for those seeking the ultimate escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life!

In addition to the swim up pool bar and two restaurants (Blue Water Grill and the Ginger Garden Asian Restaurant) at Sanctuary, adult guests of the Sanctuary Rarotonga also have access to FREE Daily Activities including snorkelling, snorkelling lessons, snorkelling safaris, introductory try scuba dive lessons, fish feeding, crab hunting, crab racing, kayaking safaris, Polynesian canoe ‘Vaka’ lessons, beach volleyball, beach cricket, beach soccer, beach touch rugby, beach petanque, tennis, basketball, lessons on island (hula) dancing, pareu (sarong) tying, palm-frond weaving, flower garland (lei) making, coconut climbing and husking show, giant chess, board games, guest library, air conditioned gym, fitness trail, guided walks to cultural, historical & natural attractions in the local area, wine tasting & black pearl lectures. They also have FREE use of snorkelling and tennis gear, hammocks, sun loungers, beach towels and kayaks!

Thank you once again for your review and we look forward to welcoming you back to Sanctuary Rarotonga.

Kia Manuia & Kind Regards
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Rating summary
  • Location
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (185)
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English first
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 November 2013

As I was only planning to stay a short time (4 days) I decided to book my accommodation somewhere a bit nicer so wasn’t over phased by paying a bit extra.

My original thought was that I was going to be staying by myself, so also wanted accommodation that could offer facilities (mostly for food) in case I got caught out and had nowhere to get any food. After a few weeks, and getting very much closer to the date of travel, I had 2 girlfriends share my room.

After a few months of research and planning, I decided to stay at the Sanctuary Rarotonga... WHAT A RIP! While the room was nice and tidy (it was also very small for 3 girls), and the staff very friendly (and patient with us) the facilities attached were not that great. Most times that we walked through the public areas (the restaurant and bar) it resembled more of a retirement village than a resort. While we did see another group of younger people, there was nothing for us to do there. At 27 years of age, hanging out next door at the Rarotongan with children is not very cool! The times we did venture next door, we found restaurant service to be poor and the cocktails to be dull (we had to constantly go inside to make orders).

The biggest attraction for me when booking was the pool bar, I was so excited for this. However, upon arrival did not even use it once! The pool was small and the swim up bar did not even look open! Plus, they were doing construction right next to the pool that completely took away from my expectations of a fun relaxing day drinking cocktails poolside.
The main bar was looking pretty drab as well and the cocktail menu was not exactly original or exciting (apart from the fish bowl- that looked fun). We were purchasing rounds of $9 coronas before we realized we could buy them or $4 a bottle at the shop on the Rarotongan side (score!).

For the $500 a night we paid, I would have also expected filtered water. There was none, except for the 1x small jug we got in the fridge on our arrival.

The Sunday night Roast was pleasant enough, although all of the meat was from New Zealand (as are we) except for the Pork, which was very dry.

The restaurant food had a lot left to be desired.

The settings around the pool on the Rarotongan side were really great, just such a shame nothing like this could be done on the adults only side. The Sanctuary did have a very nice beach, so perhaps the lack of fun facilities forced us to chill out.

We stayed in the 700 block which was great, could walk straight down to the water. I like the privacy of the upstairs rooms, however the downstairs room means your front door is on beach.

Perhaps this will be a better accommodation for when I am older.

Room Tip: Don't stay in the 600 block... there is no direct ocean access as it is all rocks.
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank amberambler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
RarotonganSales, Guest Relations Manager at Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach, responded to this review, 13 November 2013
Kia Orana “Feebee3NZ”

Thank you for your review of your recent stay with us at Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach.

We appreciate the opportunity respond to the concerns you have raised in regards to your holiday at Sanctuary Rarotonga.

We are pleased that you found our housekeeping satisfactory. We are disappointed that you did not find the room sufficient for three ladies travelling together, however we would have been more than happy to accommodate your request for a larger room.

The quality of each guests’ stay is important to us and as such, we have Duty Managers on duty from 7am until 12midnight daily. They can be reached by dialing 0 from one’s room phone or asking for them at Front Desk (their names are posted on the wall at Front Desk), and we would have welcomed the opportunity to address any matters of concern which you experienced during your stay.

We are pleased that you found the staff to be friendly and patient. It is unfortunate that you found the Sanctuary to be “like a retirement village”. Most often then most our guests are generally older in age as they find the Sanctuary is more suited to their travel needs to allow them to enjoy their holiday with peace and quiet and total relaxation. We welcome all ages at both our resorts and cater for their individual needs.

We apologise for the pool bar not seemed to be opened, however we can assure you that the pool bar is attended to by our Food and Beverage staff. We are saddened to hear that you did not find our Cocktail menu to your expectation as we are happy to offer the one of the most comprehensive food and beverage menu’s on the island. All our menus are chosen from the top sellers based on historical records. We are pleased that you found our signature cocktail “The Island Girl” served in a fish bowl glass satisfactory.

In terms of the rebuilding the beach and pool area, our Resorts maintain a regular and thorough schedule of renovations and refurbishment throughout the year. For obvious reasons, some work can only be completed during lower occupancies.

The Sanctuary Rarotonga has in place a water filtration and UV-sterilization system, which means your tap water, has been through a comprehensive purification process. If you do however have any concerns you may prefer to boil your drinking water, or to buy bottled water from the Bar or from your room Mini Bar. Please note that only bottled water is served in all our restaurants and bars.

Outside of the resort and around the island there is no local government water treatment system and therefore you can assume, unless specifically informed otherwise, that the tap water is untreated. While enjoying excursions away from the resort and around the island you may wish to purchase bottled drinking water.

We are pleased that you found the pool surrounding at The Rarotongan to you liking. Our feature swimming pool has now been transformed from a traditional‐style plaster‐and‐paint finish pool to a brilliant eye‐catching azure pool with cascading rock waterfall. Surrounding landscape, gardens and timber decking also underwent detailed restoration to complete the transformation of our popular guest gathering spot.

Minutes after the final touches to the Waterfall Pool were completed the pool itself and poolside dining areas were quickly filled by guests looking to spend time relaxing, swimming and dining around the pool.

Guests are now able to take advantage of our stunning new‐look Waterfall Pool with al fresco dining available pool side, snorkelling and scuba lessons in the pool or simply relaxing on the poolside sundecks under the tropical island sun with a refreshing cocktail in hand.

Again thank you for taking the time to post your review.

Kia Manuia & Kind Regards
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wellington, New Zealand
Level 6 Contributor
188 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 November 2013

The resort is right on the beach in a stunning location and the snorkelling and water frontage is fantastic.

We stayed for eight nights recently. The breakfasts were fairly basic but sufficient. Housekeeping fairly hit and miss and we had to ask for our room to be serviced as had only been done once in four days and the restaurants for evening meals had pretty poor service although food was of good quality. The service in The Rarotongan at lunchtime was appalling....didn't seem to be enough staff on or serving and poor Stu was run off his feet but did his very best for us.

The accommodation was dated, overpriced and disappointing and in need of refurbishment....certainly not 4 star by international standards. During our stay they spend two days rebuilding the beach and the pool area was being refurbished which we were not warned about.

We had a good time but overall felt it was a hefty price that we paid and think we may have been better off at another resort.

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank DAFYDDHD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
RarotonganSales, Guest Relations Manager at Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach, responded to this review, 7 November 2013
Kia Orana “DAFYDDHD”,

Thank you for taking the time to upload your review to Trip Advisor in regards to your stay at Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach.

We are pleased to hear that you enjoyed the beautiful Beachfront Suites offered at Sanctuary Rarotonga however, are concerned that the standard of service from our staff on the Front/Tour Desk or SpaPolynesia did not meet your expectations. As a result of your feedback we have comprehensively revised our customer service standards provided and implemented refresher training to prevent further experiences of this nature.

We apologise for the experience you encountered with your rooms not being serviced in a timely manner. We have also relayed your feedback in regards to Housekeeping services on to our Executive Housekeeper who is actively addressing these concerns with our Housekeeping department staff.

Our Resort Compendiums also provide information in regards to the housekeeping services available at the Resort. Guests are welcome to contact our Reception desk during their stay to request a standard daily housekeeping service time.

We have addressed your concerns regarding the standard of service you experienced while dining with us, with our Food & Beverage Manager. He is working with our restaurant and bar team to address the concerns you have raised. Stu is absolutely thrilled with the positive feedback about his service.

Thank you for the comments with regards to your breakfast and we are pleased that you found it sufficient. A complimentary Tropical Breakfast Buffet (Continental Breakfast) of a variety of seasonal island fruits, homemade yoghurt, fresh-baked muffins, Danish pastries, croissants, toast, spreads, tropical juices, tea & coffee, is served for your enjoyment in the Blue Water Grill Restaurant from 7am to 10am daily. You can also select from a variety of cooked and light breakfast options from the Breakfast Menu.

In terms of the rebuilding the beach and pool area, our Resorts maintain a regular and thorough schedule of renovations and refurbishment throughout the year. For obvious reasons, some work can only be completed during lower occupancies.

The quality of each guests’ stay is important to us and as such, we have Duty Managers on duty from 7am until 12midnight daily. They can be reached by dialing 0 from one’s room phone or asking for them at Front Desk (their names are posted on the wall at Front Desk), and we would have welcomed the opportunity to address any matters of concern which you experienced during your stay.

Kia Manuia & Kind Regards
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Auckland, New Zealand
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 30 October 2013

We had a wonderful honeymoon at the Sanctuary, with the added bonus of having the Rarotongan beach resort right next door where we could use their facilities while still having our quiet adult only resort to go back to. Staff we're very friendly and helpful. Would definitely return

Room Tip: We had the honeymoon spa suite which was huge!
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Hayley A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
RarotonganSales, Guest Relations Manager at Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach, responded to this review, 5 November 2013
Kia Orana “Hayley A”

Thank you for taking the time to write such a wonderful review.

It was a pleasure having you stay with us at Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach for your very special Honeymoon.

We are very happy that you had such a lovely, relaxing and peaceful holiday and enjoyed the fantastic location and services we have to offer at Sanctuary Rarotonga.

We do have an extensive activity list that will keep you occupied for most of your stay. Here at the Sanctuary, you may do as much or as little as you like:-)

We thank you once again for your positive feedback and hope to welcome you back to our resorts again in the very near future as a valued return guest.

Kia Manuia & Kind Regards
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Auckland, New Zealand
1 review
Reviewed 27 October 2013

We have just come back from the most amazing holiday ever! We stayed at The Sanctuary and would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a really relaxing time. So good for the soul. We had a ground floor unit which was awesome as we could walk straight onto the beach. We so enjoyed snorkeling in the clear blue waters and seeing all the amazing fish. The food was fantastic, we didn't eat one thing we didn't enjoy. The staff were amazing, always smiling and ready to help. This hotel definitely ticked all the boxes, we will be back! :-)

Room Tip: Ground floor unit, walk straight onto the beach!
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank JackieandGordon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
RarotonganSales, Guest Relations Manager at Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach, responded to this review, 5 November 2013
Kia Orana “JackieandGordon”

Greetings from the Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach! Thank you for taking the time to post such a wonderful review with regards to your stay.

We are very happy that you enjoyed the fantastic location of the Resort and are delighted that you enjoyed the stunning location and amenities offered in your Beachfront Suite during your stay. Sanctuary Rarotonga takes great pride in its incredible location with a traditional marine reserve at its doorstep.

We are delighted that you enjoyed the stunning beachfront location of your Suite during your stay, in particular the amazing snorkelling available straight off the beach front of your room and the great selection of complimentary activities for our guests.

The Sanctuary Rarotonga takes great pride in its incredible location with a traditional marine reserve at its doorstep.

Once again, thank you for your kind feedback and from our team of hardworking and friendly staff at Sanctuary Rarotonga, we hope to be able to welcome you back again.

Kindly contact us for a very special “returnee guest” quote as we would love to be able to welcome you back for your next tropical escape.

Kia Manuia & Kind Regards
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
193 reviews
117 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 105 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 October 2013

I have come back from my trip to Cook Islands and I am still dreaming about the turquoise blue waters of this place. The food was fantastic. The weather was perfect. Warm during the day, 30ºC, and fresh during the night, 22ºC.
The staff was always there with a big smile in their faces and ready to help you and make your stay just memorable. My favourite activity was snorkelling at the Blue Lagoon, which is inside their private beach. Our room was ocean front, with a nice breeze coming through and a nice sound of waves breaking after the reef.
I need another week there. Soon!!!

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank maurorisch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
RarotonganSales, Guest Relations Manager at Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach, responded to this review, 5 November 2013
Kia Orana “maurorisch”

Greetings from the Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach! Thank you for taking the time to post such a wonderful review with regards to your stay.

We are very happy that you enjoyed the fantastic location of the Resort and are delighted that you enjoyed the stunning location and amenities offered in your Beachfront Suite during your stay. Sanctuary Rarotonga takes great pride in its incredible location with a traditional marine reserve at its doorstep.

We are delighted that you enjoyed the stunning beachfront location of your Suite during your stay, in particular the amazing snorkelling available straight off the beach front of your room and the great selection of complimentary activities for our guests.

The Sanctuary Rarotonga takes great pride in its incredible location with a traditional marine reserve at its doorstep.

We are delighted that your enjoyed your dining experience. The Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach, has three dining options available;

- Bluewater Grill featuring a wide range of fresh game fish and seafood as well as traditional favourites; and
- Ginger Garden featuring the international favourites from the cuisines of Asia including Teppanyaki, Wok, Steamboat and Mongolian BBQ
- Poolside Pergola casual dining

Once again, thank you for your kind feedback and from our team of hardworking and friendly staff at Sanctuary Rarotonga, we hope to be able to welcome you back again.

Kindly contact us for a very special “returnee guest” quote.

Kia Manuia & Kind Regards
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Angeles, California
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 October 2013 via mobile

Like its sister resort, The Roarotongan, the Sanctuary has potential, but since it seems the inmates are running the asylum (ie no management to be seen), things constantly fall through the cracks.

The Good: Food is decent. Not as good as other resorts on the island but light years better than the Rarotongan. If you're stranded due to rain like we were one night, it will do. Although the prices will crush your budget. The room itself was nice enough and had a cool layout.

The bad: service is as lazy and slow as the Rarotongan, but I'll give the Sanctuary staff the credit for at least being friendly. When I ate at the restaurant I had to get up and order drinks at the bar myself. That's just ridiculous and why I barely tipped. She was nice but dear lord, wake up.

The ugly: housekeeping is just as poor here as Rarotongan next door. We found a dead cock roach in the bathroom and it was never thrown away. That sucker just laid there for 3 days. Unfathomable for any hotel, let alone one charging $400/night.

If I ever return to Rarotonga, I'm staying in Muri where all the hotels looked really nice and the food in the area is amazing.

Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Jim D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
RarotonganSales, Guest Relations Manager at Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach, responded to this review, 21 October 2013
Kia Orana Jim D

Thank you for taking the time to post your review with regards to your stay at the Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach and The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Spa.

We are pleased that you found the food satisfactory and liked the layout and location of the Blue Water Grill restaurant.

We apologise for and have also addressed your concerns regarding the standard of service you experienced while dining with us, with our Food & Beverage Manager. He is comprehensively working with our restaurant and bar team to address the concerns you have raised.

We have also relayed your feedback in regards to Housekeeping services on to our Executive Housekeeper who is actively addressing these concerns with our Housekeeping department staff. Our Resort Compendiums also provide information in regards to the housekeeping services available at the Resort. Guests are welcome to contact our Reception desk during their stay to request a standard daily housekeeping service time.

The quality of each guests’ stay is important to us and as such, we have Duty Managers on duty from 7am until 12midnight daily. They can be reached by dialing 0 from one’s room phone or asking for them at Front Desk (their names are posted on the wall at Front Desk), and we would have welcomed the opportunity to address any matters of concern which you experienced during your stay.

Kia Manuia & Kind Regards
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach

Property: Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach
Address: Aroa Beach, Aroa Beach, Cook Islands
Phone Number:
Region: Cook Islands > Southern Cook Islands > Rarotonga > Aroa Beach
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Aroa Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4 star — Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach 4*
Number of rooms: 49
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A true taste of the exotic Cook Islands in the heart of the South Pacific, Sanctuary Rarotonga is an adults-only resort located on the pristine white sand shores of Aroa Lagoon. All suites are absolute beachfront. Tropical buffet breakfast, many resort activities, and daily activities program are included in the nightly rate. The perfect location for a romantic honeymoon or a relaxed beach holiday. Three effortless Weddings in Paradise packages. A true South Pacific paradise. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sanctuary Rarotonga-On The Beach Hotel Aroa Beach
Sanctuary Rarotonga-On The Beach Aroa Beach

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