We booked this accommodation for a significant family birthday celebration. After the recommendation from our travel agent and also through reviewing trip advisor we decided to proceed with the booking. We wanted something that had the option of self catering, slept 5 adults comfortably, beach access, a pool and was based at Muri Beach. It seemed to tick all those boxes. We booked the garden villa and upon arrival was extremely disappointed in its shabby appearance, including curtains hanging off their hooks. What was our biggest concern was the very unsafe deck railings and dodgy decking boards. On the final night of our stay, our father put his foot through one of the boards, confirming our concerns! Fortunately he was not injured but a very nasty accident is waiting to happen. We did not even consider going out onto the deck upstairs as it looked so unsafe. Similar dodgy decking and broken railings were evident at the swimming pool too. The place definitely needs some serious maintenance work. For the price we paid, it is shameful. We paid $3717 NZD for 9 nights.
The place advertises that it is beach front, but in order to get down to the beach you must clamber down over rocks. This is unsuitable for anyone visiting who maybe unsteady on their feet. The poolside area was in a great spot however, with a lovely outlook over the lagoon.
The property offered a complimentary breakfast welcome pack on arrival. This comprised of coffee, tea, juice, milk, weetbix, jam sachets and a small pack of butter. There was no bread or fresh fruit, which seemed a little bizarre.
The kitchen was very poorly equipped for self catering. There was only 1 large sharp knife and a bread knife. No smaller sharp knives. Only 1 small salad bowl and no dishes for the microwave, or to place food in for serving. There were adequate glasses, plates and cutlery.
There was a daily service (except Sunday) and we were supplied with plenty of fresh linen and beach towels. The beds were comfortable.
The cleaning and gardening staff were absolutely marvellous (more on this later), but the management appeared rather indifferent in her manner. When we arrived, we asked the manager what the swimming was like. She was quite condescending and she said she didn't know as the locals don't swim at this time of year. You would have expected a bit more enthusiasm in her reply.
Basic things do need to be attended to by the management. An example is the information pack is falling apart with a broken folder. There is no information in this folder also, about what to do in the event of an emergency . Also attending to the safety issues around the property.
The villas are well located in Muri, and there are some great places to eat nearby, such as Sails and The Moorings. Our parents ate at the next door restaurant, The Flametree, and were very disappointed and felt it was overpriced.
We enjoyed visiting the Woman's Co-operative Shop, and found Chantel and her products to be fantastic.
While we are critical of the facilities and close environs of the garden villa, the highest of accolades go to Soni the gardener and his wife Bale. They were warm and friendly from the word go even bringing us pawpaw from their garden. When our father took very ill during the night, they could not do enough for us the next morning. Their care and attention was fantastic. They are the gems of this establishment.
We will definitely return to Rarotonga and Muri Beach, as it is a lovely spot. But we will look out for alternative accommodation that is of better value and standard.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to Manea Beach Villas, Cook Islands accommodation located on the edge of Rarotonga's beautiful Muri Lagoon. Manea is the Cook Island word for beautiful, which sums up the villas and location on offer. We cater for all holiday seekers, be they the single traveller, honeymooning couple, senior travellers, groups and families ... all are welcome at Manea Beach Villas! Our absolute beachfront location means you can lay on your private deck and gaze at the vibrant turquiose lagoon, only metres away. We are a small accommodation, offering intimate surroundings on Muri Beach with a personal touch. Our staff are a 'family', and will make sure you feel a part of Manea while you are here and long after you leave. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Manea Beach Villas Hotel Rarotonga