Need advice re Rarotonga accomodation

Oct 17th, 2003, 09:59 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 36
Need advice re Rarotonga accomodation

We're just booking our honeymoon for late November (yes, we're procrastinators...). There's tons of helpful info on this board (thanks), and the accolades here are what convinced us to go (plus Tahiti is just too pricey). We'll be staying 6 nights on Rarotonga and 4 nights on Aitutaki. We've settled on Pacific Resort for Aitutaki, but Rarotonga accomodations are still up in the air. Reflections looks great, as does Pacific Resort. The travel agent we queried suggested Palm Grove (because we want to keep the total under US$6,000). My question is: would it be worth the splurge to stay in one of the nicer resorts and, if so, which one? Are there other places we should consider? We'd prefer a hotel/resort to a house rental, as we'd like to have housekeeping service, bar, restaurant, etc. Thanks for any advice you can give.
SadieM is offline  
Oct 17th, 2003, 10:56 AM
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I have been inside of one of the Reflections beachfront units and have to say that it looks like something out of "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous". If you are willing to fork out the big bucks it takes to stay there, I can't see how you can possibly be unhappy with the accomodations themselves. Believe me, the website does not begin to do the place justice. We're talking very, very fancy here - it's got it's own custom-made plates for crying out loud! It's also in an area where the snorkeling is supposed to be very, very good. The area is relatively built-up and the property is somewhat crowded however and I'm of the opinion that they've built too much on too small of a lot so the units are very, very close together.

We stayed about 100 yards up the beach from the Palm Grove and have to say that it is not anywhere near as fancy or upscale as Reflections. However, I think the beach is much prettier and I KNOW the snorkeling is very good in that area. The beachfront units looked charming (though I've not been inside) and I think you would be happy with them. Garden units I can't really say much about. They looked a bit small and possibly a bit dark. Property seemed to be kept up well though. Place looked like it was family-run and and I suspect it has a very friendly atmosphere. Have had e-mail contact with a couple of folks who stayed there and they really liked it. Not a whole lot of shopping/dining spots in the general area (which suited us fine) - though the terrific Eat-In/Take-Out restaurant is nearby (plus the Palm Grove has it's own small restaurant). You will feel like you have the beach pretty much to yourself here. Very quiet and romatic location. When we return, we plan to stay in this area.

THe Raro Pacific Resort is very pretty, and located in the most scenic area of the island (Muri Beach) - which is of course the most developed (with several restaurants etc). The lagoon north of there tends to be rather shallow (waist-deep or so) while south of there it gets deeper. The motus are nearby and are great fun to explore. Generally considered to be the foremost resort on Raro. Rarotonga has somewhat of a "touristy" feel here - well, at least more so than any other part of the island.

My personal preference would be a beachfront unit at the Palm Grove - but keep in mind that the "essentially empty" beach is my most important consideration. You of course have your own set of priorities.

Don't think you could go wrong with any of these places though.

LordBalfor is offline  
Oct 17th, 2003, 11:02 AM
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If you rent the film "The Other Side of Heaven" (fairly recent release) you can see 2 of the general areas you mention. Though the film is set in Tonga, it was filmed on Raro. The scene where the main character learns the native language was shot at a stream outlet not too far east of the Palm Grove, while segment of quick scenes where the main character goes to other islands to preach were all shot at Muri Beach (more or less in front of the Pacific Resort).

LordBalfor is offline  
Oct 17th, 2003, 11:50 AM
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Thanks! And thanks also for all the great material you've posted about the S. Pacific. Turns out the two travel agencies we contacted (aus-vacations and jetsave) don't book Reflections. And since it appears they're saving us so much on airfare (approx $1000 vs. $1500 ea), it seems worth going with a package.
SadieM is offline  
Oct 17th, 2003, 12:13 PM
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You're welcome. For what it's worth, Aloha airlines was offering a really cheap fair (via Hawaii) of around $600 pp/rt or so from the US west coast. Not sure if the sale is still on however.

LordBalfor is offline  
Oct 17th, 2003, 12:37 PM
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From previous posts re Reflections, the beachfront properties are more than large enough to accommodate 4 people; so the garden villas would probably be better for 2 (even if close together). And I believe housekeeping services are provides as well as a car - but you must check the details for the beach vs villa amenities.

If using the Pacific Resort on both islands, you get a better deal with regards price.

And the $6,000 for both of you is a good deal with your air.
Oct 18th, 2003, 05:41 AM
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Lord Balfour-what is this movie and is out on video? Who stars in it? I've always wanted to go to the Cooks and this may be the closest I get for a while! Thanks.
Abby43 is offline  
Oct 18th, 2003, 08:53 AM
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"The Other Side of Heaven" a fairly recent release on video by one of the producers of Schindlers' List and Jurassic Park and is the true story of a Mormon missionary who in 1953 was sent to Tonga to convert the natives. It's not really a religious movie however - more the story of how he grew to love the natives and eventually be accepted by them. It's a very nice movie put out by Disney and suitable for the whole family. Though set in Tonga it was filmed on Rarotonga (in the Cooks) in 2000 and stars Christopher Gorham (current star of the TV show Jake 2.0) and Anne Hathaway. If possible, get it on DVD and watch the interesting "Making Of" segment (AFTER you watch the movie itself).

Besides the Raro locations I mention above, there are some scenes shot on the rugged north shore, and out at Black Rock on the west side of the island. They do a good job of making the place look undeveloped.

More about the video here:,00.html?

Also shot on Raro (though hard to find on video) is "Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence" a world war II drama staring David Bowie. Very heavy film. I don't really recommend it. Not too many shots of the island itself.

Finally, a TV movie called "Angel in Green" starring Bruce Boxleitner and Susan Dey was apparently shot there in the late 1980's. Have not been able to locate it on video.
More about the film:

LordBalfor is offline  
Oct 21st, 2003, 03:39 PM
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SadieM - if you haven't already booked your trip - I'd definitely check out my agent: - the owner Claudia was really nice and our 12 NIGHT package (2 more nights than you) is only costing $6300 and we're staying in Rarotonga at the Sokala Villas ( in a beachfront bungalow with PRIVATE POOL (much better than Reflections, I think) and then staying at the Pacific Resort in Aitutaki in a beachfront bungalow. We're splitting our time 6 nights at each resort. I hope this helps. And, congratulations on your upcoming wedding. We're traveling the same weeks as you will be - so maybe we'll see each other at the Pacific Resort in Aitutaki...
SimoneSassett is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2003, 01:00 PM
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Simone, Thanks but we already booked our trip. (Congrats on your great deal, though.) Unless something falls through, we'll be at the Pacific Resort on both islands and it ended up costing about $5700, so I feel good about it. I'll check out that that other agency next time we go to the South Pacific!
SadieM is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2003, 05:58 PM
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Whatever you do don't stay at the Edgewater. It is highly overrated. We weere msot disappointed. Service was awful and the rooms are rather run down. The Pacific Resort is nice.
Eagle is offline  
Oct 24th, 2003, 05:55 AM
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Eagle -

Not the first time I've heard negative comments about the Edgewater. Should point out that the hotel is the largest on Raro and often critisized as being a bit too big, with too many rooms for the size of the property.

LordBalfor is offline  
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