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Reviewed 2 August 2021

I read the reviews about poor service etc before I came to Raro but I thought maybe the person writing the review was unlucky and I would have a much better experience. How wrong I was. There has been so many errors and poor service that I am bitterly disappointed.
After an extremely slow arrival through Rarotonga Airport yesterday we finally got to the resort 3 hours after landing to be told (at 5pm) that our Beachside suite wasn't ready. We were told that we would be upgraded to the Honeymoon Suite for one night. I said I didn't want to change rooms so we got the Honeymoon suite for the 2 nights we are here. I'm glad I didn't pay for it. The outside shower hadn't been cleaned and still had the soap and face cloth in the shower from the previous guests. The room does not have a beach view which is disappointing as that is why we booked this resort.
Service is slow, the staff do not seem to care. Dinner took over an hour and ten mins to arrive and all the local dishes including Ika Mata were sold out before we ordered at 7pm.
The next day I ordered room service and was lucky to get Ika Mata before it sold out but it was bought to my room with no cutlery. Impossible to eat with your hands and for a $9 room service charge is another disappointment when you have to eat it with your fingers.

As it is raining today we asked the staff about a rental car and they told us to walk down the road to the car rental shop. Of course we get there and it is closed on Sunday. Another small annoyance as the staff would have known this before they sent us down the road. They just don't care.

There is no ATM at the resort, you need cash for the bus and it is $20 per person to get anywhere on the island by taxi to get to the ATM.

If I was paying for budget accommodation then I can't have high expectations about the service but this is $300 per night!

I have stayed at the islands before, having been to Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, Solomon Islands , so I know what "island time" is but this is next level. Get me to Aitutaki asap.

Date of stay: August 2021
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Thank Julie S
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 28 July 2021

Loved our week-long break at the Sanctuary Rarotonga on the Beach. The room was clean and well-appointed with many small thoughtful touches to make our stay more comfortable. We found the staff all friendly and helpful. We enjoyed being able to use the facilities at the Rarotongan Resort as well, or to escape to our own quiet adults-only beach and pool if we chose to do so. The lagoon is amazing, and snorkeling was fabulous in the crystal clear water. There was plenty of beach gear available to use, and options for rainy days included table tennis, snooker, chess, a library of books. Loved it!

Date of stay: July 2021
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
2  Thank michelemD8946NP
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 21 July 2021

We stayed 4 night at the Sanctuary and loved every minute. The resort is right on the best snorkeling beach on the island (the sea was warmer than the pool). The staff, the rooms, facilities, the view and the location were all perfect. We had a rental car and zipped around the island sightseeing and eating, but ate some delicious dishes at the resort too; especially the Ika Mata. The Rarotongan Resort next door is accessible to guests, which is useful when/if they run out of equipment, towels, etc., but we didn't visit often as everything we needed was at the Sanctuary. We saw a few other resorts around the island and were glad this is where we chose to stay. We'll 100% be back to Sanctuary and recommend to our friends and family!

Room tip: The beachfront rooms are beautiful - highly recommend.
Date of stay: July 2021
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank LaurabelNZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 10 July 2021

We stayed one night after staying at Aitutaki on our way home and also visited earlier in the week while staying elsewhere on Roratonga.

The location is great with a marine reserve on the doorstep. Unfortunately as it was extremely wet the day we arrived we didn't get to snorkel. The rooms were well maintained and spacious however the fan had two speeds - extremely fast or extremely slow.

We had two great meals but felt very sorry for the bar man as he was order taking as well as serving drinks and was incredibly busy. There are two sides to the resort - the family side and the adult side - the family side was very busy. There is a very reasonable gift shop.

We booked through a travel agent which we wouldn't do again. They booked a private transfer (which we didn't question at the time but found out later was outrageously expensive $310 for two one way). There are shuttle buses which are much better value.

As at July 2021 there are still a lot of services which are not operating post Covid

Date of stay: July 2021
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
1  Thank lynnep446
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 8 July 2021 via mobile

Not sure where to start.
Staff are all friendly enough. But;
1) ran out of coffee beans at both sides of resort. After two days of this I gave up asking for a proper coffee and just went offsite
2) chainsaws and jackhammers - no mention of this ridiculous noise being scheduled when I booked. Funny that.
3) signs at the start of every dinner session stating the long list of unavailable dishes - including Wednesday when the list said “any fish dishes” were not available. The food at this place is not good at all.
4) grossly understaffed. Be prepared to wait to spend your money. I love the islands, and I get “island time” but this was to the point that I speculated as to whether the resort has serious cashflow problems.
5) the continental breakfast for $24 was a disgrace. A couple of chunks of pineapple and watermelon, some yoghurt, and a toaster machine - that’s seriously about it.

Location is great, resort is tired, and the food and beverage totally substandard - all for a price that matches other resorts that are far superior.

Avoid.

Room tip: Just avoid.
Date of stay: July 2021
Trip type: Travelled with friends
Thank U9006WYmiken
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Haimona Browne, Owner at Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach, responded to this reviewResponded 9 July 2021

Kia Orana,
Thank you for taking the time to post your feedback of your stay with us.
I am happy to hear that you enjoyed the beachfront location of the resort.
I am however disappointed you experienced some shortfalls as well.
I have addressed your concerns with the managers responsible for these areas.
We are in the process of recruiting more staff now that the New Zealand border is open to the Cook Islands.
The resort has a Duty Manager available from 7am-10pm who would have been more than happy to address any concerns during your stay, and I would have also welcomed the opportunity to meet with you personally.
Please feel free to contact me directly if you wish to share more detailed feedback.

Kind Regards,
Bob Taylor
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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