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Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach

4.0 out of 5.0

Recent guest reviews

We’ve stayed at The Sanctuary a number of times before and have always been impressed with the place. Firstly, no kids – which is brilliant! It is upmarket but not to the point of feeling pretentious. It is simply a great place to relax and feel like you’re being well cared for. To an extent, it is a new beginning as for the first time in a while, there were two – very present – new Managers there who made a lot of difference. I’m a big one for being relaxed and people often talk about “island time”, which is a way of saying that service can be a bit slow but it’s ok because everyone is chill. If there has ever been a (very small) niggle with this Hotel, it is that there can sometimes be an element of the service taking it ever-so-slightly easy. With the new Management in place service is now super on-point. Don’t get me wrong, this place has always been great. The food is brilliant – the make-your-own chicken kebabs for lunch are the best I’ve had; the steaks are perfect and we love the drinks. The “Island Girl” is a favourite of my wife. Apparently, this drink was designed to be shared by two (or more) people – I only say this as it is the size of an aquarium, with a stem. My wife disagrees with the sharing angle though so I am relegated to the sangria (by myself). The rooms are clean and functional and all have new air-conditioning (which is so important in summer). They are not huge but big enough for a couch and table + bed, of course. Each room has a veranda or walk-out area, if you are on the ground-floor. The pool is excellent with a swim-up bar located behind, and below, the main reception/bar area. For those people that can’t get enough of heat exhaustion there is also a tennis court (though I’ve never seen anyone playing on it) + gym. Just cross the road is a fantastic spa facility in case you need to get even more relaxed, you can rent a bike or scooter right outside the gate and even use the facilities at sister hotel right next door - The Rarotongan - if you like, including the pool and another restaurant (warning – there are children there). We would, and will, go back

We stayed here as a group of 8 for some friends 30th Birthday celebrations, the rooms are very clean and comfortable with gorgeous beach views! The swim up bar is awesome, cocktails are reasonably priced. The beach in my opinion (after looking for a good place to snorkel all over the island) has the best snorkelling!!! The paddle boards, snorkels and kayaks are all free of charge and super handy as all we want to do is swim! The free breakfast buffet is nice and the menu is really good Such a relaxing and beautiful location! A must stay!

I was a bit worried about coming here as I didnt read the reviews until after I bought the voucher off Grabone NZ. There seemed to be mostly negative. However I am so glad I chose to stay at the Sanctuary resort! Cam and Kylie were very welcoming upon our arrival and after a brief explanation of how the resort works we were shown to our room The complimentary bottle of wine with a personalised note from the Sanctuary team was a nice touch and the room was air conditioned so it was always nice walking into our rooms. The rooms are nice but I found the house cleaning routine a bit weird. Sometimes they would come while we were getting ready for breakfast! but nothing major. Despite this its the view that really got to me, I loved that we were literally metres away from the water! with free snorkel, kayak and paddle board hire it was hard not to swim all the time. I also loved how they had activities set up if you didnt want to travel outside the resort (only setback was that the activites were with the neighbouring Rarotongan resort... which meant screaming children) but this did not affect us as much. The food is nice (we enjoyed the pizza and the island girl cocktails) but one thing you have to remember is that the resort (alongside the Cook Islands as a whole it seems) run on island time so do not expect things to be done straight away! we learnt this slowly. Was a bit disappointed that the buffet breakfast did not include bacon and eggs but I enjoyed the fruits, pancakes, cereal muffins and pastries available. While I loved the adults only resort what really made the trip for me and my husband was the staff. They were friendly and always there to help us when we needed dinner, recommendations for food helping us book activities alongside transfers. So from me and Fred thank you so much Cam, Kylie, Apii, Aunty and her daughter as well as all the Sanctuary staff for making me and Freds honeymoon one to remember. We will definitely be back!

I have waited a couple of weeks to write this review as i like to write after of reflection of the time we had there and not emotively as some time this is the case. First thing what is a the definition of a 4 star hotel ? It depends on the person`s exspectations ? where it is located ? Country Cost etc Is this a 4 star hotel for this country Location 5 Star there is not many hotels around the world where you can walk out your bedroom directly onto the sand then 12 ft to the water and be feeding the coral fish in 5 mins. Try booking into the Maldives location and see how much it will cost you Is the service up to standard for a 4 star again Yes The island people are lovely and laid back, if they are 15 mins late relax you are on holiday for god sake. Meals for a 4 star Yes at times. Breakfast average but did us for the day More fresh fruit would be nice !! Rooms abit tired but no big deal. Pool and bar great Spent a few hrs service terrific. Only fault was there was not a reservation for us when we arrive which was the hotels fault but they did fine us a room and changed us next day and gave us a bottle of wine for the inconvinience I do find this really annoying but it is not the first time this has happened me when we have traveled. Finally my wife and i had a great and relaxing time as we went there for our 30th Wedding Anniversary could not have been happier And to Cameron, Kylie and Thank you and keep up the good work Cheers Gary Hienekien LOL

I have read a lot of reviews so was a little concerned, however I believe new management took over about a month and what a change this has made. Staff were friendly and helpful, we had to change rooms and while this was inconvenient the staff were helpful and we were offered room credit and a bottle of wine. The rooms are exactly as described and the pool is relaxing. We found the swim up bar staff at all times, and looked forward to happy hour each night. It was great to stay in a hotel without children and even more so to be able to relax in a pool without a child dive bombing you. The breakfast was tropical, lots of fresh fruit, it was sufficient. I had a couple of cooked breakfasts (added cost) but well worth it, especially the game fish eggs bene.. the best I have ever tasted! I would stay again

We ordered the Pork loin chop and Lamb rack meals 😋 beautifully presented, very nice setting and great prompt service! Rather pricey for the quantity of the meal however still nice! Would dine here again 👍🏽

My wife and I were over for an 8 day for a break and enjoyment of great weather. We arrived around midnight, Cameron and Kylie were on hand to meet us and take to our room. The next morning whilst talking with both Cameron and Kylie we found out they had only been at the resort for a mere 6 days. The first impression to us they had their finger on the pulse. They were contstanly asking for feedback and what improvments they could make. This young couple will be the greatest asset the resort has had for hopefully many years to come. For anyone wishing to visit you should look forward to ever improving ideas from the team. We enjoyed the meals and the friendly staff, nothing was a bother. Guest sometimes need to remember were they are and the beautiful place you are a visitor in, we will highly reccomend this child free resort. Thank you to Cameron and Kylie. You are the perfect hosts. Greg and Joanne. Christchurch, New Zealand.

My partner and I stayed here for 6 nights in January this year. We stayed with another couple who joined us for 4 of those nights before flying out to another island. As we arrived in Rarotonga, we had booked transfers from the airport, to the hotel which we had previously booked through the hotel. Upon arrival at 12:20am the transfer company had no knowledge of our arrival and after ten minutes of debate contacted the hotel to confirm our transfers. As we were not on the list we did leis, which was a little disappointing as we were the only 2 couples without one. We hoped on the bus, which did not have air con and waited till we departed. It seemed to take a while but after nearly passing out of the heat my partner finally asked the bus driver what was taking so long. He responded saying they were waiting on another flight to arrive before we would be taken to our hotel. Hot and tired we waited and finally arrived at our hotel at 3:00am, more than 2 hours after we arrived. The trip from the airport to our hotel was only a ten minute drive. The hotel was adequate and was on the best part of the beach of the whole island. Our room was on the beach front and the water was only a few steps from our room. It also very nice having it an adults only resort so that you can relax Breakfast was included with our room which consisted of the normal things such as fruits, cereal, self serve toast, coffee. The only hot food included was hot cakes. There was no eggs or bacon or other hot food included in the buffet but could be purchased at an additional charge. For a side of eggs (2 eggs) it was an additional $7:70. Very interesting as I have never stayed at a hotel who does not include basic hot food in their breakfast buffet. Service was the major let down of this hotel. When ordering cocktails, it would take ten minutes to be served and half the time their was no on at the bar. We had dinner one night and no one served us for the first 20 minutes of sitting down, after asking to be served we ordered drinks and dinner. The food took an hour and a half to come out which is fine but they forgot about our drinks we had ordered and had to go up to the bar and ask about them. Pretty shocking service. A couple next to us had waited over 2 hours for their food and the waitress smashing her wine glass when delivering her main meal. Towards the end of our trip the pool started to turn from a blue colour to a murky green. Upon questioning the lady rudely stated that they had ran out of chlorine and did not know when it would be fixed. Therefore we did not swim in the pool as it looked terrible and put us off completely. When our friends left to go to the airport after staying 4 nights they booked a transfer to the airport and confirmed it 3 times after having trouble with our first one. The hotel booked it at 4:50 and their flight was at 6. We waited with them for it to arrive and at 5pm we asked reception where it was and was told to wait till 510 and then she would ring. That then quickly approached and the lady rang, in which they did not answer. At 520 the lady then rung a taxi. 535 and there was no taxi. Our friends anxiety was through the roof as it was only 25 minutes until their flight departed. We spoke to the new manager who then rang his partner (who also works at the hotel) to bring her car around and drive our friends to the airport and rung the airport to let them know that they would be extremely late for their flight. At 545 they finally left the hotel and only just made their flight on time. Even though the hotel was a major disappointment, and the staff were so rude and disrespectful the new manager and his partner were the only positive parts of the trip as they had good service and were friendly and polite like how you would expect. The new manager had only started the job 2 weeks ago and I really hope he makes some major changes to the hotels service, and give the staff some serious training. The hotel is in such a good location, yet the service ruined our experience and we would never stay their again. I hope the best for the manager and his wife and hope they can make some positive improvements.

If you're looking for a place where you don't have to lift a finger, you can leave the children at home & you won't have to listen to anyone else's, if you need to un-wind & like me you wanted to sip Pina Coladas until the late hours of the night without a care in the world, this is the place! We had a beachfront Suite, 20 metres from our door was the best snorkeling spot on the Island this visit (previously this title was held by the Fruits of Rarotonga) and the cocktails & mocktails were fantastic! Shortly after we arrived on Christmas day new managers (Cameron & Kylie) started & it was evident this had a positive impact within 24 hours. Special thanks to Nanisei & Vaseva for your wonderful service and your delicious cocktails - it's going to take me a month to work them off! Kylie & Cameron have exceptional customer service skills, booking trips & dinners or simply getting you a towel, nothing was too much trouble. All the staff make a point of knowing your name & saying Kia Orana every chance they get. If you can have breakfast included take this option it's worth it! The current menu for the Sanctuary is being worked on but I would highly recommend the Blue water grill menu - it's delicious. The rating may not be 100% accurate in comparison to other places with the same rating but what it may lack in over the top opulence it makes up for in service, the relaxed nature of the place & the memories you will create. I arrived as a guest & within a very short time we felt like friends, after 7 days I felt like family & I will be back to visit my family soon! I certainly relaxed this time.

8 night stay , had a great time winding down and doing very little. The island is very laid back and its not hard to fall into island time. Kylie and Cameron the resort managers made sure we had a great stay and looked after us well. No children resort so great for couples, the beach is at your front door literally , and some of the best snorkelling areas just outside of your room in the lagoon. You can go into the Rarotongan resort to do water activities - beware there are kids in there but you can escape back into Sanctuary. Do as little or as much as you like.

Aroa Beach & Marine Reserve Rarotonga

Located within a 5-minute walk of Te Rua Manga, Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach is within a 15-minute stroll of Cocoputt. This 49-room, 4-star resort has a private beach, a full-service spa, and 2 restaurants. It's in the historical district and also near Puaikura Beach and Aro'a Beach.


Free breakfast is included with your stay. Enjoy dining at the resort's 2 onsite restaurants: Blue Water Grill Pacific offers relaxing ocean views; Ginger Garden Asian Grill specializes in Asian cuisine. Savor a meal from the comfort of your room with room service, entertain your taste buds with a beverage at the bar/lounge or coffee shop/café, and mingle with other guests at the free manager's reception.


Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach's 49 rooms are air-conditioned and provide furnished balconies or patios, refrigerators, and coffee makers. 32-cm flat-screen TVs come with cable channels, and guests can stay connected with WiFi. Bathrooms offer hair dryers and free toiletries, and pillowtop beds with premium bedding ensure a restful night. Other standard amenities include ceiling fans, safes, and phones.

Property features

Guests of Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach have access to a private beach, a full-service spa, and a nightclub. There's free parking, and an airport shuttle (available 24 hours) for NZD 55 per person roundtrip. Multilingual staff at the front desk are standing by 24/7 to help with dry cleaning/laundry, concierge services, and luggage storage. Other amenities at this adults-only resort include karaoke, an outdoor pool, and a fitness center.

Room options

Honeymoon Suite (Spa)

King 1 | Sleeps 2

Reviews from Trip Advisor

Trip Advisor aggregated rating

61% of guests recommend this hotel

Total of 412 reviews