Manuia Beach Resort, Rarotonga

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Manuia Beach Resort, Rarotonga

Hotel - Rarotonga, Near Avarua, Cook Islands

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Review of "Manuia Beach Resort, Rarotonga"

published 29/11/2010 | catsholiday
Member since : 03/03/2003
Reviews : 1977
Members who trust : 413
About me :
Family and days of childminding now keeping me busy but I keep on rating more than writing. Thank you anyone who is kind enough to read then rate my reviews, especially those Es.
Pro Fantastic food, great location, friendly service
Cons Rooms a little basic by 5 star standards
very helpful
Value for Money

"Our pad by the beach"

Idyllic picture - cocktails on the deck overlooking the pool and beach

Idyllic picture - cocktails on the deck overlooking the pool and beach


We stayed 5 nights in this rather charming little hotel and it cost us £69 per person per night including a tropical breakfast.

We were met at the airport and given a lovely lei each then taken to the hotel which was only about 10 minutes from the airport in Raratonga, Cook Islands. When we turned into the driveway I was a bit surprised as we seemed to be heading towards a rather scruffy looking hut which had a board outside advertising motor scooter rentals. As the previous hotels we had stayed at were all rather up market I was a little hesitant. We got out of the mini bus and were pointed towards the scruffy hut with advertising for scooter hire as the reception.

We were expected, welcomed and given our key. One of the staff members took us to our room and explained the safe, the air conditioning which need the key fob in the control before operating the remote and he also showed us the large container of filtered water in the fridge that we just had to take to the restaurant any time we needed it topped up. In another sliding cupboard he pointed out the kettle and tea/coffee making stuff as well as in yet another cupboard some insect coils, fly spray and an air freshener spray.

The room was large and very airy and light as there were windows on three sides. The net curtains gave day privacy and there were proper dark curtains for night privacy. In the room we had a double bed and a single as well as a couple of wicker chairs and a wicker glass topped table. Also very handy were two of those folding suitcase stands which you could also use to air clothes! The room was tiled on the floor and the bedspread was a Cook Island patterned blue and white bedspread which was fresh and bright.

We had a safe which was meant to be locked with a code but we never managed so we used the key they provided instead. Also in the room was a decent sized ward robe and drawers for clothes storage plus two bedside tables and good bright reading lights. All in all it was clean, fresh and all you really needed though there was no iron or board provided and as this was our last few days I didn’t ask for one as I did no washing at all.

The bathroom was fairly small with just a shower sink and toilet, not luxurious but did the job. The toiletries provided were a shampoo/condition and soap no body lotion or other extras but the shampoo was actually very nice and I did use extra conditioner but it did make my hair nice and soft.

We also had a lovely little veranda with two chairs and a table with a roof so we could sit out there in the shade and enjoy the view of the gardens. We were not lucky enough to have sea view here although there were rooms with a sea view available I suspect they cost a bit more.

As we walked towards our room I was getting more concerned as the coconut leaved roofs looked very shabby, however I realised the coconut leaves were only decoration and the roofs were actually solid. I had visions of leaking roofs and was getting quite anxious. All my worries were unfounded though as this hotel proved to be a little gem.

We had left Tahiti very early with no breakfast and all were given out our Air Tahiti flight was a cup of tea and a glass of water so by the time we arrived here we were starving so we left our unpacking and went in search of something to eat.
The restaurant was called ‘Right on the Beach’ and indeed it was right on the beach with sand as the floor. The roof was metal and again but covered in decorative coconut leaves, the wall were only to table height and then it was open with plastic blinds that were lowered when the weather made it necessary. It was absolutely lovely, homely but with the rather exotic element as it was on the beach with a view of the sea and the reef beyond where we watched the waves breaking before they calmed to slip in quietly onto the beach. The views of the sunsets here were some of the best I have ever seen.

The waiter was just the most charming, (somewhat effeminate person) he called us “my dears “ and nothing was too much trouble. He chatted to us when he wasn’t busy but was efficient while still being friendly when he was very busy. We loved the restaurant so much that we didn’t bother going to any others as we felt we couldn’t better the food or the service.

They offered different ‘experience’ nights. We did go to a couple. One was the seafood buffet which was less than £20 a head and included a glass of wine per person. The platter when it came had so much seafood on it from oysters, prawns, scallops, fish, some fried and some stuff was cold. It was a really good portion with salad and had a great variety so we could have a taste of quite a few different things.

The other night we attended was the ‘island night’ which included a buffet based on local ingredients and cooking and then a show which was the best we experienced on all four islands we visited in the Pacific. This was partly because it was a much smaller venue so we were pretty close but mainly because there was a commentary which explained the dance or the music prior to it happening which gave us much more of an idea what was supposed to be going on in the dance. They also explained the different drums and played each separately so that we could hear what each did before they played together. Not only was the performance excellent but the food was delicious and plentiful and the drinks were a reasonable price too. We met a couple who were staying at another place on the island and they had come specifically for the island night at our hotel as they had heard it was a good one and I can see why as it was good and we managed to make a quick exit just as they mentioned audience participation which is something I do NOT do.

On other nights we enjoyed snacks or the a la carte menu after the wonderful ’Happy Hour and a half’ which went from 5.30 to 7pm and during this time you got two drinks for the price of one which included some very exciting cocktails which I took full advantage of. The other great value discount that we availed ourselves of was the 10 drinks for $55NZ (about £22 at the time) and each time we bought a drink they signed a square on our paper. This was also a great idea which we used at times other than the Happy Hour as it didn’t include cocktails!

Obviously we were right on the beach but unfortunately the weather while we were here in the Cook Islands on Raratonga was not that great so I didn’t going the sea at all as it was too chilly for me. My husband did get in but only long enough to pose for a photo to prove that he had! The sea was however beautifully clear and we did enjoy a number of walks along the sandy beach in both directions from our hotel.

The pool was quite small but as the hotel had a “ No Children” policy it was large enough for a dip. It was an infinity pool with a wooden deck around it which had chairs and tables as an extension of the restaurant/bar. On the beach were a number of sun beds and there were also a few roofed shaded open huts with sun beds or you could use the surrounding palm trees for shade. This wasn’t a problem while we were there as it was cloudy or raining a lot of the time which was a real shame as I did rather fancy a lie on a sunny beach to relax and prepare for the journey home.

For internet access you had to pay the person in reception and they gave you a code to access a New Zealand company internet provider. I am trying to remember but I think I paid about £10 for each session which was a given number of bytes. I hate that system as very email you open uses up a few bytes. Anyway it did allow me to check us in on the plane and clear a few emails and read a few reviews but not a lot else. I could also access this from my room which was the good part of this and it was stupidly expensive but just a bit more than I wanted to spend just to read a few reviews and clear my emails.

All in all I would definitely recommend this lovely little boutique hotel for anyone who wants a hotel with no children which is peaceful, very friendly and welcoming with large, clean and light rooms. It was not a luxury hotel with slick features but it had a very quaint charm about it which we loved and the service was second to none in my view.

Thank you for reading about my experience at this lovely hotel. This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name.

© catsholiday

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very helpful

Comments on this review

  • danielclark691 published 27/03/2017
    very good
  • newby2 published 30/05/2011
    sounds really nice xxx
  • silverstreak published 16/02/2011
    I could go for those cocktails on te deck - bliss!
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Product Information : Manuia Beach Resort, Rarotonga

Manufacturer's product description

Hotel - Rarotonga, Near Avarua, Cook Islands

Product Details

Long Name: Manuia Beach Resort

Type: Hotel

Address: Rarotonga, Near Avarua, Cook Islands

City: Rarotonga

Country: Cook Islands


Listed on Ciao since: 03/06/2008