After years of neglect by the government, which built it in 1977, the island's flagship resort has undergone a remarkable transformation from rundown to Rarotonga's best large resort under its present owner, Tata Crocombe, a Cook Islander who graduated from Harvard Business School. There's something for everyone here, including a full-service spa for grownups, a children's program to keep youngsters both entertained and informed, and a host of activities for all ages. A poolside stone patio and a large lagoonside deck sit beside the beach, while a swimming pool with a waterfall also draws daytime attention. The resort also has Rarotonga's widest range of accommodation, from regular hotel rooms to a romantic honeymoon bungalow with a huge outdoor bathroom (it's in the middle of the property, but a high fence provides privacy). There are even two private residences with their own pools across the road. The "deluxe beachfront junior suites" occupy one-story buildings staggered to make them seem like bungalows. Four of these have two bedrooms, a kitchen, and a private sundeck on their rooftops. Each has a bathroom with a whirlpool bathtub in addition to an outdoor shower. Although they couldn't be enlarged, the existing hotel rooms -- in two-story buildings -- have been vastly improved over their original versions. This is especially true of the "beachfront junior suites," which have been draped with tropical woods and mat walls (they are reserved for adults except when antipodean families invade during busy school holiday periods). The other units here are regular hotel rooms, about two-thirds of them facing the beach. A few have been turned into two-bedroom garden suites with kitchens and whirlpool tubs. Every room in the resort has either a patio or a balcony.
Facilities: 3 restaurants; 2 bars; outdoor pool; 2 tennis courts; spa; watersports equipment rentals; bike rentals; children's programs; game room; activities desk; car-rental desk; business center; wireless Internet access in bar area; limited room service; babysitting; laundry service; coin-op washers and dryers.
- © Frommer's 2013
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- Highly Recommended 2010