TRAVEL AND ACCOMMODATION GUIDE
Kia Orana! Welcome to Shangri-La Beach Cottages!
Shangri-La is a small, private resort on a prime beachfront setting at beautiful Muri Beach. With its crystal-clear lagoon and inviting palm-fringed islets, Muri Beach is the first choice for those desiring the classic South Pacific island vacation. Shangri-La's twelve deluxe, air-conditioned cottages are perfect for those who seek peace, tranquility and privacy, and don't mind a touch of luxury as well, all at a moderate price ( rates start at NZ$180/night on the "Self-Servicing SpecialTM").
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With four acres of lush tropical gardens on its own private beach, exclusive facilities and an ideal climate, all year round, Edgewater Resort is the ideal vacation playground - only ten minutes from Rarotonga International Airport.
Recently refurbished, it is the largest resort in Rarotonga with 182 rooms including nine Deluxe suites with king or twin queen size beds and spa baths. All rooms and suites are fully air-conditioned and feature complimentary tea and coffee, colour satellite TV, in-house movies, telephone, refrigerator, and private balcony/patio with outdoor furniture. Interconnecting rooms and infant cots are also available on request.
SHARE THE MAGIC
Guests enjoy the complimentary use of excellent sporting facilities which include four international floodlit grass tennis courts and a large freshwater swimming pool. Also available at an additional charge is reef-walking, scuba diving, game fishing, snorkelling (free equipment), and four international squash courts. Four golfers, there is a challenging course just five minutes away.
Beyond this, there is a wealth of activities to satisfy everyone, ranging from a special island picnic to crab racing, concerts and demonstrations of local storytelling, arts and crafts.
When it comes to dining options, the two resort restaurants will tempt any palate. The delicious international and traditional island fare at the Edgewater Brasserie is complemented twice a week (Tuesdays and Saturdays) by spectacular island shows, while superb Italian cuisine has made The Spaghetti House one of the most popular spots in Rarotonga.
There is always something special for guests to experience at Edgewater. The Manager's fashion parade and cocktail party, and the exciting Nite Life Tour, which takes in every nightclub in town, are just two of the weekly highlights.
For those who prefer something more serene, a peaceful stroll in the tropical gardens or a quiet cocktail at Mal's Bar on the beachfront at sunset are perfect ways to relax.
To complete the resort facilities, there is a 200-seat conference centre with offices, an excellent babysitting service, fax facility, secretarial services and a shopping complex with Duty Free Shop, Black Pearl Shop, and Holiday Shop complete with vehicle hire. There is also a regular shuttle service which provides easy access to the main shopping area of Avarua, just 15 minutes away.
Edgewater Resort also specialises in creating the ultimate in romance, with sunset weddings on the beach and it is the perfect honeymoon location.
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THE RAROTONGAN BEACH RESORT
In the heart of the South Pacific you will find one of the world's most enchanted islands, Rarotonga, and nestled between the lush mountain rainforest and the reef is the Cook Island's premier resort, The Rarotongan Beach Resort. Here, the charm of traditional Polynesia is blended with today's modern comforts to provide a spectacular tropical beach experience on Rarotonga's sunshine coast.
The Rarotongan Beach Resort enjoys a superb location directly on a kilometre of beautiful white sand beach lapped by the luminous waters of Aroa lagoon. In the language of the local people this is "the Lagoon of Love" over which the sun sets and the moon rises.
As a guest of the Rarotongan, you step directly from your room onto the long white beach. From here it is just a few steps into a sea of turquoise and a delightful swim or snorkel among a rainbow of colourful fish. All day sun and safe, all tide swimming as well as the excellent snorkelling makes for a great beach getaway.
In fact, the Rarotonga offers guests the perfect blend of everything that adds up to the perfect beach holiday. The special ambience of low rise Polynesian architecture generously laid out on spacious grounds amidst tall coconut palms is complemented by the unaffected charm, gentle warmth and open smiles of the Cook Islands staff.
Rooms come complete with modern comfort plus direct access to the beach for the ultimate in indoor/outdoor living. The rooms are in five accommodation categories: Garden, Garden Deluxe, Beachfront, Beachfront Deluxe and the fabulous Beachfront Suites. All rooms feature room service, daily housemaid service, private outdoor area, IDD telephone, fan cooling, refrigerator, tea/coffee making facilities, and an extra single bed.
THE SIMPLE PLEASURES
The Rarotongan prides itself on showcasing the best of the Cook Islands. Each day, the chefs scour the island for the freshest, most delectable fish, fruit and vegetables. The Resort's delightful tropical cuisine is served to you just steps away from the water, either beside the magical waterfalls, pool or looking out over the beauty of Aroa Lagoon.
The Resort's world famous "Legends of Polynesia" Island Night's spectacular features an island feast slowly cooked to perfection in an underground oven, followed by the pulsation rhythm of the drum dance extravaganza. The Resort's superb gourmet seafood experience, island barbecues, and daily blackboard specials also give guests the chance to truly savour the taste of the South Pacific.
The Rarotongan offers guests an extensive activities program including world class snorkelling which rivals the Maldives or Australia's Great Barrier Reef, fish feeding, kayaking, nature and village walks, beach volleyball and tennis. For a taste of island culture, there are exotic black pearl presentations, flower garland making, pareu (sarong) tying, island dancing and ukulele lessons.
All island adventures are close by, such as deep sea diving, the exhilarating 4WD mountain safari, treks to see one of the world's endangered birds (the chatty, kakerori), cross island hikes, horseback riding, scenic flights, or cruising across the lagoon to a deserted isle for snorkelling and a beach barbecue. All adventures, as well as rental vehicles ranging from mountain bikes to 4WDs can be booked at the Resort's Holiday Centre. There is also a Black Pearl Boutique, a gift shop and an aqua centre and the resort is just ten minutes from the International Airport and fifteen minutes from the downtown shopping area of Avarua.
For the ultimate in romance, betrothed couple come from around the world to exchange their vows beside the Sea of Love on the shores of Aroa Lagoon. Bathed in the golden light of the setting sun, this is truly one of the most perfect places on earth to embark on a life long adventure. An added bonus for many travellers is that Rarotongan can be a free stop-over to or from Australia and New Zealand.
The Resort also offers full conference facilities plus a business centre where world-weary business people can rediscover their good humour while getting on with the job away from the pressures of high-rise, traffic jams and "plastic" smiles.
At the Rarotongan, the days fill with the colours, character, flavours and adventures of this special slice of paradise. When you want the place, the space and the freedom to deeply unwind, visit the Rarotongan Beach Resort. Here you can relax your body, warm your heart and refresh your soul.
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Originally built as a London Missionary Society School in about 1845, the building was also used for the legislative council (1888-1901) and then for a Sunday school. When Beachcomber commenced work on the property in August 1992, it was a roofless weed infested ruin.
Beachcomber, for the previous 20 years had operated its exclusive pearl and gift shop in Cook's Corner, and fortunately for the Cook Islands, the owner was looking for larger premises. Inspired by the imaginative renovation suggestions of her husband, they decided to take on the mammoth restoration project which would commence by clearing out the jungle which had grown in the fertile lime floor of the building.
Today the building stands not just as the very impressive new headquarters of Beachcomber Ltd., but as a monument to the early history of the Cook Islands, some of which eventuated within the walls of the building by nurturing the minds of many generations of young people. It is perhaps symbolic that one of the main reasons for restoring the building to its former glory is to accommodate the black pearl industry.
When the first hymn resounded within the lime wall, the black-lipped mother-of-pearl shell industry was a new enterprise for the Cook Islands. The old shell industry is now providing for the new pearl industry. Beachcombers darker richly peacock, aubergine and grey pearls are used alone or with diamonds and enhanced in 18 carat gold. There are hair pieces, earrings, necklaces and brooches. The beachcomber gallery also shows the arts and crafts of local and Pacific artists, along with important show pieces.
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CLUB RARO RESORT
Once you arrive at Club Raro on Rarotonga, you can forget not only your daily cares but also your wallet that is because everything, including all meals and fruit drinks right down to porterage and gratuities is included in the one package price. The resort, built on two and half acres of tropical gardens overlooking a shallow lagoon and protected by a magnificent coral reef, is a fabulous holiday playground designed to give you ultimate pleasure and relaxation.
A full compliment of activities awaits you with daily tours and excursions arranged for your pleasure as well as television and video rooms. There is also a sparkling fresh water swimming pool where you can lounge under shady palms or take advantage of the adjacent bar to sip and dip.
When it comes to diving, you have the choice of poolside dining under the stars, the colonial cafe with coffee shop style menu, and the Club Restaurant which also caters for spectacular "island nights" featuring traditional island fare and vibrant entertainment. There are two bars including the Vaka Bar with sand floor adjacent to the sunset deck and pool, to make sure friendly service is just seconds away.
Accommodation is airy, cool and comfortable with the 39 spacious room featuring tropical decor, double and single beds, refrigerator, ensuite with shower, telephone, tea and coffee making facilities, overhead fans, and private lanais. The honeymoon rooms offer queen sized beds.
Special packages provide a wonderful and romantic way to celebrate your honeymoon, or anniversaries, and the resort also offers full conference facilities and catering to meet any conference requirements. At Club Raro, you are treated as an honoured guest with friendly staff eager to cater to your every whim. Children are most welcome too.
Ideally located only five minutes drive from downtown Avarua, and ten minutes from the Airport, Club Raro is a special piece of paradise.
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The stunning waterfront location of Sokala Villas is a corner of Rarotonga's famous Muri Lagoon. This private retreat of only seven spacious villas has exquisite views across the lagoon to uninhabited palm-lined Islands, over which the sun and moon rise.
A UNIQUE HIDEAWAY IN A SPECTACULAR SETTING
Each villa features a spacious timber deck, just the place for relaxing with a cool drink and a good book. Five villas have their own swimming pool, giving guests the option of a freshwater swim or a dip in the saltwater lagoon.
The rustic log cabin exteriors are complemented by pine-walled interiors. Four of the villas have their bedroom upstairs on a mezzanine floor, while three of the beach front villas are single level. All villas have king size beds and well-appointed kitchenettes. Sokala has a policy of not accommodating guests under 12 years of age.
Situated right next door is Rarotonga's award-winning Flame Tree Restaurant, and several other excellent restaurants are within easy walking distance.
The villas are especially popular with honeymooners (and those on their second and third!) and Sokala's location with its lagoon backdrop has been the setting for a number of small romantic weddings.
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THE PACIFIC RESORTS & THE PACIFIC VILLAS
Located in the village of Muri, fronting its beautiful beach and lagoon, and only ten minutes from Avarua township, the Pacific Resort features one of Rarotonga's largest botanical gardens and is adjacent to the Pacific Villas.
Each of the resort's 53 deluxe self contained one and two bedroom apartments features magnificent beach and garden views, imported cane furniture, bathroom, self catering facilities, a telephone, radio alarm clock, and a ceiling fan. Interconnecting units are available on request.
HOTEL STYLE OR LUXURY VILLA
The luxurious Pacific Villas boast private verandahs and patios with a barbecue.
Modern conveniences and imported cane furniture feature throughout two oversized bedrooms. The lounge rooms are spacious and well appointed. Separate dining areas, fully-equipped kitchens, complete laundry facilities, safety deposit, and facsimile facilities complete the luxury package. Complimentary guest services at the resort include juice on arrival and fresh fruit baskets.
The beachfront Barefoot Bar and Sandals restaurant are open daily from 7.30 a.m. to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Packed picnic lunches and snacks are available and private function catering can be arranged. The casual tropical cuisine, for example beach barbecues, is exquisite. Island dancing provides entertainment for guests and visitors.
Popular pastimes in one of the best swimming and water sport areas on the island include snorkelling, dinghy rowing, outrigger canoeing, surf skiing, sailing and swimming in the large fresh water swimming pool. Just offshore, there is a swimming pontoon and a variety of beach equipment is available for all activities.
At the reception you can arrange excursions, tours and activities such as scuba diving, fishing trips, golf and bowls. Rental cars and motor scooters are also available on site.
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THE RAROTONGAN SUNSET
Idyllically set on the shores of a sheltered turquoise lagoon, the Rarogongan Sunset offers 20 spacious apartments situated amongst a garden of lush tropical plants and flowers. Accommodation options include beach front and garden apartments featuring a fully equipped kitchen for self-catering, ceiling fans, private IDD phone, colour TV, radio/alarm and individual patios with inter-connecting apartments available on request.
Supreme beachfront studio and two bedroom apartments are now available fully refurbished throughout in contemporary style. They come complete with air-conditioning, designer kitchens with microwave and oven, and individual video system.
All apartments are serviced daily with fresh towels and have an arrangement of island flowers. An ice machine on site provides complimentary ice to all guests.
The Rarotongan Sunset is conveniently located within walking distance of five restaurants offering a variety of cuisine and is only seven minutes driving time from the main town of Avarua and just two minutes from Rarotonga's golf course.
In addition to the great location, the Rarotongan Sunset also boasts a superb range of facilities. A friendly cocktail bar overlooks the large freshwater swimming pool beside which daily breakfasts are served and a popular Sunday barbecue is held. There is a guest laundry with washing machine, dryer and ironing facilities, motor scooters and van hire on site, and also complimentary snorkelling equipment for exploring the lagoon.
Every Sunday a coach service is provided for guests wanting to take part in a local church service and listen to the harmonious Cook Island singing. The Rarotongan Sunset's tour desk is open every day and a transfer service is available to take guests from the airport to their apartment in a private coach.
The Rarotongan Sunset is a friendly, secluded property with most of the features of a larger resort but with the intimate atmosphere of a smaller complex. It is the ideal place to experience the exotic magic of the pristine South Pacific.
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CROWN BEACH RESORT
Rarotonga's first completely new development in nearly twelve years, Crown Beach Resort extends over 4.5 acres of lush, unspoiled tropical beach front. Here, electric blue water laps the pristine white sand with its backdrop of spectacular mountains.
Accommodation is in fourteen luxury air-conditioned villas which subtly blend into beach front, poolside, or garden locations. Each villa has its own private deck and some have two bedrooms. An additional "jewel" at Crown Beach is the resort's two secluded ocean front luxury Vaima Villas at Vaimanga, Vaima Villa guests have full use of facilities at the main resort.
ROMANTIC BEAUTY ABOUNDS
At Crown Beach Resort there is lots to do ... or not do, if you prefer relaxing by the pool or on the beach. Water based activities include snorkelling, kayaking, windsurfing, sailing, game fishing, scuba diving, glass-bottom boat excursions or renting a reef runner. Other activities include beach volleyball, island and outer island tours, golf, visiting the cultural village, horseback riding, cross island trekking, shopping and Island Night celebrations. For parents needing some time to themselves, customised escorted children's activities are available upon request.
Unwind at the Cabana Beach Bar and Restaurant with tempting cuisine from around the world created by the resort's award winning chef. It's the little touches like the services of a professional concierge, and a complimentary fruit basket on arrival that make Crown Beach Resort the place for that ultimate Polynesian escape.
Surrounded by tropical gardens, whispering palms and a fabulous beach, the Oasis Village has an intimate and secluded atmosphere enhanced by personalised service and island hospitality. The four fully-serviced and comfortable bungalow style units combine a traditional village atmosphere with modern features that include air-conditioning, queen sized beds, refrigerators, tea and coffee making facilities, and luxury bathrooms.
Also located on the premises, is the Oasis steak house where guests can savour the delights of succulent steaks, pasta dishes, salads made from fresh local produce, and tempting desserts all complimented with a wonderful selection of wines and spirits. Hopsing's is also now at the oasis with the best Cantonese style Chinese food on the island.
With some of the finest swimming, snorkelling and sunbathing spots in Rarotonga at your doorstep with the excitement of down town Avarua only ten minutes away, the Oasis Village has all the ingredients for a truly special vacation.
A secluded five acres of spacious tropical garden wonderland is the setting for Lagoon Lodge's 19 condominium style units which comprise a large three bedroom executive lodge (complete with private swimming pool), six separate two bedroom ocean view villas, six one bedroom bungalows and six studio style units. All units are serviced daily and are fully insect screened. with ceiling fans, private bathrooms, dining room, lounges, fully equipped kitchen, and their own private patios.
A wide range of facilities include on site guest laundry, fresh water swimming pool complete with children's pool, barbecue area, grass tennis court, TV lounge, a breakfast and barbecue terrace, children play area, aquatic sport's equipment, and easy access to the white sand beaches.
A complimentary tropical fruit basket is provided for all arriving guests while the owner/managers, live on site to ensure your every need is attended to. They will even arrange to have you met at the Airport upon arrival and transferred to the Lodges in their own private mini van.
From the office, all tours, excursions, day trips, and rental bikes and cars can be arranged, while the bus stops in front of the property. Within easy walking distance is a store, the Rarotongan Resort Hotel and a licensed restaurant.
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AITUTAKI LAGOON HOTEL
The Aitutaki Lagoon Hotel, set on a small island near the Airport, holds unlimited potential in the way of special memories for those who seek the ultimate, secluded holiday location. The appeal of the location is its remoteness and in order to fully experience its magnificence, Aitutaki Lagoon Hotel is set right on the shores at what many seasoned travellers have described as the most beautiful lagoon in the world.
The Hotel has 30 air-conditioned room, all have a balcony with lounge chairs, separate bathrooms, hairdryer, refrigerator, coffee making facilities and ceiling fans. Breakfast is included and the rooms are serviced daily.
Are Kaikai, the lagoon side restaurant, is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner and is noted for its relaxed atmosphere. The restaurant has entertainment and there is a Polynesian floor show on Saturday nights.
The lounge bar, which is near the swimming pool, serves island-style cocktails and there is a poolside barbecue on Sunday evenings. While the hotel doesn't provide a minute by minute schedule of activities, the Activities Centre will arrange snorkelling equipment or use of windsurfers.