Room Check: Palm Grove Resort, Rarotonga

By Shandelle Battersby

Shandelle Battersby relaxes at Palm Grove Resort in Rarotonga.
Palm Grove Resort, Rarotonga.
Palm Grove Resort, Rarotonga.

Location: In the village of Vaimaanga on the southern part of Rarotonga, halfway around the island from the main town of Avarua.

Room: One of the resort's 13 beach bungalows, located right on the sand. There are also 13 garden bungalows across the road. Each has a small kitchen, air con, ceiling fans, telly, stereo, and best of all, a private patio with table and chairs and a lounger. The high ceilings are arched and the walls are thatched, and the beds are covered with a bright floral cloth. Very tropical. There is real milk in the fridge (UHT) alongside a pitcher of chilled water, and there's a communal barbecue you can use.

Check-in experience: Casual and friendly. If you're coming/going to the airport, there are free transfers available.

The bed: Two singles pushed together to make a comfy king.

The bathroom: Pretty flash, with a nice vanity and a stand-alone shower.

The beach bungalows also have an outdoor shower.

Toiletries: A basic range called Pacific's Frangipani.

Food and drink: Onsite restaurant and bar Yellow Hibiscus is open for breakfast (the very good continental brekky is complimentary for guests), lunch and dinner. I recommend its excellent ika mata (raw fish marinated in lime juice, served with coconut cream). There are also complimentary drinks on Fridays from 4.30pm-6pm, Sunday is barbecue night, and there is live music several nights of the week.

Exercise: There's a pretty onsite pool, or borrow a kayak or snorkelling gear from reception ($10 bond applies, make sure you wear fins or reef shoes in the water).

The views: Lagoon, lagoon lagoon. Beautiful.

What's in the neighbourhood? The tourist area of Muri Beach is about 10 minutes away, and before that is prime snorkelling spot Fruits of Rarotonga.

Palm Grove Resort, Rarotonga.
Palm Grove Resort, Rarotonga.


Price: From $235.

Noise: Just the crashing ocean. And some roosters.

Consider: Ordering a head or neck 'ei from staff member Tangi to wear on a special night out.

Don't: Feed the animals - dogs, cats, mynah birds or chooks - but there are two dogs and a cat who live at Palm Grove, and they love a friendly pat.

Online: palmgrove.net

Free wi-fi? Barely anywhere has free wi-fi in Raro. Don't do it. Borrow a book or board game from reception instead.

What's so good about this place? Whenever I think about running away to a tropical paradise, this is exactly the sort of accommodation I dream of: simple, with the golden beach and aquamarine water just steps away. The facilities are good and the food and staff are great.

- NZ Herald

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