Tracey Bond is a travel and lifestyle writer based in Auckland.

Rarotonga: Spa crawl

Tracey Bond takes a tour around Rarotonga's spas to see what they have to offer.
Rumours Waterfall Spa, Rarotonga. Photo / Lara Holtz
Rumours Waterfall Spa, Rarotonga. Photo / Lara Holtz

Whether you are looking to get some serious pampering in before the big day or you need some relaxation and de-stressing there are plenty of options to choose from on Rarotonga, from manicures and facials to acupuncture and full-on indulgent spa ritual experiences. Here are some of the best options.


Spa Nautilus is the only branded spa on the island and is behind reception at the Nautilus Resort.

The spa specialises in rejuvenating body and face rituals using Thalgo products.

After a glass of water my therapist Vara led me to my treatment room and left me to change. The spa provides a basket to place your clothes into and a wooden box to safely stow your jewellery in.

The spa's signature treatment is the Indoceane body ritual which begins with an all-over body scrub followed by a wrap and an expert massage.

While I was encased in my silky smooth Thalgo wrap Vara gave me an amazing head massage, then it was time for a deep tissue body massage (boy, did my therapist have her work cut out for her).

After she was done my back and shoulders were knot-free and my skin felt as soft as a newborn baby. There was no rush for me to get changed and a cup of herbal tea was waiting for me outside my room.

There's a wide range of treatments, facials and massages on offer and day spa packages are popular with bridal parties.

If you are not in a hurry after a treatment the beachfront bar and restaurant is highly recommended.

Te Manava Spa, Rarotonga.
Te Manava Spa, Rarotonga.


This discreet spa was the winner of the 2015 World Luxury Spa Award and is popular with newly-wed couples looking to relax.

This is the only spa in Rarotonga to have a Vichy shower, also known as a waterfall massage housed in an open air treatment room.

The spa uses Ayurda products and one of the most popular treatments is a sugar, salt and crushed almond scrub. Other body scrubs on offer include the delicious-sounding chocolate and coconut scrub and the organic ginger and cinnamon salt scrub.

My therapist Shelley showed me to a room filled with the sounds of waterfalls and relaxing music.

Shelley's deft hands eased away my aches and pains from a day spent cycling through the back roads of Rarotonga in the rain. My 60-minute relaxation massage was over all too soon and I was offered a shower to wash away the coconut oil if I wanted. The spa has a wide array of massages available with fully-trained therapists.


Just outside the hustle and bustle of Muri beach you'll find the Te Manava Spa and Villas tucked down a private lane.

The spa uses Te Tika products and has a full range of spa and beauty treatments on offer to relax and rejuvenate guests.

One of their signature treatments is an authentic Balinese massage, using long, stretching strokes to improve blood flow.

My therapist Mona was from Bali so she knew a thing or two about a good massage. Mona showed me to a shower and changing room where I was told to leave my belongings and use the beautiful sarong to cover up with.

Te Manava Spa, Rarotonga. Photo / Cook Islands Tourism
Te Manava Spa, Rarotonga. Photo / Cook Islands Tourism

The treatment started with a warm foot bath, gentle foot scrub and foot massage before moving on to the massage table, a bowl of tropical flowers was just visible below me before I closed my eyes and Mona began to use her palms and thumbs to release pressure. The soothing sounds of the water garden and gentle music added to the relaxing experience.

The aromatic oil used in the massage smelt absolutely divine, it's the spa's own blend. I asked what was in it but was so blissed out by the massage that it promptly went straight out of my head.


The newly refreshed Spa Ariki is attached to the Crown Beach Resort and the focus here is on wellbeing and nurturing body, mind and soul.

Book a time slot rather than a specific treatment (although you can book this way if you prefer) and Marny and Marissa will take you through a pre-treatment consultation to work on any areas of concern.

Many of the treatments on offer here incorporate reflexology, acupuncture and acupressure.

My session started with acupuncture using very non-invasive pins. Then Marny began to work her magic with a lymphatic massage before moving on to some Ayurvedic craniosacral massage which focused on releasing compression in the head and spine.

Finally she worked a deliciously hydrating honey rinse into my hair.

After some alone-time (I may have fallen asleep) the hair mask was rinsed off in the outdoor shower. A quick dip in the hot tub was an extra treat. The spa plans to expand this outdoor area for 2016 and install a Vichy shower and a Cleopatra bath.

The spa uses locally made Rito products but also stocks US brand Pharmagel, with plans to introduce its own products in the near future.

Its ethos is to enhance the beauty within - it certainly seemed to have worked on me - I left the spa glowing from head to toe.

Jetstar flies to Rarotonga three times a week with fares starting from $219. Go to

- NZ Herald

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