Rarotonga Beach Bungalows

Elsewhere on this blog I've chided big box resorts such as the Sheratons of Fiji. As an example of the many alternatives, let's look at Rarotonga Beach Bungalows. This small luxury resort is right on an excellent snorkeling beach at Titikaveka, on the south side of Rarotonga in the Cook Islands.

The neo-Polynesian architecture of the five thatched units fits nicely into the surrounding vegetation. Cooling trade winds ventilate the units, and the tasteful island-style decor reminds you that you really are in the South Pacific. The bedrooms are air-conditioned for those days when the winds die down.

The five units are identical and only proximity to the beach influences the price: NZ$495 (about US$350) single or double beachside, US$445 (about US$315) behind. Government taxes and a continental breakfast are included. All units have a full kitchen with large refrigerator, so you can save by cooking your own dinners (or patronize the many nearby restaurants and cafes). Kayaks and snorkeling gear are loaned free, and guests have access to laundry facilities, satellite TV, library, and lounge.

The owner-operators of this mini-resort live nearby, so you won't be brushed off by uninterested staff as you often are at the mega-resorts. Rarotonga Beach Bungalows is the sort of place I try to recommend in my guidebooks. Of course, their prices aren't cheap, so I also list more budget-oriented properties, right down to the bottom end backpacker dorms. The choice is yours.

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