Little Polynesian, Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Little Polynesian, RarotongaRarotonga is about to receive a new top end resort. The Little Polynesian at Titikaveka on the southeast side of the island has been completely rebuilt, with the new resort scheduled to open on September 1, 2006. This adults-only property has long been a favorite of independent travelers, but former guests won't recognize the place.

The existing units were demolished and replaced by 10 beach suites and two garden duplexes (four rooms). Unlike the old units, the new rooms lack cooking facilities for guests, who are expected to patronize Little Polynesian's restaurant. What they do have is a mini-bar, TV, spa bath, hairdryer, and both indoor and outdoor showers. At NZ$900 double for an "overbeach" bungalow or NZ$550 for a garden duplex, Little Polynesian will be the most expensive hotel in the Cook Islands.

The rebuilt Little Polynesian reflects a trend on Rarotonga toward very upscale "boutique" accommodations crammed onto tiny lots and marketed at extremely high prices. Others in the genre include Sea Change Villas at NZ$850 double and Rumours of Romance, NZ$750 double. Whether their outlandish rates represent value for money will depend on who you are, but personally, I think not.

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