Hilton Resort Rarotonga

Vaimaanga HotelAlmost two years ago I reported on this blog that the Tepaki Group of Wellington, New Zealand, was trying to revive the defunct Sheraton Resort on the the south side of Rarotonga, Cook Islands. In the meantime nothing much has been done on what Tepaki wanted to call the Captain Cook Resort, but now the McEwan Group of Auckland has been brought on board and the project is back on the front burner. Fletcher Construction is scheduled to begin work on January 15, 2008, or so they say.

The project is being marketed to small investors as a timeshare property, and sales showrooms have been set up onsite at Vaimaanga, Rarotonga, and at 10-14 Upper Queen St., Auckland. The Hilton Resort Rarotonga website used to carry architect's drawings resembling the cubist design of the Fiji Beach Resort Managed by Hilton on Denarau Island, Fiji, and the 160 rooms and 50 apartments are currently selling from $320,000 to $1,800,000 New Zealand apiece.

If the Hilton Rarotonga Resort and Spa really does open in 2009 as the developers proclaim, it will be the end of a long tale of scandal and corruption which began in 1990 when the Cook Islands Government borrowed tens of millions of dollars from Italian banks to create the country's first five-star resort. By mid-1993 the government's loan money had been siphoned away by Mafia-connected contractors and the sorry skeleton of the would-be Sheraton has stood adandoned ever since. Frankly, given the numerous other failed attempts to revive the project since 1993, I'll believe the Hilton Resort Rarotonga when I see it. Caveat emptor.

<< Home