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Comparing the Beaches of Rarotonga’s Luxury Resorts and Villas

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Rarotonga’s Muri beach spoils us with endless pictures of its white sand and a crystal clear lagoon.  Although the pictures are authentic, they don’t represent every beach on the island as in some parts of the lagoon the reef grows much closer to shore and into the lagoon.  This makes some beaches, like Muri and Titikaveka, ideal for swimming and snorkeling and others an ideal backdrop for a cocktail.  If your plan is to swim right in front of your accommodation, knowing the beaches in front of Rarotonga’s luxury and premium properties will be important to you.

Still researching? Read more in our comprehensive Guide to a holiday in the Cook Islands.


The Pacific Resort

The Pacific Resort is the obvious starting point for this review as it is in the heart of Muri beach and is where many of the photos of white sand beaches and lagoon are taken (image courtesy of Turama photography). The lagoon has large coral heads, providing a unique navigation challenge for the local sailing club, but is the right mix of white sand and coral that allows for care free swimming, kayaking, stand-up paddle-boarding and snorkeling.

Learn More About the Pacific Resort Rarotonga


Te Vakaroa Villas

Just a few steps along Muri Beach from the Pacific Resort are the Te Vakaroa Villas.  These self-catering villas won the World Luxury Hotels’ “Best Design – Hotel” award, the contemporary architecture and interior design of the six villas are sympathetic to the natural surroundings.  Its location on Muri Beach offers all the advantages of its Pacific Resort neighbour.

Learn More About Te Vakaroa Villas


Te Manava Villas

Te Manava Villas was recently described by a Fine Travel client in their review as “superb – easily one of the best (if not the best) place we’ve stayed in the tropics”. Read the full review of Te Manava Villas here.

Te Manava offers the white sand beaches that guests are looking for, however the lagoon has more coral growing in it, so reef shoes and waiting for high tide are a good ideas for guests wanting to take a dip directly in front the villas.  As Te Manava is a member of the Pacific Resort Group, Te Manava guests can take advantage of a free shuttle between the properties (a 3 minute drive) or take a leisurely 20 minute stroll along the beach.  When you just need to cool off with a quick dip, each villa has a plunge pool.

Learn More About Te Manava Villas


Rumours Luxury Villas and Spa

Rumours Luxury Villas and Spa offers true luxury and according to Tripadvisor is rated in the top 1% of luxury properties in the South Pacific. Rumours describe their villas as: “… designed for maximum privacy, relaxation, pampering and to “soothe the soul” before returning home”.  

Sharing a beachfront with Te Manava Villas, the beach is postcard perfect, but with the coral growth previously mentioned, reef shoes and waiting for high tide are again recommended.  Taking the leisurely 20 minute stroll towards the Sailing Club for the more coral free part of Muri Beach.

Our room rates at Rumours start from NZ$975 per night with a minimum 3 night stay (subject to availability).  The room rate includes: Inward & outward personal VIP airport transfers, including genuine flower ‘ei’ greeting on arrival. Arrival gift basket in villa including a bottle of good quality ‘Bubbly’. Complimentary breakfast delivered to the villa each day with a choice of Continental and self cook items. In-room TV with a complimentary choice of more than 450 movies, TV series, music videos and ‘Moana’ TV. Complimentary use of superior quality kayaks, lifejackets, snorkelling equipment, BBQ’s, and in-room laundry facilities. Complimentary local telephone calls.

Contact Fine Travel


Nautilus Resort

Set on the beachfront approximately halfway between the Pacific Resort and Te Manava / Rumours is the Nautilus Resort.  As the image above shows, there is coral in the lagoon directly in front of Nautilus, but the location allows for a gentle stroll along Muri Beach to find your favourite spot for swimming.

Learn More about the Nautilus Resort 


Sea Change Villas

Whilst much is made of Muri Beach, it isn’t the only beach game in town.  Further around the coast is Titikaveka beach, long known as an exceptional snorkeling lagoon, and home to the Sea Change Villas.

Lagoon View Villas with a private pool start from NZ$600 per night with a minimum 3 night stay (subject to availability).  On sale until 31 March 22 – Stay 5 nights, Pay for 4 nights for travel to 31 March 2023 (subject to availability).

Contact Fine Travel

Little Polynesian Resort


The third member of the Pacific Resort Group, The Little Polynesian is also on Rarotonga’s Titikaveka Beach.  The lagoon has has ideal mix of white sand and coral heads that allow for a choice between a dip in the pool, the lagoon or snorkelling.

Learn More About the Little Polynesian Resort


Sands Villas

Although it may be considered more of a premium property than a luxury property, the Sands Villas are ideally located on Titikaveka and ideal for a group of friends or a larger family celebration on Rarotonga.

Read More About Sands Villas 

Best time of year to visit the Cook Islands

The beaches aren’t the only consideration when planning your holiday to the Cook Islands.  Although the Cook Islands are consistently warmer than New Zealand, it is still a seasonal destination.  Read more in our article:

Best time of year to visit the Cook Islands

4 Responses

  1. Harvey LoCoco
    | Reply

    My wife and I stayed at the Pacific Resort and it is a perfect resort, and everything you mentioned is very accurate.

    The other thing that I’d like to say is that another great reason to stay is the staff. You arrive as a guest but you depart a friend. Can not say enough good things about the people there.

  2. Joseph C Fitzpatrick
    | Reply

    Myself I personally like the Edgewater. Great snorkeling and their staff are wonderful people who make your adventures worth your time in paradise.

  3. Helen Bruce
    | Reply

    We have been visiting Cook Islands every year but the last 20 years we always stay at the Edgewater and find it absolutely perfect the weather on that side of the island is better the staff are friendly and very helpful.

  4. Fiona Mason
    | Reply

    Our first trip to Rarotonga was a week on the main island and a week on Aitutaki, we stayed with the pacific resort on both islands. Brilliant! Our second trip we stayed with pacific resort again. They have everything we need ie accommodation, food & beverage, entertainment etc. We hope to return this year again and will no doubt stay at the same place 😉🥂

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