The Best Hotels and Resorts to Book in Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Rarotonga in the Cook Islands offers visitors epic scenery and laid-back island lifestyle
Rarotonga in the Cook Islands offers visitors epic scenery and laid-back island lifestyle | Courtesy of Aroa Beachside Inn / Booking.com
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Pacific perfection awaits in Rarotonga – the undeveloped, authentically Polynesian hub of the Cook Islands. This is a place where you won’t find many major chains, high-rises or highways. Instead, there are many boutique resorts in Rarotonga, tucked beneath the palm trees or languidly stretched out along the sand, blending local styles and customs for a unique island getaway. Here are the best hotels in Rarotonga, all bookable with Culture Trip.

Little Polynesian Resort, for adults-only beach holidays

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Courtesy of Little Polynesian Resort / Booking.com
The Little Polynesian Resort is designed to give you the most from Rarotonga’s expanse of sparkling water and sand. This adults-only resort overlooks the white sands of Titikaveka Beach – which shelves gently into the ocean – where you can enjoy a secluded sunset dinner. But if you’d prefer fresh to salt water, the infinity pool starts where sun loungers and hammocks sit in the shade of palms, and ends in the endless Pacific blue.

Pacific Resort Rarotonga, for family watersports

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Courtesy of Pacific Resort Rarotonga / Booking.com
If you’re looking for a more family-friendly environment, there’s the Pacific Resort Rarotonga, where outdoor pools and a kids’ club are a great way to keep the young ones entertained while you unwind. The free kayaks and stand-up paddleboards (SUP) offer a neat way to explore the lagoons. Postcard-worthy views back towards the island from here show the white sand and tropical gardens, which conceal the artfully elegant architecture of this resort’s traditionally designed buildings.

Rumours Luxury Villas & Spa, for privacy and luxury

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Courtesy of Rumours Luxury Villas and Spa / Booking.com
If privacy is something you covet during a luxury holiday break on this tropical Cook Island, Rumours might have the solution. Many of their secluded villas have private, gated courtyards, a beachfront location and their own private pool. The warmly lit common rooms open up onto the waterfront, so you can let that sea breeze in. If you prefer to head outdoors, your villa has its own kayaks, and the sundecks on both sides of the accommodation mean you’ll always find a patch of sun or shade.

Aro’a Beachside Inn, for tropical seclusion

Budget Hotel
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Courtesy of Aroa Beachside Inn / Booking.com
For a simpler, budget-friendly – yet still adults-only – hotel on Rarotonga, the Aro’a Beachside Inn has everything necessary for a desert island getaway. Deckchairs line a secluded stretch of beach beneath a palm grove, while the mountainous interior rises up behind the property, wreathed in tropical vegetation. There’s even a beach bar called the Shipwreck Hut to complete the castaway fantasy, where regular barbecue and live music nights keep the night young.

Nautilus Resort, for private pools and infinity pools

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Courtesy of Nautilus Resort / Booking.com
Occupying prime real estate along Muri Beach, where Rarotonga’s gentle, aquamarine lagoon stretches farthest from the shore, is the Nautilus Resort. This is the ultimate in island chic, where infinity pools and suites are considered the bare minimum when it comes to amenities. Each of the hotel’s villas, known as ares, has its own plunge pool and an open-plan living space with a high palm-thatch ceiling – which opens onto a generous terrace with deck chairs and a dining space for the perfect evening meal.

Muri Beach Club, for the adventurous traveller

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Courtesy of Muri Beach Club Hotel / Booking.com
Muri Beach Club has an even more sheltered location along Rarotonga’s eastern shore, where the warm lagoon waters are protected by a small chain of forest-covered islands. All modern comforts are provided here and the more adventurous traveller is particularly well catered for – thanks to the resort’s provision of snorkelling and SUP gear, and the possibility of taking sailing lessons here. Rooms are decorated in a crisp, bright and airy style.

Te Manava Luxury Villas & Spa, for larger group stays

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Courtesy of Te Manava Luxury Villas and Spa / Booking.com
Te Manava Luxury Villas & Spa is one of the smaller luxury hotels in Rarotonga. The 13 private villas range in size, with up to three bedrooms – ideal for larger groups including families looking for a nice blend of private and communal space. There’s a private pool in the larger villas, where comfort and relaxation are actively encouraged by the spacious terrace. To unwind even further, the on-site spa, surrounded by a tropical water garden, offers a variety of relaxation packages.

Moana Sands Beachfront Hotel, for a postcard-perfect setting

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Courtesy of Moana Sands Beachfront Hotel / Booking.com
Picture a beachfront hotel surrounded by tilting palms, with a backdrop of lush green hills and a foreground of turquoise water, dappled by corals. This description belongs to Moana Sands Beachfront Hotel, a self-contained collection of studios with their own balcony and kitchen space with a mini-fridge and microwave. If you prefer to let somebody else do the cooking, the Moana Restaurant serves up regional Pacific cuisine at candlelit tables overlooking the ocean.

Motu Beachfront Art Villas, for elegant design

Villa
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Courtesy of Motu Beachfront Art Villas / Booking.com
Creative souls and the design-conscious are drawn to the impeccable presentation of Motu Beachfront Art Villas, where nature is something to be celebrated and incorporated into the design. Elegant bamboo furniture, floral-print cushions and nature-inspired art dress the pristine white common spaces and rooms. Outdoors, the paths and pools have natural curves which intersect with lush gardens and lily-filled ponds. And to cap off the idyll, lace hammocks sway in the ocean breeze.

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