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Reviewed 5 April 2009

The Sunset has had some mixed reviews, and I can see why. However, overall, it exceeded our expectations and the only disadvantage was the food service - but there are several good restaurants within walking distance of The Sunset.

The Sunset enjoys a great setting and location. It is quiet and peaceful, well-maintained and the room we stayed at, overlooking the larger swimming pool, was very clean, stylish and elegant.

The included breakfast is served in the The Sunset's restaurant (called The Anchorage, I think), and it was fairly basic, but ok. It consists of self-help small packets of cereal, fruit salad, toast and coffee. We chose not to eat other meals at the Anchorage, after a disappointing "$35" Sunday night BBQ. The BBQ was actually $38.50, because Sundays attract a 10% surcharge, even though it's advertised at $35. Annoying. The BBQ was average, and for the money you could find much better elsewhere.

The Kikau Hut restaurant, for instance, is just 5 mins walk from the Sunset Resort, and the food is noticeably better. You'll find the restaurant's host/owner, Kathie, very amusing and friendly. You could also walk to The Spaghetti House - nice interior, but the pasta was not so good. Pizzas were ok.
Or you could try the Windjammer restaurant (20 min walk) - excellent food, very attentive service. About $30-35 for a main course.

We did like the Sunset Resort in many ways, and we have seen (and heard of) some much worse places in Rarotonga. The Sunset does many things right, and it would get '5 stars' from us if the food service was improved.

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Happy_happy_couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 April 2009

We stayed at 3 hotels and resorts on our 12 day trip to the Cookies and this was the only average place we stayed. The other 2 resorts were either AMAZING (Etu Maoana 5 star Aitutaki) or very good (Manuia 31/2 to 4 star Rarotonga) (see separate reviews).

We had a beach bungalow which was very adequate and very close to the beach. The beach itself is OK but not wonderful or clear. It is very rocky and corally and you must take your reef shoes with you. I found it difficult to swim in as it was very bumpy most of the time. If you come from a place without great beaches maybe you would be less critical but as I come from Main Beach on Australia's Gold Coast I judged it against truly beautiful beahes (which it is not). If you want amazing beaches and water then Raro probably isn't the place for you and this part of Raro certainly isn't the place for you. Go to either Muri or Aro's Beach for beaches. The trade-off however is that both of these are further away from the markets, shops, restaurants and hub of Raro. I must say though that if beaches and clear water is your thing, just go to Aitutaki which is a beach wonderland and must be close to heaven!!!!!

However, there is far more to lovely Rarotonga than just beaches. It is a wonderful place to explore and the people are really, really great. it is another land of smiles, flowers, song, dance and laughter. I love the Cookies very much but I am just not overly taken with this resort. There are better for the money. In saying that however, the position of the resort is very good and central, which is why we booked it.

So back to the resort ..... The room was clean and had everything required but had some maintanance issues (for example the insect screens were totally broken and the slatted blinds had slats missing ... nothing too tragic but certainly notable). It was great that the resort had a communal laundry so we could get our washing done affordably. That was a bonus.

The restaurant called the Anchorage was wonderful and highly recommended. We ate there quite a bit. The staff there were totally fabulous and the food and service excellent.

The staff in the resort however completely suck. I am a hotel manager so beleive I can rate them fairly having had a great deal of experience with resort and hotel staff. One Receptionist in particular was completely useless. I don't think she got anything right at all. She picked us up from the airport and wasn't friendly at all. We asked her basic questions about the island, markets, ATM's, shops, restaurants, tours, sight-seeing and the resort and she couldn't answer one of them. She gave us directions and they were wrong. She told us a bus would pick us up for church and it didn't come. She booked a tour and told us the wrong details re pick-up, every time a guest walked past she looked away or put her head down and she ordered us an alarm call for our early flight to NZ and we are still waiting for it!!! Pretty poor and it gave us a poor impression of the whole product.

Lastly, the gardens are lovely and well-groomed and the staff in this area are friendly and do an excellent job.

So that is about it. I give this one a pretty neutral rating after staying at Manuia Beach Boutique Hotel which is just up the road and very much the same standard. The competition is too good in beautiful Raro. There are heaps of GREAT places. You can do better.

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank tiana07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 March 2009

WOW, what a fantastic time we had, admitadly neither of us had been overseas before but we couldnt have asked for more!
The people were so friendly right across the island, always willing to help or stop and chat!
We meet some fantastic people whist there and ended up having a small gathering on a Fri night, although others had herd us no one seemed upset, more glad that we were enjoying ourselves!
We had the BBQ on the Sun night when we arrived and found it very yummy, perhaps slightly over priced but all in all VERY good!
We hired a scooter for a great price (very cheep) had a ball on that, makes it so easy to get around, highly reccommend any going to get yourself a scooter!
We swam in both pools, one seemed warmer than the other but both lovley and deep.
Nothing seemed to be a problem at the sunset, the young girl at reception on Sun b4 we left even sold me the clock off the wall as she couldnt find the key to get the others that were available. Snorkling was amazing, took a little encouragement for me to get in but once I was used to it I didnt want to get out. Hubby spent hours in the lagoon in front of the sunset and can also highly reccommend to snorkel at " the fruits of Rarotonga" . Food was yummy, we ate a several different places over the 7 nights we were there. All very friendly and great food!
We stayed in a pool side/garden room and loved it, we were upstairs, airconditioning was fabulous.
I really couldnt speak highly enough of the staff and resort as a whole, I highly reccommend it to anyone considering staying.
Thank you to all that were involved in our stay, keep up the great work!

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Doyleys
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 March 2009

We were a little tentative about staying here after reading an earlier review from jj-the-jetsetter but are so glad that we chose to ignore it. In my opinion there was no faulting Sunset Resort. Our stay was perfect in every way.

LOCATION: After reading other people's reviews we were a bit worried that we'd be stuck in the middle of nowhere but after spending a couple of days on Muri Lagoon we decided that the west coast was definitely the place to be. There are a large number of restaurants and other resorts along that coast so plenty to choose from, and all within walking distance. Otherwise, it takes less than an hour to scoot around the entire island (at 40km/hour!) so you are never far from anywhere. Scooters are the main source of transport but if you don't have your licence then the 2 buses (clockwise and anticlockwise) are also really reliable, can be waved down from anywhere along the road and run til quite late at night. We used these quite regularly in our first couple of days just to get the lay of the land. We had heard that Muri Lagoon was the place to be but after wasting the first couple of days over there we wished we'd just spent more time at our own beach.

RESTAURANT: We loved it! Friendly service in an open-air fale looking over beautiful gardens - what more could you ask for. We booked in for the BBQ night and couldn't fault it. A great selection of salads plus chicken, steak or lamb on the barbie - we thought it was a really great deal. We just felt bad that more people hadn't booked in as there were only about 6 of us dining in that night which seemed a shame for such a great place. Continental breakfast was complimentary for guests and perfectly adequate - fresh fruit salad, tropical fruits, juices, cereals, toast and spreads. I don't think you could really expect more from a continental breakfast and if you want something else you can always choose from the menu - we had french toast and iced coffees one morning which were fabulous!

ROOM: Spacious, clean, and lovely fresh decor. We stayed in an upstairs Garden/Poolside Studio Room and to be honest, if given the option, would definitely do so again - but would recommend asking for an upstairs room. The Beachfront Studios do look directly out over the beach but we found our room to be the more private option and only a short walk (maybe 150 metres max) to the beach - we still had a lovely view of the beach from our balcony.

SERVICE: The staff were all really friendly, happy and willing to answer any questions that we had. Nothing was a problem. A definite change from the rude and unhelpful service we encountered at the Pacific Resort at Muri Lagoon (see separate review).

POOLS: 2 pools - one larger salt water pool which is situated between the restaurant and the pool/garden studio rooms and a smaller fresh water pool between reception and the beachfront studios. The fresh water pool is next to the pool bar which is open for Happy Hour from 3pm-7pm (from memory). We had some great cocktails here before dinner!

THE BEACH: And I've saved the best for last. WOW! We had the whole beach to ourselves most of the time. Snorkel gear and beach loungers are provided by the hotel and were well used by us during our stay. In our opinion, this is the best snorkelling spot on the island by far and one of my most memorable moments will be lazing in the hammock, watching the hermit crabs scuttle over the beautiful white sand, until the sun had heated me up enough to dive into the crystal clear turquoise water.

OVERALL: 10 out of 10 from us! The website gallery definitely doesn't do it justice. As beautiful as it looks the reality far outweighs the pictures. Go and see for yourself and we promise you won't regret it! Actually I do have one regret ... that we couldn't stay longer! Missing you already Sunset (and it's only been 7 hours!).

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank Micell0
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 March 2009

We found the resort fantastic to chill out, very clean and the staff from the welcome to our departure were great and went out of their way to help in every way. The hotel management team were also spot on and had a very good handle on there guests needs and shared there great local knowledge which is always appreciated.
Rarotonga is a great place to visit and I would recommend it. We found the people in general very friendly, food was great weather and beaches were superb a great relaxing holiday.

  • Stayed: January 2009, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank maghoil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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