21 February 2017

Hotel & Wedding Destination Review: Pacific Resort Rarotonga

I can't believe it has already been three months since I got married in Rarotonga!
The time certainly has flown by, I can imagine it will be one year before I know it.

It was about time I wrote about the wonderful Pacific Resort, who made our wedding day and the months leading up to it such a breeze, as they took care of absolutely everything.
The communication, special touches and their experience all made them the perfect choice as a wedding venue (as well as a fabulous resort to stay at) and I couldn't recommend them more if you are looking at having a tropical destination wedding yourself.
It really was the ultimate dream wedding location and my now husband and I couldn't be happier that we chose to have it with them.

I have already written a post on How to plan a Destination Wedding: My Experience which goes into more detail about why we chose Rarotonga to get married in and Pacific Resort as a venue and all the details that go along with planning.

I'll begin with details of the hotel, and it is in my opinion probably one of the very best you can stay at on Muri Beach, before moving on to it as a wedding venue.

Pacific Resort: First Impressions

We arrived late in the evening and although there were five or so couples from the same flight as us checking in at the same time, it was a very quick and painless process.
The friendly porter took our bags for us and showed us to our room. The lush pathway was well lit with flaming torches and I already knew I was going to love the place.
It was 10:30 pm when we arrived at our room (which was huge and looked amazing) and we quickly realised there was no room service available which we were counting on. We hadn’t eaten on the plane as it wasn’t included and we were planning on having dinner once we arrived (as it was still 6:30 pm Australian time we were on).
But as it was a Sunday, there was absolutely nothing open on the island- no hot food to be found or even a packet of chips or peanuts around the hotel. So sadly we went to bed rather hungry, but they did have a drinks fridge in the lobby, so we had two beers each first- which I’m not sure helped or not! Never mind, we were very much looking forward to our breakfast the next day. It was completely our own fault for not realising how late we would be arriving and not travelling with snacks!

In the morning we woke up to the stunning views of crystal clear aqua waters from our room. After a delicious continental breakfast we checked out the pool area and walked around the gorgeous resort. The frangipani and palm trees and tropical vegetation gave it such a relaxing and luxurious feel. The beachfront and lagoon views were so incredible!
I couldn't get over the colour of the water. We were so ecstatic to be there.

The welcoming entrance
The muesli, yogurt and fresh fruit for breakfast was the best!
Stand-up paddleboards and kayaks to use at your leisure
The beachfront Barefoot Bar
Tranquil sunset from the beachfront

The Room

As it was our wedding we splashed out and booked the Beachfront Suite which was an incredible room with a dream view. Located on the first floor right on the beach, it had all the facilities you could want for. To the right of the main door was a kitchenette with cooking facilities and the modern bathroom leading after that was kitted out with fresh flowers and complimentary toiletries.
Ahead was a wide open-plan space with a super king bed, a desk and chair, sofas and table. Our favourite feature of the suite was our own personal balcony, which had two chairs and a small table and comfortable bean bag sofas to relax on. That's where we spent most of our time when we were in the room because the views were so stunning- I wanted to soak it all in and enjoy it for as long as I could.
Also included in the room was air conditioning, a flat-screen TV, a safe and a large wardrobe with fluffy bathrobes and slippers. The only thing it didn't have was free WIFI- and that's because you cannot find free WIFI anywhere on the whole island. (We purchased a local sim-card pre-loaded with data upon arrival at the airport).

Relaxing on the balcony!
Amazing balmy views
The Beachfront Suite room (picture by Pacific Resort as I forgot to take one myself!)

Beyond the Room

Pacific Resort offered many facilities and activities free of charge. At the Beach Club you can use snorkelling equipment, kayaks and stand up paddle boards as you please.
You can swim or kayak across the lagoon to the Motu (island) ahead and visit there.
On the beachfront you can find loungers, sun umbrellas and beanbags to relax and catch some rays.
They have a Kids Club that runs daily, a nice pool where you can find fresh clean drinking water. Their Sandals Restaurant and Barefoot Bar are both excellent and even visitors that are not guests of the resort come to eat and drink here because they have delicious food and a great reputation.
Located directly across the road is the Pacific Village Salon which offers hair, beauty and spa services (where I went on my wedding day and got my nails done prior too).
There is a convenience store two minutes walk up the road as well as the Muri Night Markets and other shops and places to eat; Pacific Resort is in an excellent location.
To get around the island you can hire a scooter at the resort or the local bus that goes around the island twice an hour stops directly at the resort as well.

Enjoying a spot of snorkelling and kayaking
Enjoying the tranquil views on the beachfront
The pool (photo again by Pacific Resort as I forgot to take one myself...)

Fantastic Staff

Every single member of staff we encountered was highly professional, warm and friendly and made our stay that little more special. Everyone you passed around the resort greeted you with a friendly smile and "Kia Orana."

There are a few special people in particular I would like to mention. Veronica- the Wedding & Events Sales Agent, was our first point of contact in the months leading up to the wedding and helped us to organise and plan everything. As well as the numerous emails back and forth, we had two skype calls with her and she always made us feel so at ease and took care of every request. She answered all of our questions and made the wedding planning process so smooth. We were constantly changing our minds about things in the lead-up and she didn't mind at all! She was wonderful to work with.

Leilani- the Operations Coordinator, was who we met with at Pacific Resort. We had a pre-wedding day consultation with her and she showed us around the property to the ceremony and reception locations and ran through the schedule. She also took us to the Justice office for the marriage licence, to the florist and to meet with our celebrant. 
Leilani was so lovely and made us feel very confident that our day was going to be amazing. She was even the one to come get me when the time had come and I was to walk down the aisle, and she was there for most of the reception as well, making sure everything was running without a hitch. We didn't even notice her there to be honest- she was like an angel in the background!

A couple of bartenders get a special mention too- Rupene who worked our wedding was incredibly friendly and I loved his smile. He also did very generous pours! Aside from that night, he was just as lovely during the rest of our stay too, always chatting to us.
Anal also went out of his way to make our stay extra great, as did the matrie d' who unfortunately I didn't get her name.

Other special touches from the staff included a lovely surprise gift the day after the wedding.
On our final night we asked the reception staff if we could have a late checkout the next day as we had a late night flight. It normally costs an extra $250 but they waived it for us- special treatment for the wedding couple I guess! We got to stay in our room until 6 pm and we were very grateful for that.

Our lovely gift included a sun hat, sarong, bottle of wine and flowers

Lead up to the wedding

I go into more detail about the planning process in my previous wedding post linked above in the first paragraph, and once we arrived in Rarotonga all of the extra things needed to be done were taken care of spread out over the space of a couple of days.
Meeting with the coordinator, being walked through the locations, sorting the marriage licence, choosing our flowers, going through and changing our vows with the celebrant- it was all simple and hassle-free.
I had made gift bags for the guests and we handed them and the seating plan over the day before the wedding to take care of. They set up, decorated and arranged everything themselves- it was all included in the package. It was such a weight off and so nice not having to worry about doing that myself!

Getting our marriage licence

On the big day

The day did go fast- I think that is unavoidable! But it was a very enjoyable one and certainly one of the best days of my life.
In the morning we had breakfast at the restaurant as usual and then went our separate ways. Luckily Gareth's dad was also staying at the resort so he met up with him and his best man there in his room and they went to lunch and got ready together in the afternoon.
My maid of honour joined me and we went together to the salon across the road. We started on our hair and makeup (with some obligatory champers!) and an hour later my two sisters and mum who were also getting their hair and makeup done there also joined us.

I was very pleased with my hair. It was simple, delicate and pretty, which was exactly what I wanted. However, to be honest I wasn't too impressed with my makeup.
I didn't get a trial done so it was my own fault really. I wanted a really natural, pretty and glowy look, but I didn't feel that after my makeup was done. I had to ask for my eyebrows to be washed off (as I felt I looked like Mr Bean with those eyebrows!). They were just too bold and dark for my liking- I wasn't used to it. She also went for a very strong smoky eye which was too dark and quite messy. I took most of it off back in my room. I also added some extra touches that I thought she would have done- such as mascara on my bottom lashes, white eyeliner and highlights. It was a bit disappointing because it did cost a lot of money and I even had to pay extra just for being the bride.
But I was very happy with my hair, I was able to fix my makeup and everyone else's hair and makeup looked really good on them, so I'm glad about that. I would still recommend them. The ladies that worked on us were very friendly and did try their best for what we wanted- I would just strongly suggest doing a trial first if you're the bride.

After the salon we had an hour or so to finish getting ready in my room. When we arrived our beautiful freshly-made bouquets were waiting for us.

After squeezing into my dress and walking in circles with my bestie, the time had come and Leilani came and fetched us! I was a bundle of nerves by then. (Not about getting married- it was more the other people there that would be staring at me- I'm not the centre of attention kinda gal).
Apart from thinking to myself "Don't trip" and "Suck in" I also noticed the path I was walking down was so beautiful and perfectly groomed. There were fresh flower petals scattered everywhere and flower posts leading my way up to the guests waiting at the beachfront location. It was so pretty!

I joined Gareth and the rest of the bridal party under the beautiful handmade floral archway and the rest of the ceremony was a blur! As soon as it ended we were immediately presented with a drink (which I needed and gladly took).

We had group photos taken on the beach before heading to the reception area. The string band was sitting just outside the marquee and they sounded so lovely- we are very glad to have chosen that as an extra. It really added to the tropical and laid back vibe we were hoping for.

The bar was open and platters of food were being served around. The tables were so wonderfully decorated. It far exceeded my expectations and I was so grateful they took care of everything themselves.

This was only half of the marquee area. To the left was the bar, DJ area and plenty of space for a dance floor

The enormous cake that we ordered through Pacific Resort's supplier was such a stunning centre piece! I accidentally chose the largest size and it was much bigger than I thought- but it did look very impressive (and tasted amazing too).

There was a large lawn area for the guests to hang around outside the marquee as well.
The whole reception area was very large and private from the rest of the resort which was just perfect.

Gareth and I were then whisked away to do some location shots with the photographer.
We were given a bucket of beer on ice and a platter of food to take with us which was so very thoughtful and welcome (as I hadn't eaten lunch except for a banana and it was about 5 pm by then).
Our photographer Melanie Cooper, also originally from New Zealand was so easy breezy and wonderful to work with. Highly recommended if you are in need of a photographer in Rarotonga. I'm still waiting for the wedding photos, but I'm sure I'll get them soon.

Then it was reception time! The string band had finished and our playlist we created had begun (starting with easy going music). I was immediately asked and given a drink of my choosing by Rupete, the lovely barman.

My seat and a much-needed mojito
We had our speeches and then it was time for dinner. We had selected the gourmet buffet option which was beautifully presented in a large canoe. The food was better than we could have hoped for- it was all so fresh and very delicious. They catered for all of the different requirements we asked for (some gluten and dairy free etc.) without a problem. Everyone told us they loved the food- and there was so much of it! The dessert as well was perfect and we were so happy and satisfied.
The bartender all night long was awesome and smiley- he had great customer service and made us whatever we wanted.
The rest of the night was party time where we cranked the music, danced and enjoyed the evening. I loved the fairy lights hanging off the sides of the marquee which made an excellent backdrop for photos.
Unfortunately the music had to stop by 10:30 pm which we found quite early. But to be frank a lot of people said it was a good thing because things could have gotten messy!
I suppose with an open bar since 4 pm there were a few merry people by that stage.
It had been such a wonderful day and Pacific Resort helped make it truly epic.


Do have skype calls and ask any questions you have in the lead up to arriving. They have the answer to everything and want your day to be as amazing and special as you do, and will try their very best to make it happen.

Don't bother with sky lanterns- it's usually windy and didn't work for us! We tried to finish the evening with them as a surprise but it was quite a fail.

I would highly recommend you don't book one of the drinks packages which are very expensive- just have an open bar. We literally saved thousands of dollars this way.

Get a trial makeup done prior to the day if you're the bride!

You have to try the Ika Mata (Rarotongan raw fish salad) at Pacific Resort- best I had on the island! For other recommendations of places to eat and food to try I have a post on: Best Places to eat in Muri, Rarotonga.

Make the most of the happy hours twice a day. The cocktails and local beer are delicious!

The Details

Hotel: Pacific Resort Rarotonga

Location: Muri Beach, Ngatangiia District, Cook Islands

Reviews: Certificate of Excellence on Trip Advisor with 4.5/5 stars out of 1,044 reviews.

Price: Depends on the time of year but Standard Studio Rooms start at $200 NZD a night. For wedding packages and prices download their Wedding Pack.

Final Thoughts

I honestly can't thank Pacific Resort enough for everything they did to make our wedding day as incredible as we could have possibly imagined. Gareth and I couldn't stop gushing about how happy we were and that our guests had told us they really enjoyed it too, which was exactly what we wanted- especially as they had come all that way just for us.

We were so glad we chose to have a destination wedding, as it was only our closest friends and family that came which I think made it so much more enjoyable and special for us.
It was more personal, completely stress-free and quite simply- easy. I'm not the kind of girl to plan a wedding myself. I haven't been dreaming of it since I was a little girl. So having professionals take care of it all for me and all I had to do was chose where, when, what food and entertainment I wanted (okay it was a little more work than that, but you know what I mean)- it was just perfect.

Again, if you are looking at a destination wedding yourself- I couldn't recommend them warmly enough. Even if you aren't getting married and want to stay in a fantastic resort in Rarotonga, for a special occasion or just to treat yourself- your stay will be one you will never forget. Their genuine friendliness, hospitality, little extras as well as being in a stunning location all make for the perfect beach getaway.
Our time there was absolutely magical and if I had to go back and do it all again- without a doubt it would be at Pacific Resort. That's how you know you made the right decision!

If you would like to see more photos from my trip check out my travel diary post and I also made a video for YouTube from my incredible week there:

I hope you found this hotel and wedding destination review helpful.
Please get in touch or let me know in the comments if you have any questions at all about getting married in the Cook Islands.
Rarotonga is such a paradise and we were incredibly sad to leave. We absolutely cannot wait to return and stay again with the amazing Pacific Resort.

This post is not sponsored; it is as always my genuine thoughts and opinions.

Happy Travels,
Pin it! :)



  1. I am definitely considering visiting Rarotonga after your detailed review!!! It's a bit out of the way, but looks totally worth it!

  2. Looks like such a paradise! Wish I had of done a destination wedding- would have probably been a lot easier! Congratulations, very happy for you.

  3. Looks heavenly! My wedding in North America is seriously expensive - totally thought about doing a destination wedding! It looks beautiful.

  4. This looks absolutely beautiful! Perfect spot to get married.

  5. Wow it sounds like quite a nice way to get married! I love that your suite had so much space. That sucks about the makeup but a good thing to note.

  6. Wow, I wish I could have had my wedding here. What an amazing spot! Heck, I wish I could be there right now just to relax.

  7. What a gorgeous venue to host your wedding, and so relaxed and laid back. I would definitely do a beach wedding!

  8. Thankyou so much for sharing your special day with us, you looked absolutely stunning! You picked the perfect location, the colours and scenery are spectacular! Congratulations!

  9. WOW, simply gorgeous the spot and the bride. I bet your guests were overwhelmed by both: ) Congratulations

  10. With these very beautiful place,it will be easy for newly wed couples to create their babies :)

  11. That is so pretty! I think it's awesome that you were able to travel down there for your wedding and it sounds like it was a wonderful day!

  12. Rarotonga looks beautiful. What a perfect spot for a wedding and a beautiful capture by you.

  13. This place looks beautiful. Beach is probably one of my favorite destination since I grew up in a tropical area in the Philippines. This place seems private which is good on such occasions as wedding.


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