palm trees at a cook island hotel on rarotonga

About Cook Islands Hotels

Cook Islands hotels are very low-key with just two resorts having more than 100 rooms and even these being no more than three stories high. The majority of accommodation in the Cook Islands is in small intimate beach hotels and locally operated self-catering bungalows with between 5 and 20 rooms ensuring an intimate ambience. Some offer just a handful of cute beach bungalows with managers running a day-time reception only; others air-conditioned rooms with a restaurant, bar and 24-hr reception.

Although there are no international brand hotels in the Cook Islands which factors in making the islands an un-commercialised bliss, both Rarotonga and Aitutaki have a handful of small beach resorts catering exclusively to couples as well as a good variety of high-end luxury villas ideal for a honeymoon.

There are only a couple of full-service resorts in the Cook Islands with over 100 rooms and offering kids clubs, tennis courts, gym, spa centres and 24-hr reception, all on the main island of Rarotonga Island - the largest resort in Aitutaki caters to just 30 couples.

The Cook Islands is one of the more expensive holiday destinations in the South Pacific so don't expect anything downright cheap. The best value accommodations on Rarotonga and Aitutaki are locally owned self catering bungalows usually on family land, unmanaged and providing simple living standards.

Cook Islands Hotel Search

Where to Stay in the Cook Islands

The majority of Cook Islands accommodation is locally owned and often family operated. Whatever your budget or mood, you’ll find a decent selection of hotels that are close to the beach with a relaxing ambience. Generally speaking, it's easy to explore which ever island you happen to be staying on by either foot or moped direct from your hotel room. Only the larger resorts have their own restaurants but there's such a good choice of independent restaurants on both Rarotonga and, to a lesser extent, Aitutaki, that it doesn't really matter where you stay for dining out.

Rarotonga hotels are most popular amongst New Zealanders and many liken the island to Maui in Hawaii of fifty years ago with quaint art galleries and beach-front restaurants. Raro, as it is called by the locals, has beautiful tropical mountain scenery and peaceful sandy beaches with quaint beach-side restaurants for dining out. There are pleasant lagoons for snorkelling or kayaking or you can join an adventure tour into the lush tropical rainforest.

The only other destination with tourist appeal is Aitutaki Island, a stunning atoll with day cruises around its turquoise lagoon to explore the tiny uninhabited islets that buffer the reef's edge. Compared to Rarotonga there's a lot less Aitutaki accommodation to choose from, although still just enough choice from luxury retreats to budget self-catering beach bungalows. Flights to Aitutaki depart throughout the day from Rarotonga so getting to the island is not an issue.

Due to its small size and boutique style of accommodations, there's not a huge amount of Cook Islands hotel specials available and many of these are seasonal to encourage travel in the quieter months from November to March.