Reflections on Rarotonga

Cook Islands

Aug 23, 2006
Outside Magazine
Reflections on Rarotonga

SAVAGE MEETS SUBLIME: Mirror image at Reflections on Rarotonga

UNTIL RECENTLY, RAROTONGA, a 26-square-mile volcanic cone in the South Pacific, was known as a prime offshore tax haven and money-laundering center. It's also a good place to cleanse the soul, and Reflections on Rarotonga, the Cook Islands' charter member of Small Elegant Hotels of the World, wants to heal you one massage at a time. Reflections' sister hotel, Rumours of Romance, opened in Muri Beach last September, offering all the cush of Reflections plus indoor and outdoor waterfalls.

THE GOOD LIFE: Whole days can slip away in your 1,500-square-foot-plus "room"—complete with super-king four-poster bed—but the champagne brunch might coax you out. For a private alternative to the ocean, head for your six-foot-deep backyard plunge pool.

SPORTS ON-SITE: Grab a sea kayak and paddle for the outer reef, less than a half-mile offshore. Drop anchor, slip on your snorkeling gear, and find Nemo or his parrotfish brethren.

BEYOND THE SAND: After your subaquatic survey of the reef, get a gull's-eye view with a 30-minute Adventure Flights Rarotonga ultralight or paragliding flight that—in the right wind—can take you around the entire island. Soaring across clear skies and over a vivid multicolor ocean begs the question "How many shades of blue are there?"

THE FINE PRINT: Doubles at Reflections on Rarotonga start at $350, including airport transfers; 011-682-23703, Doubles at Rumours of Romance start at $595, including airport transfers; 011-682-23703, Air New Zealand (800-262-1234, flies from LAX to Rarotonga starting at $806 round-trip.

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