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Real Estate – Cook Islands

Is there a man alive who has not thought at least once to pack up and go to the South Seas? Well, this could be your chance, especially if you have around two million dollars to invest in a new business. The popular private resort, Shangri-La Beach Cottages on Muri Beach, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, South Pacific, is now for sale (February 2006), as the owner is considering retirement.

The Cook Islands are located in the heart of Polynesia in the South Pacific. They lie about 700 miles west of Tahiti and about 1,000 miles east of Samoa and Tonga. Hawaii is about 2,500 miles to the north, New Zealand about 1,800 miles to the southwest. The climate is tropical, similar to that of Hawaii and Tahiti. Tourism is a year-round industry. Rarotonga is the largest of the 15 Cooks Islands and the main administrative center.

The population of Cooks is about 15,000, of whom about 9,000 live on Rarotonga. The main island has banks, ATMs, and dozens of restaurants, shops, and markets. There is a modern telephone and international communications system with Internet access and email. They all speak English, which is the official language, along with Cook Islands Maori. It is a stable self-governing democracy in free association with New Zealand and a member of the British Commonwealth. The people are very friendly, with a vibrant local culture of dance, music and crafts. There is a low crime rate.

There is a large international airport that handles wide-body aircraft. There are around 17 flights a week, connecting Rarotonga with New Zealand, Los Angeles, Tahiti and Fiji. Later connections to Australia and Europe are timely. The main airline is the well-known Air New Zealand and Pacific Blue, the low-cost airline associated with Virgin Blue, which now serves the Cooks of Australia and New Zealand.

The number of visitors to the Cooks has increased from about 40,000 a decade ago to about 80,000 a year more recently. Projections show that it will reach about 100,000 in the next few years. From the 1970s to the late 1990s, the only way to market Cook Islands accommodation abroad was through “wholesalers” and travel agents. These intermediaries collectively take around 30-35% of what guests pay to stay in an accommodation. In recent years, the Internet and email have opened up new ways of marketing overseas accommodation and Shangri-La has been at the forefront of this more lucrative “direct booking only” system.

With its continued popularity ensured by rave reviews on Lonely Planet, Frommers, the South Pacific Handbook, and travel websites like Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet Thorn Tree, as well as word of mouth from its loyal guests, Shangri-La has been able to avoid the high cost of working through wholesalers and travel agencies. By only accepting direct bookings, they have kept their rates 35-50% below comparable properties and also have a higher net return per night. This has been one of the keys to their success as a going concern. Their goal has always been to provide luxury accommodation at a moderate price. It seems they are succeeding at this and as one former guest on the internet put it succinctly: “Shangri-La offers the best value for money on the island!”

Shangri-La is a small private resort occupying a prime section of seafront directly on beautiful Muri Beach, considered the best beach in Rarotonga. There are twelve luxury cabanas, a large swimming pool, an office and a luxury two-story beachfront home for the owner. Five of the cabins have a partial view of the lagoon and seven are garden cabins. This large property has 4544 square meters. m., about 1.12 acres.

Although there are resorts and accommodations all over Rarotonga, Muri Beach is considered the best vacation spot. There are four small islets in the crystal-clear lagoon and the best snorkeling on the island starts off Shangri-La. Several of the island’s best restaurants are within walking distance, as are shops, car rentals, the Internet cafe, the yacht club, and tours of the lagoon. All island tours stop at the Shangri-La entrance on the main road.

The Shangri-La is next to the best snorkeling area in Rarotonga and they have complimentary snorkeling gear for all guests. Kayaks are very popular with guests, as there are four islets within a few minutes’ paddling from us. There are sun loungers by the beach, under a large almond tree and a nearby beach shower. The entire property is completely fenced, except for the beach of course. The large parking area accommodates ten cars or six cars and eight motorcycles and is rarely completely full. There is space for a couple of rental cars and motorcycles if you want to rent vehicles for guests. The local bus also stops at the entrance of the entrance. Tropical plants abound on the property, including trees such as banana, papaya, mango, coconut palms, and breadfruit and flowers such as hibiscus, gardenia, jasmine, bougainvillea, and alamander. A large garden stands in front of all the cottages on the T-shaped property.

There are several local law firms that handle business matters and it is recommended that prospective buyers consider hiring a local law firm to assist them in the purchase of any local business.

No one associated with this article in any way has any connection to the owner of Shangri-La and/or its agents and the content herein is provided solely for informational and educational purposes for the general public.

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