Rarotonga Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Tourists photographing the sea and enjoying the sunset on the beach of the Hotel Crown Beach Resort & Spa.  Mixing the best of old and new, the unusually-shaped thatched villas at the Crown Beach combine traditionally inspired architecture with top-drawer decor. The octagonal bungalows are all impeccably finished with blonde-wood panelling, wicker furniture and local artwork on the walls. As with elsewhere on the island, you'll be faced with a choice between paying a premium for a beachfront position or cutting costs by choosing a villa set back slightly from the sand. Scattered over 4.5 acres of private gardens, the 22 villas are sensitively placed with plenty of space between each unit, and the private patios are all intelligently angled for maximum privacy and optimum island views. The atmosphere is elegant and refined, and it's also usually substantially quieter than Rarotonga's other better-known resorts, but the service and facilities are every bit as good as you'd expect for a hotel in this price bracket. There are two on-site restaurants (the fine-dining Windjammer and a more informal beachfront bistro-bar), a spa and massage centre, a giftshop, a babysitting service, and you can even get a free introductory dive on Sundays.