The only hotel right in Avarua itself is the Central Motel, up the road from the post office. There are 16 units in this two-story concrete block edifice. No real cooking facilities are provided although a fridge, toaster, kettle, cups, and plates have been placed in the units as an afterthought. It's clean and convenient and might be okay if you're there on business.
Aquarius Rarotonga on the Ocean is across the road from the airport terminal and 50 meters toward town. Opened in late 2006, Aquarius has 11 three-bed rooms with bath and one large dormitory. The beach isn't great but the ocean views from the small swimming pool are fine and there's a restaurant and bar.
The Reefcomber Sunset Motel, opposite the hospital road a bit south of Black Rock, has 12 spacious, clean units. The owner's cousin rents another three bungalows next door. The beach here is good.
The Oasis Village Motel, near the beach in Arorangi, has seven air-conditioned units. Cooking facilities are not provided.
Puaikura Reef Lodges, on the southwest side of the island, offers 12 self-catering rooms in three single-story motel wings arranged around a swimming pool. A grocery store is adjacent, and the beach is just across the road with no houses blocking access to the sea. Wifi internet access is available.
Daydreamer Moemoea Apartments, offers five attractive self-catering units in one long block just west of the Sheraton site. The beach along here is great, but when snorkeling beware of dangerous currents in passes draining the lagoon.
Raina Beach Apartments in Titikaveka has four self-catering units in a three-story main building. Its main advantages are proximity to a good snorkeling area and the view from the roof.
Ambala Gardens, formerly known as Muri Vista Apts, on the hillside up Ambala Road, has three units in the main house and a bungalow. There's a pool and pleasant landscaped grounds.
Daniel Roro's Aroko Bungalows, at Ngatangiia, is one of the few medium-priced places facing Muri Beach. The 11 small bungalows with basic cooking facilities vary in price depending on whether they're roadside or beachside. They're very tightly packed together, making the beachside units preferable.
The Sunrise Beach Bungalows at Ngatangiia has four oceanfront bungalows and two garden bungalows. The rates are reduced when things are slow. All have cooking facilities, color TV, and laundry access—good value. The beach here is poor but an elevated deck offers good ocean views and there's a swimming pool. It's peaceful and a store is close by. Some lovely nature hikes are available in the nearby valleys and it's an easy walk to Muri Beach.
The clean, pleasant KiiKii Motel, a 30-minute walk west of Avarua, has an attractive swimming pool overlooking a rocky beach. There are four older "budget rooms" in this solid two-story motel, eight standard rooms in the west wing, and 12 deluxe rooms with one overlooking the sea. All 24 rooms have good cooking facilities, and the efficient staff is helpful in assisting with any special arrangements. KiiKii is probably the closest you'll come to a U.S.-style motel, although much nicer. Airport transfers are available.
Club Raro, two km east of Avarua, has 17 garden rooms, 20 poolside rooms, and 15 lagoonfront rooms. A swimming pool is provided but cooking facilities are not. It's walking distance from town.
A good bet very near Avarua's shopping, entertainment, and sightseeing possibilities is the Paradise Inn, just east of Portofino Restaurant. In a former existence "the Paradise" was the Maruaiai Dancehall, but it has been completely refurbished into a cozy little 16-room motel with fan-cooled split-level rooms and two smaller budget singles. Cooking facilities are provided, and there's a large lounge and a nice terrace overlooking the ocean where you can sit and have a drink. Children under 12 are not accommodated.