“We ended up spending most of our time at nearby resorts, finally enjoying the beautiful sandy beaches and privacy we were led to believe Kaireva offered,” Grimes said.
The family group, from California and Oregon, came forward to support other Kaireva guests who were accused by owners Susanna and Robert Wigmore of being “dirty” and “liars” and worse.
Darin and his husband Abe Manion and their child, joined by Eric and Kyle Grimes and their son, take an international holiday every two years. Last year, they came to Rarotonga.
“Never have we experienced such ultimately rude hosts, nor have we ever been accused of property damages,” said Darin.
Just before the tip to Rarotonga, their new 3-year old foster child joined their travel plans. “When we advised Kaireva they demanded $1000 extra for another guest via wire transfer. We felt extorted and never understood what those funds were meant to cover.”
Their experience echoed that of New Zealander Bridie Henderson, who was told she and her famly were the “dirtiest guests of all times” and that they had to pay $780 to clean the house and fix new marks on the cedar floor.
Darin’s sister-in-law Kyle said: “When I read the story and the Trip Advisor review by Bridie, it seemed so familiar! We were treated very much the same way as she and her family were treated.
“I wonder if the common thread is families with small children? My nephew was 3 at the time. Maybe they think they can get away with putting it on kids?
“When they tried to scam us we wrote our reviews expressing how we felt about the place and the experience and they just got dirtier. In all my travels they are the worst people I have ever come across.
“We flew a long way and were excited to arrive at the Kaireva Beach House. We were very disappointed. We did our best to spend our days away from the beach house because they were always watching us.
“However, they seemed nice enough at the time so we just rolled with it. By the time we returned back to the US we received the email from the owners charging us for damage to floors and furniture.”
The Wigmores told them they wouldn’t get their $1000 bond back. Grimes say they asked for pictures of the alleged damage. “Subsequently Trip Advisor backed us and we did not have to pay.”
“We did not cause damage in the least, because we had an evening flight out, we spent hours cleaning up, doing dishes, cleaning out the fridge, gathering garbage etc, we all travel frequently and never leave places filthy.”
“There were rude emails saying we had the worst attitudes of anyone who has ever stayed there, they were playing dirty, we all felt completely shocked and angry to be treated this way.”
Property owner Susanna Wigmore told Stuff she didn't remember charging extra for an additional child and would check her records. But she said the house was advertised to fit four people, sometimes five.
"They asked through TripAdvisor one week before they arrive if they can bring another child and we said no we can’t accept six. But then we accepted because it was a small kid," she said.
It was completely legal for them to ask guests to cover damages. Only a "small percentage" of guests were "not respectful," she said.