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“Lovely but hot in January, no air con” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Taaroa Lodge

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Taaroa Lodge
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B.P. 498, Papeete 98713, French Polynesia   |  
Hotel amenities
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
“Lovely but hot in January, no air con”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2014

We reserved Taaroa Lodge partly because they had kayaks to use on the lagoon, and that part was very good for us. Overall, we liked it here because it is out of the city of Papeete, at kilometer marker 18 on the east side, facing beautiful Moorea. It is on the lagoon with two public beaches nearby, either a short walk along the road (a busy 2 lane road, narrow with little walking space, so be very careful) or by kayak which I did one day. Ralph and Diane are very helpful with any tourist needs such as arranging transfers or rental cars. Ralph was most accomodating, he picked us up at the airport, took us up the road 3 km to the rental car place one day, followed us back the next day to turn the car in, and took us to the cruise pier when we were leaving - so much better than taxis and buses. The transfers from the airport and to the pier were 3000 CFP (about $33 US), which we were very happy with. The help to/from the car rental place was gratis, how nice!

The accommodation was lovely; we had a bungalow with 1 king bed plus a twin bed (which we used for all our stuff), and a small refig/freezer and microwave, plus private ensuite with shower. Ralph brought a long baguette early each morning and left it in a gauze sleeve (to keep the little bugs off it) on our porch table. The porch faces the lagoon but there is the garden area in between. The bed was very comfortable, 2 night stands with small lamps were helpful and the twin bed was essential... if you had a third person in the room I think it would be difficult because there was not a lot of other space for luggage etc. The kitchenette had necessary plates, cups, cutlery, bowls and was very functional for us although very limited counter space, which was not a problems as we were only doing the very basics of food prep. Coffee, tea, sugar and powdered whole milk were provided in canisters, and an electric coffee maker. Jam and oleo spread were in the frig for us when we arrived - we used these on our morning baguettes each day. A stopperd glass bottle of purified water was also in the frig; we refilled the bottle at the kitchen water purifier, and our own water bottles. I think they use rainwater which was fine for showering and we drank some of it early on and always used it for washing dishes without getting sick but everyone's constitution is different. .

We stayed here 5 nights, 4 days, arriving from New Zealand late the first night (10:30pm at the airport - most flights come in late). Ralph was right there to meet us! We enjoyed the lagoon and kayaked three of our four mornings. The kayaks and paddles are stored in the sunny open and the paddles are rather beat up but useable. The kayaks are sit-on-top style and we had large towels with us which we used to cover our legs to keep from sun burning. The boats were not easy to get down and up the steps to the beach, about one long flight of steps, but we had bandanas with us and used them to protect our hands; we used some nylon shoe strings to make loops through the eyelets at the front and back of the boats so we had somewhat of a handle to lift and carry the boats. We didn't let any of this deter us and we loved having our morning paddles, although a little maintenance and attention to the conditions would help guests greatly. Snorkels and masks were also available but I had my own and didn't try to use theirs; I suspect they were also in poor condition. There is an outdoor shower to wash off after being in the salt water. We were glad we had aqua shoes but they weren't essential as the lagoon put in is walkable, sandy or cobbles, not rough coral. The lagoon is stunningly beautiful, emerald green with tons of coral and fish to observe without even snorkeling; with the magnificent views of nearby Moorea island and the sound of the waves on the reef it seems like a true South Pacific paradise. Kayaking the lagoon was our highlight!

The lodge also has an additional bungalow (2 bungalows total for up to 3 in each) and the main lodge structure which has a 7 person dormitory upstairs, shared bath downstairs, a room for 2 with private bath downstairs, and an attached shared kitchen and dining shelter; there is a drying line outside the kitchen which we sued for our wet towels. The owners' house is near the main lodge house plus the owners have a roofed area in the garden which is for their private use but not marked as such, so we felt a bit embarrassed when Ralph came over to tell us it was for their use only. A small sign would help.

The days were hot and sticky in early January; we had rain the day we rented the car to drive around the island. The heat would keep us from doing this again but we were told that July is much more comfortable, dry and cooler. The bungalow had windows high and low all around it and we had them opened to the max the whole time, including the double sliding glass door across from the foot of the bed; we drew the curtain at night for some illusion of privacy - anything to help get a breath of breeze through. There was a table-type fan mounted on the wall which we worked at turning around to get it to cover the bed; a ceiling fan would help a lot! In the afternoons the temp in the room was up to 93F and it would sink briefly during the overnight to 79F. In the afternoons we lounged in the lounge chairs in the garden area overlooking the lagoon; there was usually a breeze and by staying in the shade we managed to survive. The breeze kept the mosquitos off of us and in the bungalow Ralph had an electronic mosquito oil disperser running.

In the evenings we gathered in the garden area to watch the sunsets. The kitchen shelter (open to the outside world for fresh breeze) was a gathering place for conversation with the other guests. Many were French, as is most of Tahiti, so language differences could be a barrier, but all were friendly; some were staying longer terms, a month or two but most were transients like us who benefited from the advice and experience of the longer term guests. Our bungalow had a flat screen TV but most of the channels broadcast in French or other language, nothing in English. Mostly we went to sleep early and had the early part of the day for paddling before the breeze turned the lagoon from glass-like to choppy.

Internet was quite decent, available for a small fee which Ralph just added to the tab, so easy to pay for lodging, transfers and internet all at once by credit card.

We purchased essential food at a small grocery across the road and a 100 meters or so north; they did not take credit cards, CFP only. Because we were staying just a few days we did fine with what we bought there, the basics, and ate out of our bungalow, a little better than camping style. We were told that a food roullet truck came around at night and parked across the road but we didn't use so can't comment. We were able to change dollars/francs at the snack bar restaurant located adjacent to the Taaroa Lodge property on the road; exchange rates were quite favorable. There is bus service that stops near the lodge and Ralph and Diane understood the system, but we did not use it, although others staying at the lodge did. On the day we rented the car we enjoyed our drive around the island and visited the Tahiti and Isles museum, entry fee 6000 CFP each; we felt it was a worthwhile stop.

Tahiti is a very beautiful place, very French, and is known as an expensive place but staying at a family lodge with a kitchenette made for a more intimate and affordable stay. Ralph and Diane's hospitality made it work for us. Taaroa Lodge's location is excellent for those who are interested in being away from the city feel of Papeete, and especially because it is on the picturesque lagoon. Go in July not January for a more comfortable stay! If you are planning a honeymoon pick a place with air conditioning for comfort and privacy.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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33 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    18
    10
    3
    2
    0
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21
9
1
Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (4)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Christchurch, New Zealand
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 16, 2013

We stayed in a private new bungalow which was no frills but comfortable and clean. I don't feel it was the best location... It had a wee beach out front (which the owner said was quite dangerous with rips etc and sharks came at sunset- scary!! But cool to watch... from on land). There was also a nicer beach 10min walk away. But other than that you had to walk ages to get anywhere... And it's not a nice scenic walk- there is a big busy fast highway which doesn't make it the most pleasant walk. To get to town you have to catch a bus (which is not convenient- they hardly EVER come) which is a real pain- you end up walking most of the time and then when they do come, because you've started walking, you aren't at a bustop...) So location-wise it really isn't the best. It is near some roulettes (little dinner vans) which is handy at night time however.

Room Tip: Go for the private bungalows
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Breda, The Netherlands
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 12, 2013 via mobile

When we arrived on Tahiti, we stayed for two nights with Ralph and his family in this backpack-style accommodation. The room was simple, but clean with a private bathroom. The shared kitchen, which is located outside, is very convenient. We had a great time and especially enjoyed the oceanview while eating our breakfast. there is a shop close to the accommodation. We highly recommend this place if you visit Tahiti for a couple of days.

Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong, China
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 10, 2013

Taaroa Lodge is the perfect place for short/long holiday in Tahiti!
not to far from Papeete and near to a beautiful beach!
Ralph and his family are very friendly and helpful hosts and the location is perfect!!!
warmly reccomended

Room Tip: choose the bungalow front-beach...unforgettable view of the sunset!
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2013

Not sure why this place got GREAT reviews… I’m guessing those people stayed in the private bungalow?—that might be a little nicer?

We stayed for two nights in the 6 person shared room...but were lucky enough to have the room to ourselves. I called this experience "glorified camping"...the windows and doors were always wide open (had no screens) which basically was a nice entry for all kinds of bugs: lines of ants, bees, mosquitos, moths, and lizards too. The beds were "sufficient" but that's about it.

There was one bathroom and shower....kind of gross, there was a worm in the shower. Not very nice....

Location: nice to be on the beach, but too far from Papeete ($35+ taxi each way), and just one tiny store in walking distance. The highlight for us was the free use of kayaks and snorkeling equipment (although most of the snorkeling equip was broken or cracked.)
Kithen area was convenient, and that's about it.

We were a bit upset because Ralph offered to pick us up in the beginning (to bring us to the hostel), but didn't tellus UNTIL THE DAY WE WERE LEAVING that we were being charged like $30 for the pickup!!! We were pretty pissed off about it all....

Would NOT stay here again...

Room Tip: The 6 person shared room has TONS of ants, mosquitos, lizards, moths, and bees. Prepare yourself....
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Liege, Belgium
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2012

I have tried to book in this place 3 times... but unfortunately, it was full twice, and I had the chance to be there for 2 nights... among 4 different hostels in Tahiti island, this was the best place so far.
The owner is a great surfer with an international experience, so the place has different influences from all over the world...They got wifi and airport transfer and hips of advise. Just for orientation, when you get off the bus on the stop "kilometre 18", take the first right next to shop.

Room Tip: the dorms are clean and spacious
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Utrecht, The Netherlands
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2012

Nice place with excellent hosts Ralph and Diane. It's a great place for the price and location. Not too far / far enough from town and swimming, snorkelling and kayaking right off the beach next to the lodge. Good place to get your bearings and plan your trip too. They will help you out and you can store some stuff with them too.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Taaroa Lodge

Address: B.P. 498, Papeete 98713, French Polynesia
Location: French Polynesia > Society Islands > Tahiti > Papeete
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Specialty Lodging in Papeete
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 21
Also Known As:
Taaroa Lodge Tahiti/Papeete

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