If an overwater bungalow is on your bucket list and if you can swing the price (we got a stay 3 nights, pay for 2 deal) do 3 nights at the end of your trip to top it off in style.
The bungalows are lovely, one large room with a large open bathroom area. There are sliding doors to enclose the bathroom area and the toilet is separated by a door and ventilated to the outside. There is no tub but there is a nice rain shower. The best part is the roomy deck with stairs leading down into the lagoon. The lagoon is perfect for a “private” dip (the bungalows are only about 30 feet apart), weather and currents permitting. Our first day the water was very calm and clear but each day after that the currents ran a bit stronger so be prepared. Bring your snorkel gear or use the hotel’s gear. Fins are helpful.
There is a small unstocked refrigerator in the room so save yourself hundreds of dollars (sorry, Sofitel) by self-catering a bit. There is a large grocery store a ways down from the ferry terminal (if you are exiting the ferry terminal parking lot, turn left and about a half mile down it’s on your right). The fresh pastries in the back right-hand corner of the grocery store are excellent!
The Sofitel itself I felt it was not up to the usual Sofitel standard in some ways, and here they are: 1) The front desk staff seemed a bit snooty and tired of covering the same ground with each new arrival. 2) At checkout I asked if they sold ferry tickets and there was just “no” which surprised me because I was able to purchase them from the Intercontinental in Papeete for my trip over. My experiences with Sofitel in other locations had been so favorable I really did expect some sort of help – at least an inquiry as to what my plans might be to determine how they could help me. 3) On arrival there was a plate of sliced fruit as a welcome gift that had clearly been sitting there for some time as it was warm and mushy. 4) I noticed bits of trash and cigarette butts on the property.
I don’t doubt that anyone would enjoy their stay here but if you’ve been to Sofitel in Siem Reap, Ho Chi Minh City, Chicago or Queenstown…don’t get your hopes up and think you’ll get the same level of service or perfection in Moorea.