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“Wasn't right for us” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Sunset Hill Lodge

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Sunset Hill Lodge
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BP 58 Vaitape | BP 58 Vaitape, 98730, French Polynesia   |  
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€59 (EUR)
Ranked #6 of 18 Hotels in Bora Bora
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Wasn't right for us”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2013 via mobile

We are on our honeymoon from Australia exploring the different Islands in TAHITI when we booked this lodge and as we have stayed in overwater bungalows before we thought because it had such great reviews lets stay here and in no way am i trying to discourage you from staying here but it just wasn't for us. I would suggest if you are on your honeymoon don't stay in garden bungalows.. The studios look like they are a the way to go. We however did stay in garden bungalow 2 for 3 nights and were supposed to stay in the garden bungalow 1 for the other 2 nights but had to check out because it was way to small for my 6.5 husband and this is what we thought.
Pro's
Gerard the owner was amazing he picked us up from dock on arrival showed is all the places you could eat/drink around the lodge even when we couldn't check into the other bungalow he offered some alternate accommodation suggestions and when we booked somewhere else he took us there both free of charge).
There is Free
Wifi
Bikes
Kayaks
Laundry (which Gerard does for you)
Its walking distance to restaurants, super market and food trucks.

Con's
No air-conditioning in garden bungalows and it was really hot during the day and night
A lot of bugs
Not near beach (its about a 35min bike ride)

It's perfect for families and groups.

  • Stayed June 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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170 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (17)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2013

Really spacious, clean rooms combined with a handy location and always-so-helpful Gerald (and his fun pooch) made our stay in Bora Bora a truly great experience. Gerald was always lending a hand or giving unbiased advice about activities etc. There is a nice selection of eateries nearby from fancy restaurants to more modest but delicious snacks. The supermarket is also 5 min walking distance away. There are bicycles and kayaks available for guest to use on a donation principle.

Overall, Sunset Hill Lodge is much preferable than any 10x more expensive resort, we loved every minute of it.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 31, 2013

We stayed at the Sunset Hill Lodge in May 2013. The rooms are great. Very clean and neat, and has everything one might need. We stayed in the Stilts bungalow, which I would recommend. It is more private and has air conditioning. It's windows do not open, which we liked, as there are a lot of insects and lizards running around outside. Gerard was great. He helped us with anything we needed. We took his advice on places to kayak, snorkel and eat and were never disappointed. He also did our laundry and drove us places as needed. We went on one of the excursions he recommended and found out we got a special rate because we were staying at Sunset Hill Lodge. Apparently, those staying at the fancy resorts have to pay more for the excursions as well. He had bikes and snorkel gear that he lets you use for free. He also has kayaks which he told us he rented for $20/day, however, we used them and he never charged us for them. I'm sure his price changes with the season, but we ended up paying less the $100/night (US) after taxes/fees. That is unbelievable! I wouldn't consider staying anywhere else. There is only one beach on the main island, and it is able a 5 -10 min drive away. With the money we saved on the room, we didn't feel bad about renting a car a couple of days while we were there. We also found out that you can get day passes to some of the fancy resorts for a small fee. We went to the Sofitel that is on a separate island/motu. It was $100 and included a very nice lunch and use of pools/beach. We went because it was next to the Coral Garden which has some of the best snorkeling. I could go on and on. Oh, and his website lists the rooms as double beds, but the bed in our room was king size. The room has its own bathroom which is only separated from the bedroom by a curtain. The kitchen has a frig., microwave, and stove top which we did use. It was a wonderful place to stay and would recommend to anyone!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2013

Sunset Hill is the #1 best lodge/hostel/pension I have ever visited thanks to the comfortable environment and incredible value that Gerard provides. He is an absolutely fantastic host, providing extensive knowledge on the island and offering great prices for kayaking trips to the outer motu (islands) that ring Bora Bora. My girlfriend and I stayed quite comfortably in the stilts bungalow, and honestly our experience in Bora Bora couldn't have been much better even if we were staying at a $1,000 per night over water villa at one of the exclusive resorts. Furthermore, Gerard is constantly working to improve the property and he is currently adding to the lodge's already impressive garden. You should definitely stay here!

Room Tip: Make sure to book early because this place fills up quickly!
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 19, 2013

The Sunset Hill Lodge is a true gem of a hotel on Bora Bora. Gerard is a fantastic host whose not only committed to making sure his guests are happy, but is just a nice guy to talk to as well. He's got a number of connections across the island for any kind of activity you want, (diving, excursions, jungle treks, restaurants, etc.) and will set it up for you without the outrageous markup you see at the resorts.

Included as part of your stay, are access to beach cruiser bikes which is a great way to see the island (and burn off the massive quantities of bread you'll be eating). Also Gerard has kayaks and took us to a place where we could paddle out to deserted islands with awesome snorkeling. Really...it's refreshing to see someone who loves what they do and wants to make sure that his guests get the most of Bora Bora.

The rooms themselves are very comfortable with most of the usual amenities including a kitchen. Its walking distance to two great restaurants and a grocery store so having the option to go out for dinner or cook-in was a big plus. Set on a hill with an awesome view of the bay, it started to become more and more like home for us during our stay (it was actually really hard for us to leave because we loved it so much).

Bottom line...if you're looking to experience the real Bora Bora look no further than Sunset Hill Lodge.

Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 3, 2013

We stayed at the Sunset Hill Lodge for 5 days and wanted to add our voice to the many wonderful reviews it has received. We can only echo what so many others have already said: Gérard is a wonderful host, a very nice person, and his lodge is an extremely good value in an otherwise very expensive place. We were very happy that we found it.

Gérard has the patience of a saint, and he is clearly very invested in making sure people get the most out of their stay in Bora Bora. He advised us to go kayaking one day (we rented his kayaks), and it was one of the most wonderful things we did the whole time we were there. He drove us to town first so we could pick up a picnic, then dropped us off on the North side of the main island so we could kayak to the motus near the airport, and picked us up again in the same spot at the agreed time. Definitely do this if you can, it's a wonderful excursion, the snorkeling is good near those motus, and it's so quiet and peaceful on the water.

We had originally intended to stay in the stilts bungalow but because it was not available all five days, we booked two days in Studio 2 and three in the stilts bungalow. When it came time to move, after Gérard had cleaned the stilts bungalow and we had moved all of our stuff, I discovered none of the windows in the stilts bungalow could be opened. It was also much smaller than the studio, both inside and out. Since our studio hadn't been booked for the next few days, Gérard gracefully agreed to let us move back, for which I remain SO grateful. The studios cost only a little bit more but are a much better value, in my opinion. The only thing I could see that the stilts bungalow has going for it is that it is a bit more secluded since you are higher up on the hill and no one has to walk past you to get to their place.

We will post some photos but to give you a general idea: the complex sits right behind a one-story Mormon church, with Gérard's home occupying the ground floor (shared with Coco the cat and Rapunzel the dog), and the two studios are on top. They are accessed by climbing a rather steep hill (or staircase, you have the choice) to the back of the building. Both studios have a large outdoor patio with a nice view of the lagoon. The garden bungalows (which lack A/C) are off to the side of the main building with one being attached and the other detached. Then the stilts bungalow sits a bit farther back and higher up on the hillside.

Our bungalow was very comfortable and came with everything we needed, all in good working order. It smelled very clean when we arrived and we had absolutely no issues with bugs. I will note that if you come from a family where cleaning means having everything totally spotless and disinfected, then the silverware, glasses and plates will probably not pass your test. =) Everything else was very clean. But there is only so much one man can do, and hey, the sink is right there so just rinse things off before using. If you were in an overwater bungalow you would pay 8 times as much and not have a kitchen, so.… Also: if you plan to use the kitchen, buy paper towels at the store, and bring bar soap for the bathroom.

The center of Vaitape is just a short bike ride away (bikes are free), and a grocery store that carries everything you need is within walking distance, as is the excellent Mai Kai restaurant. Because we are the type of people who don't like to constantly rely on others or ask for things, and there is no public transit, we did feel a little limited in our movements. Gérard may very well be willing to drive you around (we witnessed him doing this for other guests), we just did not feel comfortable asking that of him.

A couple more notes on various topics that could be of interest to others:

Privacy: We were a bit surprised to discover that there are no curtains (only valances) on the kitchen window, so anyone who walks past (only other guests) can look right into your living space. Not a big deal, but you'll have to remember not to walk around in your birthday suit. Also, the bathroom is only separated from the bedroom and rest of the space by a curtain, so if you want to be totally alone while attending to your business, you will have to ask others to kindly go wait outside, which only helps a little bit since the space between the walls and eaves is screened. Sorry if that is TMI. =)

WIFI: This was a bit spotty for us, but we only had mobile devices with us, it may be better if you are connecting with a computer. Our phones could not connect at all, our iPads intermittently. We had to ask Gérard to restart the modem a couple times, which helped.

Beach/water access: Unless I missed it, the main island doesn't really seem to have many good areas to just spread out your towel and sit by the lagoon. For that, you really need to go to Matira Beach (which is a good half hour by bike from the lodge), or to one of the motus. Gérard can give you a waterproof bag for the kayaks so you can take stuff out there. Just be aware that you can't just walk down to the water from the lodge and hang out there, you'll need to make more of an effort, which is important to note since the climate can make you not want to move at all. But once you are on or in the water, it's so much cooler, so again, do consider that kayak trip and make a day of it.

Noise: The roosters. They don't stick to the crowing only at dawn schedule I know from the roosters of my youth… If you are a light sleeper, take ear plugs, because they go on all night.

Recycling and eco-efforts: I was pleased to see many efforts all across Bora Bora to minimize tourism's impact on the environment. The studios cool down quickly, so A/C is really not needed at night or when you are away, and Gérard will happily accept and sort your recyclables.

If you do what we did, which is to split your time in Bora Bora between an affordable place and a high-end resort, then this lodge is a perfect base station for doing daytime activities such as kayaking, biking, a snorkeling or shark-feeding tour, going into town or exploring some of the restaurants.

I know that was a lot of words to basically say we can highly recommend Gérard and his Sunset Hill Lodge, but I'm a detail-oriented person, I appreciate finding out things from other people's reviews, so I also like to try to pay it forward.

Room Tip: The studios are the way to go. They are well-designed, comfortable and large with a big patio that h...
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seoul, South Korea
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2013

This place is one of a kind as far as pensions go in French Polynesia. No shortcuts have been taken in terms of attention to detail with it's layout. Gerard goes out of his way to help out and it requires the experience to understand why this place has received the kind of reviews it has. I would highly recommend this place to anyone looking for something nice, affordable and close to the centre.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sunset Hill Lodge

Address: BP 58 Vaitape | BP 58 Vaitape, 98730, French Polynesia
Phone Number:
Location: French Polynesia > Society Islands > Bora Bora
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 18 Hotels in Bora Bora
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Furnished accommodations close to Vaitape's village. ... more   less 

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