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“Disappointed - even on Private Island” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort

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Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   BP 6, Nunue, 98730, French Polynesia   |  
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Ranked #12 of 18 hotels in Bora Bora
New York
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Disappointed - even on Private Island”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2013

I am prefacing this review by stating that I am not someone who frequently posts reviews on this website or any other website. I have traveled all over the world and have stayed in many types of accommodations. So believe me when I say that I am writing this as a caution to other travelers who want the "bottom line" when choosing between resorts that cost a pretty penny. I am also prefacing by letting you know that prior to arrival at Sofitel Bora Bora, we had a wonderful top-notch stay at Sofitel Moorea and found both the hotel and the island to be excellent. On to Sofitel Bora Bora - we had booked a half-overwater bungalow at Marara Beach. Upon arrival, we were greeted by friendly staff and taken to our transfer boat, which, to our surprise, delivered us to the Private Island. We had been upgraded to an amazing overwater bungalow, which is always a great start. We jumped in the water from our balcony, had some champagne and enjoyed the beautiful scenery of Bora Bora. We got dressed for dinner at the Private Island restaurant that night. Dinner selection here was not good by any measure. I ordered what was called "salmon" on the menu, only to be served some kind of tough white fish - perhaps swordfish - that was extremely dry and meaty. Put simply, whatever fish I had, the meal did not sit well. (Side note - By the end of our stay, I found that the only things I really enjoyed on the menu were my stiff vodka-sodas made by the friendly bartender, sunny-side up eggs in the morning, and french fries for dinner). Day 2, we decided it would be a nice idea to rent bikes and ride into the "town" of Vaitape on Bora Bora to check out the scenery and the local flavor. The closest bike rental was out of a nearby hotel about a 15-minute walk from Sofitel. (Buyer beware - The bikes were expensive and extremely old, so try to get bikes from a different vendor if you choose to bike at all). We rode about 45 minutes-1 hour to get into the "town" of Vaitape. I'm not sure choosing to bike into town was the safest option as the path was extremely poverty-ridden and sad (perhaps that's why the hotel offers a boat shuttle directly to the town). I wished the hotel had given us some precaution as to the safety of biking into town as 2 tourists. There was not much to this "town" except for a couple souvenir shops and an empty gas station. Granted, it was the off-season, so there were likely businesses closed for the season (like Bloody Mary's). But there were no open restaurants, no shops, no cafes, no nothing. We were really disappointed. This was particularly concerning because it meant that we had no viable food alternatives outside the Private Island. After our biking jaunt, we got back to our hotel and ordered room service. After we finished dinner, we noticed a giant black beetle (as large as my thumb) in our bathroom. We contained him in a cup and called maintenance. While we were waiting for Maintenance to arrive, we saw another large black beetle on the wall and were able to trap him until Maintenance arrived. Maintenance promptly removed the beetles. We were hoping that was the end of it, but we then had 4 more of the large black beetles in our room. We called the front desk, and a manager promptly came to the room to remove the beetles herself. She gave us a card for 2 complimentary cocktails and offered to transfer us to an open bungalow. We took the transfer. Upon arrival, there were 4 large black beetles, which we removed. The manager's explanation was "it's French Polynesia - we have these bugs." I didn't appreciate that. If that's your best explanation, then don't charge the prices you are charging. I stayed in an open-air bungalow in Zambia in the middle of the forest and did not see a single bug like that. Luckily, we did not see any more beetles after that night. We snorkeled around the property which had good snorkeling, and rented a couple movies from the front desk. I also had a couple good spa treatments which I would recommend. Overall, I would advise you to choose another property in Bora Bora, as there was something definitely "off" here, even on the acclaimed Private Island. However, if you can get a good deal here, it may be worth it, provided you don't experience any large black beetles like we did.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Didier L, Directeur général at Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort, responded to this review, January 7, 2013
It is great for all of us to get your feed back in all good things and what have to be improved in our quality standards. Thank you for your great comment on our staff, snorking, welcoming bar and i do understand that the diner was not what you expected, our chetf usually have great comment regarding his a la carte diner at the private island but for some reason it was not the case for you. Mid december is not the pick season and the island is very calm at that time. For the bicycle there is two companies to rent them. the hotel can book directly for you and bikes can be dropped at he hotel otherwise a car can pick you up to the company to get your bikes. for the beattle, sometime it can happen as the roof of the over water is natural and made in pandanus, a vegetal which is local and a proper natural envirionment for them. On regular basis we do specific treatment (smoke) to the roof of the bungalow to try to eradicate the beatles, which is the case most of the time, but they appear when it is windy time to time and i really apologize for that. Everything which is necessary and according all sustainable development regarding our environment is done and we will continue our effort to offer the best and safer environment. This is our commitment. I wish you a happy new year and all the best along 2013.
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
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English first
Denver, Colorado
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2013

My wife and I just spent three nights at the Sofitel Marara Beach Resort on Bora Bora. We booked the stay through Expedia but fell very lucky with the room which was an over-the-water bungalow in a quiet part of the resort. The views were exceptional as we looked out across the lagoon to the two private motu's about a mile or so away, one of which is also managed by Sofitel.

The resort staff are very friendly and helpful though the bar and restaurant service was a little slow at times (island time). The restaurant was a convenient choice with a good breakfast buffet but I don't recommend it for dinner. The menu was pretty unimaginative, the choice limited and the food pretty bland for what it was. There are much better restaurants nearby so do ask the staff for local recommendations.

The resort offers many different activities, both on land or at sea. As my wife and I are both keen snorkelers we opted for a 'full-day eco tour'. This consisted of a snorkeling trip to a local reef known as 'The Aquarium' where there is sea life aplenty to view, a stingray feeding experience and an outer reef shark experience. All a great deal of fun. After these aqua adventures we headed to a quiet motu for a locally cooked lunch which was delicious and lessons on how to get the best out of a coconut and also several different ways to wear a pareo (sarong) as worn by the locals. The tour guide/boat captain was excellent and kept us all fully engaged for the day's activities.

Plenty to do here and I can highly recommend this resort for couples, friends, familes, anyone really. You can get away from it all and just relax or opt for some of the resort activities to compliment your trip.

Room Tip: We stayed in room 68, excellent views and over the water for easy lagoon access. It is a good five...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Didier L, Directeur général at Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort, responded to this review, January 7, 2013
Thank you to highlight all the strenght of the resort in your comment, breakfast, Eco tours, ambiance, over water bungalow... and... friendless of our staff. i herad all what you wrote and 2013 is there to continue to improve all to give you more than what you expect
Happy new year!
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Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2012

We stayed at the Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Private Island Resort for our honeymoon in February 2012 and had the best time! The service was exceptional, the friendly staff always went out of their way to make our stay a pleasant one.

We recommend the Private Island for the beautiful overwater bungalows, the island has a beautiful lookout back towards the main island and also of the outer reef, the snorkelling around the island is beautiful, so many colourful fish and interesting coral. Free kayaks were well utilised by us as we explored the surrounding waters.

Concierge staff did their best to recommend day tours, we really enjoyed the snorkelling with stingrays and sharks and jet ski round trip tour of the island. We also did a 4x4 tour to the highest point of be island which should not be missed!

The restaurant on the private island is only open on select nights, but to get back to the main island island is no trouble. The friendly boat drivers were never too far away to take us to and fro. We enjoyed the themed Polynesian nights and the buffet always had something interesting and new to try. We also enjoyed eating out at surrounding restaurants which are within walking distance. Breakfast on the private island was beautiful, I have never tasted such amazing tropical fruit! Happy hour on the private island was also great, there was nothing better than sitting on the deck with a cocktail and watching the beautiful sunset after a hard day of relaxation!

The day spa on the main island was pricey but thoroughly worth it, our couples massage was pure bliss!

A trip to Bora Bora is a once in a lifetime experience, we hope to go back one day, maybe for our 10 year annniversary! We would without a doubt stay at the Sofitel again, the friendly smiles of the staff along with a heartfelt 'maruru' will always stay with us! PS: Make sure you don't return without your Tahitian Black Pearls!

Room Tip: Definitely request to be on the Private Island!
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Didier L, Directeur général at Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort, responded to this review, January 1, 2013
Thank you for sharing your great experience at Sofitel Private Island. Bora Bora is a magic destination and we hope to share again our paradise with you in 2013
Happy new year to you and all your loved one.
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Sedona, Arizona
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 23, 2012

First off there is a reason this place is SO expensive... it's worth the splurge! We had a great package deal from CostCo and decided to make our trip to Tahiti worth our time getting there by staying an extra week in Bora Bora. Well worth our investment. Over all the resort is a grouping of beach-side and over-water bungalow (more like studio apt's see photos) with the over-water ones' being simply amazing with views through the floor down into the water. We spent 6 days in the beach-side bungalow and splurged the last night with a more expensive but well worth it over-water bungalow. If you plan to go to Tahiti be sure to make extra time to sit back and enjoy the amazing sites from either.

Even MORE amazing was the QUALITY of food the Sofitel Bora Bora breakfast and dinner buffets. There are simply NO WORDS to describe how AWESOME the food is (at the time it was $68.00 to eat the dinner buffet.) With a different "theme" each of the nights we ate food from the gods and rolled our eyes at how simply astounding the food tasted and even was presented on the buffet. This place is worth flying all the way there JUST for one night of their food! Being on the ocean the fresh seafood was where we now say the term "Bora Bora GOOD" when we eat somewhere... (in fact we've never stated that since we've returned.)

  • Stayed January 2012, 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Didier L, Directeur général at Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort, responded to this review, January 1, 2013
It was great to have you with us last December; thank you for sharing your great experience and i wish you a happy new year!
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Banner, Wyoming
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 23, 2012

Nov. 2012 stayed at the Sofitel while vacationing on Bora Bora. They were gracious and accommodating. Staff was professional and informative. They arranged transportation and tours and were efficient. The hotel is beautiful and lush. It is walled from the busy street so guests feel safe and peaceful. We stayed in a bungelow close to the beach and could quickly walk to the beach and be snorkeling with many beautiful fish in a matter of seconds! The food was good and there was a relaxed,socially welcoming atmosphere. There were activities at the hotel as well as many tour opportunities. It was informal, yet very classy. I highly recommend this hotel and we were given a reasonable rate that made staying their affordable!

Room Tip: The bungelows over the water looked like fun, but all the bungelows were situated so they felt priva...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Didier L, Responsable réception at Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort, responded to this review, January 1, 2013
This is exactly what we want to provide a smart casual exeperience at Sofitel Marara side where you feel home with a great service and entertainment in a beautiful environment. Thank you for your great feed back and Happy new year! we really hope to have you back.
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Westport, New Zealand
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2012 via mobile

Apart from the expense if you can get there you gotta try bora bora. The sofitel is a great middle of the road resort. Excellent food- excellent service and a wonderfull location. Try the over water bungalow. Just magical. Definitely recomend the swim with sharks and sting rays trip. Wow!!!
Good dairy just down the road for bits and pieces.
save your pennies and just do it!!!

  • Stayed October 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Didier L, Directeur général at Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort, responded to this review, January 1, 2013
Than you for your great comment and i hope many of your riders will follow your advices!
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Additional Information about Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort

Address: BP 6, Nunue, 98730, French Polynesia
Phone Number:
Location: French Polynesia > Society Islands > Bora Bora
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites
Hotel Style:
#8 Spa Hotel in Bora Bora
#9 Luxury Hotel in Bora Bora
#12 On the Beach Hotel in Bora Bora
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort is located on the island of Bora Bora in the heart of the exceptional Matira Bay. The island of Bora Bora is encircled by a protective necklace of coral. Breathtaking lush mountains provide a dramatic backdrop for the luminous turquoise, lapis and aquamarine of the sheltered lagoon. There is something truly unique about Bora Bora, with its sugary sands, rugged mountains, vivid blues, lush greens and soothing lagoon waters that make it the most romantic destination in the world. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach And Private Island Hotel Bora Bora
Sofitel Bora Motu Private Island
Accor Bora Motu Private Island
Bora Bora Sofitel
Sofitel Motu Bora Bora

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