I stayed at the Sofitel Marara Resort on the mainland (not the private island) from April 1-April 4, 2013. I had previously stayed on the island of Tahiti for 7 days before this 3 day stay. I wanted to save the best for last and Bora Bora did not disappoint!
Upon arriving into the tiny airport at Bora Bora from Papeete, you will need to deplane, then head to the only conveyor belt to gather your checked luggage. Then, you will need to locate the stand with your hotel name on it to take a complimentary water taxi to your hotel. The Sofitel Marara Beach Resort kiosk/stand was very easy to locate. I gave my name to the staff member and he gave me a luggage tag already with my last name and room number on it. He told me to affix this to my checked luggage that I had collected, and then whisked me away to a small boat/water taxi and off I went to heaven for the next 3 days. The water ride was really pretty as it was around 530pm and the sun was setting.
Upon arrival at the hotel, I was greeted by Muriel who served me a small, tropical drink and went over my check in portfolio/paperwork that all incoming guests have to fill out. She then gave me a small tour of the facilities and then lead me to my overwater bungalow 65. She was amazing, very warm, welcoming, good English. She remembered me when I checked out 3 days later and came by to say goodbye. I felt very welcomed and it's this personal one-on-one experience that the staff is known for. Everyone went out of their way to help out the guests.
Once I entered my overwater bungalow 65, I nearly died (in a very good way). I was like a kid in a candy store, very excited for my stay and extremely giddy. OWB 65 had a king size bed with a VERY, VERY comfy mattress; 2 dual sinks, a hairdryer, an open space rain shower (wow), a separate toilet. There was a small safe, a small fridge, a water kettle to boil water for the packets of tea/coffee in the room. The tv had about 2 English speaking channels (one was CNN), others were all in French. The Sofitel uses L'Occitane amenities (very high class and I love their products). The first night I had a "visitor" in the form of a white gecko that I named Gordon (Gordon the Gecko) that just chilled out in a corner on the wall by the tv. Previous visitors must have left the wooden window shutters open so he probably crawled in. **Tip: Please keep the wooden shutters closed so you won't get any more "visitors" otherwise, you might have a lizard problem or flying insects in your room. There is an A/C so the room remains cool even if you close the wooden shutters. Also, if you bring snacks, keep them in a tightly sealed ziplock bag!!**
In the AM, I truly was amazed at how AWESOME OWB 65 was!!! There was a small patio with 2 lounge chairs, a small platform to access the water to go snorkeling, and an outdoor shower of fresh water, not the sea salt water to briefly rinse off if you wanted to before entering the OWB again. The snorkeling/kayaking equipment is free to rent so have fun and take advantage of your platform to enter the water and play! Very colorful fish. Plus, the bungalow has a glass bottom section that at night, you can see colorful fish swim underneath you and it's also lit. **Tip: the metal ladder leading from the wooden platform into the water had algae/seaweed/plants growing on it. Be careful and try NOT to touch the algae/plant growth. I received a nice rash near my upper hip/thighs and shins for 3 days since my skin was freaking out from the algae and I had to take Benadryl for the hives to go down.** Also, bring mosquito or bug repellent. You're by the water so at night, the mosquitoes will eat you alive if not protected. My friends stayed in OWB 50 and OWB 66. I think my bungalow was the best. :) OWB 66 doesn't have a glass bottom view in the room.
I ate breakfast daily with fruits, juices, an omelet station, croissants/breads, coffee, bacon/sausage by an amazing view of the Bora Bora lagoon. The breakfast place is also located near the infinity pool so you really get a great view. There is also a very small 2 room spa where they offer facials/massages. I didn't go to the spa as I was busy exploring the island.
I didn't use the spotty Wifi as I was too busy snorkeling and enjoying my view from my bungalow and going on land excursions. On 2 occasions, there was a stingray that floated near my bungalow and I was able to follow it and view it while snorkeling, but I kept a respectable distance.
At check out, it was very fast, no long lines around 11am. The Sofitel really has their act together and it was a seamless check out. Denise checked out my account and I had a million questions for her and she was gracious enough to try to answer me in her broken English, that's when Muriel (who checked me in on night #1) helped out. Seriously, these ladies are on top of their game and FABULOUS! There is a $2 USD/daily (200 Pacific Franc/daily) charge as a contribution to Sofitel's ongoing Lagoon Project to protect their corals in the lagoon. It's not mandatory so you have the option to remove that charge at check out. I didn't remove it as I thought it would be gracious and nice to give back to Mother Nature. C'mon...$6 USD isn't a lot for a GREAT cause! I totally believe in karma.
Overall, this was a trip of a lifetime. Muriel and Denise were fantastic. The gentIemen at the beach equipment rental hut were also very helpful and friendly. I felt very loved here. OWB 65 is THE room to book. I also saw many sun rises from my large window in front of the bed. I took so many pictures. I will definitely come back! Bora Bora was awesome and I actually cried/got teary when they escorted me back onto the water taxi to leave for the airport and when the porter (young man that takes our bags from your rooms, I forgot his name) blew the conch shell as I was leaving as a gracious farewell....I actually got sad and teary!! I'm in love with the Tahitian culture and their lovely island spirit.
Merci and Mauruuru to the entire establishment for a splendid job well done! Until we meet again, my new found friends. Thank you again for a superb stay. For those reading this review, any hotel on this island will have great views of the lagoons, but it's THE PEOPLE and the STAFF that can make or break your stay in paradise. The Sofitel really trains their staff to be attentive and caring. There's a Sofitel in Beverly Hills, CA (close to where I live) and their service is no where close to what I received at this Sofitel on Bora Bora. The customer service here is amazing!! Thank you again for the beautiful, inspiring, touching memories. XOXOXO
- 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