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“Very Enjoyable Honeymoon” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island

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Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island
5.0 of 5 Boutique Hotel   |   BP 516, 98730, French Polynesia   |  
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Ranked #4 of 18 Hotels in Bora Bora
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Very Enjoyable Honeymoon”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 18, 2013

We stayed at the Sofitel Private Island for 9 nights as part of our honeymoon in bungalow 130. Overall it was an excellent trip and the hotel was a fantastic part of our experience. Greeted with an ice cold coconut to drink, and a bottle of champagne on ice in our hotel room waiting for us we really were very happy.

I had reviewed the various tripadvisor reviews at length to pick this hotel and there are a couple of things to note if you're doing similarly and comparing this hotel vs others:

You get free Wifi on the island (though its a bit patchy in places)
You get a free mini bar in your room that is refilled daily
If you're staying at the other hotel you have to pay $10 a day for a shuttle that takes you over to the private island
Some of the better snorkeling is on the northern point of the private island

These little features and a few others really made this feel like a top notch hotel. I thought the room was very well equipped and generally the island had everything we could ask for in terms of features, though I will say when it rains you can get bored quickly!

You should be aware that food is quite pricey, but thats Bora Bora for you. Personally I'd have liked something with a few more stronger salad options but thats just personal taste. The one thing that did annoy us was the trips that were booked, the shuttle is always late and in one instance for us the shuttle didn't arrive at all and we didnt get to go out to dinner that night! There is a very relaxed atmosphere when it comes to punctuality!

The hotel (and I believe all the hotels) have a deal with a restaurant called Bloody Mary's, some friends we made advised us against going but the concierge insisted so we went. Bloody Mary's is equivalent to TGI Fridays, its terrible, absolutely awful. Horrible food, service and rude shuttle drivers. Dont waste your time!

The one thing I would say, and this is not a mark against the hotel is that my expectations coming into this trip were matched with our trip to the Maldives last year and the snorkeling in the Maldives is 100x better than in Bora Bora. There's still some nice snorkeling to be had in Bora Bora however the Coral Reefs here were almost all wiped out due to a cyclone ten years ago.

All in all an excellent hotel that we would go back to again!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Didier L, Directeur général at Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island, responded to this review, April 20, 2013
Thank you to be so details and for sharing your experience at Sofitel Private island. We are delighted that you like our new offers for the Private Island customers, including free mini bar, free wifi ...
We wish to have the chance to welcome you back in our paradise!
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408 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (69)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
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English first
Cleveland, Ohio
Level Contributor
42 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 17, 2013

My husband and I stayed here from March 19th to 23nd as part of a week-long, 3 island trip. We loved it.

Tahiti in general was a very wonderful trip. The most beautiful water and sea life was amazing. The people were so nice. The hotels were, for the most part, excellent and the food was fantastic everywhere. It did not feel like a tourist trap at all and it was very relaxing. A few things to note: They speak French and Tahitian. Many people also speak pretty good English, especially drivers, front desk hotel staff and shop owners. However, waiters, housekeeping, etc was hit or miss, so if you are one of those people who cannot tolerate being somewhere where English is not fluent, then stick to Hawaii. Also, they use the Tahitian Franc as their currency. You can charge most everything to your room, but it's nice to have some for tipping. I suggest you take the plan that includes breakfast and dinner. At 2 of our hotels, breakfast was a fantastic buffet and dinner included appetizer, main course and dessert for each person so it was great to sample a lot of different dishes. Meals & drinks were very expensive and there are not a lot of local restaurants to choose from so we ate in the hotel most of the time, which wasn't really an issue as the food was great. Tahiti in general is expensive, including souvenirs, so be prepared to pay. And they generally don't bargain with you. Also, people generally don't tip for service unless it was outstanding or something above and beyond. That was hard for us to get use to. We did tip occasionally, but everyone always seemed quite surprised and very grateful. Internet service is available in your room for a fee, about $10 per day. Tahiti is a great place for romance, views and ocean fun. Not a lot of night life anywhere. Most nights we were in bed by 10 pm, but up for the fantastic sunrise and enjoyed the most out of each day. All of our rooms had air conditioning, but not all of the restaurants. It's A TROPICAL ISLAND so prepare to be a little hot. The A/C can't always keep up. Dress is resort casual. Bathing suits and cover ups all day, sundresses at night. Men can wear shorts everywhere so no need to bring pants like most places in the Caribbean. Even in the nicest restaurants, shorts are fine.

As for Sofitel, Private Island, Bora Bora, it was really great. The staff was fantastic, so helpful. We stayed in a hut over the water. It was really nice. Deep enough to dive in and you could also see the lagoon. There is a nice deck with lounges for sunning and ladder to get into the water if you don't want to jump. Also, a nice covered area w/ a table & chairs. Be sure and stay in the huts that are directly over the water, as some of them are backed up against the island and it is shallow and you can't swim. Also has a shower at the bottom of the steps to rinse off. Beautiful sunrise views and views of the main island of Bora Bora. The private island concept was pretty cool. It was completely self sufficient with a nice lobby and restaurant. Also, kayaks, paddleboards, snorkel gear, etc. At first I was a little freaked out about being so far from the main hotel, but there was a nice sized boat at your beck and call that would take you over to the main hotel anytime you wanted. Just let the front desk know. It only takes about 4 minutes to get across by boat so it was really fun. Sometimes we'd take it several times a day. However, the private island doesn't have a pool or fitness center. For that, you have to go to the main hotel, but again, easy to get there at any time. Unfortunately, the fitness center at the main hotel was closed for remodelling and this was an issue for me.

The private island is also where the Coral Gardens are, just jump in at the pier and swim over. There is a "path" of sorts you can follow by foot but it's not very good and it's really hard to find a good place to get in without hurting yourself. Best to just swim over. So many millions of beautiful fish and vibrant coral. Best snorkeling ever. The snorkel trips take people here because it's such a good sight, and the best part is, it's free if you stay on the island. Also, tons of fish directly under the pier. Bring some bread and they go crazy. Also a couple of small Black Tip Sharks live in the lagoon. We saw them everyday. Good snorkeling there too, right off your room. . Be sure and wear aqua slippers or you will get hurts. Lots of coral and even a few weird jelly fish type thing that sticks to the coral.

The food was very good, and Clemintime was the best server. Portions were generous so we shared our lunch and it was plenty!! The lamb was so good I had it twice. We also ate at the main hotel a couple of times. The food was good but the service was slow over there. We did the romantic dinner on the beach one night and that was excellent. First you walk to the top of a hill and they are waiting w/ Champagne and appetizers and a spectacular view of the island and the sunset. Then you go down to the beach and have your dinner (choice of lobster or steak). The lobster was delicious. Then, there is a Tahitian dance show just for you. There were only 6 tables the night we were there so it was very personal. We weren't expecting the show so that was a nice treat. It was $300 a couple but well worth it.

We did didn't do any excursions because we had such a good time snorkeling and kayaking. We did take a taxi into town. There is supermarket there so we bought a lot of water, beer & wine for the room. It's not cheap, but it's less expensive than the hotel, where they even charge for water. This is my one big complaint. They should have self serve water around the facilities for free. After all, it's HOT !!!

One note: This hotel could use some cosmetic upgrades and I think that is in the plans. However, it is still a wonderful place, just a little dated.

It would be a great place to get married. We saw at least one or two everyday. The tradition Tahitian wedding was beautiful. I would definately recommend this to anyone who wants to escape to paradise and have lots of romance.

Room Tip: Bring agua slippers. If you like to drink, take the shuttle into town and stock up early, especiall...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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
    • 4 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 Private Island, responded to this review, April 20, 2013
Thank you for your review, your comment are always highly appreciated. they will contribute to maintain at all time, the quality level we commit at Sofitel for all our guets.
Thank you for your stay at Sofitel Marara Beach in Bora Bora!
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West Union, Ohio, United States
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 10, 2013

My husband and I honeymoon'd here for a week Sept. 2012. Our first day was rainy but still very beautiful. Everyday after that was amazing, this was the #1 one place to visito on my bucket list and it was worth every penny. We spent each night in an Overwater Bungalow and they gave us an island bungalow for our last day (complimentary). What a beautiful view that was, I took amazing photos from the balcony. We loved the island, they were more than accomidating and so very friendly! Everything was clean, the ferry ride was always ready for us. Very laid back atmosphere, perfect for relaxing and enjoying. The only thing we wish we had done was go dancing. We were told of a place on the main island that we could have visited but we didn't. We are saving up to go back as soon as possible.

  • Stayed September 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Didier L, Directeur général at Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island, responded to this review, April 12, 2013
Thank you for your comment. As you know, they are very important for us to make sure we are fine tuning all our standards to provde the service that all guet expect from Sofitel. Thank you for your stay with us at Bora Bora
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Phoenix, Arizona
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2013

We stayed for 3 nights on the private island in an over water bungalow in February 2013, with our toddler. Everything about this hotel was amazing, beautiful and a bit secluded which was even more amazing.

It's a neat 20 min boat ride from the airport, we were greeted with fresh coconut drinks, cool towels and music playing. In a way, you really felt like royalty. We were chauffeured to our OWB which was serene, quiet, clean, peaceful and overall just amazing. The bed was very comfortable, bathrooms clean, and we spent a majority of our time on the balcony soaking in this once in a lifetime experience.

The island provides you with snorkel, fins, little kayaks - all at no charge.

We had breakfast included in our stay which was a typical buffet breakfast.....breads, fruits, yogurts, jams, omelets, eggs etc. We often ate outside of the hotel for lunch/dinner and would take the shuttle boat back over to the main island, walk outside the main hotel to the left about 10 mins to a pizza place. For about $15 American dollars we could get a whole pizza that would feed all 3 of us with leftovers. The pizza is AMAZING! In fact a few times we would bring the pizza back to the room and we were stopped by about 10 different people asking where we got the pizza, how much, and if they could buy it off of us. Ha ha!
We only ate one time at the restaurant and it was expensive, and found there to be a bit of a language barrier with our servers in the restaurant. But overall, I think the cost is normal for restaurants at these hotels. Coming from the islands of Tahiti, Moorea and Huahine, the cost was typical, but the food not all that great.

My advice is to explore out and about with restaurants (the pizza place is within walking distance of the main hotel), bring back breads and cheeses from the market and snack on those IF and only IF you want to save on the food cost.

One of the hotel staff that cleaned our room brought my daughter balloons to play with and tied them all together and left them in her pack n play. This was such a cute touch, and it really made me smile. Although there was a bit of a language barrier there too, I talked to her and thanked her for the balloons....something so simple, but really made me smile and my daughter has a blast playing with all the balloons. I wish I could remember her name so the hotel would know that she made our stay there memorable with such simple actions.
The hotel does provide you with bottled water daily at no cost and every afternoon they would come by with little "treats", like cookies and mini muffins. It's a nice touch. Free bottled water and pastries.

The only downfall to this whole stay here was the checkout. Our plane wasn't leaving until later in the afternoon - around 6pm. We had to leave at 5pm, but we had to check out at 11am. So what were we going to do for 6 hours with a 2 year old? Hmmm....the hotel staff was persistent about checking out at 11am, and as long as I paid an additional 110,000 francs (around $120 US dollars) we could get a later check out BUT they would probably have to move us to a different room. I thought the whole process was a bit stressful since we already paid a good amount to stay there for 3 nights and we were only looking to stay another 6 hours or so. Luckily they were able to keep us in the same room which just made it easier, but still had to pay an additional $120 for the late check-out.

With that said, I would highly suggest that when you check in...IF you have a late checkout and a late departure ask in the beginning if you can have a late checkout so you’re not trying to pull strings on the last day. However, the hotel is fully aware of your departure time...so I felt they should have asked if we wanted a late checkout or not...and at least made it an option.
They do have what they call "transition rooms" which is a shower and a toilet. Period.

Overall it was just amazing. I don't really see the private island being a big "party island" either. Staying on the private island also means you can take the shuttle boat back and forth as many times as you want at no charge. Those who are staying on the main island have to pay - hence the reason they call it the private island, it keeps it private to those who are staying. We had no issues waiting for the boat and it's only a 2-3 min boat ride. Our OWB bungalow allowed us to jump in the water at any time and we snorkeled a lot. We saw all sorts of fish all the time, even saw a black tip reef shark. Again, just amazing. Beautiful. Our only issue was at check out, and a slight language barrier with the staff..but nothing that would ever keep me from coming back to this beautiful private island and hotel.

I would not hesitate to bring your kids, I was hesitant only because of what I've read on other websites that this is considered a place to stay for "Honeymooners" and families should stay on Moorea - but I found it to be quite opposite. We saw several families vacationing with children of all ages. Toddlers to teenagers and everyone we encountered was friendly, polite, and really went out of their way to talk to her.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Didier L, Directeur général at Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island, responded to this review, April 5, 2013
Thank you to be so details and for sharing your experience in Both Sofitel Private island and Marara Beach Reasort. we wish to have the chance to welcome you back in our paradise!
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Auckland Region, New Zealand
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2013

You have probably noticed from other reviews how spectacular this places is however what it makes it even more exiting for me is the service you receive from every single staff that work in it, they really know what you want or need even before you ask or even before you arrived, and I am not talking about the over-confident service you can find in some staff in hotels around the world, these are very simple Tahitian and French people with a big smile and with enough charisma to make you feel welcome every single time. In other words this place has it all beauty, location, great rooms, easy and delicious food, great weather, good activities and excellent people that provide you with a great service. If someone tells you that is expensive, I don`t think so I think is really a good value for money.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
    • 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.
Didier L, Directeur général at Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island, responded to this review, April 5, 2013
All my ambassadors working in the Private islands join me to thank you for highlingting our service "cousu main" coming from our heart, we want to stay genuine, authentic to make you feeling at home in Bora Bora! Maururu!!!
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Hoyt, Kansas
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2013

This place was exactly what we were hoping for. If you are wanting a "night life", party atmosphere, this place is not for you. If you are wanting a place to relax, unwind, enjoy the best views of Bora Bora, enjoy the best snorkeling on the island, clean, well appointed rooms with all the amenities that you need, with great service, then this is your place. We were very pleased with our whole experience there and would highly recommend it to others.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Didier L, Directeur général at Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island, responded to this review, April 5, 2013
Sofitel Bora Bora Private island is the place for honeymooners, lovers, a real exclusive and genuine magnifique place , where people care about your well being at all time. Thank you for sharing. when you need to find again your paradise and to be out of time for a while you know where to come!!!
See you again soon.
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Huntington Beach, California
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2013

My girlfriend and I stayed at the Sofitel Motu in August 2011 on what was to be a once Ina lifetime trip. The experience was so memorable and extraordinary that despite a few minor issues, I have booked a return trip to Bora Bora in July 2013. It should say a lot given that we checked out most of the other properties and are staying at the same Sofitel Private Island in the same overwater bungalow.

First time we had one night in a lagoon view bungalow and four nights in our dream overwater bungalow, before heading back to Tahiti nui for the obligatory one night before the flight back to LAX. Tis time around we will have six nights overwater and one on the main island, I recommend this itinerary for a week stay. I like that you arrive in the morning and have the entire day on Bora Bora. The quick boat to the Motu from the main resort lets you know how private your stay will be. Only about 30 bungalows on the island which I would guess is one kilometer in circumfance.

The steep but very short walk to the main building with restaurant and bar gives you breathtaking views of the lagoon and Mt. Otemanu. This island is not appropriate for anyone with a disability that makes walking difficult, for everyone else, it's perfect. The staff is wonderful, the rooms were immaculate. Minor inconveniences have likely been taken care of since the island was remodeled. For example, you only get one towel per person and I found myself taking 3 showers a day given all the water activity they should have a half dozen large towels in each bungalow, just a minor issue that does not take anything away from the experience.

The breakfast feast was amazing and we ate like kings every morning before diving and snorkeling the day away. Lunch most days was the bar area by the pool which had great food. Dinner on the main island resort was two choices, I cannot remember the names but the fancy restaurant is one of the best on the island and we ate there three times with a perfect meal each night. The other restaurant is more casual buffet style with Polynesian entertainment and was good for that type of dining. We also ate one night at Bloody Mary's which is ten minutes away and they come pick you up in a bus and drop you off. Great fish, in a unique open walled, sand floor restaurant. Every visitor should try it at least one night.

We had Laurent from Diveasy come get us directly from the island for a private dive lesson. The first dive was on the back of the island as it is one of the best fish reefs in Bora Bora. We also snorkel end around the island every day as the resort provides all the equipment for free. We look forward to stand up paddleoarding this year as I read that they have added this.

Each bungalow has two decks, one covered with a railing and a table to get out of the sun and relax, the other two steps down, no railing with loung chairs was where we spent most of our time. You sit down and look over the lagoon at Mt. Otemanu and it seems as if you are floating. Every half hour or so we dive in off the bungalow for a swim and snorkel. Take a piece of baguette in the water (provided by staff) and 20 fish are instantly eating out of your hand under your own bungalow.

As I said at the start of the review, this was to be a once in a lifetime experience, which was so memorable, I had to find a way to return. If Bora Bora is in your budget, make the journey and stay at the Sofitel Motu (private island).

Room Tip: Stay at the far end of the resort for privacy, water depth for diving from bungalow.
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  • Stayed August 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Didier L, Directeur général at Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island, responded to this review, April 6, 2013
Thank you for all your comment for your "life trip"!!! at Bora Bora! for all readers, i would like to say that we are committed with sustainable development and we follow-up Earthcheck programm where we have to reduce all gas emission and all sustainable action regarding people, environment and sustanability. Towels is part of it but we will be happy to provide more on demand.
Thank you for your stay with us and let us know before you come back again to paradise, we will arrange your habit through a "cousu main" service and get your perfered bungalow over water ready for you!!!
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Additional Information about Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island

Address: BP 516, 98730, French Polynesia
Location: French Polynesia > Society Islands > Bora Bora
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 18 Hotels in Bora Bora
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island 5*
Number of rooms: 31
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Overlooking one of the most beautiful lagoons in the world, Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island is located in the heart of the exceptional Matira Bay, nestled on a private islet facing the main island of Bora Bora. A secret hideaway where you can enjoy a peaceful and romantic retreat, regenerate yourself and savour the exquisite feeling of being at home on your own private island. This boutique hotel is emphasizing privacy and intimacy to create a unique experience in the heart of native vegetation surrounded by turquoise water and beautiful coral gardens. ... more   less 
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