We stayed at this hotel for 6 nights in October 2013. Overall we had a great stay at this hotel, and I would highly recommend it.
Everything was booked and coordinated by Custom Tahiti Travel. Stuart did a fantastic job of answering all of my questions (even while we were at the Sofitel!). I highly recommend hiring this company to book your trip.
When we arrived to the Bora Bora airport, there was a bit of a stressful situation that we experienced as we didn’t know which tiny boat to get on to take us to the Sofitel Private Island. Most of the boats were marked with the hotel’s name, but the Sofitel’s boat was the smallest and was in pretty rough shape. I thought to myself that there was no one way that boat would belong to the Sofitel. Everyone was speaking French (we do not), so we just ran around tapping people on the shoulder and asking, “Sofitel?” as we pointed to their boats. Everyone responded “No.” Finally, a woman came up to us and pointed to our voucher cards (I’m guessing she didn’t speak much English) and motioned for us to follow her to that boat that wasn’t marked with a hotel’s name.
A while later we arrived at the Sofitel Private Island, and it looked amazing! The welcome was incredible. We felt like celebrities. There were 5 people standing on the dock ready to greet us. A man blew into a conch shell, another played a ukulele, someone else was there to take our bags right away and help us out of the boat, the manager (Katherine) was there to welcome us personally and hand us welcome cocktails in coconuts, and the lovely Constanze was there to place leis around our necks and take photos of us! We were EXTREMELY impressed! It was such a wonderful impression after our horrible stay at the Hilton Moorea (you can read my review if you’d like more info).
Constanze showed us to our room (overwater bungalow #130) and answered all of our questions and showed us where everything was and spoke about how everything operated at the hotel. I really, really enjoyed that. It was so nice to immediately have a hotel representative at hand to answer all of our questions.
The room was beautiful and spacious. The view from #130 looks a bit back toward the hotel, but not so much that that’s all you see. You do also get a view of the tiny beach area out front and of course of the water. The water around #130 is clear like bath water and it’s VERY shallow (just a few feet deep).
One of the nicest touches that we enjoyed was the free minibar! Free pop, juice, flat and sparkling water, and beer. There was also an espresso machine, and a kettle for boiling water for the instant Nescafe coffee and nice flavoured teas that they provide you with.
Another nice touch was the free WI-FI! It’s so odd these days to see so many hotels charge for something so incredibly basic as internet. It was like a breath of fresh air to know that I could keep in touch with my clients for free (unfortunately I couldn’t completely take time off from work and had to e-mail at night). The internet worked better than we expected it would, but you can’t do some actions such as uploading photos online or that sort of thing.
I have permanent nerve damage in my lower back, and I have never been able to sleep for longer than a few hours at a time before waking up in pain. There were 2 nights at this hotel where I slept straight through the night. I almost cried when I woke up and realized I had slept for 8 hours and wasn’t in pain! That hasn’t happened for 2 ½ years. They obviously have very nice mattresses and pillows.
The grounds here are immaculate. It’s so beautiful. It truly does look like you’re walking around inside a postcard!
The staff at front desk are incredibly friendly and are always there to assist you (Hello to Constanze, Hideko, and Laetitia! My apologies if I have misspelled your names!) We decided at the last minute that we wanted to go into the town of Vaitape, and Constanze had to quickly call for a boat to come get us to take us to the main island before the bus left for town. We told her that it was likely too much trouble and that we’d wait for another day, but she hustled and got us onto that bus anyway!
Marta was always smiling and was soooo friendly! She makes a great cocktail, so if you see her at the bar when you visit this hotel, be sure to sit down for a drink and a chat with her!
The breakfasts are really nice. Most of it is buffet style (the most delicious chocolate croissants, baked goods, homemade yogurt, fresh fruit, etc). Then there is a section where you stand in line to order crepes, omelets, bacon, etc all made fresh. Everything was really tasty, and the view from the restaurant is incredible.
We signed up for the romantic beach dinner at sunset well in advance, and we are so glad we did! You are escorted up to the lookout point on top of the high hill on the island. You watch the sun set as you are served appetizers and champagne. After the sun sets, you’re escorted back down the hill and onto the beach where tables are set up in the sand. The food was the best we had our entire 2-week trip in French Polynesia and it was all presented beautifully. There was also a show with Polynesian dancers, and they did a great job too. I highly recommend booking this! It was one of the highlights of our trip.
We ate lunch at the hotel 3 times. I’m not too sure what the difference is (different chef?), but they were the worst meals we had on our entire trip. In particular, the sashimi was the worst meal I have ever had in my entire life. I feel terrible saying that, but the food was always really bad whenever we came for anything after breakfast. The sashimi was super thick cuts of fish (it looked like it had been cut with a butter knife) on a bed of shredded lettuce. Off to the side was some rice that was crunchy and without any taste. That’s not what sashimi is at all! I also ordered a salad with shrimp and grapefruit. What arrived was a huge plate of mayonnaise with some shrimp and grapefruit mixed in. It was terrible. Once again I was confused since breakfast and the dinner on the beach was so wonderful. My husband ordered the beef burger and said it was pretty good, so if you do need to eat lunch here, order the burger.
We ate all of our other dinners outside the resort and made reservations for where we wanted to eat a day in advance based on TripAdvisor reviews. If you ever want to go to the main island, you just head to front desk and ask for the boat. They would call it over, and usually the boat would already be pulling up to the dock by the time we walked down from reception. It was a really quick (5 minute) boat ride over, and then a bus from the reserved restaurant would be waiting to pick us up and take us to the restaurant. It was great!
The spa was INCREDIBLE! I have never had a spa treatment on any of the trips we’ve ever been on as I’ve never been impressed with the spa menus before. But at this hotel, the treatments outlined on the spa menu sounded divine, so I signed up for a foot reflexology treatment at front desk. It was absolutely amazing! You’re greeted with a cool, scented towel and some tropical iced tea before settling down on a bed in the hut for the treatment. The spa therapist was so friendly (I’m afraid I can’t recall her name), and she did a great job with the treatment. After 2 weeks in sandals, the foot massage felt incredible! I highly recommend a spa treatment while you’re here.
In terms of snorkeling, I’m afraid I can’t really comment on it at this hotel. There was absolutely no fish under our overwater bungalow or our neighbor’s. However, they do have a coral garden that is said to have some of the best snorkeling in Bora Bora. Everyone we talked to said it was amazing. We stupidly didn’t apply enough sunscreen when we were out on an excursion, and we received terrible sunburns. We did try to walk over to the coral gardens (it’s quite a long walk over some rocky passages to get there), but we were so burnt from our sunburns that we unfortunately turned around and went back once we made it there. It just would have been too much for us to be out in the sun some more. Later in the week we attempted snorkeling under the bungalows, but there’s nothing under them. That was disappointing, as to me, that was what I really loved about the idea of an overwater bungalow (easy access to snorkeling!), but given that this hotel has an amazing coral garden it’s not really something to be too upset about.
Room service is really fast here when you order. Also, the rooms are cleaned very quickly and efficiently. We never came back to a room that hadn’t been cleaned at the end of the day. Another nice touch was the nightly treats that they leave on the beds (macaroons or baked goods) and the bottled water. That was always so appreciated.
We had a great stay here. The private island is quiet and beautiful-just perfect for a couple looking to get away from it all! The only negatives that I could possibly think of would be the bad food at lunch and the lack of snorkeling just off the overwater bungalows (but that’s not too much of a negative since they have a coral garden which other hotels do not). Book a stay here, you won’t regret it!
- 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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