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“Honeymoon of a lifetime!” 5 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 #5 of 18 Hotels in Bora Bora
Millis, Massachusetts, United States
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“Honeymoon of a lifetime!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2014 via mobile

My husband and I spent our honeymoon at the Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island. We started out in an over-water bungalow, and were later upgraded to The Villa (I'm still not sure why, but I'll take it!). The rooms are spacious and very nice, turn down service each night, and I don't think it's possible to have a blocked view anywhere on the island. During our stay the weather was gorgeous (end of June-Beginning July).

The staff are wonderful. Extremely courteous, and we were treated as if we were the only couple at the hotel. They are also extremely helpful with organizing and recommending various excursions, in the event that basking in the sun loses it's glamour, lol. Some of these included an Eco Tour (if you go, DO IT!), which allows you to snorkel, swim with sharks and stingrays; several hiking options; safari tours, etc.

The food is quite good as well. Nice breakfast buffet with plenty of options; lunch and dinner menus were also quite good.

  • Stayed June 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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, July 24, 2014
Again congratulations for your wedding and we wish you all the hapiness of the world!
We are proud to be part of your "souvenirs for life" of your wedding trip!
Thank you for choosing us.
We will stay in your heart
Come back soon!
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262 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 (46)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
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English first
New York City
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2014

A lovely private island. Just breathtaking and beautiful. Like no other. So here are the highlights:

When you land, even before you get your bags, they will "lei" you, which is a lovely tradition. They point out which is your boat that'll take you to the island. Then you go the side to get your bags. You'll have a few minutes to take pictures on the water and scenery. Never seen an airport location like this. Then hop onto the boat for about a 25 minute ride.

As you approach the dock, you will see a local (dressed in local attire) blow a conch as you approach. Then he'll start playing the ukulele. You'll be helped off the boat by staff and given coconuts filled with coconut water inside. The staff will help you take pictures (trust me, you'll want the view in the background while holding coconut drinks while wearing a lei. Besides, the lei will wilt by the end of the first day.)

One thing i want to point out is that no matter what time of day you get there, the experience is the same. They still blow a conch, and they still give you a coconut drink even for nighttime arrivals. The only downside is that if you arrive after sunset, you might not be able to see the how beautiful the view truly is.

Anyways, the staff welcomes you and there is small chit-chat (where are you from, how long are staying, etc. etc.) Then while the staff takes care of your bags, you're given a brief tour. Eventually you're taken to your room. We had an over water bungalow and it's just amazing. My only complaint is that i thought the hole in the floor (to watch fish) was too small (maybe 18 inches in diameter?).

When we got in to the room, there were flowers on the bed, and my wife got a nice complimentary sari, and i got a t-shirt. There was also a complimentary bag of 3 lil treats. There's a fridge that is stocked with local beer, soda and water. Apparently, it's refilled at night by the turn-down service.

The closet has a safe and complimentary his & hers snorkel gear. There was an outside personal patio where there is a small coffee table, two chairs, (under a covered straw awning) and two chaise lunges (not under the awning) for you to lay down and enjoy the sun. You have your own personal lil ladder to climb into the water (which is about 4 feet deep?). There's also a shower there to rinse off the salt (not an actual shower since there are no curtains...unless you're into that kind of thing.) Depending on which side your bungalow faces, if it faces the ocean and AWAY from the resort, if you get up early enough, you can sit on the patio outside and watch the sunrise (usually at 6:30am).

At night time, sometimes you can hear the waves crashing against the poles/masts. It's very soothing. The bathroom shower has a rainshower head (hanging from the ceiling) and the type where it's like a hose.

The restaurant on the island is nice. The breakfast buffet is good, lots of fruit, and there is an omelet station (although i felt it was slim pickings in terms of toppings) Considering the French love their breads and baguettes, EVERY meal comes with complimentary bread. But this is no cheap bread. It's great and delicious. See a tip at the bottom of this review.

We ate basically all our meals there. Lunch and dinner are great. And they are surprisingly fast. But they do NOT sacrifice quality. It's very good and delicious. We liked the stuffed chicken as it was very tender.

As you might have read from reviews about the island, the prices are a bit steep (at least compared with the $USD.) Also, they charge for water, so if you can remember, take a bottle from your room before heading to eat.

Also in the restaurant is a billiards table, and local outfits on display. Apparently, you can ask to take pictures in them.

There is a free shuttle to take you to the Sofitel Marara in case you want to visit the other resort or the mainland. Also, the Marara is where they appear to hold events. From there, you can visit the gift shop, or take a local taxi to downtown Vaitape. Just remember to get a voucher from the front desk. The boat shuttle runs from 5:30am to 11:30 at night. They run on an as-needed basis. So if you don't see the shuttle, just go to the front desk and ask them to call it over. It's about a 3-4 minutes boat ride and the waters are always calm.

Sunrise is generally at 6:30 am. After you first arrive, the staff will point out the "View Point" where you can walk up some steps to, to go see the morning sunrise, and evening sunset (usually at about 5:30-5:45).

There are canoes, and 1 paddle boat you can take out to explore around, or even paddle to your own over water bungalow.

Lastly, the Private Island is KIDS-FREE-ZONE. No yelling, or screaming or crying. It was blissfully peaceful.

This is key: the CORAL GARDENS REEF, is extremely near by the private Island. You have to choices, you can walk along the rocky/sandy shore, or you can swim/canoe/paddle boat it to the area. It's hard to explain where it is as there is no sign that says "Coral Gardens here." But if you go in the morning, there are generally excursion boats that will take their customers to the area. Just go where they are. You'll know you're in the right spot if you see in the sand "i <3 BORA" spelled out in coral on the sandy bottom about 20 feet below water.

If you decide to walk it, you'll have to go PAST the View Point (do NOT go up the stairs), when you get to the last bungalow, go to the LEFT and around it. Walk the "path" avoiding branches etc. You'll pass some rock steps. It's a little past that, maybe another 90 seconds?). There is no definitive land marking, or sign. You just have to take your best guess, swim out there, and look for the dark patches or reef. You're going to look for the "I <3 BORA" sign that is about maybe 20 feet on the bottom, spelled out in coral.


TIPS:
(1) SAVE some BREAD. Take it to your room and feed the fish. Once you can get one or two, eventually one of the fish will leave and seemingly tell his buddies as eventually a nice school of fish arrives. Or, take it the dock and feed fish there. We have seen a small sting ray around the resort, and a baby shark (no more than 1 1/2 feet long). But this was early July. So depending on when you go, they might not be there anymore. Also, neither the shark, no sting ray like bread as they just pass over it.

(2) Bring WATER SHOES. These are very helpful. We bought extremely cheap ones from Target before we left and they safeguard your feet as you step over rocks and unfortunately, if you step on the coral, it'll guard against that.

(3) When possible, try to bring the WATER BOTTLES FROM YOUR ROOM. As EVERYWHERE charges for water (except if you do excursions where the crew generally supplies them complimentary).

(4) Invest in an UNDERWATER CAMERA, extra batteries, and extra memory cards.

Room Tip: (1) SAVE some BREAD. Take it to your room and feed the fish. Once you can get one or two, eventual...
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 13
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, July 24, 2014
Thank you for all details regarding your magnifique stay at Sofitel Private island. all the ambassadors of the hotel join me to tell you how enjoyable it was to host you for your holidays at Bora Bora!
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Singapore
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2014

Booked this way in advance for my honeymoon. Stayed in room 130. Its an over water bungalow.

Bora Bora is a place to die for. Views were amazing and staff in the hotel was great.
Since its a small hotel. By the end of the second day, we were known to many of the staff already and everyone waves cheerfully. I guess the place helped to keep spirits high.

Room was nice but it could do with some extras to make it awesome.

1. No 24hr room service. No fault of theirs as its small and no point keeping a chef to cook. But since its my honeymoon, we had wine/beer till the wee hours and some hot food on order would have been great.
2. Housekeeping was not very consistent. Sometimes beach towels were not replaced and tea bags were not topped up. Otherwise they did a good job.
3. Most luxury beach hotels will provide beach slippers and day-totes for the day trips/beach jaunts. This was not provided and could be looked into to improve the experience.
4. Food at Sofitel Marara was better! Remember i ate there more than at the Private Island. Anyway free shuttle available so not much of an issue.

Special mention to the GM Mr Lamoot and to the Sarah and her colleagues. Even though many of you were interns, u went out of your way to make our stay comfortable and felt truly welcome.
What can i say... even the boatman was friendly.

BTW, we finished almost all the alcohol we brought....

Room Tip: Most rooms are nice.. 128 is the best...
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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 Private Island, responded to this review, July 24, 2014
Thank you so much for sharing! being on a private island in the Lagoon of Bora Bora is such a experinece, all details must be 100% and thank you for your comments. We hope to welcome you back in our paradise!
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Florida
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2014

One note to start; you are in a truly unique location so "couples" put the cell phones down and look up and at your partner and the nature. It was sad to see many couples at dinner with both of them looking down at their cell phones (i.e. yes the wifi signal was good). Anyway, I digress; the Sofitel people, from your personalized greeting to the wave goodbye, strive to make your stay a special event. The bungalows were nicely decorated but not immaculate regarding cleanliness. The bungalow amenities such as wifi, mini fridge stock and snorkel gear was nice. Our bed was not that comfortable as each side was a valley with the Mountain in the middle. When you select a bungalow, if that is possible, 128-130 might be the best and then the lower numbers.The wind, as some people have mentioned, does come in strong. Think car wash wind tunnel and you will get the feeling. It does become bothersome.
The food was really good and the dinner was professionally presented. You will not be disappointed. The bar is lacking and we went to the main island hotel for drinks as they have a greater selection. The happy hour offers a selection at half price. If you want to save a little money select and book your tours in advance as they are slightly higher (as you might have guessed) when booked through the hotel. We did the 4x4 and the obligatory snorkel tour with sharks etc. Both of these tours were fun. The boat, between the island and main hotel, was always available.
The island you are on is small and one paddle board (why not two?) along with kayaks are complimentary and available on a first come basis.
Is this the pick of the crop on Bora Bora for sheer glamor; probably not. Trust tripadvisor in the ranking of resorts. However, as they say price is what you pay and value is what you get. This Resort delivered on the value and thus it gets my high five.

Room Tip: Stay away from the middle number 127 - 118 - wind tunnel. 128-131 have best view of Mt.
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
Didier L, Directeur général at Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island, responded to this review, July 24, 2014
Thank you for your "look up" advice, the Private island, it's ambassadors and it's environment desserve it!
Call again!!!
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Charlotte, North Carolina
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2014

Best snorkeling on the island right behind you - swim out from the island. Saw moray eels, octopus right under our bungalows and mantas on the snorkel tour. Rooms were great. Food was good, but expensive. Service at concierge desk was variable depending on who you spoke with but always professional.

  • Stayed June 2014, 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 1
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, July 7, 2014
Thank you for choosing Sofitel Private Island for your stay at Bora Bora. We really hope to have the pleasure to see you again with us in our boutique hotel on it's private island, unique place in Bora Bora.
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Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2014 via mobile

We stayed at the private island tree nights in the beginning of our honeymoon and it was wonderful.
We were nicely greeted at arrival and promptly directed to our room. Based on other reviews we asked for the bungalow 128 and it had the most amazing view of the Mount Otemanu and the main island.
The private island is amazing and the overwater bungalows are very cute. We loved the big bathtub and of course the hole in the floor.
There was always so many different fish swimming around and especially at night if you let the lights on.
The breakfast was good and there was always someone around you could ask to make fresh pancakes or French toasts.
Best features: you are on your own tiny private island! And have the coral gardens on your backyard! We found the snorkeling equipment already in our bungalow and they have a great variety of water activities available, free of charge.
Negative points: you are on a private island and is relatively difficult to go somewhere else. We went to the other Sofitel (not nearly as nice as this one) and we were picked up for some excursions but if you want to go on your own is very difficult.
We asked for the shuttle to the main city but they told us that because it was Sunday everything was going to be closed so we ended up not going.
The internet access was not so good but that was because we were in the farthest bungalow (the one with the best view) so we were happy to compromise.
The food is extremely expensive but very acceptable. However, we went to the other Sofitel to see a Polynesian show and to have dinner at their restaurant Latitude 16 an it was awful, the food was really bad, the fish was dry and rubbery and the various meats were very poorly cooked, the buffet lacked variety and was extremely expensive. We didn't mind paying for overpriced food as long as it was good.

Despite the minor itches this was a truly great experience and it is a paradise.
I'm sure there are most expensive and luxurious resorts in Bora Bora but none can compare to the tranquility and the views of the Sofitel private island.
When we circled the island by boat we passed almost every resort in the island and none had the charming and the view that the Sofitel had. Yes, they looked more expensive but they also looked crowded and too generic.

Overall, this was the best place in our honeymoon, and it made the experience extra special.

Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
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 Private Island, responded to this review, July 7, 2014
Your comments are so important for us. Thank you for sharing and taking time to write it down. I informed all the team at the private iland regarding your magnifique experience with us. A boat shuttle is available on demand and complimentary from the Private island to the Sofitel Marara Beach from 6 am until 11 PM. It takes betwen 3 to 5 mn to cross the lagoon. The "traditional tahitian buffet " with live show is around 69 US per person (6.100 CFP) all included, the culinary experience start from opening ceremony of the tahitian oven, out directly from the earth and it is composed with meat, porc, fish, vegetables, and all local meals. Beef sirloin is also there to please more international taste.The F&B team can always accomodate you in case of any food restriction or simply the wish to have something else to make you happy. I'm sorry if this did not happen when you enoyed that special night. I will make sure to pass on the message to the team!Thank you for your stay and we hope to welcome you back again
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Holstebro
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2014

The hotel knew and didn't care. But we actually celebrated our 25th anniversary on this tiny motu in paradise. And we had a great time anyway. We had ordered a view of Mount Otemanu, but got one of the few bungalows with a view of everything except for the mountain. And nobody really cared. The over water bungalows tend to be in the center of a kinda wind tunnel over the lagoon so be prepared for a new hair style - a hurricany one. Besides this Bora Bora is fantastic. So is the breakfast, but unfortunately not the three course dinner - especially not at the sister Hotel Marara on the island itself. Stay away from the meat and stick to the tuna - their tuna steaks are almost as fabulous as in the Seychelles. You can rent (older) bikes at The Maitai Hotel nearby for 1.800 xpf a day and circle the island in four hours - worthwhile the 32 kilometers. And very important: Do snorkel in the coral garden behind the motu - it's world class! And visit the neighbour motu on your kayak trip back - the two owners(!) are very friendly and sell affordable homemade sea shell necklaces. Mauruuru!

Room Tip: Consider over water bungalows at another hotel - away from the hurricane tunnel. And if you want a M...
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  • Stayed June 2014, 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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, July 4, 2014
Your comment are always very useful, The wind is not always there but i understand you got it when you came over! sorry for the honeymoon gift, kindly send me your adress at didier.lamoot@sofitel.com with your name and room number and i will organize a real nice surprise to send back to you. I really would like to understand what happen because a majority of our guest are honeymooner or celebrating anniversary and we never missed that point....This is a tradition. I'm really sorry we missed it with you!
Thank you so much for celebrating your 25th anniversary with us. I wait for your mail!!!
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Additional Information about Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island

Address: BP 516, 98730, French Polynesia
Phone Number:
Location: French Polynesia > Society Islands > Bora Bora
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( Wi-Fi ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 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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