I just submitted this (with pictures), but here is our quick review of our six night stay at the Hilton Moorea in March 2014. We were originally booked into Legends, but after they were unable to honor the reservation due to their financial situation, they helped us to make a reservation at the Hilton. The Hilton would actually have been my first choice, but it was too $$$ to get two rooms and we had wanted the space of Legends. When the bad news came from Legends, I decided that we'd just have to be cozy and hoped that the plunge pool and deck would give us enough space; when we checked in at the Hilton, we were able to pay for an upgrade to the garden villa suite, which was gorgeous and addressed all the space concerns, as well as providing us with a second bathroom (which is critical when you have a teenage daughter!). We had a couple of nits about our stay, but overall loved it and would go back in a heartbeat.
My husband and I originally visited the Hilton Moorea seven or eight years ago, when it was still a Sheraton. We were excited to be able to make a return visit for six nights with our two children.
We had originally booked a deluxe garden bungalow with pool, but were able to upgrade to the Garden Villa Suite. This is one of two large garden villas that has a larger private pool and deck; it also has two bathrooms, a living room, and a bedroom. As our children are 13 and 15, we wanted to have the extra space (the villa has two sofa beds) and the extra bathroom. The upgrade fee was 15000 XPF per night, which we felt was reasonable; on the other hand, we were lucky to be able to upgrade to the bungalow at all, as the other one had already been reserved for the nights of our stay. We also arrived by 9 a.m., which is well before check-in time. The gentleman who checked us in (with champagne cocktails!) invited to use the lobby bathroom, the changing rooms at the tennis courts across the street, or to wait for a transit bungalow if we wanted to change or clean up while we waited. He also promised to bring us our keys just as soon as our villa was ready. They held the suitcases in the lobby, as is typical in French Polynesia, and kept our computer cases behind the desk for us (I was nervous that they would get knocked around accidentally as they weren't obviously computer bags). We opted for a quick change in the lobby bathroom, headed down to the pool and… ten minutes after we sat down, we had room keys. That was fantastic and much appreciated!
The villa is positively lovely and the bathrooms are to die for. The bedroom can be closed off from the rest of the bungalow by a set of glass doors and curtains. The bed was fantastic--absolutely enormous with an excellent mattress and linens. The tub…I wish I could have packed it in my suitcase and brought it home with me! The tub is a very deep soaking tub that fills quickly and retains heat beautifully. Having a soak in it was the highlight of my evenings. Housekeeping did an excellent job of cleaning and keeping the towels well-stocked, and the toiletries include after-sun gel. The only nit that we had about the bungalow was that there was no nightly turndown service. Ever. All of the hotels we've stayed at previously in French Polynesia offered turndown service, which we appreciate for having clean towels. We were surprised that the Hilton did not offer this.
The villas has a few other nice amenities. There are separate AC units in the living room and the bedroom, so you can set them to two different temperatures. There is a Nespresso machine, along with a hotpot for instant coffee, which we enjoyed. And… there is a "wine cave." This had a selection of chilled whites, reds, and champagnes. Prices on these were not ridiculous--many ran 3200-6000 XPF/bottle. Other reviewers have complained about road noise; we heard none from inside the bungalow, nor did we hear roosters (we very occasionally heard one of those grackle-type birds when they perched on our roof). The Hilton also gets a gold star for always having plenty of ice in their ice machines!
A lovely breakfast was included in our rates. Most mornings we sat on the balcony where we could see the ocean. Huge selection of local jams and some of the best French toast (charmingly translated as "lost muffin" from the French "pain perdu") I've ever eaten. Breakfast service was extremely efficient and the breakfast ladies were lovely. We ate lunch several times at the lunch restaurant. Very good poisson cru. They do a drink of the day as well that my husband enjoyed sampling. We did not eat at the resort for dinner except for one night at the crepe bar; that was fun to try (yes, there are sharks), but we're not really passionate about crepes and the service was horrifically slow (it took ten minutes to even get acknowledged when we arrived). Although the crepe with apples and calvados was very good, getting drinks was a challenge and it would have been far, far easier to just walk up and look at the sharks (as we did on several other evenings). We were surprised by the room service menu charges. I would expect either a small up charge of 15-20% for items to be delivered or a delivery fee. The Hilton's room service had no delivery fee, but items ran about twice what they were in the restaurant. Dessert items, for example, were 2500 XPF an item. While we've traveled nine times previously to French Polynesia and had thought ourselves over the sticker shock of prices there, this was stunningly high to us and we passed on ordering room service.
The Hilton's concierge will make reservations for you for dinner, if you ask. Unlike both the Pearl and the Intercontinental, however, they do not have menus and will not make recommendations. They'll just make the phone call. The following restaurants picked up from the Hilton: Te Honu Iti, Kaveka, Moorea Beach Cafe, Mahogany, and Rudy's. Moorea Beach Cafe will pick up for lunch, and Lilikoi's Cafe is a short (2 minute) walk from the resort. The gentleman checking us in made no mention of these options, which was rather surprising. I enjoy eating at the resort, but three meals a day for six days would be too much of anything.
The snorkeling… we first visited the resort seven or eight years previously because I'd heard that the shore snorkeling was some of the best. We've religiously visited the public beach just up the road multiple times since then (where there is excellent shore snorkeling and an interesting drop-off). While the coral at the Hilton is definitely showing signs of wear and tear, the fish are still spectacular. We spent hours in the water snorkeling. The water depth is an average 4-5 feet, making for delightfully easy snorkeling. Puffer fish, flounders, box fish, sting rays… there are all sorts of amazing fish in the water there. Definitely take the time to snorkel underneath the crepe bar as well. The resort offers kayaks and paddle boats for free, too, which was lots of fun.
Overall, the staff was lovely, the bungalow and grounds were gorgeous, and the snorkeling lived up to my memories and expectations. We'd return in a heartbeat.