SUNSET BEACH MOTEL
Our trip is on the second tier economy, eschewing the glossy, international packaged experience. We have found some losers but boy, have we found some gems. Take for instance Raiatea’s Sunset Beach Motel for a perfect, economical holiday destination.
The owners, Eliane Boubee and her son Moana are clearly proud of the family land they have on the sunny west-facing coast. Formerly a coconut plantation the acreage now has roughly 15 cottages spaced for privacy and views in well-planted parkland. Both the land and the cottages show that they are tended with care. There is a jetty for access straight to the reef drop off giving perfect access for snorkeling and swimming. It’s very safe and we watched a game 5yo fascinated with her snorkeling, before enthusiastically launching herself in the clutches of her Dad off the flying fox on the jetty.
Sunset make available kayaks, snorkeling gear, boules, volleyballs, a library of books and a playground for kids and if you are still short of adventures, Eliane books her guests in at no charge on activities and tours that are in a bulging info booklet that is in each cottage. However if you are a surfer or a diver and you want to access the outer reef or passes I’d recommend you do what the locals do when they don’t have a boat…hire one from just down the road for the day and get out there yourself.
There are cottages within a couple of metres of the turquoise lagoon, which I’d recommend. Others are set back very privately in amongst the palms. We arrived to a clean, simply furnished cottage with bougainvillea flowers on the beds and washbasin and a couple of fresh coconuts, chilled in the frig ready for drinking. To us that was a lovely touch. The cottages are a simple Lockwood style of various configurations depending on the number of guests. Our time at Sunset was relaxing to the point that we felt quite spoilt.
An example of the Boubee’s thoughtfulness to their guests is the fresh fruit that comes off the property that they have on a “help yourself “ table by reception.
From NZ on the internet trying to find my way around the best deals, say for a hire car, I enlisted Moana and he gave me local contacts. I recommend this. I also recommend the local market, the fresh tuna sold on the roadside and cooking simply and so cheaply at the cottage. Few restaurants have views like that and eating out here is expensive. But I do recommend Le Napoli for simple gorgeous food in a restaurant filled with locals. The pizzas are standouts in a generous menu and kids have fun making their own under the pizza chef’s watchful eye.
We took Eliane’s advice and took the Taha’a small boat tour with Taeva and Flo. What a special treat this was: the family pearl farm, seeing how they make the best vanilla in the world, in the lagoon with rays and shy reef sharks, a fantastic lunch before the spectacular snorkel through the Coral Garden.
- Also Known As:
- Sunset Beach Hotel
- Sunset Beach Motel Raiatea, French Polynesia