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Reviewed May 23, 2011

The nature in Ile de Pins is OK, but nothing exceptional.
The island does not have any infrastructure at all.
The hotel Meridien is a small hotel, witha swimming pool not bigger than a regular luxury home, a very small restaurant with few options, and does not have a fitness center.
The room is OK. But that's all.
After one day day there you fall in the same routine. Because the hotel has very little fun options. And the island has absolute nothing to do, even a good restaurant.
And if you think using the internet, think twice because they charge you something like 6 DOLLAR PER HOUR.
SO PLEASE, DON'T GO THERE. IS REALLY, REALLY BORING. BORINNNNNGGGGG!!!!

  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled solo
    • Value
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2  Thank BEMVENUTTI
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LeMeridienNoumea, Marketing & Communication manager at Le Meridien Ile des Pins, responded to this reviewResponded May 26, 2011

Dear guest,

Many thanks for valuable comments regarding your experience at our property!
We apologize if the hotel and destination did not live up to your expectations and that you found everything boring! We’re very disappointed to learn this given that, despite the tranquil, pristine and unspoilt beauty of the Isle of Pines, there’s really quite a lot to do such as: lagoon tour to explore the southern islets, scuba diving, an island tour to discover Vao village and main sites, authentic outrigger tour on Oro or Upi bay, bush walks and so on.

We are all the more sorry that you we’re able to enjoy some of Le Meridien suggested on-site activities such as: morning tai-chi class, green coconut tasting, traditional “bougna” cooking, discovering the traditional ways to fish, or local cultural activities, visiting our cooking and cultural gardens. What a shame that we failed in our mission to fulfil your curiosity and discover something new!
We do hope that we will nevertheless welcome you back when you’re in the mood for atmosphere and ambiance that Isle of Pines and Le Meridien Ile des Pins offers and perhaps enjoy some of the activities on and off site that you might have missed. Merci and à bientôt!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 1, 2011

Have just returned from a 7 nights 8 day stay at Le Meridien Ile des Pins. The location is stunning, best swimming/paddling lagoon at high tide but also great wading at low tide, and if you ever get sick of the sea, the pool is also great. We had a deluxe bungalow (Bungalow 36) - this is the bungalow to have (even better than the cliff top bungalows) with fantastic lagoon/sea and channel views from all windows, so long as you don't mind being in a potential fishbowl. However, this was as good as it got – the hotel service from the restaurant to reception to room cleaning left quite a lot to be desired.

I had read the trip advisor reviews for Le Meridien Ile des Pins before booking the trip and had decided to take it all with a grain of salt – well more fool me. The first day or so, I had my "happy holiday" goggles on, so overlooked the obvious flaws in the standard and consistency of service that, with the benefit of hindsight and had I not turned a blind eye to those flaws, I would now be deaf from all the warning bells that began ringing from the minute I sat down for lunch on the first day.

There is only the one restaurant at the place which managed to serve a mixture of mediocre to really bad food for the entire length of the stay (try fish that you couldn’t cut through (what the …), dried out chicken and veal dishes, main meals of scallops and risotto, and a prawn/lobster bisque combination, both of which were served lukewarm – lukewarm risotto, blegh), and a level of inconsistency between dishes that was completely incomprehensible – should you order the same dish twice in a row, it was a matter of potluck what you would get. An entrée one day of zucchini with parma ham served with a parmesan curl, when ordered again, somehow came with an entirely different type of “curl” even though the menu still referred to the parmesan curl. And the aforementioned prawn/lobster bisque combination looked very different and pathetically mediocre compared to the same dish that was being served to other diners around me. And all the food tarted up to look 5 stars to justify the 5 star prices that we, the hapless diners, were being charged. And that was just the dinner menu. On the last morning of our stay, there was no hot food at the breakfast buffet because the chef had slept in – well ok then!

There was also complete inconsistency to the room cleaning schedule which meant that we were never sure what time to expect our room to be serviced (which meant a lot of furtive walking past the bungalow throughout the day and sneaking a peek inside to see if the place at been cleaned). One morning shortly into the stay, the cleaning lady knocked on the door at around 8.00am inquiring whether we would like the room cleaned – we were just out of bed and still in our pjs (thank god I at least sleep with my pjs on). I foolishly said that we were having breakfast at 9.00am and could she come back then, which meant that we missed our chance on having our room serviced that morning, and despite requesting at least twice throughout the day for the room to be cleaned, the room wasn’t serviced until around 3.00pm. Even then, drinking glasses that we had used the night before for our G&Ts had not been replaced, and left sitting where we had left them, and the stock of teabags (one of the few non-chargeable luxuries) had not been not replenished (we had to ask at the reception desk). And we were the lucky ones – another couple told us that they regularly didn’t have their room cleaned till late afternoon/early evening. The turn down service was also inconsistent – on the first night, the service took place when we were at dinner, but every night afterwards, they would come around when we already back from dinner and settling in for the night. Inexplicably (or is that laughably), and having had the mosquito net at the head of the bed tied back for the length of our stay and not touched at all by the turn down service, on the very last night, when the turn down service for only the second (and last time) took place when we were at dinner, the mosquito net was untied and artfully arranged around the bed. And positioned quite beautifully in the middle of the bed, was … our bill.

As for the activities, yes the snorkeling in crystal clear water was amazing, especially the piscine naturale which they justifiably promote, but we were also very keen on attending a local dance performance one evening and a weaving workshop the next evening. On both occasion, the activities did not start at the scheduled starting time. The dance performance, which was meant to start at 6.00pm, was winding up when we arrived at 6.00pm. We’re still not sure what happened to the weaving workshop that was advertised as starting at 5.30pm. Of course when we turned up at that time, there was no sign of any activity, so we went back to our room to scoff our duty free gin only to turn up for dinner at 7.30pm to see evidence that a weaving workshop may have taken place (btw, stock up on duty free alcohol – although the expense of the place wasn’t really an issue, it just got to a point however where I was so glad I had brought duty free particularly because half way through the stay, I was trying to minimize my spending as much as possible because I simply felt that I was being taken for a ride by the hotel and not getting anything in return. At the end of the day, I just felt the hotel was being very stingy (eg failure to replenish tea bags in room) and towards the end of the stay, I was of the mind that if I could find a way of cutting down on my expenses to put less money into the corporate coffers then I would try and find a way – maybe it doesn’t make any difference but it made me feel better). On the last night, a local band was meant to start playing at 5.30pm. Of course when we turned up at 5.30pm, they had not yet arrived, and when we made inquires, we got the typical French shoulder shrug and were informed they could be starting at 6.00, maybe 6.30 (the band didn’t start playing till about 6.10pm – not that I was keeping time by then – well perhaps I was).

And on the last night, thinking we would make it a special occasion, the food service reached an all time low (not enough space here to go into the level of dysfunctional service that last night but try sitting there when everybody else around you are being served the obligatory amuse bouche and you’re not – can’t help but feel a little bit of a social pariah).

I don’t blame any of the Island staff – instead, I think the fault lies very much with management. I certainly did not get the impression that the staff was being managed well or even adequately trained and at no time did I get a sense that the place was being managed properly or that there was even a manager on site who I could direct my concerns/queries to.

Don’t get me wrong however, we did have a good time and have very fond memories of the trip (it poured with rain one day, but that was also fine as the bungalow was comfortable enough that we put on a DVD and read books all day – it was one of those truly veg day where once you got over the initial feeling of guilt, it was pure bliss because there was simply nothing else to do – but even then, the rain must’ve affected the air conditioning unit because it started to pump really foul, damp smelling air into the room – that on top of a failure to service the room in a timely manner took the gloss off the place – thank god that was the last day).

At the end of the day, I am disappointed in the place given the cost. Although the environment is truly amazing, I am not sure I would be heading back there anytime soon and if I do recommend it, it would be with the proviso that you visit with your eyes wide open to the flaws and, particularly, don’t expect the 5 star service that you obviously will be forking out for or, alternatively, make sure you demand that service. In my opinion, there needs to be a complete overall in management which is truly long, long, long overdue.

  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank mixie6903
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LeMeridienNoumea, Marketing and communication manager at Le Meridien Ile des Pins, responded to this reviewResponded May 18, 2011

Dear guest,
Thank you for your very honest and detailed feedback. We are of course very sorry and disappointed to know that our service did not meet your expectations.
We wish to let you know that we will implement appropriate trainings for our staff and reinforce our management supervision. We hope to have the opportunity to welcome you again in the future and show you that we can satisfy you.

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Reviewed April 8, 2011

We arrived on the morning flight of a windy and rainy day. Our first impression was a genuine whoa at the grounds and main building. They have very comfortable bar chairs/tables, and they greeted us with cold towels and tropical juice. Keep in mind (we didn’t) that check-in is a strict 2PM. If you catch the morning flight to Ile des Pins be prepared for a morning of “not much” except a swim, a coffee or a cocktail and exploration of the grounds (presuming good weather). Fortunately, they make good coffee!

Our room (a beachside bungalow) was very spacious and luxurious, with a large comfortable couch and lounge area, a separate room for a very comfortable mosquito-netted bed, and a similarly sized bathroom with a central double-sided basin/vanity cabinet and lots of space for your clothes. Separate bath and shower was a plus, as was a separate toilet. The room had sliding doors out to a large porch, again with comfortable chairs. We were about 5 metres from what really was more of an inlet than the true ocean, but the water here was private, warm and inviting. We saw lots of hermit crabs (some large) and jumping fish from our porch.

The restaurant was, in my opinion, only fair. Meals varied from 2400XFC to 5400XFC ($AUD30 to $AUD65), and they served meals with too much focus on presentation and not enough on taste. Very often, they looked amazing, only to be let down by overcooked meat or luke-warm chips. The complimentary breakfast was actually pretty generous, with a good selection of tasty patisseries, croissants, baguettes, fruit, cold meats, cheese, juices, coffee/tea etc. I didn’t try the optional American breakfast.

The pool was great and well-maintained, but really we found ourselves on the actual beach just next to it! We didn’t realise initially, but guests are allowed complimentary use of a large range of water-sport items (snorkels, flippers, kayaks, paddle-boats, etc) to explore the bay.

We found ourselves a little let down by the hotel from the perspective of organising tours etc. For almost our entire stay (5 days), there was no external phone and no internet. This itself wasn’t their fault (a recent cyclone was to blame), but after asking them to book us a hire car for 2 days’ time I was pretty frustrated when they told us a full 30 hours later (at 6PM) that there was no car available. We missed out on a morning of horseback riding as a consequence of this. If you have any interest in exploring the island on your own or doing something Le Meridien won’t arrange for you, make sure in advance you have a hire car waiting for you at the hotel. Baie de St. Joseph is isolated from the rest of Ile des Pins, the hotel's busses make a very expensive taxi-service and you’ll waste hours waiting for them to pick you up. The cost of the car will pay itself back.

We had some days of average weather on our trip (in January). This was kind of nice in a way though, because the accommodation was so darn relaxing and comfortable it was nice to have an excuse to just hang out in the room reading, and watching the rain on the ocean from the porch. We worked our way through their entire cocktail menu, some of which were really tasty and unique.

There was definitely a language barrier between the staff (especially waiting staff) and us. We were able to surmount this, and to us it was only a minor inconvenience (to be expected in what is actually a province of France). Be aware that you’ll often have to wait some time (up to 15 mins) before getting bar service or table service, and there was an unsettling perfunctoriness to service that took some getting used to. Perhaps it was the extraordinary hours that the staff clearly worked.

We’ve not stayed in many 5-star places before so maybe it’s the norm, but Le Meridien had some quirks worth mentioning. There are no clocks anywhere, doubtless a strategy to keep us from worrying about time. This strategy was hamstrung by fairly short lunch and dinner times, and the clockwork timing of the busses! They make your room twice daily, which was nice especially if you had an afternoon shower/bath. They make it very easy to charge everything to your room, making it hard to judge finances but also relieving the stress of payment in the moment. For us, they overcharged our account by 8000XFC (~$AUD95). They suggest 30 mins to settle the bill – it almost took that long!

Overall, it was a really nice hotel. We would stay there again, and didn’t feel it was either good or bad value for money. I’m sure it’s the nicest play to stay on Ile des Pins, and it is a marvellous place.

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank Daniel A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 21, 2011

There is no doubt that the targeted customers for this hotel are the ones with money. Only 5 stars hotel on this remote island, the Meridien lived up to my expectations. This is an hotel for honeymooners. There is nothing else to do there. once you went to the natural pool, that`s pretty much it. There are excursions organised, but we haven't had time to do them as we were there for only one night. White beach, pine trees (instead of Palms, which was exotic), crystal clear water.... You can take a kayak and have a nice ride on the sea, but they close pretty early.

Service wasn't excellent, as experienced everywhere in Calédonie. Rooms were recent and well furnished, with a comfortable bed and spacious.

The food was very good, but overpriced. Hotel is not crowded, so you pretty much have the beach for yourself. The hotel is remotely located so getting anywhere would take at least 20 minutes and will be costly too. Internet is not free and didn't take it. Shuttle to the hotel is not included but this is ridiculous as this is pretty much the only mean to go to your hotel!

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled with friends
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Thank expatsing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LeMeridienNoumea, Communication and marketing manager at Le Meridien Ile des Pins, responded to this reviewResponded April 20, 2011

Dear guest,

We would like to thank your for your comments. Both good and bad they are our best source of information to improve our product and service.
We hope to have the opportunity of welcoming you again in the future, and for a longer stay this time. You will see: there is a lot to do on the island eventhough more to enjoy for honeymooners and couples with romantic places and peaceful moments, this is true!

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Reviewed February 26, 2011

The pool is wonderful, vista out to the ocean is great, rooms better than I expected. However I did not expect to find exceptionally poor food for evening meals - they were totally unacceptable and over priced even for an island. When we and other guests politely told management the next evening our meals that night were simply no better. It seems like there is no quality control on what is served - dry chucked and veal, and fish turning up it was so over cooked.
Our room overlooked the pool - and the wood rot and fallen timbers.
Bar service was very poor - 25 minutes for two drinks and we were the only ones being served.
Oh - we had no available Internet in our room or around the facility which I found incredible in 2011.

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank TheMacsSydney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LeMeridienNoumea, Communication and marketing manager at Le Meridien Ile des Pins, responded to this reviewResponded April 20, 2011

Bonjour,

We are of course very disappointed to learn that your stay did not meet your expectations.
We thank you for your feedback and please be assured that your comments are taken very seriously.
Regarding the internet we would like to inform you that improvments have been made to offer WIFI service in our public areas. It will be available this month (April 2011) in addition to the 2 internet stations already available in the lobby.
Best regards

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