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Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort
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Reviewed July 25, 2013

My husband and I stayed at the Sofitel Moorea for 8 nights in early July 2013, in a Luxury Overwater Bungalow (#114) for our honeymoon. It was everything we had hoped for! A few key details:

- The hotel staff was lovely - so kind, incredibly accommodating, and attentive to any of our needs.
- The OWB itself was great - really large, super comfortable bed, great indoor and outdoor space (nice wicker lounge chairs too). I read some of the reviews on here about which ones are best - agree that #s 119, 120, 121 and 122 would probably be best for the unencumbered views, but we were just as happy waking up to our mountainside/lagoon view each day! I will say, not sure I would have been thrilled to be in the ones closest to shore
- The bathroom was great - amazing shower, and really appreciated the almost full-size ammenities.
- The pool area was great; full each day, but never felt crowded. Good cocktails and loved that they came with little snacks - wasabi peas, olives, etc.
- We rented a paddle boat, kayak and paddle boards and really had fun tooling around the lagoon - even saw a shark (which was scary at first, but so cool!). We brought our own snorkel gear (upon the advice of the hotel) and water shoes, and were glad we had them; the hotel lent us flippers to use during the week.
- The food was surprisingly good - breakfast each day was amazing; best French press coffee and delicious pastries. A really good variety each day too - we usually ate a big breakfast, nothing for lunch (beyond the snacks that came with our cocktails!) and then dinner. We did dinner at the hotel 3-4 nights (?) -- it was good, nothing spectacular, but good.
- Upon the suggestion from our travel agency - Custom Tahiti Travel - we tried two resturants on the island - Rudy's and Le Mahognay. We loved BOTH - quaint, authentic, friendly, and delicious, fresh food. Rudy's definitely had a heavy French influence, but was fantastic. Le Mahognay was electic - my husband had chow mein that he said was amazing, and I had a wonderfully simply piece of FRESH Mahi-Mahi ... mmm.
- Speaking of travel agencies - we were SUPER happy with Custom Tahiti Travel. They were so on top of everything, and the recommendation sheets they provided in advance were beyond helpful - they were candid, honest, and we never felt upsold. I'd DEFINITELY recommend using an agency for a trip like this, and cannot say enough about the stellar service we got from Custom Tahiti (we worked with Jackie S.).

Overall, it was a DREAM trip. Granted, it'd be hard not to have an amazing time on your honeymoon, but the Sofitel really made it special. We particularly loved how European it felt - we were only one of a handful of American couples and the majority of the staff spoke French. We did the dolphin excursion at the Intercontinental one cloudy(ish) day and the minute we stepped foot in the lobby, we were SO GLAD we chose the Sofitel - the IC just felt so AMERICAN. Big, obvious, manufactured. The Hilton, in a quick drive by, felt the same way. If familarity is what you like, great - stay at those American chains, I'm sure they were nice. It's just not our style.

Last comment - we also debated a ton between Bora-Bora and Moorea. We tend to like "the road less traveled," and were SO THRILLED we selected Moorea (after reading a Conde Nast Traveler article calling it the "quieter, more beautiful island"). It was much more European, felt more authentic and less built-up, and we liked the fact that we could go off property and enjoy restaurants, etc. AND we still had the "luxury" experience of a five-star hotel - just striped of all the pretence that usually comes with it. (Case in point, what really sealed the deal for us was seeing that the Kardashians and the Real Housewives of the OC went to Bora-Bora - NOT OUR SCENE, to put it mildly.)

Room Tip: Luxury OWBs #s 119-122 probably have the best views/most privacy, but we LOVED #114 just as much ... if you can, try to be on that side (odd #s) so your view isn't the other bungalows).
  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank KMW62913
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Olivier D, General Manager at Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded July 31, 2013

Dear Mrs, Dear Mr,

We very much appreciate your comments regarding your stay at the Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort. It is always a pleasure to receive positive feedback.

I will share your comments with our team. I am sure that this feedback will serve as an encouragement to all of our staff as we strive to continuously improve the quality of our services.

Thank you again for sharing your experience, and we hope your next visit will be as pleasant as the previous one.

Sincerely,

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 24, 2013

Quiet. Classy. Beautiful well constructed Bungalows over the water with amazing snorkeling right outside your door in your seemingly private lagoon and under your bungalow. Beach was beautiful and expansive. Ideal for long walks or running. The pool is small, but we didn't spend any time there. Hotel is located a bit away from the action in the small town, but this gives the location a more remote feel. Restaurants will come pick you up and take you back after meals so taxis are not needed at all or very little. We didn't eat at K restaurant, but the main restaurant was adequate with solid food and variety. Bar was also simple, but adequate. The best part about this hotel is the property it is on and the very friendly and attentive, helpful staff who work there. We will definitley go back.

Room Tip: Rooms facing the beach and main part of the lagoon avoid views of other guests and bungalows directly across from you.
  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Chris F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Olivier D, General Manager at Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded July 31, 2013

Dear Mrs, Dear Mr,

We very much appreciate your comments regarding your stay at the Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort. It is always a pleasure to receive positive feedback.

I will share your comments with our team. I am sure that this feedback will serve as an encouragement to all of our staff as we strive to continuously improve the quality of our services.

Thank you again for sharing your experience, and we hope your next visit will be as pleasant as the previous one.

Sincerely,

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 23, 2013

We have just spent 7 nights in this marvelous location.
Our check in was quick and we were able to move into our luxury over-water bungalow straight away and before 2pm.
If you like to snorkel, or even just enjoy fish watching without getting wet, then take the over-water option. Our bungalow was beautiful the deck and view into the crystal clear water and beyond was magnificent and totally captivated us. Indeed our plans for an excursion or two around Moorea were shelved and apart from walks around the resort and once up the hill to the lookout, on our deck and the in the lagoon was where we spent every day.
I don't doubt the land based bungalows are fantastic also but I would say if this is possibly your only opportunity to try the over-water experience then take it.
I don't know what the deluxe over-waters were like inside but as far as the outside went the luxury bungalows had a larger mostly uncovered deck with two sun-loungers and a small table while the deluxe ones had a smaller covered deck with only one lounger.
The other obvious difference was that the deluxe units had a vertical ladder as the entry method to the lagoon,where as the luxury ones had a more user friendly (in my opinion) set of angled steps with hand rails. This enables you to sit partly in the water while you put on fins mask etc and then launch easily on yet another snorkel adventure.
The snorkeling itself was very good,we were going in about six times a day and not once did I return without having seen something not viewed on a previous swim. There are currents flowing at times so it does pay to watch your rate of drift if you don't want to swim too far back.
As far as the bar and restaurant went we were pretty happy, sure things are not cheap but are really not that bad. We thought the quality of the food was fine.
The only reason we have not given five stars here is while we felt the service was OK and certainly you couldn't fault the staff for friendliness or willingness to please,we are comparing the service to the absolutely fantastic service we enjoyed everywhere whist in Hawaii last year where I guess the difference is probably people working for tips. The level of service would be similar to other tourist locations we have been to, various locations in Australia's Queensland for example.
We had breakfast included in the cost of our stay and really loved the beautiful warm mornings enjoying the good range of choices available.
The Sofitel is very good,we just loved it.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Melnp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Olivier D, General Manager at Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded July 31, 2013

Dear Mrs, Dear Mr,

We very much appreciate your comments regarding your stay at the Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort. It is always a pleasure to receive positive feedback.

I will share your comments with our team. I am sure that this feedback will serve as an encouragement to all of our staff as we strive to continuously improve the quality of our services.

Thank you again for sharing your experience, and we hope your next visit will be as pleasant as the previous one.

Sincerely,

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 22, 2013

If you like class and luxury, then the Sofitel Moorea la Ora Beach Resort is for you. We spent 4 nights before heading to Bora Bora and were treated like King and Queen the entire time.

The staff is accommodating the second you step foot on the property. Fresh juice and a cold wash cloth is awaiting your arrival. The check-in & out process is seamless and during your stay you will be blown away by the service the staff provides.

They have a "show/dance" each night starting at 730 and offer a glimpse into the Polynesian culture through dance and music. During the day you can bike, snorkel, kayak, paddel boat, play ping pong, hit the spa, and even head to a local beach just a few steps off the property.

They offer over the water bungalows as well as beach front rooms, all with majestic views of the sunrise off to the left. We woke up each morning to snap photos of the vibrant colors, not to mention a spectacular view of Tahiti as your backdrop.

Room Tip: I recommend the beach front rooms over the bungalows here, save those for Bora Bora. This resort has the best beach and its nice to be able to walk just a few steps to your room for another book/drink, etc. The walk to the bungalows is 10-20 mins deepening on how far out over the water you are.
  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank swirl16b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Olivier D, General Manager at Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded July 31, 2013

Dear Mrs, Dear Mr,

We very much appreciate your comments regarding your stay at the Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort. It is always a pleasure to receive positive feedback.

I will share your comments with our team. I am sure that this feedback will serve as an encouragement to all of our staff as we strive to continuously improve the quality of our services.

Thank you again for sharing your experience, and we hope your next visit will be as pleasant as the previous one.

Sincerely,

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 20, 2013

We stayed here as a family for 5 nights in a superior overwater bungalow. I could not believe how beautiful the island was. Here's the scoop:

The Resort: Exceptionally beautiful. Grounds were lush and well maintained without being overly manicured. The beach in front of the resort is the longest and best on the island. The overwater bungalows are situated in a way that they do not block the view of the lagoon from the beach, pool, or restaurant. This is not the case with some of the other resorts on Moorea where the bungalows totally obscure the view of the lagoon from the beach or pool. The island of Tahiti is visible in the distance. There is a sunrise view and the sun sets over the mountain behind the resort. We were there in July so it was dark by 6:30. Also, it was quite windy. This resort has a distinct European feel to it. It was sort of like Europe in Polynesia. While I did not miss all of the loud Americans, it did seem like almost everyone smoked. They smoked on the beach, on the lanais of their bungalows, and at the outdoor tables at the restaurants. There was no escaping the smoke. Most guests were European or Australian. For us, we enjoyed this aspect as it made the experience more unique. Most people there were travelling as couples. There were a few families with small children, but they were in the minority. There is no fitness center and really no place to go for a run or walk. It is not safe to leave the resort on foot because of all of the wild dogs.

The Bungalows: Our bungalow was large, beautifully decorated and appointed and had plenty of storage for 4 people's belongings and luggage. To accommodate the 4 of us (2 adults, 2 children) there was a king bed, a day bed and a roll-away bed was brought in. The beds were very comfortable and the linens were soft. The bathroom was large and the walk-in shower was fantastic and large. Our bungalow faced other bungalows, vs. facing out over the lagoon. However, because it was toward the end of the walkway, we still had views out to the lagoon and beyond to Tahiti. We also had views back to Moorea. Stunning seems like an understatement when describing the views from our bungalow and the resort, as a whole. The "window" in the floor was fun, especially at night as there was a light that illuminated the lagoon below and we could watch the fish. The bungalow was very quiet and we never heard any of our neighbors. There is an outdoor shower/foot wash for rinsing at the bottom of the steps from the lagoon. There was decent snorkeling off of our bungalow (although most of the coral was dead) and my husband and I could sit on the lanai and watch our children snorkel in the lagoon right in front of us. I would not recommend this for most children, especially young children or children who are not EXCELLENT swimmers who have grown up swimming in the ocean. The currents are VERY strong. The bungalow was thoroughly cleaned every day, including moping the wood floors.

The Beach: White, crushed coral sand. Beautiful. Very clear water. Currents are very strong, so using a kayak or SUP (which are available to rent) was a challenge. Good variety of fish, coral was mostly dead. Some days it was so windy that the snorkeling was poor due to visibility. There are plenty of trees for shade and plenty of chairs. We never had a problem finding a nice quiet place to sit. Reef shoes are a good idea here.

The Pool: We never used the pool. It was lovely and overlooked the lagoon. It had comfortable chairs and umbrellas for shade.


The Food: Everything we had was excellent. And expensive. Water is never offered and must be purchased by the bottle. We went through a lot of Perrier. There is a kids menu, which is more reasonably priced and included dessert. Our favorite meal was breakfast. The servers brought out a huge basket of croissants (including chocolate ones) and coffee in a French press. The buffet was so bountiful and delicious. We looked forward to breakfast every day. In the evenings there was some sort of techno music blaring from one of the restaurants. It sounded like something you would expect to hear in a Parisian disco, not in French Polynesia. I was hoping for local music. However, there was Polynesian dancing on one evening. Once we closed up the bungalow and turned on the air conditioning, we could not hear the loud music.

The Staff: We found everyone there to be warm, friendly and very accommodating. Thankfully, everyone spoke English since our French is definitely not tres bien. We appreciated the welcome bottle of champagne (French, of course) and all of the ways the chef and staff "Americanized" the food for our children, who were not digging the exotic food.

Room Tip: request a bungalow overlooking the beach.
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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2  Thank HI_bOund_SD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Olivier D, General Manager at Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded July 31, 2013

Dear Mrs, Dear Mr,

We very much appreciate your comments regarding your stay at the Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort. It is always a pleasure to receive positive feedback.

I will share your comments with our team. I am sure that this feedback will serve as an encouragement to all of our staff as we strive to continuously improve the quality of our services.

Thank you again for sharing your experience, and we hope your next visit will be as pleasant as the previous one.

Sincerely,

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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