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Reviewed January 21, 2014

Where do I start? My husband and I stayed at the Sofitel La Orana in Moorea for 7 glorious nights from December 15-22, 2013. It was one of the best places we’ve stayed in the entire 7 years we have been together. Now granted that was mostly because we LOVE the ocean and had an overwater bungalow (OWB) but it was also the vibe of the island, the staff, the mojitos, the snorkelling and the beach that made it one of the few places we’d definitely try and visit again!

We had rented a car for the 7 days we were in Moorea so we didn’t need a transfer from the airport and due to the crazy flight times from LA, we arrived around 10:30 am. We had booked the rental on line prior to us going. We rented from the Europcar rental agency and were given a compact fuel efficient car with 32,000km on it. It was excellent. The young guy picked us up right at the airport, took us to his ‘office’ and we signed to paperwork and off we went! I would recommend this to anyone. Just make sure you check the car out thoroughly prior to leaving noting all the bumps and scratches (if any) and there should be no issues. After arriving around 10:30 am they were able to check us in (with drinks and towels, which was SO nice after 16+ hours on airplanes), but let us know our room wouldn’t be ready until 2. As we were able to change in their courtesy suite area, and store our bags and whatnot in a secured room just off the main lobby area we were able to wander the resort and check out what they had to offer. Since we had the car, we explored the island for a bit, then came back, got our snorkelling gear and hit the beach. The water was awesome and the coral and fish looked really healthy. We did bring water shoes and were very glad we did. The sand is very course and as you walk along the beach past the hotel property, it gets a bit rocky so definitely make sure to bring sandals or water shoes for that.

Once we got our room keys, we headed over to the OWB to see what it was like. Originally when booking this trip, we were only going to spend a couple nights in the OWB but after discussing with my husband and doing a price comparison, we decided to splurge and just do the OWB for the week and I am so glad we did! In my humble opinion I have to say I think we had one of the best OWB’s in the resort. It was perfect for us, we had a great view of both Tahiti and the Sofitel Beach, plus a great little coral garden right in front of our deck. The fish would actually come and greet you when you swam up to it thinking (hoping) you’d have bread for them (which we often did). The bed was comfy, the pillows were awesome, everything was clean and exactly what you’d expect in a hotel like the Sofitel. The overwater bungalow faced west therefore we could watch the moon come up over the water or watch the sunrise in the morning.

We tried out the bar one night for happy hour, drinks were pricey but no worse than what we’d pay here in Canada. Same with the food although we never did end up eating at the hotel (maybe next time!) We did have appetizers the one night and they were really tasty, so I have to assume the rest of the food would be equally as good. They do a traditional Tahitian feast on Thursday’s (I think), but I don’t eat meat so it wasn’t really worth it for us to go. Although it looked pretty intriguing (they cook everything in an underground “oven”).

The water at the resort itself was so clear it was like snorkelling in an aquarium. We would get up in the morning and go swimming off our deck. There were all kinds of fish and we even saw many a puffer fish! We also saw a spotted ray a couple times, so that was a really neat experience! The water temperature was around 80-82 Fahrenheit, which meant we could snorkel for hours and not get too cold –and with the amount of healthy coral, it wasn’t unreasonable to spend an hour in the water exploring. When we drove around the island we also checked out the Intercontinental, and saw the Hilton and Moorea Pearl resorts. I have to say, I think we made the right choice with the Sofitel. Outside of seeing the rooms the other places had, just the water colour alone (that clear, gorgeous turquoise colour you associate with French Polynesia) sold us on that fact.

Since this review is only of the actual hotel, not of Moorea itself I will try and do a forum post of our thoughts on Moorea overall, but if you are coming to the French Pacific and staying in Moorea, the Sofitel La Orana is an excellent choice and (in my opinion) the place to stay!

Room Tip: Splurge for the OWB
  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank llwkali
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 19, 2014

We stayed here for my 40th birthday, and splurged on the water bungalows. It was absolutely incredible, and had a fantastic 4 days there. Staff was great and I highly recommend going on the island lunch excursion.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank kurichan22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 18, 2014

My wife and I had high expectations when we booked this property based on the reviews and the resort's website. I am happy to share that even with these high expectations, the Sofitel Moorea property and staff exceeded our expectations in basically every way!!

We stayed in one of the rooms over the water and they were amazing. The rooms were extremely clean and well kept.

We arrived early in the morning and our room was not ready. The staff kept our bags and advised what time we should check back. We check back at that time and not only was our room ready, the bags had already been delivered to the room.

As you would likely expect, food is expensive all over the island (in comparison to prices here at home) so count on the hotel's food and drinks being higher (as with any hotel) but with the base prices of food being high, be prepared.... There is a grocery store about 2.5 miles from the hotel (a nice walk or great bike ride - rent the bikes from the hotel). We picked up breakfast bars and because we don't eat much for breakfast that worked fine for us and saved us about $70 a day.

The only item I could come up with to share in regards to a recommendation from improvement was for them to offer free WiFi for the guests. You can purchase WiFi and for a fair price; however, in this day and age, free WiFi is almost expected to be included in the room fees.

We rode bikes (when we were not diving with the dive center on location) and checked out some of the other hotels. The location of this hotel is far nicer than the other locations and very close to the airport. This is the only hotel (I believe) where you can see Tahiti from your room.

Room Tip: Stay over the water. Ask for a room closer to the end of the pier as you will have a better view of Tahiti and the lagoon water is a little deeper at that end.
  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Tony A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 16, 2014

Absolutely gorgeous hotel. We stayed in a luxury bungalow and the accommodations were amazing. We loved having a bungalow over the water and being able to swim right from our bungalow. It has one of the best beaches in the world. The location was great; right across from Tahiti. The service was top notch. Tematai (the wind) at the reception desk was unbelievably attentive and referred to me daily by my last name (which is quite complicated!!) I would highly recommend this resort!!!

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank Lanabarbie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 14, 2014

We were a party of 6 staying for 7 nights. We arrived 12:45 and after our 'welcome' lei and pineapple juice, and all the usual paperwork, we were told to come back at 14:00 when our rooms would be ready. We took a walk around the resort to see where our rooms were, then had lunch in the bar.
Check-in was reasonably quick and done in the lounge area which was nice. Our 3 bungalows, 323 (lagoon), 203 (overwater) and 106 (luxury overwater was an upgrade) were not close to each other but we could use the in-room phones to call room-to-room so it wasnt too bad. I was reluctant to book only 1 overwater and 1 lagoon for the kids but it seems the way to go - just book 1 overwater and all rest garden or lagoon, and everyone 'lives' in the overwaters during the day, some had 6 or more people in them.

PROS- luggage was transported both to and from rooms by sofitel/ bungalows 103 and 206 had complimentary slippers/ sunrise was gorgeous/ they allowed a late checkout on 2 of our rooms so we could take the powerboat out late morning then shower again & check-out, have lunch then head to the ferry/ always felt welcomed the staff were all exceptionally friendly always saying bonjour or Ia Ora na/ great for families was many families there/ towels constantly replaced and stocks always replenished and beds turned down/ beautiful clear ocean and nice beach/ nespresso machine in 103 and 206 overwaters/ and a special shout-out to Heinz our breakie chef..your crepes, omelettes, pancakes and french toast rock Heinz!

CONS- only 3 kayaks and 2 paddleboards wasnt enough for our party of 6 to all go out at once on the same watercraft plus you had to pay for them/ wasnt told their was free hour wi-fi daily for loyalty program even though on check-in I advised I was a loyalty member and paid for some wi-fi- would have been nice to be advised rather than reading on TripAdvisor afterwards/ HappyHour was only for cocktails not even softdrinks or spirits or beer/ we were asked to be quiet in the pool when someone was having an outside massage in the day spa nextdoor - we were only laughing maybe the dayspa shouldnt be near the pool/ internet only sometimes worked in bungalows you really needed to go to reception or bar areas for stronger connection, couldnt even make phonecalls at times from the overwaters/ 2 water bottles on arrival never replaced/ a gym would have been great but we knew there wasnt one/ and finally the location lets it down-you are no-where near anything the cheapest taxi is 2000XPF oneway for up to about 10-15mins then 2500XPF for a little further and around 4500XPF for around near Tiki village best to make use of free pickups for pearl shops, tiki village dinner/show and the few local restaurants that will pickup from Sofitel.

Overall we had a great time, yeh the staff were slow at times but we put that down to Tahiti time and went with it. Take mozzie spray even though there are less mozzies at the overwater bungalows. Geckos are around alot of the bungalows but they eat the mozzies so they are good to have around, all of our bungalows had a resident gecko either inside or outside you could hear them at night. Helps if you know both some Polynesian French as well French, some people we met around the island had very limited English plus it was a bit of fun having a go at their language. Make sure you get the buffet breakie included as its a chance to skip lunch or have a very light lunch as food is very expensive in French Polynesia.

Room Tip: 203 overwater was great it looked out to sea rather than out at other bungalows direct, 323 lagoon view was further up the lagoon so again good views out to the lagoon rather than out at other bungalows. overwater bungalows had a 'squarer' balcony less rain came in you could sit outside when raining compared to the luxury overwaters that had a longer balcony but not much protection from the rain.
  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with family
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5  Thank LeanneOakhurst
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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