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Reviewed October 4, 2009

Beautiful hotel. Impeccable grounds and very friendly staff. This resort is so charming and landscaped, it almost feels like it's not real! The private and adjacent public beach is the prettiest beach we've seen in the world. There is not even a close second in our opinion. Why this beach never made a Travel Channel 'World's Top 10 Beaches’ show is beyond us. Very thin white strip of sand next to the hotel with a beautiful, huge lagoon with a soft clay/sand bottom. When the sun is out, you'll see 10 different shades of blue. Great for kite surfing or windsurfing/sailboarding, swimming, kayaks, whatever you want to do in the water. We stayed in OWB 119, luckily the best one in the entire resort, at the end of the pier, with a great view of Tahiti (all the web site shots were taken from this OWB). OWB's 119 and 121 are the best in our opinion. Some of the OWB's that are closer to shore seemed a bit too crowded for our tastes; the beachfront suites and garden suites are adorable and very well landscaped with sufficient room between each other. We’d opt for one of these rather than the OWB’s that are closest to the shore, but that’s just our opinion. The interior of our OWB was superb. Beautiful. The water off of our OWB was beautiful and clear. About 5 feet deep, too shallow to dive off into, but good snorkeling all around. Awesome snorkeling if you swim a bit to the right of the OWB's as you face the ocean. I was quite surprised, and I know others mention the Hilton as having the best snorkeling, and if it is in fact better than Sofitel, it must be other-worldly. Water was cool when you got into it, but after a minute it was fine. Note: There can be a strong current sweeping right across the OWB's from the NE, in fact almost too strong for those with little aquatic experience to swim against. In any event, worst case is you'd be washed up on the shore down the lagoon a bit, not out to sea. At other times, the lagoon was calm as a lake. Very, very pretty when the sun is out. Our weather was sunny for two days, then very, very windy and cloudy/rainy for three days :(. We made the best of it and took an ATV tour one day, organized through the hotel. It was spectacular in that it was very educational (from a geological and farming point of view.) It was not the ATV type tour that terrorized small animals, rather very challenging at times and with a tour of the inside of the crater, the Moorea agricultural park (they grow everything) and then a stop at a juice place where they'll make you any kind of juice you want from uber-fresh pineapples, bananas, mango's papaya's, pamplemousse (our favorite, a sweet green grapefruit) and many others. Topped off the ATV tour with a jaunt up Witch Mountain, with a very panoramic view over cook's bay and the Hilton-side of the island. Tour was about $300USD for two. Snorkeling tour was about $60USD pp. They have Jet Ski island tours, dolphin park ( made us sad, we hate those things) and great diving trips; by the way anything outside the reef anywhere in Tahiti is spectacular as far as diving. All kinds of activities at the nautical center. Snorkel gear is free but don't lose it, else you'll be walloped with a $300USD fee. The Tahitian staff was 110% friendly, genuine and accommodating. Breakfast buffet was very good, our rate included breakfast and dinner, both of which are buffet style. Food was good (high-end cafeteria good) with a great selection of mostly French wines (including St Joseph, the best value French Bordeaux available.) Without the meal plan (or with maybe - we didn't keep track) you're looking at $250-300USD for dinner and a good bottle of wine. Be careful when you order wine; when you do the conversion and forget a ‘0’ you could buy a $1,000USD bottle of wine instead of a $100 bottle. We tipped when the service warranted it. Service at times was a bit slower than in the States or Europe, but nothing to get upset about; just relax and enjoy. The wait staff, at all occasions, was very friendly. There is a gourmet restaurant; too, that is not cafeteria style and very, very romantic in kind of a candlelit, tropical way. Little bit more expensive but beautiful. Little gas station a 5 minute walk from hotel to pick up water, snacks, etc, that is much less than minibar. Our OWB had an espresso machine (free). I can't say a bad thing about this place. Beautiful and of course expensive ($15 USD for a bottle of Gillette foam shaving cream should you forget that as we did, and $20USD for a Cocktail at the lagoon bar. Cocktails are great, though, as is the lagoon bar (very cute) with sweeping views. Makes you feel like Ernest Hemingway. And, for the love of sun, don't forget dental floss (as we did) since you can't find it in Tahiti. Pictures from the web site don't do this place justice. All transfers were prompt and on time. This place is a class act. Place was 100% booked, compared to our 3rd leg, at St Regis in Bora Bora, which was a ghost town. At the Sofitel Moorea the guests were 94% French, 3% American, 2% Italian, 1% Spain. Trying to speak a bit of French will I think get you better service, although everyone spoke English. In fact, many Tahitians speak multiple languages due to the tourism. TIPS: Don’t forget toothpaste, deodorant, etc. This will cost you bookoo bucks. Bring bug spray, aloe and plenty of SPF 80 if you have it. Take a walk to the gas station and buy water there as opposed to the hotel. Water from the tap seemed fine, too. Beware, massages in the spa are over $200USD/hour.
The weather, of course, will have a huge impact on your trip.

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank The-Mystic-Bunnies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Didier L, Directeur général at Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 3 weeks ago

Ia Orana from Moorea,
Sorry for the delay. But what a wonderful sharing of experience! We are delighted to have welcomed you to our corner of paradise!
We do our best to make you live a real Polynesian experience. A unique experience.
The teams are very touched by your comment and thank you very much.
See you soon at Sofitel Moorea, Mauruuru!

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 1, 2009

The moment my wife and I pulled up to reception, we both looked at each other and said, "we're way out of our league!" This resort, and accompanying views of Moorea, is absolutely beautiful. I recommend booking the overwater bungalows (which we did upon arrival at a reduced rate), since the snorkelling is incredible. I must've spent an hour or two per day snorkelling! We also visited the Intercontinental for the Dolphin Quest (OK, but overpriced), and we were very glad to have picked the Sofitel. The Sofitel was more secluded and much classier. And the food? Fantastic! The breakfast and dinner buffets are incredible.

I would highly recommend booking this trip through www.Pacific-For-Less.com. Claudia was incredibly helpful and was able to taylor our honeymoon based on our preferences. Plus, she got us a great deal and free meals! What more can you ask for?

Besides the resort, I would recommend checking out the Tiki Village. It's a typical polynesian show (with guys spinning sticks of fire), and seemed obligatory.

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank sevendayweekend
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Didier L, Directeur général at Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 3 weeks ago

Ia ora na and sorry for the delay,
Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience at Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort.
We are delighted to have been able to welcome you and share with you our corner of paradise!
We will take your feedback into consideration in order to improve. We hope to welcome you again very soon!
Mauruuru!

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 30, 2009

The Sofitel Moorea is exactly what you think a luxury hotel in French Polynesia is like: Beautiful tropical grounds, excellent location, great service, good food (with a French flare) and traditional looking yet very modern, comfortable bungalows. Our luxury over the water villa #120 (at the end of the right pontoon) was amazing!! Words can not describe our first impression of the villa. The bathroom was large and well laid out, the bed comfortable, the closet big enough for the two of us and the outside deck just incredible. After a somewhat disappointing (and definitely forgettable) previous overnight stay in Tahiti, we felt like we had finally arrived in paradise!

Although Moorea is barely 40 minutes away from Tahiti (by ferry) the two islands could not be more dissimilar. The low population in Moorea has allowed the island to remain relatively unspoiled and without the traffic or ever present graffiti that you will find in Tahiti. My advice to you is: When coming to French Polynesia, stay in Tahiti only for one night (to decompress from your flight) or skip it all together if possible. Make Moorea your first destination instead!

Things we liked about this hotel:

- Best location out of all hotels in Moorea. We drove around the island and you can not beat the location of the Sofitel. It is just minutes away from the airport and from the Ferry and it is located in what, in my opinion is, in the best beach on the island. The Intercontinental and Hilton hotels are about 35 minutes away from either arrival point and in the middle of more populated areas.
- Awesome bungalows! The luxury over the water bungalow was large, well decorated and had great views of the surrounding mountains and bay. It was also very private and on located top of a corals filled with marine life. This hotel is a great place to upgrade and experience staying in an over the water bungalow without shelling the cash that you will at other places like Bora Bora.
- Great breakfast buffet!! The variety of the breakfast buffet was even better than the one of St. Regis in Bora Bora. Did I mention that they have awesome French bread and pastries too?? Word of caution on the dinner though: If you are a foodie, you will love it, but if you’re not, you may be somewhat disappointed.
- Pearl Romance. We visited tons of pearl shops in all the islands we stayed at and found the shop at the Sofitel Moorea to be one of the best in terms of quality, service and price. Definitely consider buying something here if you are in the market for pearls.
- The half day catamaran tour of the island with snorkeling was fun and well worth its price.
- “K” restaurant is beautiful, but by reservation only. Make sure to eat here at least one night.

The Sofitel Moorea is a solid 4 star hotel that (in my opinion) will not disappoint you. It has the look and the amenities of more expensive resorts in French Polynesia, but without the ridiculous price (not cheap either though). This is definitely a good place to start your vacation in French Polynesia before visiting other more expensive resorts like the Four Seasons or The St. Regis Bora Bora or a good place to end your vacation,,as well, if you stayed at other more economical resorts before. Either way, I think you will leave very happy with your stay at the Sofitel Ia Ora.

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank WrldTrvlr37
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Didier L, Directeur général at Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 3 weeks ago

Ia Orana from Moorea,
Sorry for the delay. But what a wonderful sharing of experience! We are delighted to have welcomed you to our corner of paradise!
We do our best to make you live a real Polynesian experience. A unique experience.
The teams are very touched by your comment and thank you very much.
See you soon at Sofitel Moorea, Mauruuru!

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 28, 2009

My new wife and I stayed for 8 nights in the deluxe beach bungalow in August on our honeymoon.

After a long flight from the UK the hop over to Moorea was pretty painless.

The Hotel is set in fantastic grounds which are well maintained and has the best beach in Moorea.

I dived with the dive center at the hotel and found the outfit small but very friendly with adequate equipment. The advantage here is small groups of divers. The disadvantage - book in advance by a few days as they do get fully booked.It helped that it was just around the corner from our bungalow too.

Our bungalow was well appointed and had a lovely view of the beach, with a hammock on one side and beach shower on the other, we were in an ideal spot. What also helped was the small beach bar to the left of us where we could nip over for the odd cocktail, beer or icecream. Brilliant for lazy days on the beach.

We had 1/2 board and enjoyed the breakfast. Dinner was often good too - although can be a little similar from one evening to the next. Service was pretty friendly, if a little rubbish. Many guests, including ourselves, ordered wine and waited . . . got starter, ate starter . . . waited some more - asked waiter, who apologises and runs of to the kitchen . . . waited some more . . . get main course . . . wait some more . . . ask again . . . wait some more . . . eat main course . . . get angry . . . ask again . . . give up. Go to leave . . wine arrives. This is not uncommon and this little ceremony can be witnessed most nights.

You can also have a laugh with the a la carte menu. Order something and see what they come back with . . . we saw one couple order a salad only for a large bowl of French fries to turn up that a family of 8 would struggle to finish. The perplexed look on the husband's face was priceless.

Other service in the hotel varies from very friendly to completely begrudging. PLEASE NOTE - TAKE YOUR OWN FIRST AID KIT - or plasters at least. I went to reception to ask for a plaster, as my wife had cut herself. The receptionist looked at me as if I had asked her to perform open heart surgery and, on telling me they did not have any, was even less inclined to call other parts of the hotel to find out if they did. I ended up walking into the kitchen to ask the chef - who very kindly obliged.

Overall we did enjoy our first week - jet - skiing with whales, Dr Poole's trip ( very good), diving was great and the hotel is fun. Just don't expect five star service, for that you need to go to Bora Bora - where you can get true enlightened service, and that's where we went next . . . ( read separate review )

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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1  Thank JWevers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Didier L, Directeur général at Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 3 weeks ago

Ia ora na and sorry for the delay,
Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience at Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort.
We are delighted to have been able to welcome you and share with you our corner of paradise!
We will take your feedback into consideration in order to improve. We hope to welcome you again very soon!
Mauruuru!

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 19, 2009

My finacee and family of 4 booked 3 overwater bungalows toward the end of the pier. Everything from the reception, transportation, excursions, and breathtaking views exceeded every expectation. I would highly recommend this resort over any others on the island of Moorea. The view off the bungalow decks is as if you are staring into an aquarium filled with exotic fish (at night, occasionally a shark and sting rays). My fiancee and I had our wedding ceremony on the beach and the hotel did a fabulous job of organizing and planning all of it. It was the most touching and romantic ceremony that I have ever seen. The decor of the hotel and bungalows new and very modern. The restaurants and drinks are pricey, but well within all costs of French Polynesia. The overwater bungalows also had one 110 outlet that came in very handy for appliances. The staff was extrememly friendly and over the top in customer service. Because the drinks are expensive, I would suggest hitting the duty free in the airport before arrival. Overall, I would give this a 5 out of 5 and we cannot wait to come back!

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank echterlc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Didier L, Directeur général at Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 3 weeks ago

Ia Orana from Moorea,
Sorry for the delay. But what a wonderful sharing of experience! We are delighted to have welcomed you to our corner of paradise!
We do our best to make you live a real Polynesian experience. A unique experience.
The teams are very touched by your comment and thank you very much.
See you soon at Sofitel Moorea, Mauruuru!

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