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“Overall feeling of awful thriftiness...”

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Le Taha'a Island Resort & Spa
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Tahaa
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 31, 2013

I appreciate the fact that most reviews for this hotel carry a very high score, and it honestly pleases me to see that so many people were actually very happy to stay here. Lack of worldliness, in this case, is bliss.

However, if you happen to be a fully-fledged traveler searching for advice, you might want to consider what I have to say…

This hotel has a truly privileged location, adjacent to the beautiful Coral Garden. Its staff, mostly, were also some of the nicest hotel employees we have ever met. I must say that they are a very hardworking team who clearly tries their best to please the guests.

You should be aware, however, that Le Taha’a IS NOT a “private island” as advertised on their promotional material and around the property itself (their website now started using the correct phrase “Island Resort & Spa” instead of “Private Island & Spa”). As a matter of fact we had the pleasure of meeting a few of the hotel´s wonderful neighbors as we walked down the beach toward the sunset… they forced us to step away from the sand – and into the hip-deep water! – making sure we understood that hotel guests are unwelcome to walk on “THEIR” beach! The closest local neighbors to our beach villa (who apparently lived just a few steps away from our front door) spent most of the time drunk in a crude shed by the sand… needless to say that it can get a little bit scary at night when you stay in the bungalows closer to the end of the beach.

The overall feeling I had from this property is of awful thriftiness. This aura of frugality can be noticed everywhere; you see it in the quality of the ingredients in the kitchen, the dreadful condition of the snorkel equipment, the room´s shameful maintenance (please check out the pictures I took from the toilet seat), and even in the little things like unreplenished toiletries. The worst of all, however, is the absolute fact that they are scandalously understaffed!

Being understaffed really takes quite a toll on the experience as a whole. The employees were visibly overworked and tired. Besides this, with the exception of the reception and activities coordination personnel, most of them lacked proper training. We left the property feeling that the proprietors must be going through financial problems while still trying to hang on to the Relais & Châteaux status.

I sincerely doubt that Le Taha’a will survive its next regular quality audit for Relais & Châteaux membership maintenance.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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32  Thank TRUTHFUL_DH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 27, 2013

This resort is outstanding! We have been to 6 resorts on various islands of French Polynesia in the past 5 years, and this was our favorite. We loved our beach bungalow, (number 51). it had a nice fenced yard with plunge pool and outdoor tub and shower; quite spacious. The food at the restaurants, the friendliness of the staff and the views were amazing. Staying farther away from the main area means a longer walk to get to the restaurants, but the views are much better, and you can work off some of the calories from those awesome desserts! We also enjoyed the workout facilities almost every day. We took a tour of Taha'a island one day. went in a four wheel drive truck to the top of a mountain for a gorgeous view! also toured a pearl farm and vanilla plantation. A great tour by David! the only "ding" I can think of is the snorkeling isn't great. It is in very shallow water, with a rapidly rushing current, and very little to look at. If you want snorkeling in Tahiti, the Bora Bora Black Pearl Resort is better.

Room Tip: I prefer beach bungalow to over water. I love to get up early and walk on the beach to see the sunri...
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank MamaBear250
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 25, 2013

Special place. Private, peaceful and beautiful. Could only hear the sound of water and boats. The overwater bungalow was modern, beautifully designed, spacious and well equipped. Very private. The food (espec. dinner) was excellent. Very friendly staff. Professional quality service in all areas. The masseuse at the spa was excellent. The head and foot massage long and wonderful! Had some minor hesitation before booking due to some negative reviews on Trip Advisor but am so very glad I ignored them. Magical place. I'd love to come back

Room Tip: Overwater bungalows a must
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Saffy3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 20, 2013

My husband and I came to Bora Bora and Taha'a for our honeymoon in June of 2012. We were nervous about our Bora Bora hotel (Sofitel) but just knew that Taha'a was going to be unforgettable. Sadly it didn't turn out that was. We had originally heard about Le Taha'a through The Bachelorette when they stayed here. It was so beautiful and we said that no matter the cost we would go there one day.

We spend the first half of our honeymoon in Bora Bora at a hotel that was like 4-5 times cheaper then Le Taha'a, and the second half in Taha'a. We wish we would have just stayed in Bora Bora :(. We had a WONDERFUL time at Sofitel where we did tons of activities, made friends with other couples and had amazing service. That wonderful feeling we had was lost in Taha'a. Don't get me wrong, it's a BEAUTIFUL hotel and the grounds are really nice, but not what we were expecting for the price. There was A LOT of stuff in the water (trash, plant parts, etc). Every morning the hotel staff tried to rake it up, but there was just to much. You couldn't walk on the beaches or anything because there was just too much trash. There were a ton of bugs. The restaurants had odd hours and if you wanted a late lunch you were out of luck. The pool and bar closed EARLY. Basically that whole place closed early honestly. The food was good but that's about it.

We arrived and were greeted at the airport by the water taxi service but the guy wasn't friendly and didn't make you feel welcomed. We got to the hotel and had a drink waiting for us. We were showed around and taken to our room. The room was WONDERFUL, but hot. We had major issues with our air actually cooling the overwater hut down. We called and they came out and looked at it a few times but it never got better. We enjoyed the pool, bar and restaurants but it was nothing special. We had a massage which I hated. The spa room was overlooking a dirty, green lake that smelled bad and was full of bugs. The massage itself wasn't good either. We also did the open air jeep tour which we LOVED! The guy that did it was AMAZING. We learned so much about the culture, people and lifestyle on Taha'a. He took us back to his house where we learned about pearls and vanilla. He offered us snacks and introduced us to his family. That whole experience was so great :). We tried to swim through the coral garden but it was nearly impossible. The current wouldn't let us get anywhere and was crashing us into rocks, etc. We watched MANY people come back bleeding.

If we were to do the trip over we wouldn't come to Le Taha'a. It was pretty enough, the staff was fine, the food was ok, but we felt trapped. There wasn't a lot to do, everything shut down EARLY and honestly the atmosphere wasn't friendly. It's a nice place but definitely not for the price.

Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
5  Thank Danielle D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 15, 2013

My husband and I had our honeymoon about 10 years ago at Le Taha'a. We had a great time snorkeling at the Coral Garden then. We had a great time. We decided to go back in December with the three kids we have late December 2012. We had read the reviews and worried that it might not live up to our honeymoon experience, especially with third/fourth/fifth tires in tow. Before we left, we gave our kids the lecture of not too criticize, not to expect too much.
To all of our surprises, we were assigned to a Royal Garden Villa by the beach. Our kids had so much fun that they skin-dip in our own private pool, kayaking, snorkeling ... I can still hear their laughters when i write this review.
Our son turned 6 on the island. The staff, particularly Milton who was there when we had our honeymoon, went above and beyond and made our son's birthday one of the most special days of his life.
Staff at Le Taha's are the best, particularly the ones who have worked there over the years. Reunite with them made us feel home.
The current manager, Julien, does a current leading the team. The resort was vibrant and thriving. Though the Coral Garden was not nearly the way it was 10 years ago, the wonderful staff made up for it.
Thank you very much, the wonderful Le Taha'a staff. We would not have enjoyed the vacation as much without you.

Room Tip: Bring a lot of insect repellents. Lots of misquotes.
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank denvercolorado8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 9, 2013

We stayed at Le Taha'a for 5 nights in Sept. 2012 for our 10-yr anniversary. Overall it was a very nice stay and we loved our overwater bungalow. The food was good especially considering French Polynesia isn't know as a food destination. I may have possibly had the best foie gras at the fine dining restaurant on the resort that I've ever had. The deep soaking tub in the bungalow with glass counters on the side to look at the fish below was close to heaven. We really enjoyed feeding the fish from the open-up coffee table in the bungalow, however the lights below the bungalow weren't working for 2 nights of our stay. To truly be a 5-star resort they should check those features before a guest checks-in as those unique features is what draws the guests to the resort in the first place.
We scheduled a few things to do through the excursion desk, including diving. We were told to meet in the lobby for our dive. 15 minutes after our scheduled time the dive master hurried in and angrily asked us why we didn't meet in the dive shop. Not a good start to the dive but the dive master warmed up to us during the dive.
On our last day, we were moved to a day-use bungalow. The bungalow was in much need of maintenance and was obviously only used when guests were already ready to leave. The resort may assume the use of the day-use bungalow is to the benefit of the guests so we can continue to use the resort until a late in the day flight. While we got to continue to use the resort, the poor condition if the day-use room left a bad last impression.
Speaking of bad last impressions, the resort completely screwed up our transportation back to the airport. Based on the time of your outgoing flight, the resort schedules the boat transportation. When the front desk staff told us the time we were going to depart for the airport, we questioned if we would have enough time and we were assured that we would have plenty of time. When we got on the boat to the airport, the staff put our luggage on a 2nd boat bc the boat was full with guests (when we questioned the departure time we were also told that only one other couple was going to the airport at the same time but there were 7 other couples actually on the boat with us). This would have been fine if the 2nd boat followed us to the airport. For whatever reason, our luggage didn't get to the airport for another 20 minutes. Since its such a small airport there is no need to get to the airport early so those 20 minutes caused us to miss our flight to Tahiti. Very upsetting. The airport staff contacted the resort for us and they admitted their screw up but their offered remedy was to buy us a meal and drinks at the airport restaurant while we had to wait for the next flight 2 hrs later. Ha! When we got to the "restaurant" we discovered our only option was a few bottled beers and bags of chips. I requested a refund from the resort for the transportation charge but I never received it.
I was going to give the resort 4 stars but now after writing I'm changing to only 3 stars.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank JRAS-GDS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 29, 2012

I would rate Le Taha'a a 4.5, but unfortunately could not fairly give them a 5. We loved the property, our overwater bungalow, and private deck. As this is a Relais and Chateau property, there is an emphasis on attention to detail and the importance given to creating a calm, relaxing, and authentic experience. The resort is more exclusive than other islands, and also more French (we saw very few American tourists / honeymooners).

The highlights include the decadent breakfast buffet with perhaps the best croissants, breads, and all variety of baked goods I have had outside of Paris. The quality and combinations of fresh squeezed juices (guava/lychee was my favorite), parfaits, savory dishes, omelets, etc deserves a medal.

The infinity pool, unique cocktails, Polynesian inspired architecture and design of the buildings and bungalows, wonderful bath amenities, and the island / safari tour we took were also part of a great experience.

Why I took off half a star: Our dinner experience was the complete and total opposite of breakfast (they have a different chef maybe?). The options are extremely limited, in both choice and times you can eat (it's hard to get food outside of a 3 hr time window). The options are also very expensive and below average in terms of quality and flavor, and do not cater to vegetarians at all. One night, I got an extremely bland pasta, and another night I ordered the tofu / veggie dish, which was literally oversteamed veggies and soggy tofu (no sauce, no seasoning, nothing). These were the two worst dinners I had in the 2 weeks we were in FP. My husband's meals (who is not vegetarian) were also just ok.

Finally, housekeeping is hit or miss. Sometimes we had replenished bath amenities and towels, sometimes not. When we called for these things, we had to wait hours or call again. Other than these annoyances, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Le Taha'a and are thankful to Claudia from Pacific for Less for suggesting this authentic, unique, and exclusive resort to us as part of our itinerary!

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank world_traveler2155
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Le Taha'a Island Resort & Spa

Address: Motu Tautau | BP 67 Patio, 98733, French Polynesia
Location: French Polynesia > Society Islands > Tahaa
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Tahaa
Price Range: $672 - $1,783 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Le Taha'a Island Resort & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 60
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome ! Ia Orana e Maeva !Part of the prestigious Relais & Châteaux collection,” Le Taha’a Island Resort and Spa “ welcomes you to a world of immaculate beauty, a timeless universe of refined authenticity. Located on the secluded Motu Tautau, facing the island of Taha’a on one side and the most perfect view of Bora Bora on the other side, the resort, inspired by traditional Polynesian architecture and style, hosts 60 remarkable suites and villas.Defined by the Relais & Chateaux philosophy, Le Taha’a is the promise of a total change of scenery, a way of life of its own, in harmony with its preserved environment, people and local culture.Welcome to Le Taha’a world… The ultimate Tahitian hideaway… ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Le Taha`a Island Resort And Spa
Le Taha`a Island Hotel Tahaa
Le Tahaa

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