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“Glorious, and only a short walk to great snorkeling”

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Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort
Ranked #12 of 17 Hotels in Bora Bora
Reviewed May 10, 2013

We spent three nights, two in a hillside room and one in an over-water bungalow on the private island. The over-water experience was delightful. There was even a window in the floor to watch the fish at night. The bungalow was very large, very luxurious. My favorite experience, however, had more to do with the hotel's private island location, which is right beside the best snorkeling area in Bora Bora. You can walk there, and when all the tour boats leave, you have the reef to yourself. Even the check-out experience was lovely, because the Sofitel gives you a reminder written like a romantic story which includes your flight time, and when you have to catch their boat to meet the taxi. Also, it's a short walk, once you leave the island, to several good restaurants.

Room Tip: Stay on the private island.
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Camilla R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Didier L, Directeur général at Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded May 12, 2013

It is great you noticed and you talk about all the details which make a great difference. it is our honor and our pleasure to welcome you in both Sofitel at Bora Bora to share our paradise and to provide a unique experience to make you feeling unique with exlusif moments of joy and peace with the attention of all a dedicated team caring for your hapiness!

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Reviewed May 8, 2013

My boyfriend and I spent 6 magical days at the Sofitel Bora Bora in April 2013 and had a fantastic time. We were greeted with beautiful leis upon arrival at the Bora Bora airport and then by musicians at the dock once we reached the Sofitel. Gregarious manager, Jean Louis, also met us at the dock and checked in with us daily throughout our stay. There were gorgeous flowers on the bed of our over-the-water bungalow upon arrival, complimentary champagne, invitations to a manager's cocktail party and a fabulous Polynesian Cultural Show. We also enjoyed a great breakfast spread every morning as part of our package including delicious poisson cru, crepes, omelets, croissants, fresh fruit, and much more. All the staff were warm and friendly, especially Brigitte, Katrine, Anita, and Louana. Special thanks to Brigitte and Anita for helping us arrange all our activities. We will never forget our wonderful visit to your special island. Mauru'uru roa and merci beaucoup.

Room Tip: Definitely book an over-the-water bungalow. Ask for one away from the main road.
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank 68JacquelineB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Didier L, Directeur général at Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded May 12, 2013

Thank you for your great comment on our "ambassadors" and service you experienced at Sofitel Bora Bora Marara beach. Your comment are very useful for all of us and we really want to thank you for your stay with us in French Polynesia. Maururu!

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Reviewed April 27, 2013

We chose bora bora for our honeymoon and were quite scared about staying at the Sofitel as we had heard some quite bad reports. When we got there we were blown away. The location is perfect, the greeting on arrival was exceptional and the staff were magnificent. Nothing was ever too much drama and we were made to feel very welcome during our stay. Our rooms were spectacular, very clean, tidy and private (we had an overwater bungalow). The food, although not what I'm used to, was very nice. I would recommend taking diarrhea tablets though as, if ur like me and not a heavy eater than u may have some problems digesting the food.

The staff from the Sofitel are just out of this world nice, they will drop anything for u and absolutely nothing is too much drama. Also, it was the little touches that helped made the stay so special (such as macaroons and water in our room daily, a nice sarong and short as gifts, coffee and croissants delivered fresh to our breakfast table daily, free nibblies when we ordered drinks at happy hour, it doesn't sound like much but they were appreciated additions to our stay)

The staff were also very helpful when it came to booking tours around the island, and very accommodating to meet our requirements.

I would recommend this hotel to everyone, and I will most definitely be returning, it was a very sad day when we had to leave!!

  • Stayed: April 2013
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1  Thank AmandaMatt7890
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Didier L, Directeur général at Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded May 1, 2013

Thank you for your nice review and for sharing your experience with us at Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach resort. Let us know before you will come back, we are all waiting to welcome you in our paradise!

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Reviewed April 14, 2013

We were not sure what to expect after reading a lot of the reviews leading up to our stay in April. We were met at the airport and had a wonderful boat ride to Marara Beach Resort. The welcome at the hotel was great and we were shown to our room after about half an hour. The staff were really friendly and welcoming and this didn't change for the whole stay of seven days.

There was one exception. We ran into the activities lady Anita the next day and she does get a little snooty if you aren't interested in buying something like the Romantic dinner. Having said this the staff at the hotel from the boat people to the cleaners are just amazing. Smiles all the time and will do anything possible to ensure you have a great stay.

We dined at the hotel most of the time as we loved the outdoor dining area especially at night. Breakfast was pretty good with plenty of choice. Dinner was good but not great. Not a lot of choice and sometimes the meals were not cooked as requested. eg Medium to well done steak was pretty red. We had one night out at Bloody Mary's which we really enjoyed.

Like some of the other reviews say the rooms are getting tired and in need of a refurbishment but this also applies to a lot of hotels we have stayed at, We felt this was a minor issue as the location of the hotel and the surrounding lagoon are breathtaking. It is a great place to sit back and relax amid one of the most beautiful places in the world. Would definitely come back again.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Review collected in partnership with Accorhotels.com
1  Thank Bill3009
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Didier L, Directeur général at Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded April 15, 2013

Thank you for your review, your comment are always highly appreciated. they will contribute to maintain at all time, the quality level we commit at Sofitel for all our guets.
Thank you for your stay at Sofitel Marara Beach in Bora Bora!

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Reviewed April 13, 2013

I stayed at the Sofitel Marara Resort on the mainland (not the private island) from April 1-April 4, 2013. I had previously stayed on the island of Tahiti for 7 days before this 3 day stay. I wanted to save the best for last and Bora Bora did not disappoint!

Upon arriving into the tiny airport at Bora Bora from Papeete, you will need to deplane, then head to the only conveyor belt to gather your checked luggage. Then, you will need to locate the stand with your hotel name on it to take a complimentary water taxi to your hotel. The Sofitel Marara Beach Resort kiosk/stand was very easy to locate. I gave my name to the staff member and he gave me a luggage tag already with my last name and room number on it. He told me to affix this to my checked luggage that I had collected, and then whisked me away to a small boat/water taxi and off I went to heaven for the next 3 days. The water ride was really pretty as it was around 530pm and the sun was setting.

Upon arrival at the hotel, I was greeted by Muriel who served me a small, tropical drink and went over my check in portfolio/paperwork that all incoming guests have to fill out. She then gave me a small tour of the facilities and then lead me to my overwater bungalow 65. She was amazing, very warm, welcoming, good English. She remembered me when I checked out 3 days later and came by to say goodbye. I felt very welcomed and it's this personal one-on-one experience that the staff is known for. Everyone went out of their way to help out the guests.

Once I entered my overwater bungalow 65, I nearly died (in a very good way). I was like a kid in a candy store, very excited for my stay and extremely giddy. OWB 65 had a king size bed with a VERY, VERY comfy mattress; 2 dual sinks, a hairdryer, an open space rain shower (wow), a separate toilet. There was a small safe, a small fridge, a water kettle to boil water for the packets of tea/coffee in the room. The tv had about 2 English speaking channels (one was CNN), others were all in French. The Sofitel uses L'Occitane amenities (very high class and I love their products). The first night I had a "visitor" in the form of a white gecko that I named Gordon (Gordon the Gecko) that just chilled out in a corner on the wall by the tv. Previous visitors must have left the wooden window shutters open so he probably crawled in. **Tip: Please keep the wooden shutters closed so you won't get any more "visitors" otherwise, you might have a lizard problem or flying insects in your room. There is an A/C so the room remains cool even if you close the wooden shutters. Also, if you bring snacks, keep them in a tightly sealed ziplock bag!!**

In the AM, I truly was amazed at how AWESOME OWB 65 was!!! There was a small patio with 2 lounge chairs, a small platform to access the water to go snorkeling, and an outdoor shower of fresh water, not the sea salt water to briefly rinse off if you wanted to before entering the OWB again. The snorkeling/kayaking equipment is free to rent so have fun and take advantage of your platform to enter the water and play! Very colorful fish. Plus, the bungalow has a glass bottom section that at night, you can see colorful fish swim underneath you and it's also lit. **Tip: the metal ladder leading from the wooden platform into the water had algae/seaweed/plants growing on it. Be careful and try NOT to touch the algae/plant growth. I received a nice rash near my upper hip/thighs and shins for 3 days since my skin was freaking out from the algae and I had to take Benadryl for the hives to go down.** Also, bring mosquito or bug repellent. You're by the water so at night, the mosquitoes will eat you alive if not protected. My friends stayed in OWB 50 and OWB 66. I think my bungalow was the best. :) OWB 66 doesn't have a glass bottom view in the room.

I ate breakfast daily with fruits, juices, an omelet station, croissants/breads, coffee, bacon/sausage by an amazing view of the Bora Bora lagoon. The breakfast place is also located near the infinity pool so you really get a great view. There is also a very small 2 room spa where they offer facials/massages. I didn't go to the spa as I was busy exploring the island.

I didn't use the spotty Wifi as I was too busy snorkeling and enjoying my view from my bungalow and going on land excursions. On 2 occasions, there was a stingray that floated near my bungalow and I was able to follow it and view it while snorkeling, but I kept a respectable distance.

At check out, it was very fast, no long lines around 11am. The Sofitel really has their act together and it was a seamless check out. Denise checked out my account and I had a million questions for her and she was gracious enough to try to answer me in her broken English, that's when Muriel (who checked me in on night #1) helped out. Seriously, these ladies are on top of their game and FABULOUS! There is a $2 USD/daily (200 Pacific Franc/daily) charge as a contribution to Sofitel's ongoing Lagoon Project to protect their corals in the lagoon. It's not mandatory so you have the option to remove that charge at check out. I didn't remove it as I thought it would be gracious and nice to give back to Mother Nature. C'mon...$6 USD isn't a lot for a GREAT cause! I totally believe in karma.

Overall, this was a trip of a lifetime. Muriel and Denise were fantastic. The gentIemen at the beach equipment rental hut were also very helpful and friendly. I felt very loved here. OWB 65 is THE room to book. I also saw many sun rises from my large window in front of the bed. I took so many pictures. I will definitely come back! Bora Bora was awesome and I actually cried/got teary when they escorted me back onto the water taxi to leave for the airport and when the porter (young man that takes our bags from your rooms, I forgot his name) blew the conch shell as I was leaving as a gracious farewell....I actually got sad and teary!! I'm in love with the Tahitian culture and their lovely island spirit.

Merci and Mauruuru to the entire establishment for a splendid job well done! Until we meet again, my new found friends. Thank you again for a superb stay. For those reading this review, any hotel on this island will have great views of the lagoons, but it's THE PEOPLE and the STAFF that can make or break your stay in paradise. The Sofitel really trains their staff to be attentive and caring. There's a Sofitel in Beverly Hills, CA (close to where I live) and their service is no where close to what I received at this Sofitel on Bora Bora. The customer service here is amazing!! Thank you again for the beautiful, inspiring, touching memories. XOXOXO

Room Tip: Splurge on the overwater bungalows (especially #65). Worth every hard earned penny!
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with friends
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5  Thank Jennifer S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Didier L, Directeur général at Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded April 15, 2013

Maururu for your great comment regarding your experience at Sofitel Marara Beach Resort ! All Ambassadors and the "Mother Nature" would like to thank you for your Lagoon Project's contribution. You are right it's little for a GREAT cause !

As you know, they are very important for us to make sure we are fine tuning all our standards to provde the service that all guet expect from Sofitel. Thank you for your stay with us at Bora Bora.
We wait for you to come back !

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Reviewed April 11, 2013

The reasons for my visit were not ideal, but everything I encountered made me feel that a return trip is in my future. Family is great, but... come on. The hotel location, it's grounds and my room were idyllic. The staff were all friendly, warm and welcoming.
The hotel can make arrangements for every available activity, but my family used the contacts of local friends for such things. The sights, though not directly attributed to the hotel were spectacular.
When a friend of mine asked me to describe Bora Bora, my response was simply: Ridiculously beautiful.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Review collected in partnership with Accorhotels.com
3  Thank RhythmAndHues
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Didier L, Directeur général at Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded April 12, 2013

Thank you for your comment. As you know, they are very important for us to make sure we are fine tuning all our standards to provde the service that all guet expect from Sofitel. Thank you for your stay with us at Bora Bora.

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Reviewed April 4, 2013

Not ready for heaven..the winner get to Bora Bora.
Here is What's What according to me: Clarification:
Regarding arriving by plane from Papeete
(Pronounced Papa ette tay, repeat several times slowly and then speed it up).
After landing, Scoop up your bags.
and its a stone's throw walk to the boat dock where you
can get a free ferry to the one block town of Viatape, and then
pay for a taxi (around $20) to your hotel IF its located on the main island.
Or put yourself on a clearly marked boat with the name of your Luxury Hotel
Some hotels are located on the separated vegetated reef called a Motu on the east side
of the main island and facing it ( St Regis, Four Seasons, etc)
Other hotels are on the main island( Intercontinental, Sofitel etc),
(the Hilton is on its own little motu island)...
As far as I can tell, the difference in price between hotels is: the amount of luxury
based on the bluer and the turquoisey the water and the more privacy,
(along with the bigger bungalow,attention and better bath products)...
Hotel sight seeing for comparison walks is not
encouraged or easy here...and next to impossible between the motu, and island
unless you rent a boat.

The difference between the Sofitel Marara Beach and the Sofitel Private Island
is that originally they were two different resorts,
..The Marara Beach was owned by Dino Delaurentis and is on the main island of Bora Bora. The Private Island is in the middle of the water separated by a two minute motor boat ride. Both look at each other, and are administered by Sofitel. My husband and I stayed at both resorts. Both resorts have over the water bungalows (OWB's )and land bungalows,good beds, good pillows, very soft soft towels, hair dryers, irons, and superb service of people who go out of their way to try to please you. The delicious french bread, and food is very good is similar and served on soft table linens in both resorts: pricey but not totally outrageous in comparison to any luxury hotel in any major international city.
If you stay on the Private Island which has bluer more turquoisey water, bigger bungalows(double sink bathrooms), then you can -if you choose to, take the
shuttle motor boat to the Marara, vice versa requires a reservation request for dinner or additional priced pass. Both resorts provide free snorkeling equipment, and the snorkeling is great in one part on the Private Island. On the other hand, it's possible to pay for a day pass from the Marara beach to a nearby island to go snorkeling and have a super experience. The Marara has a swimming pool and is somewhat handicap accessible. The Private Island doesn't and isn't. If you have bad knees or are recovering from hip surgery the Private Island may not be such a good idea for you, because there are A Lot of uneven lava stone steps....
Either way we were thrilled to be on Bora Bora, And the Sofitel worked within our budget ranges. We originally booked the lagoon view bungalow, which was fine, right on the beautiful beach of the Marara Beach and I think it was a good choice for us. Because it was January- low season ( not a good time to go but we were unusually lucky having only one day of constant non stop pouring rain) and they were in the process of refurbishing rooms, we were upgraded to an over the water bungalow, ( definitely nicer, especially for my husband who liked feeding the fish over the balcony railing, and hanging out on a lounge chair on the private covered balcony, if that's important.) All bungalows of every price range have outside lounge chairs. Over the water are more private,and yes nicer. About two blocks from the Marara ( turn left leaving) is a small but adequate supermarket.Wifi throughout the island is run by a private company and therefore you log on thru them(anytime minutes can be used as wished $5 per hour, but its slow so don't plan on working here unless you're a real workaholic or on an expense account.
Summary:
Sofitel Marara Beach Resort: The main hotel, has more people more variable price choices of accommodations, has some bungalows close to the road,but also OWB's , good congregating swimming pool, and nice beach,( you can do a little snorkeling especially if you take some bread, you don't necessarily need rubber shoes on this one. It has easier access-and a little more happening.
Sofitel Private Island: A Very Deluxe Luxury hotel, quieter, bigger bungalows, more fancy no swimming pool, ( most people swim off their private bungalow balcony ladders in shallow getting deeper outrageously gorgeous turquoise water, there are a couple of small sand beaches, and one very good snorkeling area on rocks, tuff terrain for bad knees, no handicap access. Both Resorts have good food good drinks, and people who want to please you. Almost everyone here is trilingual (Tahitian,French,English).
One more thing don't pack as many clothes as you think you need. , hold-on strap type sandals for swimming, sunscreen, 2-3 bathing suits, 3 sundresses,2 cover shirts/pareo, teeshirt and hat. For guys Tommy Bahama type lite wear works well here 2 bathing suits, 2 shorts, 1 long kakis, nylon fishing shirt, Hawaiian shirt, polo and two tea shirts sunscreen sunglasses and cap should do it.And be prepared, for not wanting to leave.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank ialine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Didier L, Directeur général at Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded April 5, 2013

Thank you for your comments, they are all very valuable for the hotel and will help to maintain our standards and quality at the highest level to make you all enjoying a true and genuine experience in our paradise!

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Additional Information about Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort

Address: BP 6, Nunue, 98730, French Polynesia
Phone Number:
Location: French Polynesia > Society Islands > Bora Bora
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites
Hotel Style:
#7 Spa Hotel in Bora Bora
#9 Luxury Hotel in Bora Bora
#10 On the Beach Hotel in Bora Bora
Price Range: $331 - $534 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 55
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort is located on the island of Bora Bora in the heart of the exceptional Matira Bay. The island of Bora Bora is encircled by a protective necklace of coral. Breathtaking lush mountains provide a dramatic backdrop for the luminous turquoise, lapis and aquamarine of the sheltered lagoon. There is something truly unique about Bora Bora, with its sugary sands, rugged mountains, vivid blues, lush greens and soothing lagoon waters that make it the most romantic destination in the world. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach And Private Island Hotel Bora Bora
Sofitel Bora Motu Private Island
Accor Bora Motu Private Island
Bora Bora Sofitel
Sofitel Motu Bora Bora

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