First, let me start by saying that I am super picky and snobby about hotels, cleanliness and service. Did you notice the rating I gave?!!
We stayed at the Sofitel from Nov. 21 - 24, 2013 in an overwater bungalow at the main hotel, and it was amazing! Our bungalow was probably the least desirable of all the overwaters, staring at the restaurant and pool, rather than having a great ocean view, but oh wow! Everything about the room was awesome, and the view was fine.
(We didn't see anything run down about the place, as mentioned by others on TripAdvisor. The wood could use re-staining, but it looks lovely in its naturally weathered state - not rotted or shabby)
Truly my only disappointment at all about the resort was the sad absence of healthy coral due to the storm that wiped it out in 2009. It meant only a few fish were hanging out under our room, but there were plenty of urchins to keep us entertained! Sofitel is working to recreate what was there before, a coral garden, by providing artificial supports for coral to grow on, and we did see a couple of unique fish in that area.
As for the hotel - the greeting was warm and welcoming. The entire facility is BEAUTIFUL. We arrived 2 hours before check-in, yet our room was ready. Constanze gave us a great orientation and helped us get settled into our room. There were flowers on the bed and a bottle of champagne chilling for us when we walked in (30th anniversary package, I assume!).
At about 5:00 every day we had a knock at the door and a delightful staff member handed us bottles of water and tasty macaroons! All of the staff were friendly and helpful.
We had fun at the manager's cocktail reception on Thurs. PM, that included a pearl fashion show. We ate at the bar that night because we didn't have a big enough appetite for the buffet! Good food, interesting options, decent prices and fun drinks at the bar. On her episode filmed at the hotel, Giada DeLaurentis said we had to try "the Hurricane," a drink which her grandpa had created when he created the resort, so that was my first cocktail; it was rather boring, but fine.
Breakfast buffets were nice every day, with a good selection of breads, eggs, fruit etc., and the staff bent over backward to please.
On Saturday we decided, at the very last minute, that we wanted to book a fancy private dinner for our anniversary. Though it was ridiculously short timing, Katherine (one of the concierge staff) called over to the private island and made it happen for us! Francois (management staff on the private island) arranged the most incredible evening. We were completely pampered in a very private setting, though right there on their main beach! Because it was the Tahitian Oven buffet at the main restaurant of our resort, most of the private island customers were there enjoying the traditional Polynesian dinner and show.
Francois and the chef prepared the best meal, literally, of our lives!
The experience was beyond belief.
This is getting lengthy but I have to share more details so I'll do it at the end of the review if you are interested!
Sunday was our sad day to check out, at 11:00 AM. But our flight didn't leave until 6 PM so we arranged a day on the beach at the private island to do what we heard was the best snorkeling in Bora Bora (so true!). What we were surprised to find out was that the hotel plans for those of us who have nowhere to go! They provided us with a garden bungalow room at the end of the day where we could shower and change, prior to getting on the "shuttle" boat to travel to the airport! Who does that?!! It was awesome to be able to snorkel, lunch and laze on the beach, then shower and change to go to the airport!
The fabulous attitude of customer service at Sofitel was more than I ever expected, and better than I have ever experienced anywhere. I will travel with Sofitel wherever I can, at this point!
If we get the opportunity to return we will definitely try the private island due to it's incredible location in the region. The main resort is awesome and the private island views are breath-taking. It's just a different experience!
More about the private dinner: We were transported to the private island by boat, and greeted with cool, wet towels upon arrival. Francois introduced himself and gave us a brief orientation of the public area as we climbed to the top of the hill for a champagne sunset, complete with canapes, ice cold bubbly and cool towels (needed after the slight hike!). We were left "alone" to enjoy our treats and soak in the evening views, but Francois was ever watchful to keep our glasses filled and to offer to take photos of us.
Once the sun was gone he lit a torch and walked us down the hill to the beach. The set-up was charming and drinks were offered (for a fee). We were brought a special appetizer from the chef for our anniversary (yummy crab-cake balls), then the regular appetizer that comes with the dinner (the best scallops ever!). Next Francois asked if we would like to go over to the daybed that was on the beach to recline and relax a bit - talk about pampered!
What followed was the most delicious use of flowers I have ever experienced...
as a palate cleanser we were given tiare sorbet, made from the incredible smelling flowers used all over the resort. It was DELICIOUS!
Then we were served our very tasty lobster dinner, which was grilled to perfection and fun to dis-assemble (toes in the sand and fingers covered in lobster - what a life!), along with potatoes and veggies.
Though we were filled to the brim after the 4 courses, it was time for dessert, a delicious 3 part marshmallowy, fruity experience in itself. We absolutely devoured it! And when that was gone Francois brought out another dessert, made specially by the chef for our anniversary! We took that one to go, but I have to tell you the the layers of chocolate cake, chocolate mousse and mango custard were to die for in the morning!
The evening ended with us reclining on the daybed again, listening to the water and watching as one couple at a time returned from the main resort by boat. We finally paid the bill and said goodbye to Francois, who was without a doubt the best waiter/butler/pamperer we have ever encountered! We then watched the baby reef sharks swim in the lights of the dock while we waited for our water taxi back to our hotel.
The 4 hour experience is on their specialties list at a standard rate of xpf 500,000 plus drinks and tip, but the meal itself would probably have been 300,000, then add in the champagne sunset (I think you can book that alone for xpf 165,000 through the concierge) and all of the little touches and extras. It was extravagant but really worth it for the VERY fine dining and pampering. Yes, pricey, but not exorbitant for such an "excursion!" Sofitel really knows how to make their guests feel special.
- 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