We stayed for 3 nights on the private island in an over water bungalow in February 2013, with our toddler. Everything about this hotel was amazing, beautiful and a bit secluded which was even more amazing.
It's a neat 20 min boat ride from the airport, we were greeted with fresh coconut drinks, cool towels and music playing. In a way, you really felt like royalty. We were chauffeured to our OWB which was serene, quiet, clean, peaceful and overall just amazing. The bed was very comfortable, bathrooms clean, and we spent a majority of our time on the balcony soaking in this once in a lifetime experience.
The island provides you with snorkel, fins, little kayaks - all at no charge.
We had breakfast included in our stay which was a typical buffet breakfast.....breads, fruits, yogurts, jams, omelets, eggs etc. We often ate outside of the hotel for lunch/dinner and would take the shuttle boat back over to the main island, walk outside the main hotel to the left about 10 mins to a pizza place. For about $15 American dollars we could get a whole pizza that would feed all 3 of us with leftovers. The pizza is AMAZING! In fact a few times we would bring the pizza back to the room and we were stopped by about 10 different people asking where we got the pizza, how much, and if they could buy it off of us. Ha ha!
We only ate one time at the restaurant and it was expensive, and found there to be a bit of a language barrier with our servers in the restaurant. But overall, I think the cost is normal for restaurants at these hotels. Coming from the islands of Tahiti, Moorea and Huahine, the cost was typical, but the food not all that great.
My advice is to explore out and about with restaurants (the pizza place is within walking distance of the main hotel), bring back breads and cheeses from the market and snack on those IF and only IF you want to save on the food cost.
One of the hotel staff that cleaned our room brought my daughter balloons to play with and tied them all together and left them in her pack n play. This was such a cute touch, and it really made me smile. Although there was a bit of a language barrier there too, I talked to her and thanked her for the balloons....something so simple, but really made me smile and my daughter has a blast playing with all the balloons. I wish I could remember her name so the hotel would know that she made our stay there memorable with such simple actions.
The hotel does provide you with bottled water daily at no cost and every afternoon they would come by with little "treats", like cookies and mini muffins. It's a nice touch. Free bottled water and pastries.
The only downfall to this whole stay here was the checkout. Our plane wasn't leaving until later in the afternoon - around 6pm. We had to leave at 5pm, but we had to check out at 11am. So what were we going to do for 6 hours with a 2 year old? Hmmm....the hotel staff was persistent about checking out at 11am, and as long as I paid an additional 110,000 francs (around $120 US dollars) we could get a later check out BUT they would probably have to move us to a different room. I thought the whole process was a bit stressful since we already paid a good amount to stay there for 3 nights and we were only looking to stay another 6 hours or so. Luckily they were able to keep us in the same room which just made it easier, but still had to pay an additional $120 for the late check-out.
With that said, I would highly suggest that when you check in...IF you have a late checkout and a late departure ask in the beginning if you can have a late checkout so you’re not trying to pull strings on the last day. However, the hotel is fully aware of your departure time...so I felt they should have asked if we wanted a late checkout or not...and at least made it an option.
They do have what they call "transition rooms" which is a shower and a toilet. Period.
Overall it was just amazing. I don't really see the private island being a big "party island" either. Staying on the private island also means you can take the shuttle boat back and forth as many times as you want at no charge. Those who are staying on the main island have to pay - hence the reason they call it the private island, it keeps it private to those who are staying. We had no issues waiting for the boat and it's only a 2-3 min boat ride. Our OWB bungalow allowed us to jump in the water at any time and we snorkeled a lot. We saw all sorts of fish all the time, even saw a black tip reef shark. Again, just amazing. Beautiful. Our only issue was at check out, and a slight language barrier with the staff..but nothing that would ever keep me from coming back to this beautiful private island and hotel.
I would not hesitate to bring your kids, I was hesitant only because of what I've read on other websites that this is considered a place to stay for "Honeymooners" and families should stay on Moorea - but I found it to be quite opposite. We saw several families vacationing with children of all ages. Toddlers to teenagers and everyone we encountered was friendly, polite, and really went out of their way to talk to her.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Overlooking one of the most beautiful lagoons in the world, Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island is located in the heart of the exceptional Matira Bay, nestled on a private islet facing the main island of Bora Bora. A secret hideaway where you can enjoy a peaceful and romantic retreat, regenerate yourself and savour the exquisite feeling of being at home on your own private island. This boutique hotel is emphasizing privacy and intimacy to create a unique experience in the heart of native vegetation surrounded by turquoise water and beautiful coral gardens. ... more less
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