Tahiti: Sofitel Moorea

We stayed at the Sofitel Moorea for five nights in an overwater bungalow, number 2012 while the kids stayed in a beautiful lagoon view bungalow, number 323.  This is the same resort we stayed at on our honeymoon while on Moorea and we were curious to see how it had changed.  It was lovely then and it is lovely now.  As always, photos first and then our review.

The Sofitel Moorea is located just a mile from the Moorea Ferry port as well as the airport, and a taxi costs between $15-20 USD, depending on the number of people in your party as well as the number of suitcases you are carrying.  In order to get to Moorea, you can either fly there from Tahiti or take a short 30-minute ferry ride over.  Once there, you will be awed by the setting.  Crystal clear water with emerald and turquoise colored shades of water…just brilliant!

Size:  Sofitel Moorea is a small, intimate resort, which offers both garden and lagoon view bungalows as well as beautiful overwater bungalows.

Star Level:  We stayed at the Sofitel Moorea for five nights in an overwater bungalow while our kids stayed in a lagoon view bungalow.  We would consider this resort to be a 4 star resort, with a few exceptions here and there.  For example, the front desk staff was very friendly and accommodating, but somewhat slow and inefficient.  The check in process seemed to take a very long time, especially with people calling constantly or interrupting the process.  This may have been an anomaly, but it’s what we experienced at the time.

Some staff bordered on being rude.  For example, for breakfast one morning, we tried to enter from the wrong entrance, as it was our first day.  The staff member who saw us tried to tell us to go around the other way, which we would have done, had we understood her French.  When we didn’t understand, she became noticeably irate and just walked away in a huff.  At first we thought we may have misinterpreted her rudeness, and gave her the benefit of the doubt, thinking perhaps she was coming out to help us, but then we saw her return, and just go on with her duties, completely ignoring us.  Not a great start to our stay.   We did have four children with us at the time, so I’m not sure if that had anything to do with the lack of assistance or kindness.

As an aside, we did address this with the resort, and they immediately discussed the situation with her, as well as sent us a note of apology with complimentary drinks.  It was nice that they took it so seriously.  Another strange and unexpected instance was our 9 year old son being told he couldn’t build sand castles on the beach, as well as our 14 year old daughter being told she couldn’t leave her towel or snorkel equipment on the sandy beach while she went swimming.  Just a bit odd and it was not done very nicely.

Category:  Although this resort is available to all ages, it is most likely best for honeymooners, as kids are not made to feel especially welcome (see above).

Beach:  The beach here is small and nice, but the water is absolutely stunning!  It is crystal clear, with different shades of blue, green, and turquoise.  There is a ton of gorgeous coral reef everywhere, and the further you swim out, the more beautiful it gets.  The reef is alive, colorful, and healthy.  If you swim out to the left of the overwater bungalows, you will see an enormous amount of gorgeous coral.  It you head the other direction, to the right of the bungalows, there are more fascinating, large rock formations.  It’s especially fun and convenient to be able to snorkel just from your overwater bungalow, and the further out your bungalow is, the better the experience.

Rooms:  The bungalows at this resort are beautiful.  They are very spacious, with wooden floors, sliding glass doors, clean one-sink bathrooms with hair dryers and toiletries, and very nice king sized, comfortable beds.  The overwater bungalows have a square cut out of the floor near the foot of the bed, where glass has been laid, allowing guests to view the underwater life below them.  If you are an animal lover, it is quite a treat.  Hint:  Ask for a bungalow as far out as possible, and hopefully one that is furthest left or right versus one in between, as the views and privacy are much better.

Activities:  The resort offers very few complimentary activities, but your agent can book a variety of tours and excursions for you prior to arrival, or you can book them yourself upon arrival.  You can book snorkeling tours, island tours, swim with the sharks and sting rays (our personal favorite), and a host of other activities as well.

Nightlife:  There is little to no nightlife at the Sofitel, apart from dinner activities or a visit to the Tiki Village for a Polynesian Dance and Dinner.  The hotels will offer something similar to this, but if you have the time and money, I’d recommend booking the Tiki Village Polynesian Dinner and Dance over what the resorts have to offer.

Dining:  Dining at the Sofitel is expensive, as is everything in Tahiti.  An all you can eat buffet is around $75 USD per person.  Actually, room service is more affordable, with entrees starting around $25 USD, so it’s quite a bargain in comparison.  Another option is to dine out.  There are several local restaurants which will actually come and pick you up right at your hotel and drive you over to their restaurant, no charge.  Just ask the concierge or front desk staff for options, and they will also help you arrange a ride.  A moderately priced restaurant may run you about $30 per person for an entree.

Overall:  We visited several other resorts on this island (reviews to follow shortly) and truly, the Sofitel is one of the best in terms of setting and overwater bungalows.  The few minor inconveniences or rudenesses we experienced were more an exception than the rule, I believe, and most likely had to do with the fact that we were not honeymooners, but rather a family with four kids.  Just a note, they are four well-behaved children, and truth be told, there were guests there that acted more childish than our kids.  At one point, after three hours of loud partying next door, we finally had to get the hotel involved, and these were adults.

For whatever reason, when some people see children, they just expect trouble, and this is often reflected in the service or lack of service we receive.  But that is life and hopefully (on a good day) we can prove those assumptions wrong.  But…I do mention it in case you are a family traveling to Tahiti.  I wouldn’t say not to go to the Sofitel, but just be aware that you may also experience this.  If you are a honeymooner, on the other hand, go for it!  I wouldn’t hesitate to place honeymooners and couples at this resort.

One more quick aside.  As I mentioned above, the snorkeling was truly brilliant.  Here are a few photos from our Snorkeling Adventures.

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