Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort
What We Love
- Swim-up access to overwater bungalows through a lagoon full of fish
- Hot stone massages in the Zen spa
- Barefoot gourmet dining under a thatch roof
What To Know
- It’s a half-hour high-speed catamaran ride from Papeete, Tahiti, to Moorea
- Expect early evenings; the resort and island are all about the quiet life
- The Green Pearl, an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus–designed golf course, is nearby
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
This elegantly understated resort maximizes Moorea’s extreme natural beauty. Thatch-roofed overwater bungalows blend Polynesian touches with 21st-century luxuries. As part of a $40 million overhaul in 2006, 19 overwater retreats were added to the complement of 60. On land, another 35 feature either beach or garden views.
Bed and Bath
There are no tubs in the overwater bungalows — but who needs one when there’s a gloriously blue lagoon right outside the door? (There’s also a lagoon viewing window set into the bungalow’s floor.) Instead, the bathrooms feature a stone tile rain shower and double sinks. Romantic netting tumbles from the ceiling to drape the comfy MyBed. If you’re more of a landlubber, you can opt for garden or beach villas, which have private terraces with hammocks and bathrooms with deep-soak tubs.
Don’t leave without dining in the restaurant, K, where romance is raised to a whole other level. Ditch the footwear and walk on sand to a table lit by crystal candle centrepieces. Enjoy a spa treatment or loll in the pool, which adds another layer of blue to the scenery.
In the Area
With sawtooth mountain ridges, vertiginous fern-cloaked cliffs, deep ravines and dramatic waterfalls, Moorea’s lush interior is worth exploring. Ranch Opunohu Valley’s horse treks travel past pineapple plantations sprouting from rich, red soil. Use your own legs on a half-day, full-day or summit hike with Tahiti Evasion. Or add wheels and go on a quad bike or 4WD tour. Full-island tours usually include a stop at Belvedere Overlook, in the island’s center. Play a round of golf on the Green Pearl course or explore the placid lagoon’s marine life. Water activities run the gamut from kitesurfing to kayaks to jet skis.
How to Get There
We just finished a four night stay at the Sofitel and we were happy with our stay. You have to keep in mind the resort is probably at least thirty years old but they keep it up well. There will be a few dated spots but there are no new resorts on Moorea. Our room, a garden bungalow was still sharp with no warn edges. Here's how things were:
Lobby: Understated but nice. Don't expect the mega resort entry like you might find in Hawaii but very well done.
Service: Excellent with every person. Everyone was well trained. As expected for a five star resort.
Location: Great spot on a perfect beach. No complaints. Moorea is gorgeous.
Grounds: Nice. Some dated and warn areas. Not up to a Four Season's level and I might not give them five stars there. You just can't have sidewalks that are 30 years old and not have them look old and cracked.
The room: Very nice with linens, pillows, amenities, fixtures etc. all at the five star level. The exteriors do show wear as others have mentioned but nothing I found offensive. Turn down service excellent. Spotlessly clean. Large. Great porch. The various locations are very different so you might want to confirm exactly what your view is. A lagoon view might be into an over water bungalow etc. We were happy with our's. Again the room will have minor wear issues. Simply unavoidable with age but insignificant.
Food: All great. The breakfast buffet is the only option and it's $39 US if you don't get it included with your rate so that was a good option. The quality of everything was great. About what you would expect at a luxury resort.
Chickens roam the entire island and they'll wake you very early. Maybe the resort can at least make the grounds less inviting to them? A dog making the rounds each morning would probably solve that problem fast. Overall, I'd say this place is excellent and one of the best on the island. Probably not showy or glamorous but understated and well done. Great atmosphere and always friendly. Recommended but know what to expect.
We took quite a bit of time to decide where to 2nd honeymoon (1st trip) bought a package. First time to French Polynesia, first experience with this hotel brand and we couldn’t have asked for more.... except a few more days.
We were picked up promptly at the airport, given a quick ride to the hotel and greeted kindly at check in. The strong French speaking woman helping us was a bit hard to understand at times, but we muddled through it. We probably should have taken a course in French before making the trip, it may have helped us at times.
We had been put in a garden bungalow rather than an over water or even water front bungalow we did have a good view out the front dual sliding doors to a view of the lagoon and several of the over water bungalows. The covered front lanai or front porch with two wicker chairs was an excellent place to read, have coffee or watch the day go by (my only comment here would be to add adequate cushions for the back (the chairs are deep and not comfortable without something for your back like a beach towel or two).
The lush gardens and extensive blooming flowers with the ever present smell of gardenias were a delight to the senses. Our bungalow was stunning, to walk in to highly polished hardwood floors, a massive king sized bed in the middle of the room facing the water immediately had us wanting to crawl into bed. The one room bungalow was also appointed with a large daybed along one wall, with a flat screen tv on a colorful table giving us room to put daytime essentials.
On the back side of the floating wall behind the bed, were several drawers for clothes, coffee bar and a hidden mini refrigerator well stocked each day with two bottles of water, two bottles of sparkling water, a can of Sprite, Diet Coke, Coke, can of pineapple juice, a can of mango juice and two cans of the local beer.
An adequate closet with room to hang several dresses, shirts and slacks, an iron/ironing board, small room safe, two umbrellas (which were needed a few times) or if you preferred two plastic rain ponchos.
Across the entire back of the bungalow was the roomy bathroom, one side had a toilet stall with door, the opposite side had two vessel sinks (with all accommodations- (shampoo, conditioner, body wash gel, hand lotion, nail file, q-tips, eye makeup remover pads) and in between was a open, tiled shower that you could open rear glass doors to an enclosed garden (you were completely hidden from anyone seeing you or know you were showering with it open other than possibly the sound). Also in the shower was a drying cord to hang towels or your wet swim suit from to dry. (Extremely convenient)
We had a breakfast included in our package and the amount of breakfast choices was staggering!! From breads, baked croissants, sausages (chicken and pork), eggs (hard boiled, scrambled or omelet), bacon, waffles, fresh fruit (orange, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, mixed fruit), several kinds of yogurts with optional mango or other toppings or plain, hash browns, cheeses, multiple kinds of juices and I am probably missing even more. If you cant find something very good to eat here it’s definitely not their issue (it would be you).
For lunch/dinner we chose to eat at the bar but the resort has two additional restaurants. We fell in love with the fish and chips - superbly done and any of their alcoholic concoctions were delightful. Also available some days was the beach bar - great place to get some thing to drink while enjoying the sand, warm weather and incredibly gorgeous blue water.
There were lots of options for enjoying the water- from the infinity pool to the lagoon itself to using paddle boards or going snorkeling. A nicely paved path was good (and wide) for walking or fat tired bicycles, for a fee other options could be arranged through the hotel such as ATV or 4x4 excursions.
Every person (grounds keepers, room service, house keeping, concierge, dining staff, person taking you to your room/picking you & your luggage up, transportation personnel) you met from the hotel was always ready with a warm, friendly greeting and a smile. We have never traveled and met with such a kind, good hearted group of people in this industry- for that alone it is worth coming to stay here.
Your luggage is taken to your room for you as well as picked up in plenty of time for you to get to the airport and they have a shuttle to take you/pick you up. If you are looking for the kind of vacation where you tell them what you want or need and they take care of all the other details- this is the hotel/resort for you. I would not hesitate in sending our family or friends here.
Thank you for such wonderful memories.
We bought a day pass to be able to spend the day at their resort. The price for the day pass was very reasonable because you were able to get chairs, towels, and a two course lunch for 6500 cxp per person. I felt that the Resort was dated and was in need of an update but all in all acceptable to spend the day.
This is a special place. The service was exceptional, the staff was friendly and welcoming at all times. We found the property to be well-maintained and managed. The overwater bungalow we stayed in was unreal. A truly incredible experience. The drinks and food on the property was quite good, but expensive. The snorkeling, beach, and pool area were all top notch. We can't wait to come back.
We stayed at the overwater bungalow for 3 nights. We are so happy that we are relocated in this resort. The bungalow is so clean and we enjoyed the crystal clear blue water with tropical fishes. They also have vegan options in their restaurant. The staff are friendly and never failed to greet us whenever we meet them around the resort and the customer service are excellent. The complimentary breakfast are so good with freshly juice fruits and with lots of options. The room has complimentary beverages such as water, canned juice and beers, which is truly appreciated during our stay.
We enjoyed snorkeling around the resort. I also had a chance to check out the bungalow with a lagoon view which is the second best option from the overwater bungalow. Mauruuro Sofitel!