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
- Handicap Accessible
- 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
I waited to decide what destination was our favorite, before writing a review. If you choose a trip to French Polynesia, come to Moorea, and stay at the Sofitel. We stayed in Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora, and I loved this the most by far. The island is easy to get around, has a lot of things to do, and is just beautiful.
Back to the hotel: we stayed a couple nights on a beach bungalow and then switches to an overwater bungalow for a few nights. I recommend doing the same, as you get different experiences with both. The beach bungalow is right next to the water, and the bungalows themselves are very nice. The downside is that people are walking by or soaking up the sun on the beach, right in front of our view. So it's either close the curtains to get some privacy without the view, or have the pretty views with the people, and their ability to look into our room/bed. But my favorite thing to do was to hang out on our little porch, with the warm evening breeze and the ocean waves, and having our little beach dog friend come visit.
The overwater bungalow also had its ups and downs. The bungalow itself is a little nicer, but you can definitely hear the wind shaking it at night. It was so nice being able to step out the back doors and go snorkeling or swimming with the fishes. Their coral reef is amazing, and there is a ton to see (not like the Pearl in Bora Bora). It is a bit of walk back to the hotel main area, and if it's windy, it can be a little scary. We got the breakfast by canoe one morning, for my hubby's birthday, and it was so sweet. They offered us a canoe ride while they got our mountainous food ready. The food was about the same as the buffet, but so nice to have it delivered.
If you dine for dinner at the K restaurant or the buffet, look out for a server named Pedro. The absolute best, sweetest person we had, and obviously someone who loves their job. Oh, and always stop at the concierge as one of the first things you do at any of the hotels you stay at. They can help you with reservations or even calling up local tour companies to get you excursions set up with pick up right at the hotel.
My hubby and I stayed 3 nights here en route to Bora Bora. We arrived early on our first day, but the room booked was not yet available, so they offered us complimentary breakfast. During our stay, we stayed in a beach bungalow and then a garden bungalow. Both were very clean and the mini bar was a nice touch.....especially after reading reviews of other resorts where nothing is provided. We really appreciated the complimentary lunch we received on one of the days too when we had to switch rooms. The breakfast buffet was included in our package and it was delicious!! We enjoyed everything from the assortment of fruit to the crêpes, omelettes, pancakes and the croissants. After tasting those croissants, I felt as though I was in France :).
The beach has crystal clear water and white sparkling sand, which made snorkeling a whole lot of fun!! I really felt as though I was in a live aquarium while swimming alongside all those beautiful fishes.
Finally, the level of professionalism and warmth received by all staff members must be mentioned. If I have to visit Moorea again, I will choose this hotel in a heart beat (which is also veryyyyy close to the airport)!!
We stayed in garden villa, it's beautiful and have a nice garden and sea view.
Breakfast is good, many choice.
We have dinner in the bar, all food is not bad. We have a Accor Plus card to get discount. And there is a good show when we had dinner.
We just stayed one night before we go to bora bora. But we like this hotel.