Moorea - Sofitel Ia Ora?

Jan 2nd, 2004, 09:34 AM
  #1  
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Moorea - Sofitel Ia Ora?

Hi - on the advice of our travel agent and another friend at work, we're going to Moorea for 6 days to kick off our honeymoon (the remainder will be in Australia)...

We're tentatively booked at the Sofitel Ia Ora. It looks gorgeous, and our friend loved it there... I just hear so many conflicting reviews of nearly EVERYTHING in the Tahitian Islands... Anyone have any advice?

Moorea sounds great to us - we're not sure we're the kind to be able to sit on the beach all day every day for 6 days. We'll want to do a bit of exploring. But as it is our honeymoon, we'll also want to be able to laze around some in a beautiful area. Neither of us has ever been anywhere tropical - not even Hawaii - so the whole thing is going to be new and beautiful!

Anyway, I'd like your thoughts on Moorea in general, the Sofitel in particular, and if it's really worth the $$ to upgrade to an over water bunglalow...

Thanks!
jilln is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2004, 09:36 AM
  #2  
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Oh also - how do the over water bungalows even work? Can you walk to them or do you have to take a small boat/launch out there? Can you swim off of your own deck? Is there room to sun on a deck off of your own bungalow? if you want to go to the beach, can you or is the rest pretty private for the beach bungalows?
jilln is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2004, 11:07 AM
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We stayed at the Sheraton so I can't help you with the Sofitel. Stopped in for a cocktail but that was all. It looked nice. There were a lot of families though.

As far as the ow bungalows go GET ONE. There are few places in the world that have them so they are worth such a unique experience. You walk out on a dock and then to your own dock with your bungalow. You have a back dock which is private and only accessable by going thru your bungalow. Deck chairs to lounge on, a ladder to climb down, snorkling, swimming, it is pure heaven!

The beach at the Sofitel is huge and anyone can go to it (as with any other resort) but no one can acess your deck! Warning, you will be spoiled by the privacy!!!

You can rent a car and drive around the island on your own. We did this and it was fun and beautiful. We took our time and were gone for a whole day, stopping at secluded beaches, hotel resorts, markets, etc.

also you can dive or snorkle, go on a sting ray feed (soooo cool!) and there are Land Rover tours of the islands.

Moorea is gorgeous, private, lush and awesome! you will love it!!!
Wendy is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2004, 01:05 PM
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pat
 
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If you don`t think you can afford an over water bungalow for the entire time, just get one for the last couple of nights. The water around the Sofitel is just beautiful. We loved doing the Motu picnic.(it`s a tour we scheduled through the hotel). You go completely around the island on a catamarran, stopping for snorkeling on the way around. The pineapple is the best I have ever had, so be sure and try some. Moorea is just beautiful and I would go back in a flash! A lot of the restaurants will pick you up in their car, if you need transportation, just ask the desk to call for you.
pat is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2004, 08:19 PM
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I just had a travl agent tell me that the Pearl and the Sheraton both have more updated facilities... Anyone think that's true? I'd love to hear from anyone who has stayed at the Sofitel... I'm really thinking we'll do the over water bungalows - it's our honeymoon after all!!!
jilln is offline  
Jan 4th, 2004, 07:02 AM
  #6  
hotandsweaty
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i have stayed at the sofitel!!

i would go for the pearl. it is brand new- just opened in 2002, i think.

we found the staff at the sofitel obnoxious and gruff. we found the rules about returning the towels to the pool by 5pm each night when the sun remained up until 6 or 7 ridiculous. we felt isolated without a car.

the only things we liked- which are available through the islands were the crystal clear waters and the beauitful lush vegetation ACROSS THE ROAD from the hotel.

the rooms were very run down and that was in 1998, so if they have not refurbished it would be a mistake to pay those high tahiti prices there. and speaking of high prices, we found ourselves using the bikes (i'm sure they charged us) to ride the 1/2 mile to the ferry station on more than one occasion to eat at the "cheap" ($8 for a crepe) food trucks there (called a "roulotte" i think if i recall.

there are many choices in tahiti- given that the islands are very pricey and it's your honeymoon, i would choose a different accommodation.

i would like to add that i am generally a fan of sofitel properties in large cities, ut the mismanagement evident at this property and the even more horrible sofitel on huahine really soured us on booking with them for a resort again.
 
Jan 4th, 2004, 07:09 AM
  #7  
hotandsweaty
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oh, you asked how you get to the overwater bungalows- think of a boat dock, but instead of slips, it's bungalows. you walk on a deck and the deck links the bungalows.

i want to clarify why we rented bikes to get food at the docks, when we asked for asststance calling restuarants to pick us up, we got blank stares and were directed to the hotel's over priced choice for dinner. when we inquired about the bus we were told there was none, then stood on the road and ten minutes later caught the bus. this is the kind of experience we had at this hotel, fyi.
 
Jan 4th, 2004, 08:01 AM
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ok...thanks so much for the info. Now I've been told the beach and overwater bungalows were renovated in 2002 or 2003...

I'll look into the other properties on the island as well... but still if anyone else has more recent experiences there, let me know..
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Jan 4th, 2004, 06:43 PM
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TahitiTams
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Hi,
Having stayed at the Sofitel Ia Oro twice and got married at the Chapel there, I must say it is the best beach in Moorea..The overwater bungalows are lovely..Especially for a Honeymoon.. They are private, beautiful decorated..Do you really want a Sheraton cookie cutter as your Honeymoon memories? The Blue Pineapple in Cooks Bay is so good for Breakfast or Lunch and Alfredo's next door is really good for Dinner.. Maku and his wife from La Jolla, California are the resident managers and they are the best! Maku does the Shark tours.. We went to the Warehouse Market around the left of the Ferry that had Hinano Beer for $8US a six pack..Great Store!
Tahiti is wonderful but I would get the heck out of Papetee ASAP and go straight to Moorea (Ferry)... Air Tahiti Nui has great package deals from LAX to Tahiti with the Sofitel Moorea.. Look into getting a Tahitian style wedding at the Chapel. Around $500.00 US and it is Stunning! I wish you all the best and you couldn't ask for a more romantic place in the world to start your life with your mate!

TahitiTams
 
Jan 5th, 2004, 04:15 PM
  #10  
 
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TahitiTams- I HARDLEY think that the ow bungalow my husband and I had at the Sheraton was cookiecutter, have you stayed there? Is the Sofitel cookiecutter to it's other hotels worldwide?

Wendy is offline  
Jan 5th, 2004, 10:28 PM
  #11  
TahitiTams
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I have been going to Tahiti since I was a little girl and while the Sheraton is ok with their overwater bungalows, I don't feel that $750.00 per night to stay in them is warranted when the Sofitel is just as nice and better for $300+..You are on a stunning beach that Conde Nast states as one of the best in the world..I have been to both and I would rather save the $450 a night! Jet off to Paris and stay at the Hotel De Crillon for the amount that you save for the week..I found that the Sheraton was a contrived Faux Polynesia..
 
Jan 6th, 2004, 11:43 AM
  #12  
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Thanks for the info TahitiTams... We aren't staying in Papetee... we are just sleeping there from when our plane arrives at 2AM until the morning when we take the ferry to Moorea.

And where the heck did you find $300 for the OWB at the Sofitel? I can't find anything less than $550... but you're right that the Sheraton is more.

I think we're going to stay at the Sofitel... Thanks everyone!
jilln is offline  
Jan 10th, 2004, 08:12 AM
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We went to Moorea and NZ last year for our 25th anniversary. How fortunate you are to be going for your honeymoon. We stayed at the Sofitel in a garden bungalow and loved every minute of it. Like you, we were concerned about the Sofitel because of so many conflicting reports. In the end we stayed there and had no complaints. When we go back to FP again we would gladly stay there again over all the other resorts which we did get a chance to visit. Our garden bungalow was 50 steps to the beach and I counted because I just couldn't believe how close a garden bungalow could be. We also had a nice view of the water and Tahiti right from our front door. For the price difference and the environmental issues we'd never stay in an OWB. But that's just my opinion. Rent a car for a day,take the motu and safari trips and use the other days to relax on the incredible beach. You'll have an unforgettable trip. Only problem we had is that my black pearl was taken or fell out from my luggage somewhere enroute home during the numerous baggage checks. If you get a pearl wear it while traveling.
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