Notes From Our Moorea Trip

Sep 15th, 1998, 01:07 PM
Mike Bratter
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Notes From Our Moorea Trip

Just got back from Moorea. Here's the brain dump:

AIR CARRIER: We flew Air New Zealand (coach)from LAX. I would highly recommend using these guys, their service is unbelievable. Amazing food, freshly mixed cocktails at your seat, foot rests, head wings for additional support when you want to sleep, hot towels, and friendly friendly staff.

LODGING: We stayed at the Hotel Bali Hai which was initially our third choice after Sofitel and Beachcomber.

The good things about the Bali Hai include: a genuine worn south pacific feel, it's smaller than then the Sofitel and Beachcomber so it's more intimate. Great snorkeling right off their beach. Beautiful location with great mountain scenery for backdrop. Walking access to great restaurants, banks, shops, post office. We split our stay in both their Garden Bungalows and Deep Over The Water Bungalows. Both were spacious. I definitely recommend staying in the DOTW Bungalows at least one night.

The so-so things about our experience: The service was not very attentive. This was an issue throughout our stay on Moorea frankly. The locals are somewhat lazy and not very warm. Lots of Americans stay at the Hotel Bali Hai so don't look for new cultural experiences at the hotel itself. They have a tv in the lobby that either has CNN or ESPN playing at all times. While the worn feeling of the hotel is somewhat charming, we expected a better kept up facility given the money we paid given that the Hotel Bali Hai isn't cheap. In general we got the sense that management preferred cutting corners where they could throughout the hotel.

We went by both the Sofitel and Beachcomber.
It definitely looked like they offered fine fine service to their guests. Our initial impressions without staying there was that both were definitely more stuffy, folks seemed more dressed up than they were at the Hotel Bali Hai. And while everything looked well kept they also looked lacking in character. Both looked like your typical luxury resorts.

FOOD: Bring money! Everything is expensive in Moorea. Our average lunches ran about $40 US while dinners were in the $60 area. If you enjoy French Food you're going to love the food in Moorea. Our favorite restaurants were Le Cocotier and La Case. The seafood at these restaurants is just amazing. My advice is to stay away from the red meats since you can get better in the states. If you want to eat on the cheap then look for roadside stands or try Le Sylvie Bakery. Both offer decent food for slightly less money. Did I say bring money! If not, make sure you bring money to Moorea

ACTIVITIES: I'm just going to tell you what to definitely do during your stay. The first thing on my list is to pay $125 US per person to ride the "Va' a Rahi" catamarn to Marlon Brando's Tetiaroa. Unbelievable! This day trip to a set of 12 islands owned by Mr. Brando is something you don't want to miss. This place is the classic image of paradise. These garden islands host a bird sanctuary, the most amazing multi shaded crystal clear waters, and lava embedded fossils along the beach! The 3 hour boat ride each way is charming as well, don't miss it.

Next, shark and manta ray feeding trip. Enough said. Don't miss it!

Third, Safari trip. This is where you ride around Moorea's rugged mountains in a Land Rover. It was a blast.

Fourth, but definitely not last is snorkeling. This is a given. There's great snorkeling all around the island. We went out at least once a day. I was told the diving was great in Moorea as well but we didn't partake in this activity.

In closing, Moorea is an awesome place to visit whether it be for a honeymoon or whatever. I've been to the Caribbean and Hawaii and they have nothing on this place for stunning island beauty. I think we were the only couple at the Bali Hai who didn't just get hitched by the way. Anyway, the essentials things to bring are lots of money, suntan lotion, bug spray for the evenings, disposable waterproof cameras, shorts, tee shirts, bathing suits, and clean undies.

Have Fun!

Mike B.
Sep 15th, 1998, 06:55 PM
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Having recently watched the Emmies Awards, I propose we have a "Fido" Award for the best, most-informative posting on Fodor's. And I nominate this one! It is simply superb. Thank you, sir!
Sep 17th, 1998, 06:02 PM
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Mike, Your description of Moorea, brought back great memories of our holiday there. I agree that it is not the cheapest place to stay, but we found make sandwiches with the french baguettes a great saving. There is one thing I notice, repeatedly tourists from the US refer to the locals as 'lazy'. Perhaps they as tourists should be more tolerant to a different way of life. The gifts that 'white' people have brought to FP have been measles, smallpox, influenza, tuberculosis, dysentry etc which devestated the previous centuries. Missionaries attempted to wipe out Polynesian art and culture, they destroyed temples and carvings, banned tatoos and dancing and generally took the joy out of Polynesian life. Now we want them to have this 'ratrace' mentality that we have back home. Locals really don't need us tourists, they can easily live off the land and are content with far less than us westerners. We found the locals friendly and helpful and the children delightful and a lot of fun. Peg
Sep 19th, 1998, 06:49 PM
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We leave for our trip to Moorea on October 8th. Can't wait. We are staying in the Deep Overwater Bungalows at the Bali Hai Hotel.

We will be flying AOM from LA to Tahiti.Because of our departure date, we had no choice on the airline. Our travel agent told us not to expect the greatest service/attitude from them. Since it originates in Paris the boarding passengers in LA get whatever empty seats might be left - maybe not together. If the service is better than we expect then we'll have a pleasant surprise.

Since you just returned, how was the weather? Also did you find the mosquitos to be a real problem? We've heard both yes and no on that subject.

Sounds like you had a wonderful time and it makes us even more eager to get there. This will be our 25th wedding anniversary trip so we definitely won't be young newlyweds....we'll just act like it.

Sep 22nd, 1998, 05:03 PM
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Moorea is beautiful, but don't go in Dec - I was there over Christmas and New year's and had 7 days of hard rain that prohibited side trips to Bora Bora, etc. (found out later that is the rainy season - pays to have a travel agent who has been to where you are going - I stayed at the Club Med on Moorea - great group of people from all over. Has anyone been on the Paul Gaugan cruise ship?

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