French Polynesia’s Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort

Jun 1, 2013
2013 / June 2013

Arrival/Check-In: The island of Moorea is just a 35-minute boat ride from Papeete, where our flight arrived at 6 a.m. We got to the resort via boat and local taxi by 7:30 a.m. Due to the early hour, our room would not be ready for another three or so hours, but the staff seated us in the lobby and presented punch, floral leis and wet cloths while they explained the resort and all its amenities. The open-air lobby provided great views of the tropical greenery around the resort. We decided to have breakfast while we waited; shortly afterward, the staff found us and led us to our overwater bungalow. It took another 20 minutes or so for our luggage to arrive in the room.

Guest Quarters: Our bungalow was stunning. Each bungalow is separated, giving guests privacy and a sense of freedom. When first walking in, the high vaulted ceiling caught my attention; along with the dark wood flooring, it helped keep the room cool. A small cutout in the floor was glassed in for viewing the water and the sea life below. The king-sized bed dominated the center of the room, with netting hanging from the high ceiling providing a romantic feel. The bed faced the deck doors and glass wall, giving excellent views of the ocean. A flat-screen TV offered satellite stations and music options. The desk also faced the deck; although it was small without many electrical outlets, the lighting was good.

Sliding double doors behind the bed wall opened to the spacious bathroom. The freestanding shower was the highlight of the bathroom, with black and white tiles, an overhead waterspout and glass doors that allowed fresh air to waft in. The double-sink vanity had great lighting and held Molton Brown products.

The best part of the suite was the two decks. The first deck led off the room and had two lounge chairs and sweeping views of the beach and waters. The second private deck, a few steps down, offered more sun and a direct ladder into the water.

Services/Amenities: The resort has two restaurants. The K is upscale, serving dinner by reservation only. We tried it on our second night, and the seating in the sand and the wine were a perfect touch. The all-day dining at Pure offers a variety of American favorites and French cuisine. Befitting a resort, there is no gym for guests, but long walks on the beach, jet skiing and free scuba gear keep you active throughout the day. The Sofitel brand’s Le Spa is here as well, offering romantic couple’s massages, scrubs and facials. After being in the sun for days, I indulged in a scrub to help my skin shed the sandy residue. WiFi is not free or even relatively inexpensive, but guests can purchase it by the hour and access it with a password throughout the resort.

The Experience: The Sofitel Ia Ora Beach is a world of its own. The entertainment available to guests can last for days, and the views make you never want to leave. The staff were warm and helpful and spoke English well with a nice flair of French to remind me of their culture (although no one seemed to understand the word “ranch” when I tried to order dressing for my salad). I recommend this resort for anyone looking for a relaxing, low-key getaway away from the main island or Bora Bora.

GT Checklist

  • Doorman/valet
  • Less than 10 minutes for check-in
  • Separate tub and shower
  • Large vanity
  • High-quality towels
  • Powerful, unattached hair dryer
  • High-quality bed linens
  • Large, flat-screen television
  • Large desk with convenient outlets
  • Large, complimentary laptop safe
  • Complimentary in-room WiFi
  • Complimentary bottled water
  • Stocked minibar
  • Ample lighting
  • In-room coffeemaker
  • Iron and ironing board
  • On-site restaurant and bar
  • 24-hour room service
  • State-of-the-art fitness center

Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort

BP 28, Moorea
98728 – Maharepa
French Polynesia
tel 689 551212
sofitel.com

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