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Manava Beach Resort & Spa - Moorea
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Reviewed 30 November 2012 via mobile

We are airline staff and arrived in Tahiti from NZ with no plan and no reservations. The airport was dead at 1700 hours. A tour guide was helpful and said we could make the last ferry to Moorea at 1830. The last flight left at 1700. 2500 francs or $25 for a 10 min taxi to the dock then 3000 francs or $30 for two on the 45 minute ride. The sun set as we sailed. Sunset cruise? Done!

We checked Tripadvisor on our iPhone on the crossing and found discounted offers at Sofitel, Intercontinental, Hilton, and Moorea Pearl. We chose the Moorea Pearl because of the price and TripAdvisor reviews. The traffic police in Moorea advised us that busses were not running, so they threw our bags in the back of their paddy wagon and drove us the 20 minutes to the hotel at no charge. Welcome to French Polynesia.

We advised the desk clerk, Karen, that we were airline staff and asked for her best rate. She offered us a "walk in" rate which was favorable and she included the breakfast buffet. She then upgraded us to a bungalow with a private mini pool. The room was gorgeous and we used the pool more than we thought.

The next day Gilles, the concierge, arranged a scooter from across the street for $60 a day and we drove the 60km around the whole island in about 4 hours including stops at the juice factory and Belvedere lookout site. The scooter was safe and allows you to enjoy the wildly changing smells of Frangipani, ocean, dense jungle, etc. With some luck, you might get caught in a rain shower.

We stopped at all of the other Resorts checking out restaurants and beaches and decided ours was the most intimate. Groceries, black pearl shops, car rentals, and a bakery were all within a 5 minute walk of the Moorea Pearl.

We ate one dinner across the road at a local weekend BBQ, one night at the Sofitel to see the Polynesian dancers show, and one night at Rudy's. Gilles made all the arrangements. Rudy's was the best!

The front desk manager Oliver arranged a very late checkout which allowed us one whole extra day. The staff are happy, relaxed, and courteous; often singing along with background Polynesian music.

All of the resorts were doing renovations during the low season with The Hilton pool being the worst. We did not notice it at our resort until the last day.

I would reccommend this proprerty and staff most highly.

  • Stayed: November 2012
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4  Thank sunblock90
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 November 2012

Having visited French Polynesia nearly 10 years ago, we were long overdue for a return visit. So many destinations around the world have changed (not necessarily for the better) over the past several years that I was hoping that Tahiti and her islands remained the idyllic place I remembered and longed for. My dreams came true. We chose Moorea after a lot of research and it was primarily due to the fact that it was easy enough to get, yet far removed without being isolated like some of the outer laying islands.

The Pearl was our immediate choice of the larger resorts due to the location near the village of Maharepa and the fact that it seemed the most genuine. From the reviews and information online, it seemed to also offer the best value and blend of authenticity with all the creature comforts of home.

Check In: We arrive in Papeete in the early morning after a nice Air France flight from LA and were transported to the dock for the Aremiti V ferry ride to Moorea. The ride was quick and our pre-arranged transfer was waiting for us in Moorea. We were in the hotel by 10:00am and promptly greeted with a cool drink and ice cold refreshing towels. This was a welcomed gesture and helped perk us up after the night flight. After completing the registration process and paperwork, we were advised that our room was not quite ready yet, which was perfectly understandable as the check in time is 2:00pm. We used the changing room and slipped into some cooler clothing (shorts and sandals) and proceeded to the bar for a mid-morning libation - hey we are on vacation after all. After our drink, or two, we went and had lunch at the main restaurant and relaxed there taking in the amazing views and cool breezes. Upon finishing, we checked back with reception and our room was ready - just past 1:00pm. NICE!

Room: We were in an premium overwater bungalow as reserved and were given room 418 per my request to the hotel. I thought it was great that they accommodated my request given the fact that they can't guarantee a specific room. A member of the reception team accompanied us to our room and explained all the details of the resort, opening hours, services, and all the elements of our room. After showing us the room, he promptly let us be so we could settle in for our 6 night stay (11/18-11/24). Our luggage was already delivered so we unpacked as soon as we could so we could get in the gorgeous, warm water. The room had all necessary items and was in good shape. This is an island climate so the room is exposed to quite a few elements, but it didn't bother us. The exterior and roof seemed to need repairs, but they were actively working on it and it seems like standard maintenance - there was nothing deferred or wrong with our room. We loved the fresh breeze that blew through and the louvered wood windows in the bath. We never kept the curtains closed - only the sheer ones on the side in the evening. I wanted to soak up as much of paradise as possible. The location of bungalow 418 can't be beat! It is very private at the far right end of the right pontoon and faces northeast-ish. Being at the end, it made for the best snorkeling and beautiful sunrises. That being said, I think it may also be the most "exposed" to the wind, which some may find troubling; we did not. Housekeeping kept the room tidy and well stocked with towels, instant coffee and bath amenities. The nightly turndown with a local legend and flowers on the pillow were nice. I did appreciate how they don't "mess" with your personal items. Some higher end hotels think they do you a favor by organizing your belongings, but I find it odd to have someone touching my toothbrush... There is no refrigerator per se, but rather a cooler that is not adjustable. It is okay to store waters and such, but not food. We brought along a collapsible cooler to store beers and some snacks from the nearby market. Ice is abundant in the ice machines and a mere 30 second walk from the room. The bathroom was sufficient with a lot of hot water (and by hot, I mean HOT), however, the pressure in the tub shower head could be better. The A/C did the trick as did the overhead fan, but due to the humidity, there was quite a bit of condensation from the unit. Not a big deal, but I could see how some may view this as bad. Our first night, we were gifted a lovely cut up, fresh pineapple.. Oh how the pineapple is so good on Moorea!! Housekeeping also left a few Monoi soaps (full size wrapped and gift-like) for us.

Services: Wifi is not free, but available for purchase. Speed was reliable and signal actually decent given we were at the edge of the property. Cost for a 5 day pass was 5700xpf. It worked well throughout the resort with the bar and lobby area being best. The pool service hut was open from 7a, which was nice so you could get fresh towels early in the morning. Snorkel gear is offered and the items we had weren't half bad. We brought sets from home, but they broke a couple days into our trip so we relied on the hotel's equipment. There are complimentary kayaks and paddleboards as well. I was a happy yet bummed to see they had paddleboards as I asked the hotel prior to arrival if they did and they said they did not. As a result, we brought one from California. Worked out for the best as we never had to wait for one and could use it straight from our pontoon (we stored it next to our outdoor shower at night). We did not use the spa, so I can't comment on the services or facilities, but the spa services menu looked nice and decently priced for a resort. Reception was always helpful with questions and helping to arrange for transport and reservations at local restaurants. The activities desk in the lobby is staffed by friendly people and there was never a feeling of being "sold" something. We booked a motu picnic with the hotel as it was the same price as booking it direct - 5000xpf per person for Hiro's Tours picnic - a deal as mentioned from an advertisement offered by the ferry company.

Bar/Restaurant: Breakfast was included with our stay and we found it delightful and more than substantial. Lots of fresh fruit: papaya, pineapple, oranges, coconut (sometimes), watermelon, grapefruit and cantaloupe. A variety of cheese, pastries, meats and yogurts available as well. In the hot section there were pre-made scrambled eggs (not my favorite), sausage, bacon (sometimes more done than others), crepes, pancakes and made-to-order omelettes and fried eggs. Coffees, teas and juices were also available. We ate lunch only once at the resort (first day) and found it very good. The amount of food was decent and the prices not too bad. Our son, age 14, ate for free but only from the kid's menu, which was limited. We only had one dinner at the hotel, which was on a Wednesday. We were advised reservations should be made, but never saw the restaurant more than half full. Dinner itself was a buffet and good, but pricey and not what we expected. We chose to eat dinner on Wednesday at the hotel because the sign at the entrance states there is a show on Wednesday and Saturday evenings with Wednesday offering an a la carte menu and Saturday being the buffet. So we were confused that the buffet was the only offering on Wednesday night and at the price of 5800 xpf per adult. A lot of seafood, but some of it well overcooked. The bummer was that the show never took place and upon inquiring, they said "oh, no show tonight, the lady took a vacation." Again a bit confused as when we made the reservation, the woman at the hostess station recommended a 7:30pm dinner time so we could be enjoying dessert just as the show was about to start (at 8:30pm). Oh well. The bar was nice and was our nightly starting point for pre-dinner cocktails. Tropical mixed drinks run about 1500xpf and are measured pours, so a bit weak for our tastes. There are individual spirits you can order, which is the route we took and found it to be more enjoyable and very reasonable (only 420xpf for Absolut vodka). Bar service was friendly and prompt and we were greeted each night with a little munchie plate that consisted of peanuts, olives and fresh coconut. Service staff quickly remembered us, our preferences and room location.

Location: The setting in Maharepa was ideal. It offered the convenience of several restaurants, a market, a few street fruit vendors and banks. The town is a short walk down the street after a right turn out of the resort. Moz Cafe was a delight for lunch and was very casual and inexpensive (they also had a/c which serves as a nice reprieve from the humidity). I believe they are closed on Saturdays as they weren't open when we walked by on our last day on Moorea. In the parking lot of the market was a snack bar - Chez Didier. They offered baguette sandwiches for 300 or 500xpf depending on size and nice combo plates of sashimi, poisson cru, tartare, etc. along with ice cold beers. I believe they close at 2pm and have a pretty busy lunch rush. We also dined at Rudy's and the Hotel Kaveka, both of which offered free pickup service. Rudy's parrot fish was great as was Kaveka's ginger mahi mahi. There are a few shops to browse for souvenirs and pearls. We purchased a couple gorgeous pearls from SAB. The sales lady was very polite and knowledgable and the duty free paperwork process was a breeze. Out the hotel to the left about a 12 minute walk was Chez Luciano's, which offers pizzas, pastas and salads along with beer and wine. Great pizza, but order conservatively as the portions are very large! Right across the street from the hotel was Manuia Grill, which is a very casual outdoor new restaurant that feels like you are at a BBQ in someone's backyard. Delicious grilled skewers and meats and very reasonably priced - 1600-1800xpf for a meal and the most amazing gateau I've had! Moorea is a very small island, yet we felt like we had our own world within the confines of our bungalow. We enjoyed seeing the locals living life and enjoying what nature has blessed them with.

All in all, we made the very best of our short time in French Polynesia and we loved every single second and cherished our experiences. The early sunrise (5am) made for fruitful days of sun, fun and relaxation. Embracing the culture and all that it offers is key to enjoying the natural beauty of Moorea and the Moorea Pearl Resort & Spa. Thank you for one of the best times of our lives. We will be back!

Room Tip: Go for the premium overwater bungalows. People mentioned loving the garden bungalows with pool, but they looked inconvenienced by having to "walk" to the ocean instead of diving right in.
  • Stayed: November 2012, travelled with family
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8  Thank JK949
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 November 2012

we stayed at the moorea earl for our honeymoon from the 17th-22nd of november 2012. the front of house staff are very polite, one stood out in particular she is the lady who looks after the trips i explained that i wanted photos taken on my new husband and I with out hesittion took some beautiful photos but it was her care factor that stood out. the resturant staff are lovely my husband and i went to the cocktail bar every evening we served by jammie she was so lovely and makes the best cocktails. the room was beautiful 417 it had the perfect view of the water and also the mountains behind. if you want a relaxing romantic get away stay at the moorea pearl :) we are already making plans to return in a couple years

  • Stayed: November 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Tara-Lee V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 November 2012

Went here for our honeymoon and it seems so did every other person we met. great having meals included as the costs of meals were expensive but that is because everything is sent over to the island. Hire a car for the day and drive around the island is worth it. Not that warm in august and some days were very windy with sand everywhere. Our room with our own pool was a great idea for some privacy.

Room Tip: Get a villa with a pool is a much better idea than the bungalow over the water
  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank jennine l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 November 2012

This resort is in the best location on the island. There was rain 3 out of the 5 days we were on the island, but it went around our part of the island and hit the rest of the resorts. Staff was VERY friendly and willing to please. We loved that you could rent a scooter or walk 10 minutes to the store to buy drinks, eat, shop and exchange money. We recommend bringing a collapsable cooler to fill with ice and buy your own drinks at the market, since there are no fridges in the rooms and drinks get expensive. $4.50 for bottle of water and about $15-20 for mixed drinks at the resort, at the store $1 for water and $18 for bottle of rum about $1.25 for can of soda. We stayed in a garden bungalow and felt it was a much better choice than the over water bungalows. We had our own private plunge pool and enjoyed the privacy. We also suggest renting a scooter for the day $50 and touring the island as the views were just amazing. There are lots of little shops around the island and the locals are very friendly. Also be sure to check out the Tiki Village, as they have shows and classes to learn weaving, dancing, carving tikis. Also we didnt make it but heard from other couples that the pineapple distillery was an great experience, lots of yummy rums! We went to Bora Bora after this resort, but felt that Moorea was alot more fun and friendly, as many of the other couples we talked to felt the same way. We all liked being able to rent scooters and take off around the island, but in Bora Bora you are sort of stuck on the resort as you rely on limited water taxis to take you to the main island where there isnt a whole lot to do. Plus Moorea is less expensive all around. There is snorkeling on the resort. bring your own snorkel equip since there equip is pretty used. There is lots to do on/ off the resort. You wont be disappointed with your stay here!

Room Tip: Skip the beach bungalows and stay in a garden bungalow for the private pools.
  • Stayed: November 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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2  Thank lyndsay m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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