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Reviewed 20 July 2009

Bora Bora is an amazing destination and I think my expectation level for Le Meridien Bora Bora was very high as it is a Category 7 hotel in the Starwood family. This is the highest level property and I expected a five star resort at the level of a St Regis. Unfortunately, Le Meridien Bora Bora is old and tired, when I was there in May 2009, it was literally a construction zone. They are adding another pool on the beach, next to the existing one and enlarging all the lagoon beach bungalows. Construction fencing everywhere, noise wasn't really an issue, just the unsightliness.

I booked my 5 night stay on Starwood points, 40,000 points per night, with fifth night free for beach bungalow. The points per night may have gone up since I booked. As a Starwood platinum member, I emailed the resort in advance to request an upgrade to over the water bungalow and they were gracious to email me back with this confirmation of upgrade. I can send you the email address, if you send me a message.

They also arranged the airport transfer via email, which was excellent. Once you walk into the Bora Bora airport, all the major resorts have a stand where you are given a lei greeting, they help you with your luggage and whisk you away by boat to your hotel. Everyone is very welcoming and helpful. They have bottled water for you on the boat and it is a gorgeous scenic ride.The cost for the transfer is 5,000 xpf round trip per person.

Once you arrive at the hotel dock, you are taken by golf cart to a comfortable lounge with cold drink and you do your check-in. Again, everyone is welcoming and friendly. You are given your room assignment, short tour of the resort and then whisk to your room. If your room is not ready they have a transit room, so you can change into your swimsuit. The over the water bungalows are in two separate sections, rooms 201-245, rooms 301-340 and the lagoon bungalows rooms 402-415. I have the map of the property, if you send me your email, I can send you a copy.

The rooms facing Mt. Otemanu have the best view. Although my bungalow 337 was not considered a premium , it looked directly onto Mt. Otemanu and the bungalow next door was considered premium. The Le Meridien Bora Bora is like most of the resorts and is located on a motu and not the main island of Bora Bora, where Mt. Otemanu is. The motu form a circle around the island and the water in between is a lagoon, where the over the water bungalows are.

The St Regis and Intercontinental Thasso are on each side of the Le Meridien, and it has it's own separate lagoon within the resort. You can walk to the backside of the resort to see the ocean and I am told you could walk to the other resorts, although I was not that adventurous. ( wild dogs!) I was at the Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort before coming to Bora Bora and the Hilton is sheer perfection! Everything at Le Meridien was inferior to Hilton and I felt like hopping on the next plane and going back to Moorea. I would say that Bora Bora at another resort would have been wonderful.

The bungalow is smaller than Hilton and the worst part about it is the deck, it offered no sun protection and was really too hot to sit out on. The deck chair was even worst, as I am all of 99 lbs and I felt cramp and uncomfortable in this chair. The water under the bungalow isnt shallow and calm like Hilton, so you have to go snorkel at the lagoon to see fish, which isnt near the bungalow. The beach chairs are no better, but at least there is shade. You are either sitting straight upright or reclining so far back you get neck strain with trying to read. Isn't the whole point of the trip to be able to lounge around, relax comfortably and enjoy the view from your private deck?

The pool is located at the restaurant, so there is alot of activity and not the most restful, relaxing place, but they had umbrellas and nice comfortable chairs. The noise from the kitchen equipment was really annoying and you have to sit at the farthest chair to not be bothered. The view from the pool of Mt. Otemanu is great. I brought the aquasox, but never used them. When I was in the water, I had the snorkel flippers on, so didn't need them.

The room had flat panel TV across from the bed (over the day bed.) The traditional TV and DVD player was on a wheel cart. I was able to watch my Netflix on the DVD player. On Demand movies available for 10,000 xpf and DVD library for free at the concierge.

Walk in closet, separate shower, tub and toilet, dual sinks, robe and slippers, safe, refrigerator, fan and air conditioning ( didn't work as well as the Hilton). Large glass floor, but there was nothing to see under, like there was at Hilton. You can request an electrical adaptor and give a refundable deposit for the use. I like to read in bed and the lighting is terrible, another annoyance. One thing I did like was the electric hot water pot in the room, which is like the ones in Asia hotels, and I like the Hermes toiletries ( at first I though someone left these behind, cuz they also have the standard Le Meridien toiletries).

Welcome gift of champagne and t-shirt is nice and the guests receive resort credit during the renovation. Stay of 1-5 nights receive 10,000 xpf. I used my credit for cold buffet breakfast at Le Tipanie, which is only open until 10 am, so I was there as they were closing and cleaning up. I also ordered room service full breakfast on my last day, which was a treat ( I would not have done this, except I had the credit left) and had a good pizza at Te Ava ( beach/poolside restaurant) for 18,000 xpf. There is also Le Miki Miki bar, which is nice for watching the sunset. The Le Tipanie restaurant is on the lagoon and has theme dinner buffet every night or a la carte, also Polynesian Show on Tuesday and Friday.

There were no mosquitoes at Moorea, but were at Bora Bora. Bring your repellent and the cream for the itch after the bite. There is a free shuttle to the island base on Bora Bora every hour. From here, you have pick up for restaurants, car rental, bike rental, taxi. There is a store here, where I picked up fresh baguette (yummy) ham, cheese, soda, water, snack, chips, etc. There is a school right next to the base, and it was so cute seeing the kids singing in the open air gym. The main town of Vaitape is on the other side of the island. The boat shuttle ride is only 5 minutes and I did the boat ride a few times, just to be out on the water and it's a nice comfortable boat. The hotel staff use it to get home, for the one's that don't live on the hotel property.

There is not alot in Vaitape, unless you want to buy pearls. My friend recommended Robert Wan pearl shop. The hotel concierge can call them and they will send a private boat to pick you up and they have a private dock at their store in Vaitape. Robert Wan is flexible with their pricing and has the highest quality pearls in Tahitian islands.

I was recommended to go to Restaurant Aloe in Vaitape for casual, informal, well priced, local restaurant. It was good, I had the tuna tartare and delicious black forest cake!
The Tania Collins pearl store has beautiful pieces, but it seems expensive. They will pick you up at the island base, if you have the hotel concierge arrange it.

The free activities at the resort include, snorkel, windsurf, pedal boat, ping pong, volleyball, canoe, kayak and sailing outrriger. Other activities for fee include, shark feeding tour, scuba diving, jet ski, hobbie cat, private picnic, 4 WD safari, Lagoonarium, water ski, parasailing, circle island tour, deep sea fishing, helicopter. There is an activities desk and hut at the beach. Kids playground in the shade is also onsite.

In the TV room, there is a free computer for internet. This is very popular. I think there is also internet available in the room ( for a fee?) In addition, there is a small Gift Store for postcards, t-shirts, drinks. And there is a Spa in a converted bungalow. I know they have plans to convert the wedding chapel into a Fitness Center. There is also an pearl shop next to the Activities Desk.

The best part about Le Meridien Bora Bora is they sponsor the Turtle Sanctuary. Every day at 10:30 am, Sebastian and Christopher feed the turtles, fish and moray eel, then give a wonderful lecture about the turtles and the work they are doing to save them. It is also available to non-guests for a fee.

Although Bora Bora is an ideal tropical getaway, I would recommend that you stay at another resort for an over the top experience. There were some issues with the check out bill, nothing major that couldn't be fixed. The Le Meridien has a long ways to go before it is a five star resort ( needs alot of renovation) and since I was there on points, I am not sure how the rates compare to other hotels. Please enjoy my Picasa Web album, click on http://picasaweb.google.com/SusieJue/BoraBora#

I really appreciated the upgrade to over the water bungalow, the resort credit and the late check out of 4 pm, because my flight was at 6 pm. The staff is friendly and welcoming. There are good things to say about this resort, just not enough for me to recommend it.

Stayed: May 2009, travelled solo
8  Thank SusieJue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 June 2009

Can’t understand how other hotels in Bora Bora have been ranked above Le Meridien on trip advisor. This hotel and our week long stay here was genuinely amazing! From our warm welcome and easy check in to the friendliest staff(especially Alain) who went out of their way to help us. On some reviews, it was mentioned how the bedrooms here were outdated but either they got it completely wrong or the rooms have recently been refurbished. We stayed in a premium OWB, where we were lucky to have seen a Shark, a Ray and an Octopus beneath our glass floor. The breakfast was out of this world but what really set this resort apart was the Turtle Sanctuary. Every morning at turtle feeding time they gave an hour and half teaching session on the life of the endangered turtle. Having snorkelled a lot on our 3 month honeymoon, the snorkelling here in Le Meridien’s own private Lagoon was simply unbeatable! Mask, snorkel, flippers and even kanoes, sail boats, etc were all available free of charge (a great extra) The Shark and Ray feeding tour organised here was also incredible. Probably best value for money on this very expensive island. The characters running the tour were comedians, musicians and fantastic fun and the things we saw were out of this world. On this 3 month honeymoon we’ve stayed in some pretty amazing hotels but this is the only hotel that has ever given us that “WOW” factor! We’re planning our return already for our 10 year anniversary

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank gillygunner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 June 2009

I stayed with my partner in this beautiful and amazing hotel. Our room was in front of the inner lagoon, overlooking mount Otemanu (we could see it while laying on our bed!). These are the cheapest roos, as they don't have the glass floor, which is what you expect when you go to Bora Bora. We were begging the staff to transfer us to an overwater bungalow, but we then met other couples who stayed at the overwater bungalows, and they were saying they would've preferred staying in ours, as the currents were too strong and going into the water was not as fun.

Instead, we had our own "private" beach, a hammok, a little table with two seats (when we arrived, we had a bottle of French champagne waiting for us with ice in our little beach). We could swim out every moning from our bungalow to the water, see the sunset from our private beach... we stayed a lot there. The lagoon was full of colorful banks of fish and lots of turtles that love to be photographed! (we took an underwater camera and they just swam around our cameras to get a picture!). We fed the fish and they came swimming towards our bungalow. It was amazing.

The food.... oh my god!! Breakfast was always something I was looking forward! THE CROISSANTS!!!!!!! They had the most amazing croissants in a huge basket every morning.. an amazing array of cheeses and different types of flavored honeys (different flowers, orange, lavander.. mmmmffff...!!) They did a delicious typical ceviche of that area that was OUT OF THIS WORLD!! The nicest part is that you were seated over the lagoon, at the border of the water, and the fish knew it was breakfast time, so they gathered around to wait for any piece of food to fall "inadvertently" to the water -it was a great show of colors in those pristine waters.

Lunch was not as amazing as breakfast, but dinner...... OH MY GOD!!! They had a different theme each night, mediterranean, French, Mexican.. you name it. The food was AMAZING. We eat out a lot and go to very good restaurants, and the food at this hotel was over the top. We went one of the nights to a restaurant in the main island, which was very expensive and didn't match up with the hotel's dinner. This was one of the things we were sorry we did.

The service at the hotel was incredible. Since the moment you arrive to the airport and the girl from the flower stand puts you the hotel's flower chain around your neck, the magic starts. When you arrive, the hostess gives you a very warm welcome, we were given a t-shirt from the hotel and a pareo. They always went the extra mile to meet our requests. We even stayed one more night than we had planned (as recommended by other couples that had already been in other islands - they said this was the best part of their trip - for us, it was the first stop). It was worth all the money we payed. Moorea and Tahiti were a totally different experience. This hotel stay was one we will never forget.

Our rooms were always clean and very naturally designed... not my style, but very beautiful indeed. Room service was quiet and we never saw them. Always found our rooms cleaned when we came back from the water.

Oh, and the multiple water activities the hotel offers are one of the best parts!! You can do kayaking, rowboat with a local rowing for you while you sunbathe, windsurfing. We did them all and had a lot of fun. Used them every day. They had snokels for the guests, but we brought our own. By the way, bring water shoes. There are a lot of rocks at the bottom and you will feel very happy you used them.

The shark swimming tour was amazing! You SWIM with sharks, sting rays, there is on board entertainment... - the tour guides were crazy!! . it's a funny trip, worth every minute.

We really enjoyed our stay at Le Meridien. It was very well kept in Sept/08 when we went. I cannot believe it could've deteriorated in such a short time. Of course, if you stay at St. Regis or 4 seasons, it would make Le Meridien look like a Holiday Inn.. well, not so much, but it is half the price and everything is kept in great conditions. Every picture we took was like a postcard. If you have the opportunity to stay here, do it. You will never forget this experience. We are definitively coming back some day.

  • Stayed: September 2008, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank travelwithjoy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 May 2009

We really enjoyed staying on the private lagoon and snorkling daily with their rescued green sea turtles and learning about them. There were 3 bat rays in there too, but they stayed away and never bothered us. Lots of fish too. Nice to have a safe area that keeps the good creatures in and bad ones out. We also stayed over the water on Moorea and kept getting bitten by a certain type of fish, so this was nice to not have that species of fish in this lagoon. The staff was snooty, they tried to kick us out of our room before official checkout time, and pressured us that another couple was waiting for our room. Same thing happened upon arrival - they dragged out a tour of the grounds, checkin etc. before our room was ready. Flights don't leave til late in the evening, so you are checked out and have to hang around for HOURS. There is a common room with TV and computers (and more importantly A/C) , but usually a line for the 2 computers, and 1 is usually down. Prices are outrageous, but that is EVERYWHERE there, so not surprised. Don't make the mistake of not buying your magazine and sunscreen before the trip. Big bucks there - especially at the Hotel gift shop.

  • Stayed: November 2007, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank SoCalFlyGal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 May 2009

This hotel is a more than 10 years old property and needs renovation badly! The cottage is just not worth what they charge. We stayed at another hotel in Moorea for a lesser price and much better facilities and a more cosy cottage. If you are paying USD1000 per night at this hotel.. you might as well pay a little extra and get the amazing services at St.Regis. We saw their cottages and felt cheated at Meridien. They have a huge property and big rooms with a private butler. Also, the staff at Meridien hardly undrestands English!! Quite a let down..
Just not worth the price!

  • Stayed: December 2008, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank spas_for_me
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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