A Great Deal A review of Bora Bora Beach Resort
It's rare that you feel you got more than you paid for but that's how we felt about this hotel. We got a great deal on the internet (the hotel is owned by Accor Hotels so go to their website) for about $130/night which included breakfast. This was a non-changeable, non-refundable deal. The hotel ended up being at least a 3+ star (maybe 4 star hotel) so the price was a real deal. All of the hotel rooms are garden rooms while the reception area and pool are on the beach side of the road.
Our first impression, however, was not so positive. We were told that we would be picked up at the ferry dock but when we arrived, no one was there. We waited in the heat (no shade and no open bathrooms) for someone to come pick us up. Finally, about an hour later, we took a cab to the hotel. The driver told us that this hotel often forgets to pick up their guests from the dock. The woman at the front desk blamed us for not having called to remind them and then told us our reservation did not include breakfast. Fortunately, we had a print-out of our reservation and could show her that it did include breakfast. Later she apologized (sort of) for being so argumentative. So, lessons learned:
-Call the hotel the day before to make sure they know what flight you'll be on so they know what time the ferry will arrive (when you fly in, you're shuttled to the main island via a ferry). Get the name of the person you talk to.
-Bring a copy of your internet reservation confirmation.
Other than that, our stay was just about perfect. The rooms are large, have lots of nice wood (reminded me of hotels in Hawaii) and were nicely decorated. Each room has a balcony or patio looking out into the garden. Each room also has a day bed (single bed against the wall) which we found that we used a lot to sit on. Air conditioning is good and there is a small refrigerator in the room. The reception area has an activities desk with a binder describing the various activities you can sign up for (conducted by outside vendors, not the hotel). The hotel is not at all pushy about the activities. Also in the reception area are some couches for relaxing and 2 computers for internet usage, one with a French keyboard and one with an English one. They are a bit slow. The cost to use them was about $20/hour but the cybercafe in town charged $24/hour. Just outside the reception area is a nice pool and the beach, which had chaise lounges. People probably don't swim much at this beach because a lot of boats come in here. Next door is a dive shop. Across the street is a small boutique where they also rent bikes and cars. We rented bikes for the approximately 5 mile ride into town to buy groceries, etc. You also can take the hotel transportation which leaves at specific times (we never could figure out exactly when) during the day and costs $5 each way. Within walking distance of the hotel are a couple of restaurants. However, it is very dark on the road so bring a flashlight.
Posted on the reception area bulletin board is the daily activities list. And here's where we felt we got more than we paid for. The first night, they had the "Tahitian Mamas" doing some singing and dancing in the large bar after dinner. They invited the guests to dance with them and gave each of us a fresh flower lei. They showed us all the baskets and hats they had made with (ti?) leaves and then presented each of us one as a gift. They managed to involve everyone in the room.
The next night was a demonstration of making (plus, of course, tasting) the national dish of poisson cru (raw fish in coconut milk). Again, the man doing the "cooking" involved many of the guests in the process.
The next night there was a Tahitian dance (including fire dance) performance by men and women out on the beach. Again, many of the guests were asked to participate.
All of these daily activities were free to guests of the hotel. It is possible, however, that this is a temporary thing. The Sofitel Hotel, next door to the Novatel but owned by the same company, is currently closed and undergoing renovation. It may be that these are activities which would normally have been held at the Sofitel which is a higher-end hotel.
Breakfast normally costs about $25/person but it was included in our nightly rate. It was a whole buffet each morning with cereal, fruits, pastries, hard boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, bacon, pancakes, etc. Note: the hotel does not offer ice anyplace (except in drinks you order from the bar).
We would definitely stay here again, particularly if we could get such a good rate.