Overwater bungalows in French Polynesia, my first time at Maitai Bora Bora
I have to say that even if I’m used to traveling quite simply on the territory, often by Airbnb, camping or guesthouse, the idea of being able to spend a few nights in a bungalow on stilts in French Polynesia has been on my mind for quite a while. I’ve been living here for 4 years and I hadn’t yet had the opportunity to test the concept. It’s now been done after spending two beautiful nights in collaboration with the Maitai Hotel in Bora Bora.
I have to tell you frankly that it is a first for us (my wife and I) to work in partnership with an accommodation. I had never had the opportunity to do so before. You’re probably wondering why I agreed to this idea? As you know, although I am more inclined to promote the “simple and authentic trip” to French Polynesia, I can think of at least three relevant reasons to test accommodations.
- I receive dozens of emails a day from people preparing their trip, either on their own, or sometimes via agency, asking for advice on itineraries, islands to visit but also very often an opinion on the choice of their accommodation. Even though I know much more about family pensions (because it’s my way of traveling basically), a part of my readers also looks to small hotels and sometimes to luxury hotels for their honeymoon maybe. You’d be surprised how many times I’ve been asked, “in Bora Bora, is it better to sleep at the Maitai, the Sofitel, the Intercontinental? etc.”. In short, I find it more and more relevant to be able to give honest feedback to my readers on accommodations where I really stayed, don’t you? The main idea is to help you as much as possible in the preparation of your trip,
- I also accepted this collaboration with the Maitai Polynesia Bora Bora because the hotel fits perfectly into an “affordable” price range that I think a majority of my readers can relate to. We are not talking about 2500$ nights as in some hotels. The rates will of course be higher than in a guesthouse (that’s normal), since the range is higher, and I think this type of hotel can perfectly correspond to some of my readers who would like to enjoy themselves in a nice place for a few days during a trip to Polynesia. Of course, sometimes I also get requests for information or comparison with hotels that offer very expensive nights (over 1500/2000€),
- Last personal reason, I really wanted to experience sleeping in an overwater bungalow, and if there is a place to do it, it’s French Polynesia!
Come on, let’s go. So, here’s how I felt about the four nights in the hotel and what I think are the interesting things to remember about it. I will then tell you about all the other hotels next door and about our weekend on the island where I had the opportunity to discover other spots that I didn’t know. As always, my feelings, my opinion and the writing belongs to me.
If you have decided to spend a few days on the island of Bora Bora, I invite you to take a look at the Manawa website which lists some activities to do on the island. Among the most beautiful things that I have been able to do in French Polynesia, the flight over the island of Bora Bora by seaplane. I also shared my opinion of this experience and how I felt about it. Be careful, continuing to read is taking the risk to book the excursion 🙂 This activity is unfortunately no longer available but I suggest that you take a helicopter flight over Bora Bora, which should be just as beautiful!
In fact, I’ll give you some recommendations for activities at the end of the article to give you some ideas!
The hotel itself
We were frankly beautifully welcomed with a flower necklace and a little refreshment. In order to have a more general view of the place, we had wished to stay two more nights in one of the rooms with a view of the lagoon (at our expense). I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by the room, big enough for my taste, nicely decorated and the highlight of the show of course, the terrace with the beautiful view of the lagoon. It’s really nice and for the price, I think it’s very good. You should also know that the Maitai has the “cheapest overwater bungalow in Bora Bora”. For those who want to have fun in a beautiful place at a “low price”, it’s a very good plan. We loved the room as a whole with its nice little bathroom and very good bedding. We were over the moon!
The hotel is actually divided into two distinct parts, the rooms with garden and ocean view on the mountainside and the beach with bungalows on the beach and overwater. The access to the rooms is a small maze of paths, all in a beautiful garden that is well maintained and flowered! It’s a very pleasant place to walk anyway.
We then spent the nights of the weekend in a beautiful overwater bungalow. Even if I had seen pictures of the place, I still “wowed” when I entered the room and especially when I set foot on the terrace which offers a breathtaking view of the lagoon. The feeling of floating on water, I found really superb, not to mention the noise of the waves at night. The bungalow is really big, well decorated too, the bedding always on point, the air conditioning for those who wish, tea available, in short we are obviously fans … Some swimming spots are also available at the edge of the beach bungalows allowing to observe the local fauna easily!
To say a little more about the hotel quickly, it has 4 categories of rooms, from the cheapest to the most expensive: garden view room, ocean view room, beach bungalow, overwater bungalow. As in all hotels in French Polynesia, excursions are suggested to the hotel’s guests. You are free to choose (or not) what interests you. The hotel has two restaurants, one on the beach side (my favorite for the environment) and one on the mountain side.
In a world where people try to pay more and more attention to ecology, the hotel really promotes respect for the environment and ecology, and this is quite frankly appreciable. It is moreover entirely built with local materials (bamboo, pandanus, local stone, etc.). Efforts are clearly made to remind people that water is scarce on the island and that they must be careful (reminders on signs in the rooms for example).
Another interesting aspect of the hotel to point out is their participation in the Biorock© program, which aims to restore coral reefs. On the beach in the center of the hotel, you have a whole series of explanatory panels (out of water and in water). I was thus able to go for a swim in the middle of the coral restoration sites (even if the water was not warm for me). It’s quite impressive to see how life can resume its course in this way. There is quite a lot of life around, it’s very nice to see and observe.
A little detail to conclude which I found good, the use of cardboard straws! and the dance party every Saturday night which offers a little Tahitian dance show.
To summarize things:
- The advantages of the hotel: the rooms with ocean view (rare in Bora Bora) and its presence on the island, which allows you to be more autonomous and not dependent on a boat shuttle (in case you sleep on a motu). The Maitai is also located not far from the car rental company Avis Bora Bora, which is very convenient for those wishing to rent a means of locomotion. You are also very close to other snack bars, shops and restaurants, and less than 10 minutes walk from the beautiful Matira beach.
- The small minuses: in priority I would say the wifi which is more than unstable and non-existent in the bungalows. The rooms upstairs are very beautiful with the view of the lagoon but also noisier I found (sound travels up). The food is on the whole correct but could be improved in my opinion.
My weekend there
One of the big advantages of the hotel, as I was saying, is being close to the car rental company Avis. Coming to Bora Bora is great, but I recommend anyone to rent a car/scooter and go discover the island. I’m not going to repeat all the things to do during your stay in Bora Bora Island because I’ve already written a complete article about it, but I had the opportunity during this weekend to see and do things I didn’t know about.
Kayaking, natural aquarium and snorkeling
With the sea having calmed down, we decided to use the kayaks provided free of charge by the hotel to go to the well-known aquarium spot. This little corner of paradise is located just in front of the Maitai, just behind the Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island, located on a small rocky motu. I had heard about this famous spot. After about 10 minutes of kayaking, you literally find yourself in a pool of crystal clear water. The water is very beautiful, as I have rarely had the opportunity to see it.
The trip is easy by kayak and you can settle down at the back of the Sofitel motu to enjoy the snorkeling spot. For lovers of tropical fish and beautiful corals, you will be delighted. Between us, it’s a pity that the service providers who pass through there by boat are still practicing fish/shark feeding (even if it’s been forbidden in French Polynesia recently).
Tour of the island, discovery of the cannons and swimming at the other end of the world
A short easy return and we set off to discover the tour of the island. Yes, my wife and my little one didn’t know Bora Bora, so I’m “the guide” this weekend. We left to discover the famous American guns from the Second World War, those located in the northeast of the island, on the Fitiiu point (see on google map). To locate yourself it is at the top of the only slope of the island. The entrance of the place is charged for maintenance (500xpf). This gives you access to a path to reach the two guns. The path offers superb views of the surrounding bays and the ever-great Mount Otemanu. The view from the cannons is just as beautiful!
You can then follow the path down to a small beach below and enjoy a nice snorkel there. If you are lucky like us, you can be alone at times, without all the tourists.
We ended our afternoon at the beautiful Matira beach, the only real ” large beach ” on the island of Bora Bora. Most of the other beaches are located on the motus. As I talk about it in my article on Bora Bora, I really advise to stop before the Matira point actually for swimming. It can be crowded and you may not be completely at peace. Coming from Vaitape, stop 200/300m before, in the shade and enjoy the seascape! At the end of the afternoon, I advise everyone to go and taste a good ice cream in the village at the Iarona Gelato, these homemade ice creams are a wonder.
For those who do not want to rent a transportation on the island, the advantage of being at the Maitai is to be able to enjoy the Matira beach a 10 minute walk away, which is really great. If you want to experience a change from the hotel’s restaurants, you can go to the excellent Lucky House, a 5 minute walk away. The food there is really good.
Day at motu Piti A A'au
I must confess that we didn’t want to choose a tour of the hotel to be with all the other tourists. So we went to another provider, Manu Taxi Boat, and I must say we were not disappointed. A very nice welcome, they came to pick us up directly at the Maitai pontoon. The trip to the spot is sublime, water like we rarely see and what about the beach on the motu, wow! We spent the day on this little piece of heaven just the three of us since we were the only tourists to have come here for the day. We even had the chance to go in the water with a dozen of leopard rays, a magical moment in breathtaking scenery, what more could you ask for?
That’s it, I’m getting to the end of this article. I deliberately did not only speak about the Maitai Polynesia Bora Bora, as it was not the goal. But in all honesty, I think it’s a very good spot, both for its location, which is close to everything, and for its very good value for money. It’s definitely a place that I would recommend to a couple who would have spent their holidays in guesthouses and who would like to treat themselves for one or two nights in a nice overwater bungalow. The experience is magical and should be lived once. Especially since the Maitai offers the cheapest overwater bungalows in Bora Bora. You can book here directly.
Which activities in Bora Bora to choose?
This article is not meant to give you all the activities to consider on Bora Bora island, so I won’t do it here, but I thought I would give you a short list to give you some ideas. Here are the 5 activities that I highly recommend and that you can do during your holiday on the island!
- Helicopter flight around Bora Bora : I was talking about it above. This is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen: the lagoon of Bora Bora seen from the sky. Forever in your memory!
- Traditional pirogue excursion on the lagoon : Here is an unusual excursion. Explore the beauties of the Bora Bora lagoon on a traditional pirogue. You will tell me about it!
- Eco-Safari rays and sharks & snorkeling : Leave for a few hours to learn about lagoon's fauna and flora. A beautiful glimpse of the place's diversity!
- First dive in Bora Bora : Bora Bora's lagoon is a magnificent spot, in a quiet environment, to do your first scuba diving. You will love it!
- Guided jet ski tour on Bora Bora lagoon : If you like thrills and gorgeous landscapes, I believe that a few hours of jet skiing here is a must!
I found it relevant to see an accommodation I had heard good things about and to put a feeling and a sensation to it. I feel that I am now ready to make a legitimate recommendation or compare it to others! In the meantime, you should know that (even if I haven’t been to them yet) there are two other Maitai hotels, one on Rangiroa atoll and the other one on Huahine Island, an island I love. Feel free to tell me if this type of article was enlightening and if you think it’s interesting for you as a reader to have an honest review on accommodation?!
I hope to see you soon for another spot to discover!
See you soon,