Those who have been following us for some time on our blog will start to believe that we are becoming regulars in reviewing accommodations in French Polynesia… We couldn’t say that yet, but this is indeed our fifth detailed review of an accommodation here on the Polynesian territory. So, we keep going! After introducing you to the splendid Manava hotel on the island of Moorea, it’s time to show you the Manava Suite Resort Tahiti, on the island of the same name. This is a hotel we already know since we came to have drinks there several times!
As we often repeat it, and especially considering the increasingly number of questions we receive by email concerning accommodations, we’ve decided to test some in detail. We do think it’s a nice way to make you discover a place in depth, and it gives you a good overview if you eventually consider it during your trip in Polynesia.
In collaboration with the hotel, we are pleased to take you on a tour of Tahiti’s Manava, a place that is very well known locally by residents – especially for its happy hour and beautiful sunset facing the island of Moorea. As always, we remain entirely in control of what we write in this article.
We have to admit that even if the Covid situation is not yet improving worldwide, it is not really a problem here in French Polynesia. As I’m writing this article, we have been closed for months and there are almost no more cases nor deaths. It is also when borders progressively reopen, and the first Americans arrived with the first flights since May 1st (2021). The French should follow, quickly hopefully – probably in June/July 2021, hoping that this will “save the high season”. So, this is the perfect opportunity for us to highlight this beautiful hotel, and we hope it makes you want to come and visit!
If you’re looking for activities to do around the hotel, I’ll tell you about them at the end of the article.
As we have been living on the island of Tahiti for 6 years now, we already knew the place. In fact, when people ask me where to go for a drink at sunset, this is the place I recommend the most! We leave Papeete directly after work at 3pm this Friday to go to Manava, located at the exit of Punaauia, on the ring road. If it goes well on the road, you get there in fifteen minutes only from the city by car.
You can park in the underground parking lot, which is available both for hotel residents and if you are just coming for a drink. You can also park outside in front of the hotel, where a parking lot is also available. No problem to park then. We are warmly welcomed at the reception where we get the keys of our lagoon view suite, available for our little family for two nights!
There, we discover a huge reception hall, very well decorated, to our taste with notably a huge wooden tiki, a fountain, and above all old photos of the good old times of Tahiti. The island has changed a lot and it is even difficult to recognize some places! We then leave to join our suite… Even if we had already come many times, we had not necessarily paid attention to the decoration and the general atmosphere of the hotel.
As we leave the main hall, we continue our way outside. You have two large green areas on each side, where you can walk around in! The corridor entering the hotel towards the suites is also very green! There are small canals on each side as well as fountains, all surrounded by beautiful tropical vegetation, flowers and even banana trees! Even the access to the rooms and suites is really green. This gives a very nice side to the hotel, almost relaxing I’d say, although we are in the “urbanized” part of the island of Tahiti.
We finally arrive at our suite, on the second floor. We had asked to be placed on the pool side, so that it would be quieter compared to the rooms located above the restaurant and happy hour area. An impression of immensity hits us when opening the door of our suite, entirely covered with parquet (which is more appreciable than a room with tiles). We discover all the spaces of this beautiful suite, starting with the main room where we will sleep (us, adults, haha!). It is a very beautiful room with black/grey colors, sober, but decorated with taste, with a lot of small details reminding French Polynesia! Personally, we do like it. We find the main classics of beautiful hotels: a Queen size bed, bathrobes from the hotel, an iron, a TV, a safe and of course the air-conditioning/fan, to adapt according to your preferences. As a bonus, a huge window overlooks the vegetation outside. Nice.
We keep going with the discovery of the beautiful bathroom, composed of a shower and a bathtub. To note the small, nice touch of decoration: a small wooden tiki in front of the sink! A hallway decorated with old pictures of Tahiti leads you to the main room of the suite, where our two little ones will sleep. There is a baby bed available and a large double bed that Louis will be able to fully enjoy! The room is huge and we really do have space, which is truly appreciable when you come as a family of four. This is also very well decorated with carved black furniture, imitation bamboo and drawer handles made with black pebbles.
For once, I had decided not to look at pictures of the place before coming (that keeps a little suspense anyway!) and I didn’t even remember that there was a small kitchenette in the suite. It’s really well thought out because you don’t necessarily have to eat at the restaurant for lunch and dinner, and it makes you totally autonomous here in your suite. Even if we were invited in half-board during this w-e (breakfast and evening meal), we could largely benefit from the kitchenette for lunch. During our stay, the menu for lunch and dinner was identical. You have however the possibility of eating small snacks on the go in the restaurant. We then went to make some shopping to the Week-end store, only 5 minutes by car on the belt road. For us, especially in family, being able to stay there the midday to eat quietly at our rhythm, in the cool (especially with Téo who still takes his nap) is a very good compromise. Moreover, the kitchenette is really well equipped: cooking plate, fridge, kitchen utensils, cooking hood, dishes, microwave, teapot with coffee and tea at disposal. In short, the essentials are there and that’s perfect!
Finally, we discover with pleasure the terrace of the suite, directly offering a view on the swimming pool below, and mainly on Moorea at 360°. It is truly pleasant to enjoy the sunset from here. We can even see people practicing Vaa’a, a national sport here. In the distance, on our right, we can see the Marina Taina of Punaauia, where boats are anchored.
That’s it for our discovery, we have very good feelings and it is honestly a very nice suite that the hotel proposes here.
As usual, and especially so that you have a general vision of the hotel, here is what you must remember about it in a nutshell. There are 121 units, divided into 8 categories, from the simple standard room to the lagoon apartment. Here is a summary:
- Standard room (30m2): this is the simplest room in the hotel and therefore the cheapest. It already has everything you need, except for the kitchenette. For 2 people maximum.
- Garden studio (41m2): suitable for 2 adults and a child, you have access to more space, a kitchenette, and a relaxation area, all with a view of the hotel’s tropical garden or the mountain,
- Lagoon studio (41m2): it’s basically the same as the garden studio, but with a lagoon view! For 3 people maximum
- Garden suite (59m2): we go up a level in a large suite for 4 people (2 adults and 2 children), perfect for large families. You have access to a kitchen and a private terrace of 28m2
- Lagoon suite (56m2): this is where we stayed, with a separate bedroom, a large living room with double bed, a full kitchen and a private terrace. For us, it was very good!
- Duplex 1 bedroom suite (77m2 + 20m2 terrace): a large duplex suite with a large bedroom upstairs, and the living room/kitchen downstairs. For 4 persons
- Suite duplex 2 bedrooms (139m2 + 41m2 terrace): the same idea as the previous one, but with 2 bedrooms and a huge terrace. For 6 persons
- Lagoon apartment (60m2 + 26m2 terrace): for 4 people maximum, you can have this large apartment with a magnificent view on the lagoon!
That’s all there is to remember about the possibilities to sleep at the hotel.
Two restaurants are available for dining. The Taapuna Bar & Restaurant Tahiti is located in a beautiful setting, almost on the water. We had our first dinner there and we did enjoy it. The Vaitohi Restaurant is located inside the hotel, and we ate our breakfasts there both mornings. You can either eat inside (less nice in our opinion) or, most importantly, outside in a small garden with trees. We really appreciated it, and the children can play outside while waiting. Regarding breakfasts, we found the overall quality very good. You have access to everything you want, or almost. A big plus: the waitresses at the breakfast were adorable with our little one playing to the gallery. Even Louis had the right to coloring pages, to make him wait!
Among other nice things to know, the hotel offers a “day pass” if you decide not to sleep here but want to enjoy the hotel (only for residents). It includes a 50-minute massage, lunch at the Taapuna Bar and all-day access to the hotel pool.
On the service side, you have access to the WIFI connection in all the hotel (even if we had trouble anyway from our remote room) as well as a center of nautical activity which proposes to rent kayaks, paddles, jets ski, sunset in boat, scooters underwater, etc. We were supposed to do a little session during the weekend, but between the wind and the sea which was a little bit agitated, we finally didn’t go. Anyway, you should know that it is possible and directly accessible from the hotel’s pool!
Finally, as mentioned, the hotel has two parking lots (underground and outside), a SPA (which we did not test) and a fitness room (available 24 hours a day).
So, what do we do in a hotel like this during a full weekend? Especially when you already know the place? And when you are only 15 minutes from home? Well… we just enjoy the moment and sincerely, we don’t forget that the current situation with the Covid19 is really not simple for everybody. We are lucky enough to be now entirely spared of all that, and finally, we feel like we are quite privileged!
I must admit that we didn’t do much spectacular during the w-e. We simply enjoyed the setting, our beautiful suite with a lagoon view, the swimming pool, the good breakfasts and meals in the evening, not forgetting the great happy hour on the little motu. So, I’m just going to tell you a little bit about our two days and give you some anecdotes!
Let’s start with the meals, as any good Frenchman would do. We ate two nights at the hotel restaurant, and I must say that we were globally very satisfied with the quality of the meals. The first evening, we had the opportunity to eat on the seaside, at the edge of the happy hour area. The setting is superb, even if we found the place a little noisy actually. Nothing serious, we are surely getting old – and having two kids doesn’t help – but let’s just say that it’s not an intimate setting, although we obviously expected it. Meals were served very quickly, and we honestly enjoyed a duck breast and an entrecote. The meals were also copious and very tasty (tiramisu and gourmet coffee for dessert). The second evening, we ate inside, in the same place where we had breakfast in the morning. For this time, we’ve decided to eat there as it’s quieter. Again, we really enjoyed our two dishes. Prices are, I think, correct for a hotel of this range.
As far as breakfast is concerned, as we said above, we were generally very happy. Certainly, a little surprised that the American plate is in supplement to the buffet, but nothing very serious in our eyes. The setting is great, quiet, away from the world – especially when you come at 7am (I remind you that we have two little ones, so no more sleeping in)! I repeat myself, but the waiters at the breakfast were more than nice with us and with Téo, who smiled to everyone and even tried to dig up the plant of his pot at the entrance! We feel a real human presence, something that we clearly find much less in some big luxury hotels, where the relationship is more impersonal (it’s surely wanted and/or asked, of course!).
But where the Manava excels in my opinion, it’s really on the happy hour and its famous cocktails! As I said, we already knew the place. We often come there with our family to have a drink, and Melanie frequently does “girls’ nights” there (while I’m babysitting the kids, eh! ☺). Anyway, we knew what to expect when coming this weekend, but it’s always a great pleasure to sip a few drinks here, watching the sunset behind the island of Moorea, right in front of Manava. Every night, we’ve come to have a few cocktails. One of the really nice things about happy hour is the fact that you can sit in a lot of places in the hotel, both near the bar in the corners provided, in the sofa corners by the lagoon, and the must in our opinion: on the other side of the deck, on the little motu. To tell you the truth, people even book the tables on the motu, and without reservations, it is rare to get a real table (especially during the week). However, you can settle down on the numerous deckchairs provided by the hotel! And clearly, it’s time to at least try their famous Mojito (I love the passion and the ginger ones) and the Pina Colada, which is to my taste really good. I say it because you might think it’s easy to make, but having tasted dozens of them in Tahiti and in the islands, it’s here one of my favorites!
Finally, how can we not talk about the famous infinity pool. Our lagoon view suite was right on the pool. The place is really well arranged in my opinion, with many deckchairs placed at the disposal of the customers of the hotel. I recommend of course to come in the early morning, so you can enjoy the pool alone and that is a real treat! If I told you a few paragraphs ago that I was already at 7am at breakfast, I let you imagine at what the time we were in the pool! The advantage is that you won’t have anyone on your pictures and you’ll be able to enjoy the sunrise in the quiet! A must-do! During the day, of course, the place fills up very quickly and there can be quite a lot of people at the pool, knowing that the hotel does not have a private beach. If you are on vacation and have a rental car, the closest beach would be PK15 beach in Punaauia, a beautiful white sand beach.
Lastly, you should know that there is also a place to swim and discover the local fauna, in a kind of mini lagoon, between the hotel and the motu for happy hour. It’s a nice place for people who want to swim (the water is warmer here) and have a little glimpse of the local fauna and flora!
Of course, if you decide to stay at the Manava Resort, you also have the possibility to enjoy some nice activities not far from there. I have selected 3 of them just for you!
- A first scuba diving experience : Let's take advantage of being next door to have a first dive in the Tahitian lagoon. The club has an excellent reputation.
- Family cruise to explore fauna and flora : Here is a good idea: privatize a small boat to admire the lagoon and all its wonders. The departure is just next door!
- Dolphin/whale watching : Experience the local fauna and try to go for a nice swim in the lagoon!
I’m coming to the end of this little story of our weekend there. I hope anyway that this article will have given you the desire to go there! In our opinion, it is a very nice, local hotel, and especially close to the airport. It remains a great solution for people looking for a very nice setting and room on the island of Tahiti, but at a correct price compared to other hotels on the island. Besides, you might be surprised, but there are even quite a few locals who come to spend the weekend there!
If you ever decide to spend a few days on the island of Tahiti, you will be happy to find the beautiful infinity pool in the evening, and above all the happy hour at sunset. The location is ideal for a few days on arrival or departure of your vacation, in my opinion! I know the hotel also works quite well for people who come to work here!
In short, in any case, you can’t be disappointed. If you are preparing your future trip, I invite you to read our new article on where to stay in French Polynesia. You will find all our recommendations!
We hope to see you soon,
Sylvain & Mel.