Guide to Accommodation in French Polynesia
French-speaking, the islands of French Polynesia are amongst the most exotic in the South Pacific but unfortunately holidays here are also amongst the most expensive in the world. There is a good selection of Tahiti hotels on the main tourist islands of Moorea and Bora Bora, with most luxury resorts offering overwater bungalows and the more affordable pensions and smaller hotels having fare style bungalows, some with self catering options.
The majority of hotels in Tahiti fall under one brand or another. Sofitel, Intercontinental and The Hilton brands have hotels on all three of the main islands (Tahiti, Moorea and Bora) and offer package holidays combining stays at multiple resorts. Two local brands are also present: Pearl Resorts (six) and Maitai Hotels (3). Most of the large hotels have between 100 - 200 rooms, with the largest hotel in Tahiti having 250 rooms.
There are a handful of smaller boutique hotels around the islands with under 50 rooms making these a more intimate setting than the larger hotels. Moorea is a particular favourite for smaller hotels, along with Huahine and Tahaa islands.
Synonymous with holidays in French Polynesia is the over-water bungalow. These stunning huts on poles perched over a turquoise lagoon are absolutely dreamy. Some having glass portals in the floor so you can watch the fish swimming beneath you. Privacy from other bungalows can be an issue, and then there's the long walk back along a pontoon to reach the main hotel.
Tahiti Hotel Search
The following recommendations will help you find the perfect beach resorts in the Tahitian Islands from exclusive overwater bungalows to budget pensions and self catering fare.
There are numerous overwater bungalows around the islands. Hugely popular as a honeymoon destination, luxury hotels in Tahiti are found in almost all regions of the group, and in particular around Bora Bora lagoon. Most luxury hotels sport a spa centre and have a good restaurant, often with famous chefs from around the world. Tahiti is the place to visit is money is not an obstacle!
There are plenty of fares (local bungalows), pensions (guest-houses) and small hotels to choose from. Moorea and the main island of Tahiti generally offer the best value for money but there are a couple of affordable hotels on Bora Bora as well. Staying close to main centres where independent restaurants can be found will help with the budget.
Exploring the islands on a budget? When compared to other South Pacific destinations purely by price, you could say that there are no budget hotels in Tahiti. That said, if you are stretched for money there are budget hotels in Papeete Town and some cheaper pensions on Moorea and particularly Maupiti, Huahine and Raiatea islands where tourism is more down-to-earth.
Where to Stay in French Polynesia
The main island of Tahiti is the population centre with the energetic capital city of Papeete on the west coast and a short ride from Fa'aa International Airport. Papeete Town has lively nightclubs and restaurants, craft markets and duty-free boutique shops selling fashion and pearls. The majority of hotels in Tahiti are in and around Papeete.
Offshore from Tahiti, the volcanic island of Moorea is one of the most popular holiday destinations in French Polynesia (and perhaps the South Pacific), boast a mix of world-class resorts with invigorating spas and affordable beach hotels. Popular activities include exploring the exhilarating twin bays of Cooks and Opunohu, enjoying inland safaris, coastal tours, diving the fabulous reefs, relaxing, lazing, people-watching and celebrity-sighting, golfing, riding, deep-sea fishing, outrigger canoeing in the lagoon, and more.
Bora Bora, an island of legend and beauty about 230 km from Papeete, is surrounded by a lagoon and a barrier reef. In the centre of the island are the remnants of an extinct volcano rising to two peaks. Most of the accommodations are over-water bungalows, the best way to see the Pacific from bed. The majority of tourist activities happen in the waters of Bora Bora, including swimming with rays and feeding sharks in the clear, turquoise waters.