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“Worst ever”

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Le Taha'a Island Resort & Spa
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Tahaa
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 22 July 2014

This resort is NOT a 5* resort, we will max give it 3* (3*+ for being on the water).
The room is worn, old and it smells like old home. The fridge is bad. It can barely keep things cold.
The resort is not cared for and it looks very grubby. We went for a walk along the beach and it looked like a junkyard with old tree leaves, empty coconut shells etc. thrown into huge piles. Some of the staff really looks like someone who is tired of being here.

One day for example, we ordered a dish for breakfast which normally goes with rice. After a while the waitress tells us that they are out of rice and offers us a salad or French fries as garniture but since the dish was a wok and it normally goes with rice I preferred the rice or another dish. We told the waitress but she asked us several times if we could not settle with salad or French fries because the dish has already been cooked. The supervisor (the man who always goes around when we eat, and asks us if everything is ok) overruled the chef and waitress and handled the problem by offering us another dish. I think it’s reprehensible that I hardly could switch to another court because I could not get what I had ordered. It’s like ordering a cheeseburger and get one without the cheese.

One end of the pool looks like something is about to come apart. Wooden boards are crooked and sticking up. Somewhere there is also a nail sticking out which was pointed by another guest to an employee.

We chatted with some guests from the United States that also like us came from the Four Seasons in Bora Bora and they had the same impression as us about the standard of the resort. It was actually nice to hear that it was not just us who think it's a lower standard than it pretends to be! We have also heard from others on the island (Taha’a) that many of the resort's guests are dissatisfied with it and that it is not 5* worthy.

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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13  Thank chifor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 6 July 2014

It has been over 14 years since we were last in French Polynesia – our memories of Bora Bora left a lasting impression of a very exclusive, off-the-beaten path experience at Hotel Bora Bora. In discussing with our travel agent (Tahiti Legends) and my research here, we decided on Le Taha’a over one of the resorts on Bora Bora to try to relive that experience since we only had a week. The last time we were in FP, we spent 3 weeks in Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora for our honeymoon. With only a week, we chose Tahaa.

We booked with Tahiti Legends primarily for the price point. We booked through them years ago so seemed logical to use them again. We also contacted Pacific for Less. At the end of the day, we saved a couple of grand going with Tahiti Legends. Although our travel agent was pretty helpful with my requests, she didn’t seem to have any expertise or intimate knowledge of this resource, much less the relationship with the hotel. I ended up having to contact them to get more information and plan some of the things that we wanted to do. So, this was the probably the compromise in exchange for the lower prices.

Okay, this is not easy to get to even though we were fortunate enough to live on the West Coast. We took an overnight flight from LAX to Papeete. Take out cash at the ATM at the airport because the exchange rate at the hotel is outrageous! Then, another plane to Raiatea. From there a 30-minute boat ride to the resort. The return trip is also an overnighter which is great in some ways because you waste no time flying.

We booked into the lowest category and were lucky to have a OWB nearly at the end of the pontoon – not the Bora Bora or sunset view but on facing the boat dock. We were very happy with this location – we were 2nd to to the end. Our neighbor told us that their OWB was private but could get quite windy so it was hard to lay out. We didn’t have this problem, though the little knats loved our sunscreen so we didn’t lay out too often out there.

The bungalow is very spacious but is high quality. It definitely beats Hotel Bora Bora and even the Anantara in the Maldives where we stayed. The workmanship of the whole bungalow was amazing – very Polynesian and beautiful. We enjoyed being able to feed the fish from inside in the evenings – it was one of the highlights for my son. We loved having the air conditioner and used it 24/7 set to 16-degrees. That thing did its job – at night, it was COLD with just a sheet so it more than did its job.

The deck was very spacious and nice as well – there was amble space to relax outside. We loved being able to get into the water from the deck although we didn’t see a ton of fish on the days we were in the water. We did see small sharks, sting rays, a barracuda and fishes out there.

The highlight of our day was breakfast! We loved the selection at breakfast with the bread/croissant/cookie station, the fresh fruit (loved the papaya and pineapple—no mango, surprisingly), the hot food (bacon, scrambled eggs, etc.), charcuterie/poisson cru area. You can also order omelets, crepes, etc. from the kitchen. My son loved his chocolate croissant, cookie, bacon and hot chocolate breakfast and would just load up in the morning.

Lunch was usually at Le Plage which was the outdoor dining area by the pool. The selection was quite limited after a few days but we loved the burger, tuna tartare and pasta dishes. My favorite was the special lunch BBQ where they grilled veal and had fresh poisson cru. Yes it was pricey but very tasty so well worth it in my opinion. When you’re vacationing in a spot like this, you have to get over the price to truly experience everything. Plus, we loved having the local musicians playing while we were dining.

Dinner was either Le Vanille or Ohiri. Ohiri is their fine dining restaurant with 3-4 tables in an air conditioned setting. I have to say that it was disappointing for the $500 that was charged (maybe more?) for 3 adults. I expected more complex preparation for the food so needless to say, I cancelled my 2nd reservation. Le Vanille was fine without being brilliant – decent selection of meats (which was surprising) and less seafood than I would have thought. Again, my favorite meal was the Polynesian night which was a buffet with grill-to-order meats/seafood. I loved the steak which was brined in salt water – so tender and flavorful. The show was amazing too! I have a newfound respect for Polynesian dancers, especially the men. Wow on their athleticism! The amazing thing was that many of the singers, musicians and dancers work at the hotel during the day – they were all so very talented.

The one surprising and disappointing thing was that the hotel restaurants did not clearly specialize in seafood. The preparations were almost a little boring while certain seafood – e.g., crustaceans like lobster, crab, etc. were not on the menu.

Since Taha’a is a Relais & Chateau hotel, I am surprised that they did not lure a Michelin-starred chef out here. That would raise the experience to another level, even though the chefs there were competent. After recent trips to Paris and NYC in April/May, I had built up a certain palate so this was a shade disappointing.

The resort was well kept up – the only thing that I will ding the hotel on is the bugs. I know, I know, you’re on a tropical island…what do you expect?! Quite a lot as it turns out because when we stayed at Anantara in the Maldives, they were pretty aggressive about spraying the beasties and had all sorts of torches out so it was so pleasant to enjoy a meal without the flies, knats and mosquitoes trying to either compete for your food or eat you for their food. I had a number of bites after a couple of days but have to be fair to these little bugs, they didn’t cause the damage that I normally encounter with the Hawaiian mosquitoes! This was the one ding - hope that Julien is reading this and taking note.

The coral garden just a little ways from the pool area is pretty amazing. You basically cross over to the other motu and walk to the other end to snorkel back with the current. I had an accident of being pushed into a coral within a couple of minutes of getting into the water – the cuts are still healing on my hand. I wasn’t quite prepared for how shallow certain areas were and to expect a maze of coral that you have to navigate. Just be aware of this and my advice is to bring the following: your own snorkel and mask as well as some diving gloves. The hotel’s snorkels and masks were old scratched and in some cases, just plain gross. I wished that I had brought my own.

Back to the coral garden, definitely worth going out. There’s an area where you cross over to the moth where you can just hang out with bread near the coral and just feed the fish. Lots will come up to be fed which was so fun for my son. This coral garden is so rich that tour boats bring their folks here.

We did a couple of excursions organized by the hotel. The highlight was the private lagoon safari with Samuel and his wife, Thilda. I am shocked that he doesn’t have any reviews prior to mine. This guy is AMAZING – this tour was truly the highlight of our trip. Samuel and his wife are the epitome of the Polynesian people – kind, humble, gracious..the list goes on. Our family agreed that hanging with the sharks, sting rays and the snorkeling are so memorable that we want to do it again!!! And only with Samuel and Thilda.

The overland safari was wonderful as well. We had our tour with a lady (can’t remember her name) who was super informative about Taha’a. We got to see a vanilla plantation, got to buy loads of vanilla for gifts at the tiny shop, saw a pearl farm and drove into the interior of the jungle (which wasn’t what I quite imagine a jungle to look like – very well-kept!). I did ask for a detour to Champon Perles on the island based on a few recommendations here and I was glad that we did!

I have to say that I wasn’t very impressed with the pearl farm that was part of the tour or their selection of pearls. I wished that the hotel would have had us just go to Champon. Given the clientele of the hotel, I would have thought that Champon’s selection would have made more sense than where they took us. Anyway, for those serious black pearl shoppers, ask to be taken to Champon.

Last but not least, the service was what set this place apart. I think that it all starts with Julien, the GM, who sets the tone for the rest of his staff. Gracious and so hospitable. After staying at a number of these resorts, this staff here was impeccable especially the local Polynesian staff. We felt so welcomed and everyone just treated us with genuine desire to help. Interestingly, I noticed that the French staff were a little more formal which at times came across as being less welcoming which I know was probably not the case. Special shout-outs to Anita, Sylvia, Mairei, Satsuki and the happy guy who manned the snorkel desk (and attend our vow renewal!) – and the countless wait staff who were just amazing at Le Plage and Vanille. We were treated so well by this staff, and I know that I’m starting to gush and trust me when I say that I normally demand good service. We were so grateful to Julien for letting us do late-checkout with our son because it would have been a pain to move to one of those transition bungalows with all the stuff we had. My sense is that if the hotel has availability, they try to accommodate where they can.

The other thing that I love about this resort is that they didn’t try to nickel-and-dime you for everything. When I go to the Carribean, I always feel like I have “sucker” stamped on my forehead because everything is that much pricier for being a tourist. This resort didn’t do that which I appreciate because it will make me a return visitor.

Oddly, the one place that needs more work is the front desk reception staff (with the exception of the male dancer receptionist who actually made sure that we did not miss our flight which would have happened). I don’t know why but there seemed to be a language barrier any time we requested help.

All in all, this was one of the most relaxing and incredible vacations that we’ve had despite it being so short. I would recommend this for anyone who wants a vacation that is slightly off the beaten path but doesn’t want to compromise the experience or luxury. By the way, a week feels just a couple of days short of it being just perfect.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with family
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12  Thank cqt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 July 2014

The property and the remote setting of this resort are off-the-charts gorgeous. The water in the lagoon surrounding the motu is the most amazing shade of blue. I loved the lush tropical landscaping throughout the resort. Really, the location couldn't be more picturesque. My husband and I will never forget the moment we walked into our upgraded Bora Bora view room (#4) and saw the view. Wow!

Highlights of our time at Le Taha'a: Obviously, the scenery is at the top of our list. We loved the non-commercial feel of Taha'a as compared to some of the other Tahitian islands. The resort did a fantastic job with their floral embellishments. Our room had a beautiful floral turn-down when we arrived, as well as fresh flowers throughout the room every day of our stay. The main restaurant and front lobby always had pretty floral displays too. We loved our lunches and cocktails from the pool-side restaurant and pool bar. Very tasty pina coladas from the pool bar and delicious mojitos from the upstairs bar at night. The pool was quite lovely too, and seemed to be where most guests hung out when they weren't sunning on their private decks. Most guests during our stay were honeymooners from all over the globe. We had a relaxing (but immodest) massage at the spa, with our choice of several scented massage oils. The setting for the spa is so scenic. We enjoyed the Polynesian show they have every Tuesday night, and I have to say the Poisson Cru and desserts that night were simply divine. The snorkeling at the Coral Garden next to the resort is phenomenal and teeming with so many colorful fish and brilliant coral. It is honestly the best snorkeling we've ever experienced. And speaking of fish, feeding the fish through our coffee table in our room was so entertaining. Lastly, we were thrilled that when we asked for a late check-out, the front desk granted our wish by letting us stay in our room for the day for free. Very generous.

Needs for improvement: It's buggy here. The mosquitos are hungry. The gnats like to hang around the food. The staff know this, and do try to minimize it, but it's still buggy. We took the full day island and snorkeling tour, which was just okay at best. The breakfast buffet was adequate but uninspired, and the dinners we had, both at Le Vanille (including Polynesian night) and room service, were good but not great. The staff were helpful in a low key, you-have-to-seek-them-out kind of way.

This resort is most definitely worth visiting, just keep your expectations regarding food and service in check, and enjoy the relaxation and views.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Klauswife
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 July 2014

Le Tahaa is an excellent hotel. It is somewhat isolated but this adds to its charm. Our over-the-water bungalow was clean and in good physical condition. We particularly liked the open window to the fish in the evening since we fed the fish with bread and got some great photos of the fish. The bungalow was all we expected and had the classic Polynesian décor. We were in bungalow 1 and the depth of water was only about 2 feet with a sand bottom so the snorkeling from the bungalow was not optimum but there were still many fish drawn to the lights at night. Fabulous snorkeling was available adjacent to the hotel between the hotel motu (island) and the adjacent motu! The hotel staff was very friendly and professional The restaurant for the evening meals provided a good range of meal options and all meals were excellent. The breakfasts were good and again provided a range of options to satisfy the palette. We recommend, ordering omelets or eggs. The French toast was also very good. Lunch is at the pool. Flies are a problem - it is the tropics - but the staff provides incense which helps! The staff was fantastic - friendly and professional. The fitness center is first class!!! Le Tahaa is an excellent hotel and place to stay particularly, if you wish to just lay back and relax. We intend to return to Le Tahaa next year.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Larry B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 July 2014

What an amazing week. Le Taha'a really is as spectacular as it looks. We stayed in a overwater bure (Bora Bora view) and what a fabulous week. We were there just to relax and relax we did. Reading on the private deck, just a couple steps into the crystal blue warm water to cool off and then back to the deck. When we wanted human company we just went up to the pool and hung out.
Couldnt ask for anything more from the rooms.
The food is ridiculously expensive (but its the same everywhere in Tahiti), but it is beautiful. Unlike a lot of food from the other pacific islands this food really is top end restaurant quality, which somewhat helps you get over the price. (although to be fair the breakfasts were nothing spectacular). Do check out the Spa also. Awesome treatments. (cause we needed more relaxing!) People we spoke to that had been to Bora Bora and here at Ta Ha'a liked the relaxed atmosphere of Le Taha'a. Bora Bora sounds a bit like Vegas in the Pacific. We will definitely be back. Thank you.

Room Tip: Some of the days there were quite windy and our room facing Bora Bora was very sheltered. Bora Bora...
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  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank John W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 June 2014

We booked a 5-night stay at Le Taha'a resort through Tahiti Legends agency and got a great deal as well as a great vacation. We had previously stayed in Bora Bora, but the seclusion of Taha'a intrigued us, and the price of the vacation seemed too good to pass up.

We arrived in Taha'a mid-morning, and since our bungalow was not ready yet they told us to go enjoy the breakfast buffet (no charge) which was very appreciated. We had just been on 5 plane rides plus a boat ride and we were exhausted. We were able to check in to the bungalow (#28) by late morning and everything was exactly as pictured. We were at the very end of the pontoon. The rooms are charming with lots of teak wood accents. I found the rooms to be much more Polynesian-ish than the InterContinental Thalasso, which is where we stayed in Bora Bora. I loved the bed in the middle of the room with great views of the lagoon, and the bathroom (separated by a screen door) was well appointed. I will say the bungalow, while closed up, is still "open" to the outside (and the heat and humidity) in a few places...so we kept the room colder by closing the drapes and keeping the bathroom door closed. The room stayed sufficiently cold from the A/C unit. The outdoor deck area was huge with the padded chaise loungers and a seating area. One tip: bring an inflatable raft to enjoy in the lagoon. Even at the end of the pontoon the water was only waist-deep and was very enjoyable - but the raft was heaven to peacefully float on.

The food was good for French Polynesia - I find the French pastries and fruit to be better than average, and the rest of the food just slightly above average. Get ready for everything - even the savory dishes - to have vanilla in them...it is grown on Taha'a so it is everywhere. I enjoyed the vanilla but the hubby was a little overwhelmed with it.

Definitely go to the Coral Gardens just off the property of Le Taha'a - the snorkeling area is magical. Lots of fish, eels, even octopus! We loved it and spent several mornings there. Tip: go in the morning when the water is calmer and visibility is better.

We ate one meal on the island of Taha'a at Chez Louise - and while the experience is definitely "rustic" the food is unbelievable. Fresh grilled lobster to die for. Louise speaks limited English but she is very sweet and was a charming hostess.

Finally I have to say something about the staff at Le Tahaa. They were by far some of the best we've encountered on our various trips. While on the trip I had a medical emergency and the concierge set up a private boat ride to Tahaa and an appointment with the one emergency doctor on the island. Everyone was wonderful (even the doctor) and while I was scared being that far from home they all took very good care of me. For this very reason I hope to visit Le Taha'a again and this time be able to relax a little bit more.

Room Tip: Ask for a room at the end of the pontoon for spectacular views and a quieter experience
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank weathergirl29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 June 2014

I don't think that I can say enough good things about this resort... It far exceeded our expectations and we loved every minute there. We spent 5 days here before heading to the st regis Bora Bora & my husband and I both wish we would have spent more time at this resort. It is a beautiful, quiet, private and magical place. Le Tahaa resort also had a much more authentic feeling to it where we felt like we could learn and embrace the Polynesian culture more than our other resort. The staff members were helpful and very friendly, quick to help when requested. The location is superb.. A private island in French Polynesia... How could it not be? We often felt as though we were the only ones on the island as the only time we would see other guests would be at breakfast. We loved venturing to the west side of the island by the helipad to watch the sunset over bora bora, all by ourselves! We also had dinner at Ohiri, all by ourselves, & most nights ordered room service to our patio to enjoy a private dinner.. Amazing!

Room: Pay the extra money for the end of pontoon rooms.. It's completely worth it! Unlike the resorts on Bora Bora with huts crammed together and seeing your neighbors no matter which one you chose, the end of pontoon gives you complete privacy! The rooms are beautiful and clean, with Polynesian accents. The glass at the end of the bed opens up to feed the fish and is so great. Make sure to grab the bread that the pool guys leave out for fish feeding... We fed fish every night and even saw a few sharks & rays from our deck!

Food: complimentary breakfast at la Vanille is superb. We looked forward to seeing the kind staff members every morning & the food was always delicious. We are a big breakfast and skipped lunch everyday in order to eat a big dinner in the evening. We never ate dinner at la Vanille and instead ordered room service so we could enjoy our room and view as much as possible. Room service food was good & our favorites were the mahi mahi entree and mahi burger. We can't say enough great things about Ohiri restaurant. The service, ambiance (also helps we were all by ourselves for most of the dinner)& food was impeccable. The food was absolutely delicious with complex & incredible flavors.

Spa: spa services were great and the setting is extremely relaxing overlooking the lagoon

Activities: We spend everyday in & over the water. Kayaking, tennis, vball, & snorkel equipment is all complimentary there. While the snorkeling isn't great off your hut, the coral garden to the north of the island, is incredible. There are hundreds of fish everywhere and beautiful, healthy coral. We are sea kayakers so had fun taking out the kayaks and exploring the other distant private islands and taking our snorkel gear out there to explore even with some black tip sharks.. Doesn't get much better. We also did one scheduled activity while there( tour including pearl & vanilla farms). Our guide was fabulous & we loved learning all about Tahaa, the culture and their prized resources.. Would recommend that tour!

Tips for extra fun: bring inflatable rafts to float around on... We had such a great time exploring with them. Walk to the helipad for a beautiful sunset viewing. Relax & enjoy... You are at the most wonderful resort in French Polynesia!

We look forward to visiting again!!! :)

Room Tip: Pay for the extra for the end of pontoon room, especially room #9. We had at least a 200 degree vie...
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  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Avogs67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Le Taha'a Island Resort & Spa

Address: Motu Tautau | BP 67 Patio, 98733, French Polynesia
Region: French Polynesia > Society Islands > Tahaa
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Tahaa
Price Range: £470 - £1,188 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Le Taha'a Island Resort & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 60
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome ! Ia Orana e Maeva !Part of the prestigious Relais & Châteaux collection,” Le Taha’a Island Resort and Spa “ welcomes you to a world of immaculate beauty, a timeless universe of refined authenticity. Located on the secluded Motu Tautau, facing the island of Taha’a on one side and the most perfect view of Bora Bora on the other side, the resort, inspired by traditional Polynesian architecture and style, hosts 60 remarkable suites and villas.Defined by the Relais & Chateaux philosophy, Le Taha’a is the promise of a total change of scenery, a way of life of its own, in harmony with its preserved environment, people and local culture.Welcome to Le Taha’a world… The ultimate Tahitian hideaway… ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Le Taha`a Island Resort And Spa
Le Taha`a Island Hotel Tahaa
Le Tahaa

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