It sort of bothers me that some persons are not laid back about their travel experiences and accommodations. Yes, we live in a high stress world with no time to relax and feel we deserve to be pampered. We finally book a trip and expect certain things to happen and certain standards to be met. Most any of the tropical places we visit are third world countries. We really should know this, realize it, and understand it. Instead of going to a less affluent part of the world and feeling thankful for what we have, we holiday with the expectation that we should be served as would royalty. Where's the fun in that? Where is the adventure and discovery and where are the surprises we read about in books about far off lands as kids? When I think about the South Pacific or Robinson Crusoe or a desert island Bora Bora may be the closest I will get to these. I first thought about this destination after reading James Michener's book, "Hawaii" and finally we got here! It seems much more fun to try to see things as the locals do and try to learn some of their native language than to struggle through a bourgeoisie / proletariat relationship. If you love people but still like to get away from them, this is a perfect vacation...the locals are absolute gems and this island does not suffer from over-commercialization like other areas do; don't you want to feel a little like a Tiki warrior or, if you are a woman, an island flower? My better half surprised me with the trip at Christmas. She is not a watersports person and this is not her kind of trip but she digs me and thus made the sacrifice. Turns out she absolutely loved the laid-back island atmosphere, the sun, the "fish tv" (lighted glass coffee table and floor for watching the sea life), the palm trees, the cooling breezes, the wonderful people and the scenery. She did NOT like all the loose dogs. They didn't threaten us but she had a very scary experience with dogs many, many moons ago. Turns out they all have owners, said a local, but none are tethered and they wander around for the best treats. You are not supposed to feed them, though. The snorkeling is easily the best I have seen in my limited experience. The water is usually exceptionally clear and, if you kayak over to the Sofitel private motu (20"each way...bring some water) it is as clear as we keep the pool water. If you want to see this almost firsthand, in a UTOOB search window, type in, "bora", "blurfix" and, "swcy" and you will see our first video. There was the odd stingray, some crabs and even a few squid right under the overwater bungalows! Some Albertan friends saw the octopus but I was not so lucky. I DID, however, see a little halibut or two...the flatfish that hide under the sand with just their two eyes on the one side sticking out! The multi-coloured clams and spiny urchins were a nice surprise. We took the advice of other Trip-advisor reviewers and fed bread to the fish. If they don't show up in a short time just flick the water with you finger and they will be there toute-suite! There were so many fish under our bungalow some locals even speared their suppers there! Accomodation-wise o/w bungalow #109 was wonderful. It did not feel too posh or luxurious but not tribal, either...it was spacious and just right. We checked out an o/w at the Intercontinental and it was different but ours had the darker wood and we loved it. Also there are corals right underneath the Maitai rooms...definitely not so with most of the other resorts! The Sofitel's grounds are more elegant and spacious but again, we preferred le Maitai for more of an island-like experience. We did not turn the tv on at all the whole trip. We DID get internet for the iPads; it is by far the most reasonable to walk down to the Sofitel and sign up there...it was around $50 for 10 hours and we never hit that length of time. They have hot spots most everywhere but the airport. Money was exchanged at LAX but the rate at le Maitai was better. The hotel has a tiny store just south on the road and it had the best prices on the island for clothing and souvenirs. We bought my wife's black pearl necklace at the two-level open air marketplace in Papeete. It is genuine, beautiful and was extremely reasonable price-wise. Yes, everything is expensive but it was just as bad or worse when I lived in the arctic. It really DOES cost a lot to fly and ship comestibles and products out to the middle of nowhere, though "Bora Bora" and "nowhere" should never be utilized in the same sentence! We should have gotten the full-board package as we ate all our meals there...it was great though myself and another fella may have gotten bitten by the beach restaurant's burgers. They are delish but get them "well-done". We discovered Orangina on our trip to France and happily they had lots of it here. I even drank water from the tap with no ill effects though the bottled tasted better. Word to the wise...try to get a left-hand seat on the plane into Bora Bora for the best view arriving. One thing I really love about places like this and Portugal is that people are more responsible for themselves; because people are self-regulating and look out for each other there are less rules and police all over...we could learn something from these folks. We would recommend this place to anyone and thanks much to Tahira, Utah, and Johnathan especially of the staff. We met the most wonderful honeymooning couple there as well, Davor and Rianna from Chicago. Hopefully we'll see you guys again someday and also "Hi" to Wayne, Norma and Grayson from Alberta!
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Maitai Bora