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“Long overdue review, but one for the books”

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Maitai Polynesia Bora Bora
Ranked #9 of 17 Hotels in Bora Bora
Reviewed 26 April 2012

While we originally read mixed reviews about Le Mai Tai, we didn’t want to base our dream honeymoon on someone else’s opinion. We specifically wanted to stay at a resort in Bora Bora that offered deep over water bungalows (OWBs). We are very active people and the last thing we wanted to do was snorkel under or around an OWB that was only a mere 4-5 feet deep. While doing our research, we found that some of Bora Bora’s deepest OWBs were at Le Mai Tai. On top of that, we could get 7 straight nights for an amazing price that was comparable to 4 nights somewhere else. We were looking for the true OWB experience, an authentic Polynesian island and lagoon experience. It was the best decision we made because, ultimately, we experienced all of those things and more.

Upon arrival at the Bora Bora airport, we were transferred by boat to Vaitape, where the main harbour is. From there, we were transferred by van to Le Mai Tai. We were greeted with flower leis and a yummy cold drink. After a small tour and explanation of the facilities, we checked into our gorgeous OWB. Back in Canada, I had corresponded with the resort manager to arrange for an OWB that was furthest away from shore and over the deepest water. They did not let us down! Our OWB, #107, was the most amazing one there! We later found out that #107 and #108 were the best ones!

As mentioned, our OWB was the furthest one from the shore, therefore providing us with the most spectacular view. It was built about ten feet above the actual surface of the water. The water directly underneath the OWB was about 20 feet deep (YAY!), and directly off of our balcony looking out into the lagoon, the water dropped further and further to 30 feet, 40 feet, and deeper! The water itself was crystal clear making for perfect snorkelling conditions, and of the brightest turquoise blue I have ever seen. We were in for an amazing week!

Inside, the OWB was a very quaint and private retreat. Thatched roof, wooden details, Polynesian décor, a king size bed, spacious bathroom, open air shower, and large patio doors that opened to our very large balcony overlooking the gorgeous lagoon. We also had a bar fridge in our room, a small safe, and a glass bottom floor underneath the coffee table.

We snorkelled and swam around our OWB everyday. The underwater life is just breathtaking! We fed the fish leftover bread from the restaurants, all the while trying not to laugh so hard from the constant tickling from the fishes’ noses. Some of the best times we had on our HM were at our OWB, whether it was underwater exploring, admiring the captivating views, or watching the sunrise from the balcony. It was our own little world.

There are two restaurants on-site, one of which is next to the beach and the other located at the main building. The one next to the beach is more casual, so we opted to go there for a few lunches. Delicious food too – my favourite was the green salad with goat cheese and walnuts. DH’s fave was the mahi mahi salad. The restaurant at the main building is more formal, and therefore great for romantic dinners with my hubby. And of course, the meals there were also delicious. My personal favourite was the mahi-mahi tuna on a bed of leeks (sounds weird, but sooo good!). DH’s fave was the lagoon fish made with a creamy sauce. Breakfast is served only at the formal restaurant, either buffet or a-la-carte. My favourite breakfast was eggs Benedict, while DH’s was the ham omelette.

There is also a free-standing bar conveniently located right on the beach. We enjoyed several drinks there from our favourite staff member, Chantal. Drinks were always cold and service was so friendly. We also had kayaks and snorkel gear available at the beach, as well as an authentic Polynesian canoe draped in palms.

We found Le Mai Tai to have the most friendly and the most courteous staff. Everyone was always willing to accommodate our needs, answer our many questions, and go the extra mile to ensure we were comfortable. We were always greeted with a smile and an enthusiastic “bonjour!” Several of the staff members even knew us by name. About half-way through our stay, chilled champagne and a fruit platter were delivered to our room! How sweet!

Side note: Being Canadian, we were taught French at a very early age up until grade nine. My husband stopped then, but I continued to take French all the way through to University. I love the language, so I was extremely happy to be able to use it again, seeing as it had been years since my last “real” French conversation. If I forgot a word here or there, the staff at Le Mai Tai were very patient with me. And although the majority of the staff spoke English, they were all more than happy to hear me speak French! I believe this was because they somehow knew that we were genuinely accepting and, in one way or another, adapting to their culture and to ours surroundings. After all, WE were the visitors.

Activities on and around the island deserve a whole review in and of themselves, but several worth mentioning are: personal open-air dune buggy rental, personal aluminum boat rental, dinner at Bloody Mary's, and a black pearl tour at The Farm.

Overall, Le Mai Tai is a beautiful and authentic Polynesian resort. It is intimate in size, quaint, and not at all overcrowded. The hospitality at Le Mai Tai is unsurpassed, as we felt “at home” from day one.

  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled as a couple
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12  Thank GlobeTrottingCouple
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 25 April 2012

We returned to Bora Bora for our 25th. Found the overwater bungalow at Le Maitai to be a good price. The package was offered by Pacific Holidays. The flights and transfers were very smooth. We were pleased with the place. Two restaurants were part of the meal plan. The food was good but limted in choices. Again, the staff at the restaurant by the bungalows were very accommodating. The native shows were enjoyable especially if you like audience participation fare.
Half through our week I developed a sting/rash condition that required medical attention. The French Dr. in town was excellent, and got me onto the plane home.
Two further helps, I hope: the store a half block away has everything; and a souvenir shop a block away and across from the Intercontinental lets you use their computers all week if you buy $25 worth. Their computers were even set up for Skype and were always available.

Room Tip: we enjoyed the overwater. got to wait in a room away from the water and were glad we were in an over...
  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank buttonpunky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 April 2012

Bora Bora was our 2nd stop in french polynesia after spending 4 days on Moorea at the Pearl resort in August 2010. In Moorea we were picked up promptly when we arrived by ferry and taken to the hotel. The Maitai forgot to send someone to get us at the airport ferry, so we sat there with another couple, waiting for 2 hours trying to find a phone that took anything but a prepaid phone card! When we finally got to the hotel we found that the Maitai was not very glamorous, the rooms were slightly less well kept and the food/menu selection was mediocre at best in comparison to tahiti or moorea -- although we really didn't have a phenomenal meal anywhere on the island (we also didn't go to the St Regis!). If you are on a budget, this is the place! The maitai has a tiny beach that was shaded most of the afternoon, but there is an amazing beach about 5 minutes walk up the road. You can borrow kayaks though and snorkel equipment -- though if you want to snorkel, i suggest bringing your own goggles/breathing tube. We had a hard time finding a decent set.

Overall, the staff was friendly and fairly accomodating. I was disappointed to see children at the resort, but to each his own. We noticed mostly couples and a few solo travelers.

Room Tip: The over water bungalows that face out into the reef are the way to go --
  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank TorontoTraveler79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 April 2012

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!

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank Jeff L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 April 2012

I call this a true getaway because when I arrived, the hotel/island experienced a power outage. The phones, TV, Internet, and my outside light on the bungalow were all NOT functioning and didn't function even after 4 days. I loved being in a bungalow because it is so convenient to just go out and snorkel. You jump off the back deck, and when you're done snorkeling, you climb up the stairs and shower off outside. The snorkeling was great! I saw 2 octopi, a small moray eel, a spotted eagle ray, and so many varieties of fish. There is even a glass area on the floor where you can see the fish that come by your bungalow. At one point, the water was so calm, that the local people came out to do some spearfishing, rode their outrigger canoes, and did some paddle surfing. It was the "calm before the storm". That night and the following day, it poured!!!!!That's when the mosquitoes came out so be prepared with mosquito repellent. There is a restaurant close to the bungalows which has great food. I had their salad bar for 2200 CFP. They have a daily special set menu daily for 1900 CFP. Nearby the hotel is the only other grocery store where you can buy necessities. I didn't get the chance to eat there, but there is another restaurant close to the hotel within walking distance called The Bounty. I visited the Pearl Factory...they will provide transportation if you want to go there. If you want to go to Vaitape (downtown), you can arrange for transportation through the hotel for 1000 CFP round trip. It's cheaper than a taxi. There is a restaurant that I wanted to try called Bloody Mary's but pickup times were 6:40 and 7:45. I couldn't get the 6:40 and didn't want to wait until 7:45 so MAKE RESERVATIONS in advance. One of the optional tours that I took was the Lagoonarium for the full day tour. The guides pulled a rope near an area where black tip sharks and stingrays were and did a feeding as we held onto the rope. Then we went to Coral Gardens where one of the guides tried to get a HUGE moray eel out of its hole and was successful! When the moray eel came out, the guide grabbed it and threw it back into its hole. UNBELIEVABLE! Then they took us to a lagoon where they led us to a "caged" area where we swam with lemon sharks, black tipped sharks, rays and turtles. These guides took the ray's stinger and put it in their mouth! UNBELIEVABLE! They provided us with lunch, and then we had some down time on this remote island. That was an awesome tour. Hotel Maitai wants the visitors to have a lasting impression so they give you a pareau as a welcome gift, and send you off with shell leis. Despite the power outage, I had a wonderful time relaxing and snorkeling.

Room Tip: I was in 105, but I think 106 had a better view.
  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled solo
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3  Thank alkeni
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Maitai Polynesia Bora Bora

Address: BP 505 | Bora Bora Polynesie francaise, 98730, French Polynesia
Region: French Polynesia > Society Islands > Bora Bora
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service
Hotel Style:
#9 On the Beach Hotel in Bora Bora
Price Range: ₹ 9,671 - ₹ 24,794 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Maitai Polynesia Bora Bora 3*
Number of rooms: 74
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Also Known As:
Hotel Maitai Bora

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