I remember the day that I picked up my first travel magazine. Browsing through the pages filled with beautiful photos of far-off, exotic lands, I came across the dream-like islands of the South Pacific; and ever since that day I’ve dreamed about staying in an overwater bungalow. There’s just something about the destination that screams bucket list — from the incredible lagoon, to the exotic little tiki huts, to the sun-bleached pontoon just above the water — it’s all so dreamy. And when the day came to finally reserve our overwater bungalow in Mo’orea, I couldn’t have been more excited.
Interestingly enough, when we shared details about our upcoming adventure with our friends and family there was one particular question that would inevitably come up time and time again: “Is there a bathroom in the overwater bungalow?” If I had a dollar for every time that a curious friend or family member asked the question, I would have an extra $100 in my pocket right now… maybe even a little more. It was the second most-asked question when they found out that we were staying in an overwater bungalow. (The first question was always, “Mo’orea…?? Where is that?”)
While overwater bungalows are becoming more common throughout the world, the majority of bungalows are still located in the Maldives and the French Polynesian islands. I spent a significant amount of time researching our options and after deciding on the French Polynesian islands in the South Pacific, I quickly learned that we would get the best bang for our buck in Mo’orea.
Located 10 miles west of Tahiti, Mo’orea is accessed by a 45-minute ferry ride or a very expensive 15-minute flight. Home to 16,000 lucky residents, this 52-square mile volcanic island boasts impressive green mountainous peaks surrounded on all sides by a spectacular aquamarine lagoon.
Often referred to as Bora Bora’s prettier little sister, Mo’orea is not as well-known as her two more popular sisters, Bora Bora and Tahiti; however, she still embodies the same South Pacific charm. And when I read that the Society Islands receive less visitors in one year as Hawaii does in one week, my interest was peaked. As a traveler I’m always looking for off-the-beaten-path locations far away from the crowds. I mean who doesn’t want their own private South Pacific paradise? 🙂
Because this was my ultimate bucket list destination I spent a lot of time not only researching what island to explore, but also which resort to reserve. I learned that while overwater bungalows are common in the South Pacific, not all bungalows and resorts are created equal. For example, The Hilton Mo’orea and The Sofitel offer bungalows completely out over the water, whereas the bungalows at some of the other resorts are not entirely over the water. There’s nothing wrong with this option, it’s just not what we were looking for.
We decided on The Hilton Mo’orea due to its location and stellar reviews on Trip Advisor. Nestled between Opunohu Bay and Cook’s Bay, the resort has a prime location in the crystal-clear lagoon. Guests are treated to incredible sunrises (free of charge) 😉 and also have a front row seat for spectacular sunsets each evening. I’m not kidding when I say that this resort has postcard views from every angle.
And the answer to the second most popular overwater bungalow question is: “Absolutely”
In addition to having their own private bathroom, each bungalow comes equipped with running water and electricity (including A/C), not to mention the most comfortable beds. The thatched roof, glass floor, and island decor brought the outdoor paradise in. While the clawfoot tub, marble bathroom, king-sized bed, housekeeping, and nightly turndown service reminded us how the other half lives. And because I know you’re curious, the plumbing and electricity is ran inconspicuously underneath the sun-bleached boards of the pontoon.
A glass floor you guys! (Step aside, Cinderella! Who needs glass slippers when you can have a glass floor.)
The Hilton Mo’orea provides paddleboards, kayaks, snorkel gear, beach towels, beach chairs, and umbrellas (all complimentary to guests).
The lagoon surrounding the Hilton Mo’orea is essentially one massive aquarium and we took advantage of the incredible snorkeling each and every day. I was absolutely spoiled rotten with all of the colorful tropical fish just steps away from our luxurious bungalow — but you don’t have to snorkel during your stay. (Although it should be considered a crime if you don’t). 😉 We were lucky to see schools of colorful fish, two Moray eels, black-tip reef sharks, and a spotted eagle ray from the comfort of the beach chairs on our private balcony.
During our weeklong stay we went on exciting aquatic adventures out on the lagoon, went scuba diving, and spent time relaxing on the balcony enjoying the complimentary champagne. And the Hilton Mo’orea was the perfect home base for all of our adventures. We loved our time here and are looking forward to our next visit.