A Dreamy Bucket List Stay at the Hilton Mo’orea

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?”)

2016Moorea24

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? 🙂

Hilton Mo'orea

Hilton Mo'orea

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.

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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.

Hilton Mo'orea

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.

Hilton Mo'orea Overwater bungalow

Hilton Mo'orea

A glass floor you guys! (Step aside, Cinderella! Who needs glass slippers when you can have a glass floor.)

Hilton Mo'orea

Hilton Mo'orea

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.

Hilton Mo'orea

Hilton Mo'orea

Hilton Mo'orea

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.


Have you stayed in an overwater bungalow? If not, is it on your bucket list, like it was mine?

15 Comments

  1. August 22, 2016 / 4:31 PM

    Looks awesome, although most of the pictures didn’t show up, just to let you know. I’ve always wanted to stay in an overwater bungalow, I may have to do that in morea

    • September 5, 2016 / 9:53 AM

      Hi Cate,
      Bummer! Thanks for letting me know. I’ve been having some technical issues and have been trying to sort them out. Hoping it’ll be fixed soon.
      I would definitely recommend an overwater bungalow stay in Mo’orea. The scenery was pretty spectacular 🙂

  2. August 22, 2016 / 6:43 PM

    Wow! I just LOVED Mo’orea when we were there last year. We stayed at The Sofitel in a beachfront bungalow (the overwater was the next week in Bora Bora). Couldn’t have asked for a more perfect view! So much to do on Mo’orea – I actually enjoyed it more than Bora Bora – it had a more Polynesian feel, I think. Glad you enjoyed your stay and thanks for sharing your stories and photos. Brought back lots of happy memories! (happy sigh).

    • September 5, 2016 / 9:50 AM

      Belinda,
      I loved reading about your trip to Mo’orea. 🙂 I’m hoping that one of these years we will get to go to Bora Bora too, but I’m pleased to hear that you liked Mo’orea more. From my research I thought we’d like Mo’orea more as well, and it sounds like we made the right choice 🙂

      I’m sold on those overwater bungalows. It was so convenient to go swimming/snorkeling and even just hanging out on the balcony was incredible. I’m missing it already… Maybe we’ll have to go back before our ten year anniversary 🙂
      Aloha!

    • September 5, 2016 / 9:45 AM

      Worth every Penny! 🙂

      I’m hoping to get up to Alaska sometime soon. Your trip looked amazing! 🙂

  3. August 24, 2016 / 8:03 PM

    Thanks for the recommendation..something new to add to my bucket list 🙂

    • September 5, 2016 / 9:44 AM

      Tracy,
      This trip was one of my favorites so far. Loved those overwater bungalows! 🙂

  4. February 15, 2017 / 3:08 PM

    Bora Bora is on my bucket list; but I’ll definitely have to consider spending a few days in Mo’orea!

    • February 15, 2017 / 4:07 PM

      Eva,
      Definitely check out Mo’orea when you go. 🙂 If we ever get a chance to go back I would spend half my time in Bora-Bora and the other half in Mo’orea. We loved it there.
      Have a great day!
      Krystle

  5. June 24, 2017 / 9:17 AM

    I have not stayed in an overwater bungalow..but centainly its on my bucket list. Stunning pictures!!!

    • June 26, 2017 / 12:53 PM

      Thank you so much. 🙂 It should be on everyone’s list. 😉 I hope we get the opportunity to go back, it was one of our favorite trips.

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