Within walking distance of multiple shops, restaurants, and famed Matira Beach
Multiple room types, including overwater bungalows
Two on-site restaurants and a lobby bar
Weekly Polynesian show and Tahitian barbecue
Wi-Fi available (for purchase)
Wi-Fi is slow and pricey
No pool, spa, or fitness center
Property is split on either side of a major road
Overwater bungalows can smell moldy
The three-pearl Maitai Polynesia Bora Bora is a suitable pick for value-oriented travelers seeking a resort experience on Bora Bora. Located on the main island, Maitai Polynesia is within walking distance of a few shops, restaurants, and the famed Matira Beach. Rooms are charmingly decorated with a Polynesian theme, and equipped with amenities like flat-screen TVs and mini-fridges. There aren’t any big-ticket amenities here, like a pool, spa, or fitness center, but there are two on-site restaurants and a lobby bar. A major pitfall is the steep daily charge for Wi-Fi, which doesn’t even work that well once connected. The nearby Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort has more amenities and nicer rooms for slightly higher rates, but its restaurants are pricey and mediocre.
An affordable resort on Bora Bora's main island, with a mature clientele
Maitai Polynesia’s status as a budget-conscious resort is immediately apparent when guests arrive at the airport. Instead of being whisked away by private hotel boats, Maitai guests must board the local ferry that transfers travelers from the airport to Bora Bora’s main island. Once at the ferry dock in Vaitape, a Maitai representative transports guests to the hotel via a small, and often cramped van. Upon arrival, guests must wait on long check-in lines in the tiny open-air lobby. Harried staff members hand out sea shell leis and welcome drinks while asking newcomers to produce vouchers and confirmation numbers. This is the price travelers pay for a semi-affordable resort in Bora Bora.
Not surprisingly, the majority of guests at Maitai Polynesia are adults, as few kids are found anywhere in this honeymooner’s paradise. We noticed that most guests at Maitiai are 50 and over. We saw lots of retirees, large sixtysomething friend groups, and OAP group tours. The clientele is generally split between Europeans and Americans.
On Bora Bora's main island, within walking distance of shops, restaurants, and Matira Beach
Bora Bora, perhaps French Polynesia’s most famous island, is known for its incredible beauty, the highlight of which is its crystalline lagoon. Bora Bora’s main island is surrounded by dozens of tiny islands, known as motus. Guests traveling to Bora Bora have two options: stay on the main island, or stay on a motu. The majority of Bora Bora’s most exclusive resorts are located on private motus, while more budget-friendly options are located on the main island. Maitai Polynesia is located on the main island, on the same road as the nearby Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort and the InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana Resort. On the plus side, Maitai Polynesia is within walking distance of a few local shops and restaurants, as well as Matira Beach, one of Bora Bora’s most beautiful stretches of sand. But the main island doesn’t provide the same feeling of exclusivity that the motus do. Instead, it’s a rather scrappy island (in terms of infrastructure, not scenery) that doesn’t seem to posses the allure and romanticism of a motu.
All travelers going to Bora Bora must first fly to Papeete, Tahiti. From Tahiti, Bora Bora is about a 45-minute flight. From the airport, guests must take the free public ferry that runs between the airport and Vaitape, Bora Bora's main town. At the ferry dock in Vaitape, a hotel representative will be waiting with the hotel’s van. From the ferry dock, Maitai Polynesia is about a 20-minute drive.
There are four room categories at Maitai Polynesia. Garden- and ocean-view rooms are located in a three-story building behind the main lobby, while beachfront and overwater bungalows are located across the street on the beach. Rooms and bungalows are well-kept and nicely decorated with simple furniture and charming Polynesian accents. In-room amenities include flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, and electronic safes. Bathrooms have dark wood accents, round vessel sinks, and walk-in showers (no tubs). All rooms and bungalows have large outdoor balconies with a small table and chair set.
Garden- and ocean-view rooms have cream-colored walls and tile floors, with simple dark wood furniture. Woven grass inlays and bright purple and green bedding add a splash of Polynesian flair, as do the colorful hibiscus flowers placed on the desk and headboard. A few guests complain that advertised king-size beds are actually two twins pushed together.
Overwater and beach bungalows are located on or near the beach, across the street from the main lobby building. Beach bungalows are located very close to the water, and overwater bungalows aren’t far from the shore — so the difference between the two options is minimal. Decor throughout the bungalows is simple, but still attractive, with dark wood floors, thatch-work walls and ceilings, and beautiful, blue and white tapa-cloth bedding. The overwater bungalows have glass viewing panels in the floor, so guests can watch sting rays and tropical fish swim beneath them. Overwater bungalows have ladders from the balcony that lead straight into the ocean, so guests can access the water directly from their room. One flaw of the overwater bungalows is their tendency to smell funky. These rooms may smell moldy, or “like low tide,” which has more to do with their overwater location than their cleanliness.
Two restaurants and a nice beach, but no free Wi-Fi
Maitai Polynesia doesn’t have any big-ticket amenities, like a pool, spa, or fitness center, but it does have two on-site restaurants, a lobby bar, and a nice beach. A major drawback is the hotel’s lack of free Wi-Fi. Guests can pay for Wi-Fi (which tends to be quite slow anyway), or use the hotel’s always crowded communal computers for free.
Two on-site restaurants serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Adjacent to the lobby is Haere Mai, the hotel’s signature restaurant. Haere Mai serves breakfast and dinner in an open-air setting. Breakfast is served buffet style, but most evenings, the dinner menu is a la carte. The dinner menu consists of classic French fare prepared with a local twist — think foie gras with tropical chutney, swordfish with grilled pineapple, or wahoo beurre blanc. Each week, Haere Mai hosts a Tahitian barbecue after the hotel’s Polynesian show. Reservations for the show and the barbecue are highly recommended.
Maitai’s other restaurant, Tama’a Maitai, is located across the street on the beach. Tama’a Maitai, which means "bon appetit" in Tahitian, serves casual fare for lunch and dinner. Menu items consist of American offerings like pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, and salads. Dinner specials usually consist of freshly caught local fish.
Manuia Bar is located next to the lobby, and often serves as overflow seating when the lobby gets crowded with check-ins. Upon arrival, guests are greeted with freshly made welcome drinks, and encouraged to relax in the bar area.
Unfortunately, it was heavily raining during our visit to Maitai, so we didn’t get to spend much time at the beach. From what we saw, it’s a lovely stretch of sand, dotted with plastic lounge chairs and tall palms. On clear days, it’s possible to see neighboring Raiatea from the beach. The only downside to Maitai’s beach is its proximity to the road. Though Bora Bora doesn’t have much traffic, it’s still possible to hear passing cars and trucks from your beachside lounge chair. Guests looking for something a bit more relaxing should walk about seven minutes down the street to Matira Beach, which is often lauded as one of the world’s most beautiful.
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