- Charming guesthouse on a private motu with friendly, welcoming owners
- Two authentic Polynesian bungalows, with thatched roofs and private porches
- Beautiful beach with stunning views of Mt. Otemanu
- Kayaks and paddleboards available for guests to use
- Communal living and dining room
- Quiet, peaceful atmosphere
- 15-minute boat ride from the airport
- No pool, spa, or on-site restaurant
- No air-conditioning, TV, or Wi-Fi
- Rustic property may not appeal to everyone
- Can be buggy
Pension Alice et Raphael is a rustic two-room guesthouse on a private motu in Bora Bora. French owners, Alice and Raphael, welcome guests like family into their home, which consists of two bungalows, a communal living area, and a beautiful beach. Both bungalows have an authentic Polynesian feel, with thatched roofs, wood furniture, and mosquito nets. There isn’t much to do here besides relax and enjoy the quiet atmosphere — considering there’s no TV or Wi-Fi, and no on-site amenities like a pool, spa, or restaurant. Those looking for a few more creature comforts might prefer Maitai Polynesia Bora Bora, a resort with comparable nightly rates but less personalized service.
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Pension Alice et Raphael
A rustic guesthouse on a private motu
In the 15 minutes it takes to reach Pension Alice et Raphael from the airport, guests are given a small glimpse of Bora Bora’s stunning beauty. Owner Raphael greets arriving guests at the airport, where he whisks them away by boat to a private motu (small island). On the short boat ride, Mt. Otemanu comes into view, and Bora Bora’s crystal clear waters seem an impossible shade of blue. From the motu, a teetering dock extends into the water. The property consists of a small beachfront, two thatched-roof bungalows, and a tiny semi-outdoor communal living area. The word “pension” doesn’t have an exact translation in English, but roughly means “guesthouse.” Staying in a pension typically means guests live and dine with the family who owns it. In the case of Alice and Raphael, Alice does the cooking and cleaning, while Raphael shuttles guests between the islands and arranges excursions and activities. The couple lives on the motu with their two young daughters and gaggle of pets.
The majority of guests at Pension Alice et Raphael are couples, but families are also welcome. This is a rustic property, with no air-conditioning, TVs, or Wi-Fi, and beds are covered by mosquito netting not for aesthetic, but out of necessity.
On a private motu, about a 15-minute boat ride from the airport
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. Most of Bora Bora’s most exclusive resorts are located on private motus, while more budget-friendly options are located on the main island. Pension Alice et Raphael is an exception: It’s both budget friendly and located on a motu.
All travelers going to Bora Bora must first fly to Papeete, Tahiti. From Tahiti, Bora Bora is about a 45-minute flight. The pension is 15 minutes from the airport by boat. The boat is fairly small, but it is covered in case of rain. Alice and Raphael’s motu has stunning views of the lagoon and Mt. Otemanu, but also extends northward towards the Pacific. Staying on a motu like Alice and Raphael’s offers solitude and a peaceful atmosphere, but some guests may find it isolating. There is nothing else on the motu besides the pension, so guests must take a boat to the main island if they want to eat at a restaurant or do any kind of sightseeing.
Rustic, without air-conditioning, TVs, or Wi-Fi
Raphael and a few Tahitian friends built the property’s two bungalows and all of their furniture by hand. The bungalows’ thatched roofs, wood floors, and mosquito-netted beds give them an authentic Polynesian feel; the lack of air-conditioning and surplus of bugs will give guests a true Polynesian experience. Rooms are simple, and barely big enough for two people and their belongings. But travelers looking for a rustic stay may find the accommodations at Alice et Raphael to be downright charming, and maybe even romantic. The bathroom sink occupies the back wall of the bungalow, and a door on either side of it leads to the water closet and shower. Showers are solar-heated, so hot water can be hard to come by if it isn’t sunny.
A few freebies, but no typical resort amenities
Pension Alice et Raphael doesn’t have typical hotel amenities. Don’t expect a pool, restaurant, spa, or even Wi-Fi or TVs. However, staying in a pension is like staying in a family home, where guests dine with owners around a communal table and interact with other guests on a regular basis. There is a communal living and dining area at Alice et Raphael, where breakfast is served each morning and dinner is served each evening. Breakfast is included in the nightly room rate, but dinner incurs an extra charge. Alice is an excellent cook, and dining with Alice, Raphael, and their family is a warm, welcoming experience that shouldn’t be missed. Plus, it’s a great way to get to know the other guests staying on the property.
The property’s beautiful beach is a real highlight. The small sandy shore overlooks Mt. Otemanu and Bora Bora’s famed crystalline lagoon. There are a few paddleboards and kayaks for guests to use, free of charge. Alice and Raphael’s property extends from the lagoon side of the motu, to the Pacific side of the motu, which guests are welcome to explore. The Pacific side of the motu has long rugged beach. Though it isn’t the best for swimming, it’s a great place to catch the sunset.
Balcony / Terrace / Patio
Disclaimer: This content was accurate at the time the hotel was reviewed. Please check our partner sites when booking to verify that details are still correct.