A central setting on the north shore of Moorea, on a sandy beach between the island's two photogenic bays, gives the Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort and Spa an enviable calling card. While the resort's rather traditional lobby is not the most impressive on the island, its lushly landscaped grounds and calm lagoon are home to 104 spacious and recently renovated bungalows, now all fitted with eco-friendly, energy-generating solar panels.
The Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort and Spa offers 54 Overwater Bungalows, all measuring 667 square feet. They are decorated with a clean, contemporary feel (white linens, polished medium-tone wood) and feature flat-screen TVs with a DVD player as well as an in-floor glass panel for fish viewing and step-in lagoon access from the outdoor terrace. Bathrooms are spacious with a romantic claw-foot bathtub and separate shower.
The Overwater accommodations are divided into four categories based on their location. King Overwater Bungalows are closest to shore with a view of the resort, while King Overwater Horizons offer a view of the lagoon. The most exclusive Overwater category is the King Overwater Panoramic, located at the far ends of the wooden pontoons and offering sweeping lagoon views.
In addition, three Lagoon Bungalows straddle the edge of the beach and lagoon.
Garden of Delights
For added space and privacy, couples may want to consider one of the two King Garden Pool Suites, which measure a whopping 1,712 square feet and feature a large private (fenced) garden with terrace and plunge pool. The décor, while Polynesian-inspired, is stylish and contemporary with a 37-inch flat-screen TV, and the marble bathroom is especially spacious and features a double sink, large shower and claw-foot bathtub.
Even the lower Garden categories are impressive. The 26 King Deluxe Garden Bungalows are a roomy 963 square feet and also feature a private terrace and pool (the best are located just steps from the beach). Smaller (and some with their back walls facing Moorea's main road), the 19 Garden Bungalows measure 800 square feet and have all the same amenities but can be noisier or require a longer walk to the resort's restaurants and beach.
Dining and Unwinding
The Hilton's four restaurants and bars offer a variety of dining options and settings. Front and center, adjacent to the pool and set above the beach, the open-air Rotui Bar & Grill serves a mix of sandwiches, burgers and salads, plus a few Polynesian specialties, at lunch followed by cocktails all afternoon and a casual dinner menu.
Arii Vahine, located at the top of a stairway and offering panoramic lagoon views, is the spot to enjoy a buffet breakfast. The restaurant's dinner menu features a mix of international and Polynesian cuisines and rotates between a la carte, themed buffets and a special Polynesian Dance Show.
For a tasty snack or light dinner in a breezy overwater setting, head for the Toatea Bar. Located mid-pontoon over the lagoon, this circular bar surrounded by lounge-like tables, serves a delicious menu of crepes with internationally inspired fillings. You can also order anything from a glass of fine French wine to a frosty tropical cocktail to a locally brewed Hinano beer.
The final bar, Eimeo, is a cozier spot located upstairs overlooking the pool.
By Land and By Sea
Scenic Moorea offers visitors a wide array of activities - both on land and on the water. The Hilton's concierge desk can arrange everything from 4X4 Safaris to the island best viewpoints to shark and stingray feedings. But there are also quite a few things to do on property: tennis, windsurfing, water-skiing, Jet Skiing, snorkeling and diving and bicycle rentals are all available. There is also a fitness center.
In addition, at 4 p.m. poolside every Monday through Friday the beach team showcases a different cultural demonstration, such as pareu-tying, Polynesian dance, and flower-crown making.
After a day of activity, guests can also unwind at the small but tranquil Moorea Lagoon Spa. It's not the most Tahitian-looking spa in the islands, but its treatments, such as a traditional Polynesian "Moorea Forever" massage or a Nirvana-inducing 90-minute Black Pearl Facial, reflect and incorporate Tahitian ingredients and rituals.
With spacious accommodations and eco-conscious renovations, the Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa is an inviting option for visitors who enjoy having room to relax in comfort and style. Plus, like its sister resort, the Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa, this property has also embarked on a BioRock project to regenerate coral in the lagoon next to the Toatea Bar (a surcharge of about $2.25 per night is automatically added to every guest's bill, but can be removed upon request).