The first new hotel on& Tahiti in five years, the 121-room Manava Suite Resort Tahiti, opened in March 2009, is a welcome addition. Located five minutes from Faa'a International Airport, it's an affordable option for couples and families looking to spend a night or two recovering from jet lag before heading off to islands farther afield. Managed by Tahiti-based SPM Hotels, which also owns Pearl Resorts, Manava Suite Resort offers a combination of modern design and an in-suite kitchenette, especially cost-effective for parents with small children or business travelers spending a week or more here.
Chic, Contemporary Style
Unlike Moorea and Bora Bora, overwater bungalows are not ubiquitous on Tahiti (just two resorts, the InterContinental Resort Tahiti and Le Meridien Tahiti, have them), and Manava Suite Resort Tahiti debuts SPM Hotel's first foray into a multi-level hotel-style property. The resort is also just one of two (the other is the Radisson Plaza Resort Tahiti) to offer free WiFi.
Divided into four three-story buildings, two with pool and ocean views and two with garden views, the resort has several suite categories. The 441-square-foot Garden and Lagoon Studio Suites all feature spacious balconies, king-sized beds, sleeper sofas (for a total of three adults or two adults and a child), a roomy bathroom with two sinks and separate tub and shower, and a 26-inch flat-screen TV with satellite channels and video on demand.
At 635 square feet, Garden and Lagoon Suites feature a separate bedroom, with the kitchenette off the living area rather than just inside the entrance. They sleep up to four adults or two adults and two kids. Duplex Suites are also available in one-bedroom (732 square feet) and two-bedroom (1,356 square feet) set-ups, sleeping four and six respectively, while One- Two- and Three-Bedroom Manava Suites range from 635 to 1,144 square feet and sleep from four to eight guests. There are also 12 Rooms (323 square feet, with no balcony or kitchenette), located in the lobby building.
Décor is centered on a black-and-white theme, with modern furnishings, pale wood floors and mood-setting black-and-white photos of Tahitians offset by a bold red-orange wall and accent pillows.
A Swim as the Sun Sets
The centerpiece of the resort's exterior grounds facing the water is its striking infinity pool, the island's largest. It features a shimmering stone waterfall wall and swim-up Taapuna Pool Bar, which also has a terrace with tables and chairs. The pool terrace and bar area both offer great views of the neighboring island of Moorea.
Unlike the other leading properties on Tahiti, the Manava Suite Resort has no beach at all. But there is a path leading over to a small motu and adjoining wooden dock, which are ideal spots to sit and enjoy the spectacular sunsets.
Dining and Imbibing
The property's sole restaurant Vaitohi is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with indoor and outdoor dining (but no water views as it is set in a garden between the lobby building and first accommodation wing), and features a mix of Tahitian (poisson cru, mahi mahi in vanilla sauce) and international dishes (salad nicoise) with a French flair.
In addition to the Taapuna Pool Bar, which is the hub of activity by daylight, the resort also has the Punavai Lounge Bar, which heats up nightly with a mix of live music and trendy cocktails, especially Thursday to Saturday. Decidedly modern in design, with modular seating and mood lighting, it draws a mix of guests and locals.
Relaxation and Exploration
Like all SPM Hotels properties, Manava Suite Resort Tahiti has a Manea Spa, located on the upper level of the lobby building. It specializes in traditional Tahitian Taurumi massage techniques and uses solely locally sourced products. If you're not on the shy side, massages can also be scheduled for sunset on the dock.
There is also an air-conditioned fitness center and a small shop off the lobby. The property's concierge desk will set up a variety of island excursions, ranging from 4X4 safari excursions and circle-island tours to jet-ski adventures and sunset cruises.
For travelers looking for conveniently located, modern accommodations at an affordable price, the Manava Suite Resort Tahiti is an excellent option - but if you crave sand beneath your toes look elsewhere.