|Aside from the last minute one week delay for medical reasons, our trip to French Polynesia went smooth as silk! We really enjoyed the islands of Bora Bora, Huahine and Moorea, and would love to do it again if we ever hit the lottery!
The purpose of this email, however, is to thank you for your advice during the planning stages - you were right on with all of your suggestions - but especially for your efforts when we had to slip our entire itinerary by one week.
I know it was quite an effort on your part, and wanted to let you know that every single revised arrangement went off smooth as silk - hotel reservations, meet-and-greets, etc. Your able assistance in making these last minute changes was absolutely invaluable, and I would unhesitatingly recommend Tahiti Travel for anyone contemplating such a trip. I tried to register on your Forum to let everyone know what a terrific job you did, but couldn't manage to do it.
Barbara, thanks again for your exceptional efforts on our behalf to make this trip a very smooth and memorable one!
I just wanted to thank you for your help in planning our wonderful vacation to Tahiti and her sister islands. We had a fantastic time. If you ever have a client who is waffling about the Bora Bora Cruise line just refer them to me. I have never experienced such first class service in all my years of traveling. The boat was absolutely beautiful – you wouldn't’t believe the attention to the tiny details. The service – the staff nearly fell over themselves making sure we had everything we wanted. The islands and motus were gorgeous. The food and entertainment were first class. I guess you can tell from my description that we just loved the experience.
All of our connections and pick-ups went without a hitch.
You will certainly hear from me again if we decide to return. Your service was excellent. Thank you.
This is to thank you for all the arrangements you made for our family to beautiful French Polynesia. We just returned home last Sunday--unfortunately.... No one wanted to come back to reality!
The Hotel Sofitel in Moorea was truly lovely. The modern-Tahitian architecture, spectacular setting, attentive service, etc. etc. were all top notch. We drove around the island and checked out all the other resorts. You were so right, the Sofitel was by far, the best. We would definitely stay there again.
As for the Paul Gauguin cruise. Well, no words can do it justice. From beginning to end, we all had the experience of a lifetime. The ship, the service, the food, the wine, our staterooms, and of course, the beautiful ports-of-call were all over-the-top. My husband and I have never experienced anything quite like this before--we just kept pinching ourselves! Our three daughters have thanked us a hundred times over and over for taking them to such a magical destination, aboard such an amazing ship.
I remember Tahiti as being absolutely stunning 22 years ago while honeymooning there. The islands seem even lovelier now, if that's possible. And the Tahitian people continue to be so welcoming. We are already talking about another cruise on the Paul Gauguin. We'll see . . .
Thanks again for superb service.
We just got back from our trip and it was unbelievable. Better than we imagined. Thanks for everything. The Sofitel Moorea and Sofitel Motu were perfect -- the best choices. (We did get bungalow #128 at the motu, by the way, not sure how, but we got it.)
Ia Orana, Barbara and where do I begin?!?! Our trip was FANTASTIC!!! It could not have been more perfect. From the moment Bora Bora came into view from the airplane, until we left, it could not have been more perfect. When we arrived to check in at Le Meridian Bora Bora, they gave us premium over water bungalow # 325. My wife asked where is it located and they said it was the last one, the best one. I know it was probably the luck of the draw, but our bungalow was located at the end of the dock with a straight shot view of the Mountain. We could not have asked for a better location. The buffets and meals were all excellent. Our breakfast and dinner were included in our package, but also they gave us a credit toward the ala'carte menu. My wife ate from the ala'carte on two occasions. The staff and hosts in the restaurant were friendly and excellent. Housekeeping was excellent. The hotel arranged all of our tours and they were excellent. I can not begin to even remotely convey to you how excellent everything was. The weather was perfect with one big rain storm during the night. Thank you- Thank you- and did I say Thank you!
Now for the details and a long email:
I also want to thank you for the flight times you arranged for us to fly to and from Tahiti to Bora Bora. If you remember, my original plan was to arrive in Tahiti at 5:35am and then get on a plane to Bora Bora at 7:40am and arrive at 8:30am. Well, my wife was glad we did not do that because we were pretty beat and tired after the flights over from Pittsburgh to Philly to LA to Tahiti. So even a night to unwind in Tahiti is well worth it. The flights back were not as bad because we flew Tahiti to LA to Pittsburgh. Also, my wife with her frequent flyer miles managed to get us business class on every segment EXCEPT the 8.5 hour LA to Tahiti flight. That one was pretty rough, but we made it.
We did meet another couple who was staying next door at the Intercontinental Thalasso on Bora Bora. They had wandered over to Le Meridian to check out the facilities and we met them at the bar. They did think Le Meridian had a better view and location, but they went on and on about the Spa at the Thalasso and the modern facilities. They also seemed like world travelers and seemed to have certain expectations. We explained that we chose Le Meridian because we wanted a resort with some polynesian flair and were perfectly content with it. Le Meridian's spa facility though would not have made that couple happy. It was just a regular bungalow also, but we did not use it. So that's something to point out for others considering a trip, if a spa is important to them. But you did explain to me that the Thalasso was very modern and european contemporary and that the Pearl Beach Resort was very Polynesian, and the Le Meridian was somewhere in between. Again, we were VERY happy with Le Meridian. My wife did comment as we went by the Pearl Beach Resort when we were on the boat that she would not have preferred staying there as opposed to Le Meridian.
We did the 4x4 Safari Jeep tour of the island which we thought was well worth it because you went around the entire island. It was arranged by the resort, and our guide was Frank. There were two other couples on our tour; one spoke English but the other spoke Italian. It seems the resort tells the tour company what language the guests speak and then the tour provides a guide that can speak those languages. Amazing...
We also did the Shark and Ray feeding tour arranged by the resort. This was absolutely the highlight of the trip. The crew was outstanding and easily belayed any fears anyone had. We are glad we took your advice to wait until we got there to book these tours because we liked having the option of when to do them.
One overcast morning we also took the boat shuttle over and rented a car for 4 hours to go to the main town of Vaitaepe. We did some shopping and touring around. We didn't do the touristy thing of going to Bloody Mary's for a meal, but we did drive by it.
Again, consider this an endorsement letter for you and your company. The trip was EXCELLENT. And Barbara- you must go to Bora Bora soon. I think my favorite part of the day was getting up in the morning and taking my coffee out on to the deck to greet the day because the sun didn't hit directly on our deck until after lunch. And then also just sitting on the deck, roasting in the sun with a good book and a cold drink, with a crystal clear lagoon to cool off in every now and then.
Our only very minor issues would be that the flies were bad with the restaurant being outside, much more so in the morning than in the evening for some reason (but that was kind of expected), also that we did notice mosquitoes when we were around the main resort but not over the water, and also that our bungalow had ants(of all things) every now and then, but none of these things were enough to make us not like being in paradise.
Here are a few pictures for your enjoyment.
Again- thank you for all of your help in making our 15-year anniversary trip a memorable lifetime experience.
Our honeymoon was incredible, everything was just perfect! Thanks for all!
Luciano & Aline
Dear Barb, Sorry for the long delay in getting this thank you note/ trip update to you. First of all we had the most sensational vacation. Everything went off with out a hitch from the moment we boarded the plane at LAX ( it actually started when I called you back in,was it early May?) until we returned July 17th. The job you did for us with such short lead time was outstanding.
We left LAX July 5th 6:30 pm local time and arrive Papeete 11:30 local time (it's cool that the time change from California to Tahiti is only three hours same as Hawaii during daylight saving time) ( Please be advised that we had never been to Tahiti so didn't really know what to except) we were promptly met by "Marama" tours and were shortly transferred to our hotel ( I forgot to mention that Faa'a Airport is farley small and very kicked back. Immigration was a breeze and customs, well there wasn't any unless you had something to declare.) which took all of about ten minutes. The meet and greet was just as advertised with a cool refreshing fruit drink in the lobby etc. Check in was prompt and courteous. Voucher please! I made some inquiries about changing money and what time the bar opened or was it close. (it was closed however I managed to find some cold "Hinanos" in mini fridge in our room)
Our room was wonderful, nicely appointed and right on the ground floor with ocean front access. A short trip outside down to the waterfront ( it was close to full moon which added to the ambiance not mention the weather,humidity which wasn't bad, the smells, flowers etc) and the view of Moorea off in the distance combined with sound of thundering surf on the outer reef was really something not to mention my second "Hinano". A quick shower and off to bed. Morning came early as we didn't lay down till around 1:30-2:00 am. I'm up at first light and back outside to get my first taste of Tahiti in daylight. The hotel was very nice, clean and in a killer location being so close to the airport. Beautiful view of Moorea right in front of us and now a visual of the pounding surf. The breakfast layout was large to say the least. From full American style to the continental with everything else in between. We sat and enjoyed our meal (Voucher please) and had a couple hours to kill before we had to catch our flight to Moorea. I grabbed my mask, fins and snorkel to check the marine life in front. The water was yummy I figured around 80-83 degrees. The visibility wasn't all that great due to the surf outside but I did manage to find a few cool things to look at. Three Lion fish, a good size tiger cowry (alive) and your assorted tropical reef fish. .
Check out was a breeze. Marama tours was right there for our transfer to the airport "Voucher please" I think I forgot to mention that those that want to change money with out going to the bank (which has the best exchange rate) through out FP. you can find automated money changing machines (not to be confused with "ATM'S" ) which are very convenient. There is a 450 cfp service charge to use the machines. When we were there the rate was 90 cfp to the US dollar so for every hundred I changed I got back 8,550 cfp or sometimes call xfp. which wasn't to bad considering the hotels were only giving around 82-83 cfp to the dollar.
The trip to the airport was all of ten minutes if that. All inter island flights leave from the domestic airport which was very small, one counter, open air and a nice food/drink service area. we checked in at Air Tahiti and when the counter gal asked for my tickets I went to my voucher book only to find there was no voucher for this inter island flight (slight panic setting in Didn't Barb say don't be looking for airline tickets as they are all "E" tickets) anyway I managed to find them. It turned out that all the inter island tickets regular old fashioned paper tickets. Whew!!. After getting that cleared up and getting our luggage checked a attractive woman came up to us and announced that she was with "Albert Tours" and would be handling our transfers from Moorea airport to our hotel. She was very nice and very accommodating telling us exactly what to expect when we got to Moorea and gave us a map of all the touristy thing to do. Then it started raining so off the bar which was five feet away to enjoy a what else a cold Hinano.
After a short rain delay we boarded our plane,a small fifteen passengers prop type and took off for Moore. Spectacular view of the reefs and mountains of Tahiti simply outstanding. The flight to Moore takes all of eight to ten minutes and your only about 500 hundred feet off the water. We landed in a rain squall which wasn't so bad as the terminal is about 100 ft from the plane. Ellen went to the gift shop and I found Albert Tours and turned in our vouchers for transportation to and from the airport. Our van picked us up ( we were the only passengers) for the twenty minute ride to the Intercontinental raining all the way.
Check in was in breeze. I found out that when you check in to a hotel in FP you don't go to the desk but rather they ask you to wait in the bar lounge area was fine by me. The staff was so friendly and nice. They took my hotel voucher and my credit card and while we waited they served us a tropical beverage. Our room wasn't going to be ready for a couple of hours so we decided to go to "Le Petit Village" about a fifteen to twenty minute walk in a steady drizzling rain. (the hotel provided us umbrellas so it wasn't so bad) Le Petit Village is the perfect place to change money, get water or other sundries at the small market (ABC Market) there are several gift shops, gas station, internet cafes and several restaurants and bars. That first day we ate in one of the small restaurant/internet cafes. It was very good with quite a few "Locals" dining there. As it was still raining and my back wasn't feeling that great I decided to rent a car so we grabbed a car went back to the market and loaded up on wine, water, beer and a few other items and drove back to the hotel.
By this time our room was ready and what a room it was. Fully over water, beautifully appointed full air con, great deck with a shallow reef right under our deck ( of the fifty "overwater" bungalows at the Intercon only four are actually 100 % over water. The others are built on the ground with only the deck "over water") which was loaded with tropical fish. There was also a ladder from the deck down into the water which gave access to the lagoon for snorkeling which we proceeded to do right away. ( by the way our room # was 512) The snorkeling was quite good although the visibility wasn't outstanding but did manage to find some cool shells.
The first night we decided to stay in and eat at the hotel restaurant so we went to the lounge and a few cocktails while we waited for the main dining area to open. We would have to say the food was the most disappointing of our whole stay in FP. Maybe we didn't order the right thing but we were not impressed. Other than that first meal everything at the Intercom was in my opinion was great. The setting was idyllic and grounds were beautiful as was the pool side lunches. We spent four nights here and loved every minute of it. We went scuba diving day two and three which was outstanding. The dive center (Bathy's Club) was right in the hotel so it was very convenient and they did a great job. The dive sights are about ten to fifteen minute ride from the hotel and the views of the island from the water is the only way to go. The diving was outstanding with great visibility and wonderful coral gardens not to mention all the sharks (black tips and lemons) turtles and a whole array of tropical fish.
There is some great dinning on Moorea. The places we went for dinner that we loved were. Le Honu Iti (the small turtle) right on Cooks Bay was outstanding, The floating restaurant (Linareva Floating Restaurant Northwest Coast) and Alfredo's which is quite well known . For lunch we found a small place in "Le Petit Village" called 'Le Patio" The tuna carpaccio and the warm Greek salad were outstanding. The lunches at the Hotel were also great ( tuna sashimi yum, yum) and very convenient. We circumnavigated Moorea in the rental car which I recommend as it only takes about hour and a half to go all the way around. ( I think it's about 36 miles) We stopped at all the vistas and look outs and also went into the "Sheraton" which has a beautiful bar and nice white sand beach. Well that's about all for Moorea.
Next stop Bora Bora. The shuttle from the Intercon to the airport was right on time. This was by far the most beautiful day so far as the sun and clear sky was concerned. We departed Moorea on a bright sunny morning. No problems at check in except we were some what over weight and had to pay a over weight fee which if I remember was around $100 USD but that included all the other inter island flights instead of having to go through the over weight fee for our other inter island flights which was very convenient and also saved us some $$.One thing about flying the inter island flights is that there are no heavy security screenings going on. Reminds me of Hawaii airports twenty years ago. Just board the plane on the tarmac with the old fashioned boarding ladders and no assigned seating ( Don't know what it's like post London bad guys plot) anyway off we go to Bora. Our plane is a sixty passenger "Air Tahiti" ATR 72 turbo prop> We grab a window seat to enjoy the aerial views of Moorea. These islands are so incredibility beautiful from the air. The color of the water and the barrier reefs against the verdant green of the mountains is truly a sight to behold. After a brief fifty minute ride we make a stop on Huahine to drop off a few passengers.
We land on Bora in a rain squall. Wife is grumbling about the rain as it won't help her tan but for me I'm loving it. Beautiful open air airport.Totally tropical with the Polynesian flair. We find our meet and greet right under the "Sofitel Motu" board ( lovely young Tahitian gal) I believe we get a tiare flower lei and she takes our transfer voucher. The air port in Bora is on it's own Motu so all the hotels have there respective water taxis at the docks.
Our boat was running a little late so we were the last to be picked up. There was us and one other couple on our boat. The ride from the airport takes about twenty minutes. Mind you it's raining the whole way. We arrive at the Sofitel Motu directly. There is a nice large dock and we are met by the hotel staff with umbrellas. We are whisked off the reception area where we were greeted by the friendly staff and a freshly opened coconut with straw attached. Please sit down in our lovely lounge and "Relax".
After the informal registration (voucher please) and the introductions to our staff ( Muriel , the head gal was super nice, warm and friendly) we were introduced to our room. Overwater bungalow # 116. This was a super nice room, nicely appointed, full service mini bar etc with a killer deck and access to the water via a ladder with fresh water outside shower and the view of Bora Bora was breathtaking.
The meals at the Hotel were surprisingly good. The dinners were great and of course it's hard to mess up breakfast. Even though I think they were about 75% occupancy we felt like we were the only ones there. Don't know where every one was but we enjoyed the privacy.The Motu has a lovely view point on the top which is a short walk up a well maintained path with a spectacular views all around. There is some great snorkeling at he East end of the Motu. ( I think it's called "Coral Gardens").
We did two dives the second day and two dives the third day. All the dives were great. We dove with "Bora Dive Center" and I would recommend them to anyone going to Bora for scuba diving. We did three dives outside the pass and one inside the lagoon. The views of Bora from outside the barrier reef are outstanding. We saw quite a few sharks on all the dives outside the reef not mention all the tropical fish and the coral gardens.
Besides the diving we managed to do a few other interesting things one of which was going to dinner at the newly opened St Regis hotel which was quite fancy to say the least and also very pricey. The food was great as was the ambiance. The hotel was just recently opened and from what we gathered from a couple of the divers that dove with us (who were staying at the hotel) that there was only about 35% occupancy due to the high prices. One of the guests who dove with us told us that the hotel was giving every guest a $350 voucher to be used for activities every day they were there. (I think we heard that some overwater bungalows were going for $1,500 US per night).
Another fun thing we did was go to "Heiva" in Vaitape (which is the main town on Bora). Heiva is the month long celebration time through out all of FP. During Heiva on Bora they have this incredible native dance and singing competition that goes on for about a week. We went on the fifth night of competition. Although there were quite a few tourists there the competition was not for the tourists but more for the locals and is very serious business. The whole affair is like going to a old fashioned county fair with food and game booths all around. That was to be our last night on Bora Bora.
Three nights is nowhere near long enough. Anyway we're off to Tikehau in the morning. After checking out of the Sofitel Motu we were taken by water taxi to the airport. It was a gorgeous beautiful, sunny day and the views of Bora were once again breathtaking. Check in was a breeze and after coffee and a bun we were off to Tikehau.
It's a short fifty to sixty minute flight to Tikehau and to see these atolls pop up in the middle of the ocean is really cool. The airport on Tikehau is nothing more than a old "A" frame building, open air with one small counter and a couple of benches. We were met by an agent from the Pearl Beach Resort. Attractive Tahitian gal who spoke perfect English. Our luggage was gathered up and disappeared on a small van. There were about six to eight couples in our group, We were loaded up onto two small vans for the short ride to the dock. En route to the dock we were given a tour of the village. I think the population is around 500 persons full time. The main source of work is copra ( Copra is the dried coconut meat that is used for it's oil). There two small markets, a small snack shop and believe it or not four churches each of a different denomination. That's approximately one hundred twenty five parishioners per church and the ones who don't attend belong to church of "Hinano" according to our guide. (I'm not making this up).
After the short trip to the dock we were loaded into the hotels water taxi and whisked off to the resort which is about twenty minutes away across the lagoon. The Pearl Beach Resort is located on it's own Motu and is only accessible by boat.This place is truly a beautiful location situated on thirty six acres of reclaimed coral with palm trees everywhere, beautiful tropical flowers, bougainvillea and a host of other vegetation. The reception area is right at the main dock and we were greeted with a cool washcloth and refreshing tropical beverage.
The setting is fantastic. Thatched roof bungalows all around, crystal clear water with hundreds and hundreds of tropical fish right under the walkways. Everything was fresh, clean and new.( I think this resort is only four years old) After check in (Voucher Please) we were taken to our overwater suite # 40. All the suites are on their own dock (I think there were only seven suites) and are situated away from the main body of the resort but still only a five minute walk to the main reception area.
Our suite was by far the best room of all our lodgings. Double size room. Nicely appointed with huge bathroom with privacy screen, great air conditioning,cable TV, cd player etc. Own private deck with separate thatched roof with table and seating. Two nice layout lounges, separate lower deck with private ladder down to the water with fresh water shower. Our room faced due West so the spectacular sunsets were right in front of us. Outstanding. One unique feature our room had was a 24" x 24" Plexiglas window in the middle of the floor which was very easy to see through down to the marine life underneath our bungalow. At night there was a flood light that you could turn on to attract fish and other nocturnal creatures including stingrays and an occasional reef shark but the best part was that there was a small trap door (maybe 18" x 4") right next to the floor window that allowed you to drop food down to the fish underneath ( the hotel provided stale dinner rolls from the restaurant for the fish food). Talk about a feeding frenzy. It was great entertainment after hours.
The grounds were beautiful and well groomed not to mention the PINK SAND beaches. Yes, these beaches were really,truly pink. Quite amazing. Since there is only one restaurant on the island we took our meals at the only dining area and we will have to say that all meals were great and the setting was outstanding with killer views all around. The tuna sashimi and the tuna tartar were outstanding.
We went scuba diving day two and three. Pearl Beach has it's own dive center right in the hotel which was super convenient. ( Blue Nui is the dive operator at all the Pearl Beach Resorts. They did a really great job) The diving was spectacular. All dives for the certified divers were out side the lagoon. It's about a twenty minute boat ride to get to the pass and outside the lagoon. The visibility was at least 100ft. Beautiful drop offs, coral gardens, fish ,sharks, turtles etc and since there were not a lot of divers it made for a very relaxing experience.
Our stay in Tikehau is now coming to an end. Three nights is not really long enough although it was a great ending to our fantastic vacation. We departed the hotel on the water taxi to the dock near the village. Transferred to the airport and departed Tikehau in the late afternoon for Papeete to catch our plane back to LAX.
We arrived Papeete close to sunset. Deplaned and walked across the tarmac and into the terminal and there to my surprise was "Marama Tours" with our name on the board. We were greeted with a farewell shell lei and when the agent asked for my voucher I pulled out my voucher book, opened it, and there it was, our last voucher. I gave it to the agent and showed him my empty voucher book and he said "That's it, the end of your vacation" I found that interesting as now all the vouchers are gone and everything had gone without a hitch. I'm thinking to my self. "That Barbara did a great job" The agent from "Marama Tours" took us through the airport and showed us where to check in etc. After that we were on our own until our flight left at about 11:30 that night. We had several hours to kill which we spent in the snack shop and the gift shops. We changed our French Francs back to US Dollars right there in the airport. We departed Papette and arrived LAX the next morning. Best vacation to date. In closing I would like to make a few comments.
1. The people were very friendly
Thaddeus& Ellen Jones
I just returned from my honeymoon and thought I would write and thank you for all your help. The trip was excellent and couldn't have been better planned.
Once again thank you for helping us plan a truly memorable honeymoon.
Hi. Just back from our trip to paradise. Everything was fantastic. No problems at all. We loved the hotel in Moorea. The people there were all so friendly and warm. Facilities were great. The Intercontinental in Bora Bora was a little too fancy and European for us but the facilities were as advertised... top notch. We ended up spending a lot of time at the Intercontinental Moana and felt very comfortable and happy there...
The only thing that was disappointing was that the Ray and Shark feeding was cancelled due to torrential rains. We couldn't reschedule because we were leaving the next day. The Moana Adventure rep said they would refund "our travel agent" and we would get a refund from the agent. I still have the voucher. Can you tell me what to do?
Everything was way beyond our expectations. It was a magical and fabulous trip. John wants to move to Moorea. The only thing i wish i had brought but didn't was binoculars so I could watch the surfers from our deck. Our scheduled Belevdere tour in Moorea got cancelled because no one else signed up but the put us on the 4x4 tour which turned out to be even better so we were lucky about that.
I took 600 photos.... it was just a fantastic vacation!
Thank you for all your great advice and help,
We do plan on returning, but with a group of friends, so we will definitely give you a call again. Thanks again!
Wow... that was an awesome honeymoon, thank you so much Susie for your hard work, great advice and perfect arrangements. We loved the St Regis - what a resort! ...pricey, but worth it, and Bora Bora was amazing. We'll be back!
(btw, my cousin is looking at honeymoons for next year - I'll be recommending Tahititravel for sure)
Many thanks again,
|I just want to say thank you for all your help in making our honeymoon so perfect. Obviously nothing could have prepared us for the unbelievable trip we had. I will post on your forum our experiences soon but I just wanted to say thanks for all your advice and planning.
|1 800 747 9997||| HOME|