Hotel Review: Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort
Driving into the Hilton Moorea was like entering heaven. The open air lobby looked out over the resort and I just knew that I was going to enjoy our time there. The property is expansive with tropical flowers and palm trees everywhere. Overall, the Hilton had a lot going for it so read on to find out what we thought :).
The location is amazing – stunning sunrises over the mountain all the way to the picture perfect sunsets on the other side of the island at the end of the day. There’s a reason their sunset overwater bungalows go for such a premium: they truly are spectacular.
The Hilton is about 40 minutes from the ferry port by taxi (~$45-50 cab ride) and has a pristine location above the most beautiful water you’ve ever seen. There are no real shops nearby but they sell anything you’d need (sunscreen, tshirts, water shirts, etc) in a shop onsite (for a slight premium, but not by much). If you choose to leave the property for dinner, restaurants will pick you up for free.
Lobby & Check in experience: 4/5
The lobby is gorgeous- open air, overlooking the resort, lots of seating and it’s very clear where you are supposed to go. We arrived early and after some confusion from the front desk, were given our keys. We were so happy that the room was ready so we jumped on a golf cart and were swept away down the property.
We checked into our King Panoramic Overwater Bungalow and I think I heard my jaw hit the floor when I looked out the patio doors. omg. It was…the most stunning view of the mountains. Unobstructed views and almost at the end of the overwater bungalows, #105 was absolutely epic. Upon entering the room, there’s a closet to the left and large open bathroom to the right. The bathroom has two sinks, a large rain shower, separate toilet room and a gorgeous clawfoot tub.
Our lovely clawfoot tub was full of gorgeous flowers when we walked in, which was quite a treat and made for some great photos :). They did have nice amenities like the Peter Thomas Roth line for shampoo, conditioner and lotion but they were frequently missing the amenities of most 5 star hotels: qutips, cottons balls, nail files and the like. We did get a vanity kit the first day but it was never refilled. The Sofitel had an immense amount of toiletries so call me spoiled, but I thought they’d at least have some razors or something. I’m sure you could request them, but as with the beach towels as you’ll find out below, it wasn’t top of mind when you needed it.
The bedroom itself was a nice size and had a very comfortable king bed. My only sadness with the bed was that it wasn’t facing the view, but it was still lovely.
The patio was nice as well. It was partially covered so we could still sit outside in the rain and there was a sunbathing platform beneath the patio for swimming. Unfortunately, the room didn’t have beach towels as you had to bring a card to the towel hut to get them, which I thought was an odd choice when you’re in an overwater bungalow. The first thing we did was to jump in and it would have been nice to have a beach towel handy. Other than that, the room was great. Our view was completely spectacular, which made up for any of my nit-picky complaints about the room layout or otherwise ;).
The property itself was stunning, lush and tropical. There was a lovely pool that I didn’t go in (I’m more of a beach person) and an activities hut where you could rent paddle boards and other gear for free. They had all your typical amenities you would find at a Hilton, but the reason for my 4 stars here is because they did seem like they could use an update. The hot tub, for example, had a large piece of plywood on top, which I thought was a bit sad looking. Some areas looked like it could use a little paint touch up or wood replacing. Also, if you were there and tried their paddle boards and wondered why you were SO bad at it, don’t be sad, it wasn’t you. Most of the paddle boards were missing fins, which really makes it hard. I will say, they seemed like they were replacing a lot of the docks on the overwater huts so I’m sure it was a work in progress. There just could have been nicer ways to cover up some of the work, in my opinion.
They did offer off-property activities through the concierge, which was great. We saw anything from scuba diving to sailing to a tour to look at the rays and sharks. Tours left straight from the property with minimal effort on your part.
As Hilton Gold members (thanks to the AmEx Platinum card: shameless plug for our free e-book here), we had free breakfast which included the full buffet offered on property. There was an omelette station, breads and sweets, fruit and various other breakfast items like oatmeal and an asian-inspired station. The breakfast was filling and they did serve tea, coffee and juice as well. Note that you if you wanted a french press or espresso drink, that was an extra charge. It was a great value for a gold member since it was included in stay.
Breakfast was filling enough that we never ended up eating lunch, but we did hit up their happy hour at the bar. The happy hour had 2 for 1 drinks, which is a great deal when the drinks are $15-17 dollars. We had the most delicious piña coladas while overlooking the lagoon. They also served small dishes like calamari and spring rolls, which were very tasty.
During our stay, we were so sad to find out the crepe bar overwater was not open because of rain in the forecast. Instead, they served dinner inside their main restaurant and did offer the crepe menu to those interested. We did try the Rotui Grill the last night as it was open outside and the atmosphere there was lovely. The Grill is right on the water by the beach and they had the best Poisson Cru…omg. They also make great pizza. I would recommend trying the seafood dishes as that seemed to be their specialty.
Overall the food was good for the two nights we were there. If we return, I would love to branch out and go off property to try something local.
The service in general was ok. It started off excellent as we were given an amazing room and checked in early. However, there did seem to be a bit of disconnect between housekeeping and the front office. Our first night, turndown left the room messier than it was when we left (I’ll spare you the photos but think: towels on the floor, robes on the floor, bed unmade…I know, 1st world problems but still) and when we called to ask what on earth happened to our room since it looked like someone had just ruffled everything, the staff told us it must have been our fault. It was..bizarre to say the least. Anyway, they made up for it the next night with the most intricate and beautiful turndown I have ever seen, complete with the gift of two pareos for Max and I.
Therefore, I’m going to assume the first night’s turndown was a mistake and the housekeeper was distracted or called away…or something. They made up for it the second night :). Pro tip: always let them know if there’s a problem. You will never get anything you don’t ask for. If something’s not right, it’s ok to say so.
All in all, the Hilton is a great property. We had a wonderful stay in the most picturesque-view room and would not trade our experience for anything. There were certainly things that could be improved, but overall, the staff made up for the weird turndown issue and in general, it was a great experience. While it was clear that some work had to be done to upgrade the property (paint, etc), it did appear like the hotel was gradually working on it. I would love to go back to try out that crepe bar since it seems to be one of the highlights on property, so if any of you guys go, send me photos of the sharks :).