French Polynesia is truly one of the most spectacular places in the world when it comes to landscape, people and culture. We were so excited to work with the Tahiti Pearl Beach Resort to get to experience the beauty of the black sand beaches just north of Papeete. The Tahiti Pearl Beach resort is an excellent choice if you’re looking for something unique as you stop over in Papeete.
The Tahiti Pearl Beach Resort is located approximately 25 minutes from the International Airport (PPT) and costs ~$45 USD depending on the time of day. Taxis are very expensive across French Polynesia due to the high gas prices, so keep that in mind as you book. Note that the hotel cannot send a car for you as it is against the law so you must either take a taxi or book through a tour agency (if you’re going on a cruise, etc), as many folks do.
We arrived at 10pm and were in a taxi very quickly, so know that you will have no problems getting a cab, regardless of the time.
The location itself is stunning. The property is literally mere feet from the waters edge and the black sand. It’s on a private bay (as private as you can get in French Polynesia) and has stunning views out towards the ocean. It is not located in a lagoon, and therefore there are gentle waves and a tide.
The Tahiti Pearl Beach Resort is about 10 minutes from downtown Papeete, where you will find all the shopping and restaurants. They do offer a shuttle to town twice daily, for free, but it was full each time we asked so we opted for a taxi.
Lobby & Check in experience: 3.5/5
We arrived to the hotel around 11:30pm. Shortly after our cab ride, several other guests who were on the same flight arrived as well. The bellman quickly took our luggage and it was in our room before we even arrived, which was wonderful.
The gentleman at the front desk was kind and efficient. As a note, Polynesians are incredibly generous, kind and honest. We love the people we have met over the two trips to French Polynesia and wanted to call this out specifically.
One thing to note about check in was that we did not receive any sort of welcome beverage, cold towel or shell lei (as is customary at most properties in the area). There are several buildings at this property, and while we were told which building we were in, we didn’t know that it was quite complicated to find our room. Once we checked in, we headed to find our building without direction. The property has poor lighting, particularly in the dark, so I would advise having someone walk you to your room if you arrive late- we got quite lost!
We checked in to a truly oceanfront one-bedroom suite. They call them “ocean view” rooms, but that’s entirely incorrect because, WOW! We were right in front of the beautiful ocean. Of course at night, we couldn’t quite tell, but by the light of day, it is a spectacular view.
Our room was large, with a king bedroom at the back of the suite. The large bathroom connects the living room and bedroom, with a hallway on the other side that contains the closet. The furnishings are simple and the lighting was dim, but the space was large and incredibly nice for us to be able to unpack and stay organized. The balcony is large enough that we were able to do our workouts in the morning on it, with the sound of the crashing waves as our backdrop.
There are elements to the room that were wonderfully Tahitian, like the beautiful artwork on the wall in the living room. What was lacking for us was the poor lighting. At night, it’s very difficult to see much of anything due to the dim, green-tinted lighting both in and outside of the room. Despite some nice lighting features in the bedroom and bathroom, overall, it was not easy to find light switches or have enough light to do much post-sunset.
Overall, the room is super quiet, the bed is comfortable and the views are excellent. It’s worth noting that this property is a former Radisson, so you will still see emergency exit signs and the hotel layout signs on the back of your hotel door sporting the Radisson logo. While I’m sure they did some updates after taking over that property, it did lack the sophisticated elegance and Tahitian vibe you would expect.
The Tahiti Pearl Beach Resort has excellent amenities including a spa, gym, pool service, restaurant and bar. They also offer a free shuttle to Papeete twice a day. Considering several of the other hotels we stayed at did not offer a gym, the offerings here are great for a solid vacation.
The beach does not have chaise loungers or service, mostly due to the fact that the beach is small during high tide and is technically public.
They also offer a free Polynesian dance show once a week, which was a blast. We sat at the bar and nibbled on bar bites while we watched the dancing.
We did try out the breakfast, but opted for the a la carte as the buffet was quite expensive for what it was. If breakfast is included in your stay, then you’ll have a very enjoyable meal. The eggs were good, and it’s worth noting that a la carte does include coffee and juice as well. You do have to go get your own juice and your own coffee from the buffet, which I thought was odd since we did not have the buffet.
As mentioned, we also indulged in some bar bites and beverages during the Polynesian dance show. The bar bites were a solid 4 stars.
As with the rooms, there are some really wonderful Polynesian elements in the dining area, such as the light fixtures. The one disappointment we experienced was directly following the dance show, the dancers took all the decoration they set up, even though everyone was still mid-dinner. It was an odd thing to see all the decor being taken down, as if we were being told to “hurry up” with dinner.
Polynesian people are so genuinely kind, and it’s rare to interact with people who are not polite and nice to you. We interacted with a few staff members over the two days we were there and they were all lovely, pleasant and efficient. Housekeeping came on time and did a great job, particularly considering there is black sand everywhere from the beach that ends up coating every surface. Kudos to the housekeepers for being able to get rid of all the sand!
Overall, we felt the style was lacking a little bit. There are some amazing elements that add the Polynesian flare, but they are far and few between. The lighting fixtures in the restaurant and a few art pieces in the room that stand out, but we felt they could use so much more of their local surroundings to their advantage. We hope that they elevate their style, because it really is a beautiful area.
We spent two nights at the Tahiti Pearl Beach Resort and it was the perfect amount of time to enjoy the incredible black sand beach and the hotel. The location is unbeatable in the sense that this is such a unique place to visit. It’s worth the trip to experience that for yourself and we can highly recommend it as a great, affordable option in Papeete. If you’re planning a couple of days on the main island of Tahiti, it’s worth checking out the Tahiti Pearl Beach Resort.
Disclaimer: We were hosted by the Tahiti Pearl Beach Resort. All opinions expressed are our own and do not reflect the hotel’s statements or opinions.