Spending a week in an overwater bungalow is a surreal experience. Our yard was the Pacific Ocean, a giant aquarium we could explore at any time.
Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort and Spa is located 20 minutes from Moorea Airport on the Northern side of the island between Cook’s Bay and Ōpūnohu Bay. Our taxi driver recommended Moorea Beach Cafe to the East of our resort and Holy Steak House to the West.
5:30am: Wake up and make espresso
‘Ia ora na! We set our alarms for 5:30am every morning to wake up, make espresso, and be on our deck in time for the sunrise. Our overwater bungalow had a complimentary espresso machine with espresso pods and mini fridge stocked with Coke, Diet Coke, bottled water, and Hinanos refilled every day.
6:15am: Watch the sunrise
The water was calm, and it was quiet…except for the roosters. At the end bungalow we had a weak WiFi signal, but couldn’t escape the crowing. Wrapped in our Hilton robes, sipping espresso from our tiny mugs, we sat and waited for the first ray of sunlight. There wasn’t a chance we were missing that view.
7:00am: Breakfast at Arii Vahine Restaurant
We loved looking for fish during our walks to shore. The water was so clear we didn’t even need to be in the water to see a variety of fish, sea cucumbers, Eagle Rays, Stingrays, Black Tip Reef Sharks, and even an eel one afternoon.
The breakfast buffets were lavish with crepes, French toast, pastries, pancakes, rice, bacon, made to order omelets, fish, vegetables, fruit, cereal, a salad bar, a sandwich bar, juices, and more. Sunday mornings live music accompanies the buffet.
Traveling Gingerbread Tip: Sign up for the Hilton Honors Reward Program. As Honor members we both received free breakfast the duration of our stay (a daily savings of $50 per person).
8:00am: Back to the overwater bungalow
One afternoon, we saw the tail of a Humpback Whale just beyond the reef from our overwater bungalow. Being the end bungalow, we were next to the overlook and considered it as an extension of our home. It was a great location to watch the sunset, drink champagne as we searched the lagoon for Stingrays, and laugh with those attempting paddle boarding for the first time.
Traveling Gingerbread Tip: We packed a bottle of rum, sake, and vodka in our checked luggage and used the complimentary Cokes in the mini fridge as a mixer. We also brought a bluetooth speaker and listened to music (at a level not to disturb our neighbors) as we swam and enjoyed drinks on the dock. We packed 2 inflatable rafts to float around the lagoon, but never took them out of the suitcase.
Due to the clear water and amount of coral in Mo’orea, we agree this was our best snorkeling experience so far. We were so buoyant in the water we snorkeled for hours. We didn’t need an underwater camera to capture pictures of sea life, but with one we were able to get some amazing photos. We identified some of the fish to the best of our abilities.
Traveling Gingerbread Tip: Bring your own snorkel gear. We purchased 2 masks online for about $12 each and brought them in our suitcase. We didn’t have to rent gear from the activities desk each time we wanted to snorkel, the mouthpieces were only used by us, and we knew our masks were reliable and wouldn’t malfunction in the middle of swimming along a Humpback Whale.
12:00pm: Paddle boarding or kayaking
Complimentary snorkeling equipment, kayaks, and paddle boards were available to use in 1 hour intervals. We took advantage of a lack of interest in kayaks and a flexible return time due to overcast weather and paddled to the nearly public beach, Ta’ahiamanu, in the Ōpūnohu Bay. We spent some time on the beach and searched for new fish in the coral on our return trip.
2:00pm: Lunch at Rotui Grill & Bar
Daily events are scheduled such as cooking classes, basket weaving, coconut opening demonstrations, making traditional headdress, and more near the Rotui Grill & Bar. Arriving a little late, we occupied a nearby hammock to learn some traditional cooking methods before going for a swim in the pool.
3:30pm: Schedule Massages at the Spa
We sampled oils and scrubs and sipped chilled tea while waiting for our massages. Based on the hotels we researched, massages were more affordable in Mo’orea than Bora Bora. We had no issues with availability scheduling only a couple days in advance.
Traveling Gingerbread Tip: Request the sauna and steam room in advance and arrive early to take advantage of the additional amenities before a spa treatment. We were unaware these amenities were available beforehand and learned by reading the last page of the spa book waiting in the lobby.
4:00pm: Happy hour at Eimeo Bar and watch the sunset
Eimeo Bar offers buy one cocktail get the second free happy hour daily from 4:00pm – 7:00pm. It is the perfect location to watch the sunset and enjoy complimentary yuca and taro root chips. We recommend the mini brochette de tomate et mozzarella and calamars à la Romaine from the tapas menu.
7:00pm: Dinner at Holy Steak House
Perched among the trees overlooking the lagoon, Holy Steak House would be the perfect place for a sunset dinner. Taking advantage of the complimentary shuttle, our reservations were later in the evening. There was plenty of outdoor seating, a large selection of wine, vegetarian options, fish, burgers, and sides in addition to steak.
9:30pm: Dessert at Toatea Creperie & Bar
Most evenings around 9:00pm Black Tip Reef Sharks and Stingrays can be found swimming in the waters below the Toatea Creperie & Bar located among the overwater bungalows. There is a full menu in addition to sweet and savory crepes.
We fell asleep to the sound of the ocean and the crows of the roosters with our 5:30am alarms set giving us enough time to pack a day bag, watch the sunrise, and eat breakfast before exploring the island of Mo’orea. Taoto maita’i.