Sofitel vs Hilton Moorea: Which Overwater Bungalow Is Best?

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Can’t decide between Sofitel vs. Hilton Moorea?

These two luxury resorts are considered the best places you can stay in Moorea, but when you put them head to head, which resort actually comes out on top?

Sofitel Kia Ora Resort and Hilton Moorea are the only 5-star resorts in Moorea.

Both have beautiful overwater bungalows and a lot to offer when it comes to amenities, facilities, and on-site restaurants. However, they are in completely different neighborhoods, with notable differences regarding service, amenities, and value.

Mike and I have actually stayed in both of these iconic resorts in Moorea, so we’re here to give you a full breakdown comparing and contrasting every aspect of the resorts!

Short on time? We recommend staying at Hilton Moorea for a better overall experience.

Sofitel vs Hilton Moorea

While both resorts are incredible places to stay in Moorea, the first question people tend to ask is, “Which resort is cheaper?”

Sofitel tends to be a slightly cheaper resort, but the price difference is usually less than $50/night, so it’s typically not a huge factor for people deciding between Sofitel or Hilton Moorea. 

The cheapest rooms start around $600/night. These are garden villas or beachfront villas with a private pool and full access to the resort. If you want to stay in an overwater bungalow, you should expect to pay about $1,000/night.

Rooms

The rooms are the most important aspect when choosing a resort in Moorea. 

While Hilton offers a slightly more luxurious experience with detailed room features and a wide range of amenities, we personally loved the window on the floor of each Sofitel overwater bungalow. You can see fish swimming right below you, which was insanely cool!

Each resort has various options, including garden villas, beachfront bungalows, and overwater bungalows stretching over the reef. 

An overwater bungalow at Hilton Moorea sitting over the turquoise waters of the lagoon.
Hilton Moorea

Hilton has four types of rooms available: a Garden Bungalow, a Garden Suite, a Lagoon-view Bungalow, or an Overwater Bungalow. 

The Garden villas/suites are the cheapest rooms at the resort, and almost all of them are incredibly spacious and come with a private pool on the patio. There are a couple of lounge chairs and a covered table, too, but it’s not on the ocean.

The Lagoon-View Bungalows at Hilton Moorea are basically beachfront rooms, so instead of a pool, you’ll have stairs leading down to the edge of the water. Then, there are three different levels of overwater bungalows.

💡Pro Tip: We recommend staying in the King Panoramic Overwater Bungalow at the Hilton. It’s not the most expensive but has a much better view of the lagoon compared to the lowest tier of Overwater Bungalows. 

At Sofitel Kia Ora Moorea, you’ll have similar choices, including a bungalow with a garden view, a lagoon view, a beachfront bungalow, a superior overwater bungalow, and a luxury overwater bungalow.

The main difference between each of the rooms at Sofitel is the location on their property, except for the overwater bungalows.

💡Pro Tip: At the Sofitel, The ‘luxury’ bungalows are twice as big as the ‘superior’ overwater bungalows, so it’s definitely worth the small surcharge.

There is also a larger suite called the ‘Luxury Villa,’ which has two bedrooms, a living area, and an outdoor deck with a jacuzzi right on the edge of the lagoon. It’s specifically designed for families with kids or friends traveling to Moorea together! 

We found that the rooms at Hilton are slightly more up-to-date and comfortable.

Mike and Laura standing on the deck of their overwater bungalow at Sofitel Kia Ora Moorea.
Sofitel Kia Ora Moorea

The rooms at Sofitel felt more run-down than at Hilton Moorea, and for people who have stayed at ultra-luxurious resorts in the Maldives or Bora Bora, it will feel slightly underwhelming. 

That said, if you have the money for one of their more luxurious overwater bungalows, you’ll find they are quite a bit bigger than the bungalows at Hilton Moorea, which is why so many reviews say that Sofitel is the better resort for families. 

Amenities & Activities

When comparing the amenities and activities available at Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa and Sofitel Kia Ora Moorea Beach Resort, it’s clear that both resorts offer a rich array of options to enhance your stay, but let’s diver deeper into what each resort has to offer!

Our absolute favorite thing about Hilton Moorea is its aqua-diversity center, Eco Reef Moorea.

It’s a non-profit that works to protect the coral reefs surrounding Moorea and other islands in French Polynesia. You can visit this center to learn about protecting the reefs, and they even teach you how to plant coral!

Another thing we loved about Hilton Moorea is the private resort beach. It makes it feel more like a secluded, all-inclusive resort. We occasionally had the beach all to ourselves, and they kept it impeccably clean!

A view over the pool at the Hilton Moorea with sun loungers and flowers around it.
Hilton Moorea

The beach at Sofitel is less peaceful (basically just a private section of Tema’e Public Beach), but it’s still one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. It’s also huge, so even with day trippers visiting from Tahiti and other parts of Moorea, it never feels too crowded!

However, Sofitel has a nicer pool area and better snorkeling! 

Sofitel has a massive infinity pool overlooking Tema’e Beach with an exceptional view of Tahiti, and we loved hanging out here each afternoon.

The pool is alright at Hilton Moorea. We loved the mountain backdrop, but it’s not right on the beach, and it can feel like most of the resort pools we’ve been to around the world.

💡Pro Tip: They are currently renovating their pool area, so it should be much better next time we visit! 

Snorkeling in Moorea is also better at Sofitel because it sits on a larger reef, so there’s more marine life outside your overwater bungalow. 

The spa is the other thing we like to take advantage of when staying at a nice resort. Both Sofitel and Hilton Moorea have luxurious spas and offer a variety of treatments based on ancient Polynesian healing techniques. 

Both resorts also have a fitness center, yoga classes, bicycle rentals, and water sport rentals  (snorkeling, paddleboarding, sailing, canoeing​). They can even book excursions to other parts of the island on your behalf! 

Food & Drink

Both resorts in Moorea have a few restaurants onsite and personally, we thought the food and drinks at Hilton Moorea were WAY better than those at Sofitel.

This was also true for drinks. We shared a piña colada at the Hilton that was much better than the cocktails we tried at the Sofitel.

At Hilton Moorea there are two restaurants, two bars, and one Creperie to choose from. 

Arii Vahine is the main restaurant at Hilton Moorea. It’s a luxurious open-air dining room with a view of the lagoon, and it certainly lends itself more towards fine dining, with a variety of European, Western, and Polynesian seafood dishes.

Mike holding a delicious pina colada on the beach at the Hilton Moorea.
Hilton Moorea

Mike tried the lamb chops, and I had the pesto pasta. It was clear that both meals were prepared by a talented chef, and the attention to detail was superb.

This is also where you can go for a buffet breakfast each morning at the resort, which is plentiful and has a ton of options! 

The Rotui Bar & Grill is a more casual restaurant by the resort and has cheaper options if you aren’t willing to spend $50 a plate.

You can also find two bars at Hilton Moorea, Eimeo Bar and Toatea Bar. Toatea Bar doubles as the Creperie, so it’s a great place to grab a late-night snack, too!  

Sofitel has a similar setup with two restaurants and two bars, but we didn’t love the restaurant food, especially for a 5-star resort.

We were also disappointed with the serving sizes of many dishes and desserts. For example, we paid around $17 for a piece of cake, which only offered a bite and a half for each of us (Mike and me). 

💡Pro Tip: If delicious food and drink is important to you when you travel, definitely opt for the Hilton Moorea.

Both restaurants at Sofitel have a contemporary, fine-dining atmosphere with slight nuances. 

Pure is the main restaurant at Sofitel Kia Ora Moorea. It’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and has a wide variety of cuisine, including local and international options.

Pure is also the setting for breakfast each morning. If you booked breakfast with the resort, they always offer Continental, American, and Asian dishes, but on Sundays, they have a special Polynesian breakfast for all the guests! 

“K” is typically only open for dinner and has a much more romantic ambiance. You can enjoy expert wine pairings and a Kahaia wood cathedral ceiling with your feet in the sand. 

In addition to both restaurants, Vue Bar has the largest selection of liquors in French Polynesia, and the Beach Bar lets you enjoy drinks right on the lagoon! 

Service

Both resorts in Moorea have great service, but the service at Sofitel was on another level. The staff was highly attentive and made us feel like honored guests at every turn. There was even an evening turndown service in the room! 

We also noticed people raving about the service at Sofitel Kia Ora Moorea while reading through reviews before our stay.

Guests often praise the attentiveness and friendliness of the staff, noting that the reception staff often remember their names, adding a personal touch to the service, and the resort’s concierge services genuinely enhance their stay on the island.  

A view over the infinity pool to the lagoon and overwater bungalows at the Sofitel Kia Ora Moorea.
Sofitel Kia Ora Moorea

Other pleasant surprises at Sofitel include welcome amenities (a bottle of champagne 🥂) and check-ins by the staff to make sure you don’t need anything while at the pool or by the lagoon! 

While the service is better at Sofitel, that doesn’t mean we had a bad experience at Hilton Moorea. 

The Hilton resort treated us exceptionally well, and we actually noticed that they paid more attention to detail. This was true for both the room decor, the presentation of dishes at the restaurants, and the amenities offered around the resort. 

Also, the housekeeping at Hilton Moorea keeps the rooms well-stocked throughout your stay, and we found the check-in process was super quick and easy. 

Location

If you were to decide between Sofitel vs Hilton Moorea solely on their location, Hilton Moorea is the obvious choice. 

It’s right between two beautiful bays and close to some of the best places to visit in Moorea, including Belvedere Lookout, the Rotui Juice Factory, Mount Rotui, and the Three Coconut Trees Pass. 

💡Pro Tip: Looking for the best views? We think the Hilton Moorea has better views than the Sofitel Kia Ora.

However, Sofitel isn’t in a bad location. It just takes more effort to get places.

The only exceptions are Toatea Viewpoint and Tema’e Beach which are really near by, and it’s also really close to the ferry port. 

A view of the private beach and umbrellas at the Hilton Moorea with the lagoon and overwater bungalows in the distance.
Hilton Moorea

If you’re staying at an overwater bungalow at the Sofitel Moorea, you’ll need to choose a way to get around Moorea to reach the other restaurants or locations on the island. It is not possible to walk anywhere from Sofitel other than Tema’e Beach.

💡Pro Tip: At the Sofitel we noticed a lot of passing boats which created wakes in the peaceful lagoon.

As for marine life, we didn’t notice too much of a difference between Sofitel vs Hilton Moorea.

There were great reefs around both resorts, and we spotted whales from both resorts in Moorea! 

Sofitel vs Hilton Moorea Recap

While both resorts are incredible places to stay in Moorea, Hilton Moorea is the best resort, with overwater bungalows on the island. 

We’ll give Hilton Moorea a perfect 5/5 rating. 

Mike sitting on the beach under an umbrella at the Hilton Moorea with overwater bungalows in the background.
Hilton Moorea

Sofitel is a great place to stay in Moorea, too, but it goes just below it with 4.5/5 in our book.

Sofitel might have better service and a slightly lower price, but at the end of the day, it’s not worth the tradeoffs. Hilton Moorea has a more peaceful location, better food, better amenities, and more up-to-date rooms! 

FAQs

Hopefully, that answers most of your questions about the two resorts and which is best while staying in Moorea, but here are a few additional questions we often hear from travelers. 

How many rooms does Hilton Moorea have?

Hilton Moorea has 106 rooms at their resort, including 54 overwater bungalows.  

What side of Moorea is best to stay?

The best side of Moorea is definitely the northern shoreline because of its calm lagoons, ‘Ōpūnohu Bay, Cook’s Bay, and many of the top beaches on the island. 

This is also where 90% of resorts, restaurants, and shops are located. If you want to be at the center of it all, book a stay at Hilton Moorea in Maharepa. If you want something a bit more secluded, we’d suggest Tiahura!

How many days should I stay in Moorea?

We highly recommend spending at least 7 days traveling around Moorea. This gives you enough time to relax at your resort and see the best highlights around the island. 

The Wrap-Up

Choosing between Sofitel Kia Ora or Hilton Moorea is not easy, especially if you have never been to Moorea before. Both resorts claim to be the best places to stay in Moorea and have a beautiful complex with overwater bungalows

But we highly encourage you to choose Hilton Moorea

The price difference is nominal, and we personally thought it was the superior hotel primarily because of the location, amenities, and food.

Don’t forget to check out the best things to do in Moorea like swimming with whales, hiking, and ATVing.

Also, it’s a good idea to sketch out a plan to figure out how you’ll get from the airport in Tahiti to Moorea before you arrive! And if these resorts are out of your budget then consider the Cook’s Bay Hotel instead.

Enjoy traveling Moorea!