You’re going to be hard pressed to come up with a more spectacular tropical incentive split-program than Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa and Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa. First, a quick geography lesson: Tahiti is both the name of the country in French Polynesia and the major hub island with the gateway airport. Moorea lies just off of the island of Tahiti, about a 15-minute flight away. Mythical Bora Bora, meanwhile, is another 45 minutes heading west. Both resorts are completely secluded without eyesite of another hotel, and both will make your clients laugh uncontrollably the minute they’re alone in their overwater villas. They are that spectacular.
Flights from LAX aboard Air Tahiti Nui are eight hours. You might be surprised to learn Tahiti is actually farther east than Hawaii. We were.
This is Part 1 of our 2-part Hilton Resorts Tahiti review. For Part 2, visit: Heaven 2.0: Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa.
As you walk out onto the tarmac at Tahiti Faa’a International Airport, the craggy volcanic outline of Moorea lies on the horizon portending Polynesian pleasures stirring deep in your heart and soul. Yes, that sounds ridiculously syrupy but that’s what Tahiti does to you. Upon landing, you drive along the one island road circumnavigating the island for 15 minutes to the deeply lush landscape at the 104-bungalow Hilton Moorea.
Couples are mingling in the lobby at the tour desks planning their daily adventure. Someone wraps a thin handmade necklace around your neck. From there, you walk over a wooden bridge above a koi pond surrounded by thick ferns, tall palm and the fragrant local tiara flowers—Tahitian gardenia.
It is then when you come face to face with the overwater bungalows suspended above the transparent sea. It is quiet. People speak in hushed tones close to each other, hypnotized by the scenery. Everyone is touching, and the water is freakishly beautiful.
“It seems like time has stopped,” says GM, Olivier Larcher.”In Moorea, you wake up with the sun and go to bed very early. You’re very in tune with the natural rhythms and connected to the environment.”
Welcome to Eden.
Larcher says about 60% of the clientele is U.S., and corporate incentive groups typically range from 40-50 pax. In 2010, the resort completed a $15 million renovation, and it was ranked the #1 romantic hotel in the world by Tripadvisor readers.
Upon entering my bungalow, I walk around the room and remove every brochure and anything else unattached and put it in a drawer. The sliding doors open up to a large unpainted wood terrace with a second smaller perch just above the water. I can’t take my eyes off the water. The big bathrooms are fun with stone tile floors/walls and open showers with a window looking out into the lagoon. I’m not sure I’ve been anywhere where I’ve felt so connected to the sea.
There’s another window in the wood floor where you can see the fish flitting about, and a small desk with WiFi. Surprisingly, I was able to get a lot of work accomplished here. You feel centered here, focused, because there isn’t any other population, traffic or noise pollution of any kind around the resort.