If you follow Manu’s Menu, you will probably know that my family and I recently visited French Polynesia. We loved it, so I thought of sharing a few more details about the islands we visited and the hotels we stayed at, in the event that any of my readers may be interested in visiting this amazing place.
After our stay in Tahiti and Tikehau, we left for Rangiroa. The flight between Tikehau and Rangiroa is only 20 minutes!
Yet the view from the plane was UNBELIEVABLE!
In Rangiroa we stayed at Hotel Kia Ora Resort and Spa. This is apparently the best hotel of the island (possibly of the Tuamotus!). It was nice, but nothing comparable to the hotels in the Society Islands. The colours of the lagoon in front of the hotel are beautiful, but when it’s windy the visibility in the water reduces considerably because of the sandy ground.
Hotel Kia Ora Resort and Spa – Accommodation
The Hotel Kia Ora Resort and Spa is a big and beautiful hotel in the Rangiroa lagoon. It is located on the northwest part of the atoll of Rangiroa, between the passes of Tiputa and Avatoru. It is nestled in the heart of a magnificent coconut plantation, bordered by a white sand beach and a turquoise lagoon.
The hotel representatives come pick you up from the airport and take you to the hotel with a minivan. The transfer is quite nice and comfortable. And the flower necklaces are always a nice touch.
The resort is quite big. In fact, there are 60 villas and bungalows with exceptional style, scattered throughout the coconut grove, on the beach an overlooking the lagoon.
The rooms are divided into 19 Beach Bungalow with Jacuzzi, 3 Beach Duplex Bungalow with Jacuzzi, 3 Deluxe Beach Bungalow with Pool, 20 Villa with Pool, 10 Overwater Bungalow, 4 Junior Suite with Pool, and 1 Executive Suite with Pool.
The hotel grounds were very well kept and the vegetation was lush.
The rooms that were not on the beach were all surrounded by beautiful flowers and trees. All bungalows are designed in Polynesian style, with thatched roofs (made from coconut palms), bamboo, teak and local wood.
We had a Duplex Beach Bungalow, which was great for 4 people. It was a 2 storey house on the beach with a private spa on the deck.
It was lovely, even if the furniture looked a bit “tired”.
The only problem with this type of room is that we found people using our “private” spa when we were not around! The spa is on the deck of the room and it has no “door”, so anyone can enter it. In theory people should not do it, but as the resort is quite big and security can’t be everywhere, they do! I found that unacceptable, and besides being very rude and disrespectful of the other guests, I also think the hotel has to have better ways to deal with this issue.
The lagoon in front of the hotel is beautiful, but when it’s windy (and that happens very often) the visibility in the water reduces considerably because of the sandy ground.
The snorkelling at the resort is not very good. Not much coral and not much fish either. I found that Rangiroa is mainly about excursions. The problem with that is that when it’s windy (and that happens often), you are stuck, as the excursions get cancelled.
We had decided to just relax, but in the end we booked an excursion through the hotel. We did a full day excursion to the Blue Lagoon with snorkelling and picnic/barbecue lunch included. I will write a separate post on this excursion.
The Blue Lagoon is a spectacular place and it is famous for its baby sharks. The colour of the sea is hard to describe and the photos do not do it justice at all. You would need filters for the lens, it is that bright! I will write a separate post/review about this excursion.
The only other thing we did in Rangiroa was dolphin watching. Hotel Kia Ora Resort and Spa takes you with a complimentary van transfer to the Tiputa Passe where roughly between 5 to 6 PM you can see dolphins from the shore.
This activity runs twice a week. We went twice and got to see a few dolphins, especially the second time.
A spa with a rain shower and a fitness room completes the hotel facilities. However, reserve the first day (or eve before if you can), as we could not find availability for a massage during our stay!
The hotel also has a little infinity pool with jacuzzi, which is a nice touch, especially for the kids.
They rent bikes, scooters and minicars.
We got to see some beautiful sunsets!
On the waterfront, there are a restaurant and a bar on stilts.
Hotel Kia Ora Resort and Spa – Food
In the resort there are a bar and a restaurant.
The bar, near the pool, has some nice drinks – both classics and local cocktails. I really liked their banana juice and I had one every day of my stay in French Polynesia.
Lunch was more of a problem… you either eat at the restaurant (again!) or your choice is really limited at the bar.
The food for dinner is good – the best we ate in the Tuamotus. Still there is only one restaurant. This was the menu:
They had both meat and fish and some vegetarian options.
Breakfast was a buffet and it was nice too.
During this holiday, we got to see just one Polynesian dance show and it was in Rangiroa, at the hotel. The show was nice and guests had to a turn too.
However again, it was not as magnificent as the ones we saw in the Society Islands which also included fire. Still, I felt it was somewhat more genuine and less touristy and even a group of local kids was included, which is a sign they are still keeping their traditions alive.
The day of the Polynesian Dance Show, the restaurant has a delicious barbecue buffet featuring Tahitian delicacies and International options.
I have to say that dinner was really nice.
In conclusion, Rangiroa was nice, even though it’s not unmissable in my opinion.