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Forums Other Destination advice French Polynesia – Aranui 5 Reply To: French Polynesia – Aranui 5

redlilly 111 posts

I can’t speak to Aranui 5; except I have been contemplating pressing the button on taking it to Pitcairn. There are a number of YouTube videos on it which you should check out. The age of the passengers in most of the videos looks to be retirees which may be an issue for you; the activities onboard look a bit 80s Club Med.

Have been to Bora Bora several times and its definitely one of my favourite places; unlike Maldives that the Pandemic forced me into visiting you can get away from your hotels and have choices on where to book activities which can make things cheaper. The coral and sharks are levels above the Maldives; there are plenty of living coral, and lemon sharks to get your attention – also FP claims no one has been killed by a shark in their waters unlike the maldives …

For me the nice thing about bob is that number of diving and snorkelling sites and operators you can choose from each with their own sites; and other water activities you can do all day – and then watch the sunset with an awesome view and you don’t need to be trapped in your hotels island prison. There are also star gazing round the island jet skis amongst the available activities.

Hotels; Four Seasons (100 rooms) is very good; big rooms and great food, impeccable service – they know your name and have been lifelong friends in a matter of days. I’m not so sold on the view you get a view of the mountain; the sunset is weak compared to my preferred choices as it doesn’t set behind the mountain. The food is probably the best on the island; the ferry boats are definitely the best.

My personal preference would be to stay at the Intercontinental Thalasso (88 rooms) or the Le Meridien. Both of these will see the sun set over Mt Otemanu which is awesome each night; you can also walk to the ocean side for views of Tahaa on the horizon. Rooms are much bigger and more spaced apart @ the Intercontinental.

I haven’t tried the st regis or Conrad so can’t comment. Neither of them look to give that Mountain View I crave when I visit.

If you want to be on the island the Main intercontinental (which could do with a refurb if they haven’t done one since 2016) was comfortable and has a great spot by the big Matira beach. The rooms aren’t as nice as the Sofitel (the Sofitel used to include the minibar in the rate which is great when you get in) The Sofitel and IC are close by so you can go eat out if you like; or get a taxi to Bloody Marys.

The IC is a small hotel though and though the rooms could do with a refurb, or I just didn’t gel with the authentic Tahitian vibe, it had a tiny living coral garden and fish in the shade of the rooms which was great to jump out and find fish when you felt like it. The proximity and ease of doing things on the island makes it a fun stay; also cheaper as you can access supermarkets etc. For sunsets the IC is closer to Matira beach and its bars which is another great place to watch the sunset.

If you are an IHG person you can mix and match the two IC’s and they have a boat that runs between them; all hotels will pick up from others for guests if you ask though. All the privately booked water activities will stop at any of the hotels on the motu so don’t use that as a reason to stay on the mainland.

If you do take Aranui 5 please post a trip report as I am interested in more first hand experiences too. For the main FP islands there are other cruise options though.

Thank-you for such a detailed breakdown on the hotels – that’s really helpful. We were nearly going to do our honeymoon later this year in Bora Bora, but cried out because of the trip length of the flight after such an intensive wedding experience, and are heading to Africa for 2 weeks instead. The prices in Bora Bora are quite something aren’t they! I am 100% sure it will be worth it though! The mountain views look and sound incredible.

Re. the Aranui 5 – we did a bit of research via Youtube and blogs, forums etc. previously, and whilst the boat does look pretty dated, and whilst some of the people do look quite old in some of the photos and videos, we’re willing to risk it for the experience. I have read that since they opened up the dorm rooms on the boat, it is attracting a few young folk. I think we’re going to take the plunge this week. I will of course provide a detailed trip report back, after the visit over Easter 2024. We are going to do the Austral islands, which I saw you will go via on the cruise to Piticarn (if you do decide to take the plunge).

Thanks again, and will report back.

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