Te Moana Tahiti Resort, French Polynesia
Our trip to French Polynesia begins on the famous island of Tahiti. We chose to start and finish our family trip to The Society Islands at Te Moana Tahiti Resort, a luxurious waterfront resort located on the northwest coast of Tahiti.
Like most visitors to French Polynesia, we came all this way to visit Bora Bora, one of the most iconic islands in the South Pacific. But before our flight to Bora Bora, we first arrive at Faa’a International Airport, also known as Tahiti International Airport. This is the international airport of French Polynesia and the entry point for most visitors.
The big question – how long should you stay in Tahiti?
Our pre-travel research revealed plenty of opinions about how much time to spend in Tahiti before going to Bora Bora or Moorea. Some people said we should get on the first flight out of Tahiti, essentially a layover in Papeete, the capital city. While others said you only need one night in Tahiti.
I will admit, this confused me at first.
Why not spend more time in Tahiti? Is it worth spending time in Tahiti?
The short answer is that it depends on your travel style, budget, time, and what you want to do in Tahiti. If you’re tight on time, and Bora Bora is your primary destination, then skipping Tahiti might be the best decision for you.
However, we believe you should spend some time in Tahiti. With that in mind, this post shares our experience at Te Moana Tahiti Resort.
Book your stay at Te Moana Tahiti Resort here.
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Related post – Bora Bora travel tips for first time visitors
Why did we choose Te Moana Tahiti Resort?
When we researched the best places to stay in Papeete, there’s no shortage of options. However, we had 3 important requirements: (1) the hotel must have a pool, (2) it must be located relatively close to the airport, and (3) it must be on the beach or waterfront.
There are several luxury hotels in Tahiti, and some are located close to the Tahiti airport. But when you search for places to stay in Papeete on the water, the search results begin to shrink.
We would have been fine with a budget friendly hotel. In fact, we considered sacrificing the pool to save some money.
Obviously, based on the title of this blog post, we chose to stay at Te Moana Tahiti Resort.
Although it’s not the closest hotel to Tahiti airport, it’s a little cheaper than the others linked above. And, it had the best and largest family room.
We also like that guests can snorkel in the lagoon directly in front of the resort. Ultimately, that was the deciding factor for us. Our boys have never snorkeled in the ocean before, so being able to practice in a safe environment tipped the scale.
Check room price and availability at Te Moana Tahiti Resort here.
Getting to Te Moana Tahiti Resort from the Tahiti Airport
The drive from Te Moana Resort to Papeete Airport is about 10 minutes. It costs between 2600-3000 CFP (Central Pacific Franc).
Note: XPF and CFP are the same currency for French Polynesia.
It cost us 2600 CFP from Tahiti airport to Te Moana Resort upon arrival at 8:00 PM. This includes an additional 100 CFP per piece of luggage (4 pieces total). Our ride was in a beat-up old taxi without seatbelts in the back, which is not ideal (or safe). However, there were no taxis available at the airport when we arrived. So we had to take what was available.
Upon departure, the resort called a taxi and it cost 3000 CFP. However, this drive was in a nice new luxury van with plenty of room. Definitely worth the extra 400 CFP.
At the time of our trip, 3000 CFP converted to approx. $28 USD or $37 CAD.
Another option for transportation is to rent a car in Tahiti. It’s common to rent a vehicle in Tahiti and the roads are easy to navigate. Prices range from $200 to $300 USD per week. It’s best to check with Te Moana Tahiti Resort about parking availability and price per night (if applicable).
Book your stay at Te Moana Tahiti Resort here.
About Te Moana Tahiti Resort
Te Moana Tahiti Resort has five separate buildings that offer a range of accommodation options, including Studio Suites, Deluxe Suites, One Bedroom Duplexes, and Standard Rooms.
In addition, the resort features two bars, restaurants, fitness centre, spa & wellness centre, and an infinity swimming pool facing the lagoon and a snorkeling area.
The rooms at Te Moana Resort
Te Moana Tahiti Resort offers 120 rooms, ranging from standard rooms to studios, suites and apartments. Rooms are decorated with Polynesian style and feature modern amenities, such as kitchenettes, flat-screen TVs, safes and air conditioning.
We stayed in the Lagoon Suite during our visit.
The Te Moana Tahiti Lagoon Suite is the perfect size for our family of four. Our boys, aged 11 and 9 years old at the time of visit, slept in the living area on a pull out couch. We had a separate room with queen size bed. It’s nice to have that separation after a long travel day.
The room has air conditioning in both the bedroom and living space. It’s hot and humid in Tahiti, so it’s important to have quality air conditioning.
The resort offers different views and bed layouts. See photos of other rooms here (on booking.com it’s called a Suite with a Lagoon View).
The lagoon suite has a kitchenette, which is a nice feature.
There’s a small grocery store located near the resort (5 minute walk). We stocked up on drinks and snacks and stored them in the small fridge.
To cut down on food costs, we had breakfast and lunch in our room each day. This made a big difference, because food prices in French Polynesia are quite expensive. You can easily spend $150 CAD on breakfast if you eat at a restaurant.
The kitchenette has a nice coffee maker with four complimentary pods of coffee (only two have caffeine). It’s nice coffee, too. If you want more coffee pods, you must purchase from reception at $2 USD each.
At first, I wasn’t happy about this additional charge. However, it is good coffee and $2 USD is still much cheaper than if you had coffee at the restaurant.
The Lagoon Suite has a bathroom with separate shower and bathtub. The toilet is in a different room.
The views from the lagoon suites are fantastic. You can actually see Moorea Island in the distance. The balcony is spacious and protects you from the sun.
We enjoyed spending time on this balcony in the afternoon.
Of course, the resort must also have good WIFI. Our boys got their daily YouTube fix.
Rooms with garden views. More info on room types here.
The pool at Te Moana Tahiti Resort
When researching the best place to stay in Tahiti with family, having a nice pool is a must. Te Moana Resort has a nice infinity pool with shallow areas and a man-made beach in front of the pool.
There are plenty of lounge chairs available in the morning. However, the pool can get busy in the afternoon. We noticed several guests putting a towel (beach towels are provided by the hotel) on a chair and then disappearing for hours.
This is super annoying because we couldn’t find a chair one afternoon. Eventually, a staff member brought us a single chair for all four of us.
Please, don’t be that person!
The infinity pool at Te Moana provides unobstructed views of Moorea. How great is this view?
Do you agree that Moorea looks like the fictional Motunui island in the Disney’s movie, Moana?
The pool is warm and has plenty of shallow areas for kids.
We suggest you bring your own snorkel gear and googles for your trip to French Polynesia.
Swim up pool bar serves customers without having to leave the pool.
View of the pool from the Lagoon Suite balcony.
Snorkeling in the lagoon at Te Moana Tahiti Resort
Our boys had not snorkeled in the ocean before this trip. We have a few snorkeling excursions booked on this trip, so it’s important that they practice snorkeling in a safe environment.
Te Moana Tahiti Resort has the perfect area to snorkel. The snorkeling lagoon is safe and sectioned off so there are no boats or strong currents. It’s not recommended to snorkel outside this area.
The water is very clear and it’s home to a number of different fish and underwater creatures. One morning we saw a green turtle swimming a few meters from the dock. You never know what you’ll see!
The resort offers beach towels and life jackets. Our youngest boy is still not a strong swimmer, so it’s nice to have a kid’s size life jacket for him. I believe the resort has snorkel gear for rent, but we didn’t need it because we have our own.
Here are a few items to consider for snorkeling in Tahiti:
- Snorkeling gear – mask and snorkel. It’s best to bring your own if you plan to go snorkeling multiple times. Get the kind that has a closed top of the snorkel, like this one.
- Some people prefer the full face snorkel.
- Reef shoes or water shoes to protect your feet. Although the snorkel area around Te Moana is deep enough that you can’t touch the bottom, you still want reef shoes. Tahiti has a poisonous fish called a stone fish. You don’t want to step on these fish and water shoes will help protect you.
- Reef safe sun block. Some resorts provide it for free (for example Manava Beach Resort Moorea does). Te Moana also offers sunblock, at the same place where you get the pool towels. We use two brands – Sun Bum and Blue Lizard.
- Sun shirts. The sun is hot in French Polynesia. To prevent nasty sun burns, get a few sun shirts for the pool and snorkeling excursions.
Other items you will want to bring:
- Cash. USD works, but it’s best to get the local XPF/CFP. If you can’t get this currency at home, there are ATMs at the Tahiti International Airport. Taxis and food stands prefer cash.
- Bug spray. We did get some bits in the evenings. You will want bug spray.
There are multiple stairs and ladders to get in and out of the snorkeling lagoon.
Restaurants at Te Moana Tahiti Resort
Te Moana Beach Resort has two restaurants and bars on the property.
Vaitohi Restaurant Tahiti (pictured below) is set in a green oasis, while Taapuna restaurant (picture above) offers panoramic views of the lagoon and ocean. For bars, there is Taapuna Beach Bar located on it’s own little island and Taapuna bar at the pool.
We did not dine at Taapuna restaurant during our visit. However, we did enjoy a few cocktails at Taapuna Beach Bar during happy hour while our boys snorkeled in the lagoon, which is a nice feature of this resort.
Here is the Taapuna restaurant menu at Te Moana Tahiti Resort.
Above is the Taapuna Beach Bar. It’s right on the water and a beautiful place to sit and enjoy a drink and tapas. View the Taapuna Beach Bar menu here.
Vaitohi Restaurant at Te Moana Resort
Vaitohi restaurant has indoor dining space and an outdoor terrace. View the Vaitohi Resturant Menu.
Every morning, an American breakfast buffet is available for 4000 CFP. For the buffet, you will find hot food, fresh fruits, pastries, eggs, juice, coffee, tea, etc. We did not do the breakfast buffet during our visit.
We dined at Vaitohi Restaurant on our final evening in Tahiti. It was very good. Below are some of the items we had. Our boys ordered chicken nuggets from the kids menu. Surprisingly, this was the first and only time we found chicken nuggets on a menu during our time in Tahiti.
Vaitohi Restaurant hours: American breakfast every day from 6:30AM to 10:00AM. Dinner is open Friday to Saturday from 6:30PM to 9:00PM.
Above is the main building with reception, fitness center and Vaitohi Restaurant.
Things to do in Papeete, Tahiti
More options for things to do in Tahiti can be found here.
Did you know? Tahiti is the highest and largest island of the Windward group of the Society Islands in French Polynesia. It is located in the central part of the Pacific Ocean and the nearest major landmass is Australia.
Tahiti island is 45 km (28 mi) across at its widest point. It takes less than 2 hours to drive around the whole island.
We enjoyed our two brief visits to Te Moana Tahiti Resort.
Upon arrival to Papeete after a long travel day from Seattle, it gave us the perfect break before heading off to explore the other French Polynesia islands.
Before departure, it was a great place to reset and prepare for our long journey home.
Would we stay at Te Moana Tahiti Resort again? Yes. And we recommend it as a nice place to stay in Tahiti.
Planning to visit Tahiti? Book your stay at Te Moana Resort here.
Read more blog posts from French Polynesia:
- Bora Bora travel tips: What we learned on our trip
- Swimming with Sharks and Stingrays in Moorea
- Where to stay in Tahiti? Recap from our time at Te Moana Tahiti Resort
- Our experience on the new Air Tahiti Nui flight from Seattle to Tahiti
- Abandoned InterContinental Moorea Resort in French Polynesia
- What does it really cost to travel to Bora Bora with kids?
Leave us a comment below if you have questions about family travel to Tahiti.