Sofitel Moorea’s overwater bungalows, French Polynesia’s signature digs, are considerably more alluring. It would be a shame to come this far to hole up in a landlubber cottage instead.
Overwater bungalows are built directly atop shallow bay or lagoon water, individually supported by concrete pillars and interconnected by boardwalks leading to shore.
Clad in lustrous wood and soothing natural textiles, Sofitel Moorea’s overwater bungalows are lovely to look at and comfortable to live in. They contain a couch, desk, minibar, coffeemaker, safe, phone, pivoting plasma TV and his-and-hers robes. Closet space is modest, but it’s hard to overpack for a destination where dressing for dinner means a halter top, sarong, and jeweled flip-flops.
Airy overwater bungalow bathrooms feature a partitioned toilet, rain shower, single sink, hairdryer, and magnifying mirror. Sofitel’s patented “MyBed” is a seductive king-sized romantic oasis with filmy netting intended more for effect than for nonexistent mosquitoes. (Almost as unnecessary is the air-conditioning.)
Superior- and luxury-level overwater bungalows differ mainly in terrace size, but all overwater bungalow terraces invite lounging. The main deck contains two easy chairs and a coffee table. Down a few stairs halfway to the water is a platform with a chaise. More stairs lead into the warm, aquamarine surf, where coral formations swarm with brilliantly hued, inquisitive tropical fish.