Moorea is one of the most enchanting islands in French Polynesia. With its beautiful jungled peaks, turquoise lagoons, and white sandy beaches, it’s a dream destination for most. Add the annual migration of humpback whales, and you have one of the best tropical diving locations in the world. But whether you’re seeking a relaxed island getaway, or want to swim with the whales, French Polynesia is an incredible place to splurge on a dream resort. Staying at an overwater bungalow in Moorea is a bucket-list experience in paradise.
Best Overwater Bungalows in Moorea
In this article, I’ll outline the best overwater bungalows in Moorea, as well as everything you need to know to make the most of your time there. From how to swim with the local wildlife to the best places to stay on the island, here’s all you need to know for your stint in paradise.
QUICK PICKS: 2 BEST OVERWATER BUNGALOWS IN MOOREA
Don’t have time to read the whole article? No worries! To summarize, here are the two best resorts with overwater bungalows in Moorea
ACCOMMODATION COMPARISON TABLE
You’ll find the 8 Best Overwater Bungalows in Moorea below, with a table showing current resort rates. I’ve sorted them by price and listed the rate for an overwater room. I’ve added several hotels that offer rooms at the water’s edge, and those are priced per night for sea view or oceanfront rooms.
If you’re interested in overwater bungalows in other parts of French Polynesia, try my Best Overwater Bungalows In Tahiti guide!
8 BEST OVERWATER BUNGALOWS IN MOOREA
Moorea is one of the most postcard-perfect places in the world, and what better way to enjoy your stay than with an overwater villa? With sparkling blue lagoons full of marine life, it would be remiss not to stay by the beach. And while there are currently only three hotels with overwater bungalows in Moorea, there are a handful of boutique properties offering bungalows right along the water’s edge. So whether you want world-class service from a well-known hotelier, or an intimate experience right next to the water, here are the 8 best overwater bungalows in Moorea.
Luxury Overwater Bungalows in Moorea
These are the indulgent overwater bungalows you imagine when you think of places like Bora Bora and the Maldives. Luxury living above the water with private pools, glass floor panels, and butler service just to name a few features. If you can afford a stay in a water villa once in your life, Moorea is among the best place to do so!
Hilton Moorea Lagoon
The Hilton Moorea Lagoon is the quintessential overwater escape. The property is located on the north side of the island, near the mouth of ‘Ōpūnohu Bay. There are a total of 54 overwater bungalows, each with a private sundeck offering panoramic views of the lagoon or mountains. The well-appointed rooms also feature glass-floor panels, modern amenities, and Polynesian flair. Having direct access to the water from your room isn’t bad either.
Aside from its beautifully designed rooms, the Hilton offers guests a wide range of amenities and activities. The hotel was home to the first overwater restaurant on Moorea. A feat that’s more impressive when you consider the marine life viewings of stingrays and reef sharks below. Additional facilities like a full fitness center, spa, tennis courts, and pool add to its appeal.
As for activities, there are complimentary water sports, 4×4 jeep tours, and marine tours available to book. For guests visiting during whale season (August – October), the opportunity to swim with humpback whales comes highly recommended! With its postcard-perfect location and well-appointed suites, the Hilton Moorea Lagoon is an excellent choice for an overwater escape in Moorea.
Sofitel Kia Ora Moorea Beach
The Sofitel Kia Ora Moorea Beach is a luxurious oceanside retreat set along the longest stretch of sand on the island. Conveniently located next to Temae Beach (and the ferry port), the hotel features 38 overwater bungalows with a sophisticated blend of French style and South Pacific charm. Their overwater rooms offer private sundecks, glass-paneled floors, and gorgeous views of the crystalline waters. The island of Tahiti is visible in one direction, with canopied jungle on the other. Whichever room type you choose, you’ll have direct access to the marine-protected lagoon, with views of the pristine beach.
The Sofitel provides all the luxe amenities, like signature wellness treatments at the Jardin Spa, French gastronomy at its restaurants and bars, and a beachfront infinity pool with stunning views. Guests can enjoy live performances while dining, experience traditionally cooked Polynesian fare, and explore the island and waters with local guides. Given its idyllic (and convenient) setting, thoughtful amenities, and warm Polynesian hospitality, the Sofitel Kia Ora is an exceptional choice for an overwater bungalow in Moorea.
Manava Beach is a slice of heaven along the Northeast shores of Moorea. Situated a stone’s throw away from the iconic Cook’s Bay, this intimate retreat offers 28 overwater bungalows. Each beautifully built bungalow sits perched above a sparkling lagoon, with a multi-level sun deck with direct ocean access. The rooms feature glass-floor coffee tables, with Polynesian-inspired decor throughout. And whether guests want to lounge in the sun, swim in the lagoon, or view passing marine life, they can do all from the comfort of their private villas.
Manava also boasts a wide selection of resort amenities to enhance your stay. There’s a beachside infinity pool and spa, delicious international cuisine, as well as water sports like paddleboarding and kayaking. Guests can also join organized scuba dives and marine tours, with some incredible options to explore the underwater world. Considering its stunning natural beauty, hospitality, and five-star facilities, Manava Beach is a great destination for a Moorea overwater bungalow experience.
Overwater Bungalow Alternatives in Moorea
Given that there are currently only 3 hotels offering “classic” overwater bungalows in Moorea, here are 5 alternative options. Some of these hotels offer rooms right at the water’s edge, with sundecks that are overwater. Others are just a few steps from the beach, with terraces sitting over the water. And while these boutique hotels might not be as luxurious as the bungalows listed above, they’re much friendlier on the wallet.
Hôtel Fenua Mata’i’oa
Hôtel Fenua Mata’i’oa is a hidden gem located on the northwest shores of Moorea. Situated in Tiahura, the hotel is conveniently located near the public beach and a lovely collection of local shops and restaurants. The resort makes the list because its Prestige Sea View suits are practically overwater. Each bungalow is uniquely designed with a driftwood-styled bed and whimsical furnishings. A private sundeck also sits over the pristine waters of the lagoon.
And for those wondering, the lagoon in front is the site of the famous Moorea reef sharks and stingrays. But unless you’re an extremely strong swimmer with ocean experience, I’d recommend using a guide or tour company. The current between the beach and sandbar can be wickedly strong! Guests can book a tour through the hotel, as well as car hire and bicycle renting. Other amenities include the onsite bar, restaurant, and outdoor hot tub. And considering the quality of the suites at half the cost of the earlier water villas on the list, Hôtel Fenua Mata’i’oa is a great option for an overwater bungalow in Moorea.
Hotel Kaveka is a seaside property blessed with one of the best views in Moorea. Nestled in Cook’s Bay, Kaveka enjoys incredible views of the heart of Moorea. Mount Rotui rises in the distance, with a palm-fringed beach and crystal-clear waters along the shore. The rooms here aren’t overwater or water’s edge, but there are beach-front bungalows available to book. These rooms include at least two beds, making them perfect for families. Having a front porch directly on the beach is pretty nice too.
Guests can enjoy canoeing, kayaking, and snorkeling in the bay, with bike rentals for hire. There’s also an overwater restaurant that can satisfy your overwater needs. Considering its stunning backdrop, simplicity, and great value, Hotel Kaveka is a great alternative to Moorea’s overwater bungalows.
Cook’s Bay Hotel & Suites
Cook’s Bay Hotel & Suites is a modern hotel that’s an excellent alternative to pricier overwater retreats. Located next door to Hotel Kaveka, both properties enjoy unparalleled views of the bay and Mount Rotui. For most, it’s the many, it’s the most beautiful vista in Moorea, and I’d have to agree. The rooms here make the most of the view, with balconies and terraces attached to all rooms. The suites are spacious and modern, with a light and bright island aesthetic.
The resort itself provides excellent amenities like a fitness center, swimming pool, and garden. A hotel concierge is on hand to help book island tours and transfers, and hiking, diving, and cycling are all within reach. Adventurous guests can even hike Mount Rotui for panoramic views of Moorea’s two famous bays. With its modern design and elegant amenities, Cook’s Bay Hotel & Suites is a great choice for accommodations in Moorea.
Linareva Moorea Beach is a cozy local hotel in the typical South Pacific Style. Located in Nuurua, it’s further from the typical tourist track, but well worth the effort to reach. All rooms at Linareva provide private terraces with views of the sea or gardens. There are oceanfront studios, beach bungalows, and two-bedroom offerings just steps from the sand. Meanwhile, the rooms are styled in a colorful and relaxed local decor. It’s not the Four Seasons, but it has everything you need, plus genuine charm.
Once at the property, guests can explore via canoes, bicycles, and provided snorkeling equipment. There’s a private jetty with beautiful lagoon views, perfect for catching sunsets over the water. The reception is also available to help book diving, whale watching, and hiking tours. Linareva happens to be conveniently located near the jump-off point for whale-watching tours in Moorea (only 7 minutes away). At any rate, it’s a wonderful resort with a sensational backdrop, and a good alternative to expensive Moorea overwater bungalows.
Moorea Beach Lodge
Moorea Beach Lodge is a beautiful boutique hotel in an unbeatable location. Located on the west side of the island, in Haapiti, Moorea Beach Lodge is a short walk from the shops and restaurants at Le Petit Village. The resort offers beautiful “Honeymoon Bungalows” right at the water’s edge. The cottages are chic and stylish, with beautiful thatched roofing and private decks. The sundecks sit nestled between lush tropical garden and the gorgeous beachfront. It’s the perfect place to catch sunsets over the Pacific.
Being a small boutique hotel, there isn’t a restaurant or spa on-site, but guests are free to use the kitchen to prepare their own meals. The lodge also provides complimentary bike and kayak rentals. As for activities, the dive shop next door can organize pelagic safaris, whale watching, scuba diving, and more. Altogether, it’s a very intimate property on a beautiful stretch of beach, and one that shouldn’t be missed.
Things to Know Before Traveling to Moorea
Before planning your trip to Moorea, here are a few considerations and frequently asked questions about Tahiti’s Sister Isle. Whether it’s your first trip to French Polynesia, or your first time traveling in the South Pacific, here’s a brief overview.
Best Time to Visit Moorea
The best time to visit Moorea is during the dry season, which runs from May to October. This period experiences less rainfall and more sunshine, making it ideal for outdoor activities and enjoying the beaches. August – October is also whale season, which is the only time you can swim with the migrating humpback whales. The temperatures during this season range from the mid-70s to mid-80s Fahrenheit (mid-20s to high-20s Celsius), providing the ideal weather for exploring the lush island.
It’s important to note that Moorea’s climate is generally warm and tropical throughout the year, but the wet season from November to April can bring increased rainfall and occasional storms. While visiting during this time is still possible, your beach time may be limited by unpredictable weather. If traveling during this period, it’s best to book a longer trip to buffer any stormy stretches you may encounter.
Where to Stay in Moorea
Although the best place to stay in Moorea largely depends on your preferences and what you’re looking for, most tourists choose to stay on the beautiful North side of the island. A few popular areas are:
Opunohu Bay and Cook’s Bay: These two bays on the north side of Moorea offer some of the most breathtaking views in Moorea. The iconic Mount Rotui rises between both, offering rewarding views to those bold enough to climb. The lush botanical gardens and palm-lined beaches are the epitome of paradise.
Tiahura: Tucked away on the northwest coast, Tiahura is one of my favorite places to stay in Moorea. It’s about a 35-minute drive from the ferry terminal, which can be an expensive taxi, an affordable shuttle van, or a $3 bus ride. There are plenty of local shops and restaurants, a beautiful public beach, and it’s home to the stingrays and shark lagoon. It’s also close to the jump-off point for the whale tours.
Maharepa: Located on the northeastern coast, Maharepa is a cute town with boutique accommodations, shops, and restaurants. ATMs in Moorea aren’t as conveniently placed as in some other islands, but there are three different banks in the area, making it a useful base. I recommend visiting Caraméline, the local bakery.
Temae: Set on the northeastern coast, Temae is known for its stunning white sand beach (the longest on the island). It’s also conveniently close to the ferry terminal and the Moorea Airport. Things nearby include the Sofitel and Moorea Green Pearl Golf Course.
Ultimately, the best place to stay in Moorea depends on your preferences, budget, and preferred activities. Consider factors like proximity to attractions, beaches, and overall ambiance. You can read my full guide on The Best Resorts on the Island here.
That’s it for my guide on Best Overwater Bungalows in Moorea! If you’re interested in trying out overwater retreats elsewhere in French Polynesia, try my Best Overwater Bungalows in French Polynesia guide. If you’re interested in other overwater escapes, try my Best Overwater Bungalows in the Maldives or Best Overwater Bungalows in the Caribbean guide. Either way, I hope you find the perfect overwater escape!