Overwater bungalow of the week: Manihi Pearl Beach Resort
Of the twenty or so overwater bungalow resorts clustered around Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora, the most remote is one of the more affordable in the region, called the Manihi Pearl Beach Resort.
Some people may prefer to be on an island with another resort every few hundred yards, but for those looking to feel that they are in paradise at the edge of the world, this is one to consider.
This week: Manihi Pearl Beach Resort
You can check the map of the South Pacific overwater resorts yourself, and you'll notice the large cluster around Bora Bora, and to the northeast of that you'll see one standing alone on its own private island with nothing else close. The Manihi Pearl Beach Resort is a 90-minute flight from Tahiti, and then a 10-minute golf cart ride from the small air strip to the resort itself.
As one of the cheaper South Pacific resorts of it's kind it's no surprise that the overwater bungalows are modest in size, but at almost 550 square feet they are still nearly twice the size of a standard urban hotel room. There's also a private terrace, a glass-bottom coffee table, and a mini bar among other luxury amenities.
Interesting activity options
Along with the full list of standard tropical resort activities, including diving snorkeling, sea kayaks, and swimming pools, the Manihi Pearl Beach Resort also offers several programs that are only found in the South Pacific. There's an actual oyster farm just a short ride away, and a Polynesian stargazing/astronomy session available for free each Wednesday evening.
Even more memorable is the “Robinson Crusoe picnic on the Motu.” With a group of 4 or more people you can arrange for the resort to take you to a small deserted island (known as a motu in the South Pacific) for a barbecue picnic lunch, snorkeling, and line fishing. This is an experience that is very popular in the South Pacific, and no where can you do it more remotely than on Manihi Island.
Being completely honest, probably the best feature of the Manihi Island Resort is that it's among the cheapest in this very expensive part of the world. The resorts on Bora Bora itself start at over US$700 per night in season while the Manihi starts at only US$498 per night, plus 15% tax.
Better still, the Premium Overwater bungalows give you the best views and more privacy and they are only $40 per night extra. For a premium resort with all the amenities you expect at a 4- or 5-star hotel, this is very good value.
Price: US$558 per night