Sunset Hill Lodge – Unpretentious and unconventional, but convenient, and affordable for families.
The 2 buildings are unsigned on either side of the main road, on the northern edge of the only town on the main island. 1 building – slightly up a hill, offering distant and partially-blocked sea views – contains 2 1-bedroom apartments, each with a kitchen, pocket garden and 2 extra single beds. Better is the blue house over the road, with studios and a magnificent 2-bedroom apartment featuring enough beds for 8 people. The apartment kitchen is enormous, and the balcony juts over the water, but the pink doors, yellow walls, and garish curtains are a tad tasteless.
Sunset Hill Lodge – The Basics
Location: Based in 2 buildings: 1 (blue) alongside the Total petrol station, and another (crimson) just up a laneway opposite – but neither are signposted. About 1.2km from the terminal for boats to the airport; 8km from Matira, the main beach region; and 20 minutes by boat and taxi from the airport.
Guests: For those on a budget, including families, who don’t necessarily need to be in a resort area.
Beach: No beach in front or anywhere else in Vaitape. About 300 further north (e.g. near the yacht club) are some unexciting swimming spots, but still no beach. Otherwise, ask staff for a free transfer to the main beach at Matira.
Views: Distant sea views from the building up the hill; faultless panoramas of the ocean from the studios and apartment in the blue house over the road.
Wi-Fi Internet: Free throughout for guests, although a bit hit-and-miss at times.
Parking: Secure off-street parking next to all rooms.
Nice Perks: Free laundry service. Also, free transfers to the boat terminal for the airport, and usually, to Matira beach.
Smoking Rooms: Not permitted in the rooms, but allowed elsewhere.
Best Room: Easily the best is the Moana Apartment on the second floor of the blue house. It provides enough space to comfortably accommodate 8 people, and has an extensive balcony over the sea, but the décor is garish.
Sunset Hill Lodge – What’s Nearby?
Restaurants & Bars
MaiKai Restaurant – classy, waterside bistro/bar offering French and Polynesian cuisine. Part of a yacht club with live music, decent happy hours, and pool. Importantly, open on Sundays. About 300m further up the road, away from town. 4-minute walk.
Restaurant Saint James (40 67 64 62) – cocktails, sunsets, seafood and waterside tables. Popular among locals for the wine and dessert menu. About 400m down the road towards the town centre. 5-minute walk.
Le Panda d’Or (40 67 62 81) – affordable and popular Chinese cuisine, with huge serves. Some wines and beers also available. Almost opposite Saint James. 5-minute walk.
Aloe Café (40 67 78 88) – popular expat hangout for breakfast, salads, pasta, pizza and pastries. About 1km away, opposite the church in the middle of Vaitape. 13-minute walk.
Chez Pam – 1 of several very casual street-side options; basically a caravan selling pizzas and burgers. About 300m further up, away from Vaitape.
Market or Grocery: 2 pleasingly well-stocked supermarkets are in Vaitape, and within a 500m walk. Chin Lee’s is open on Sundays.
There is no public transport anywhere on Bora Bora. Taxis (unmetered) can be organized through the lodge, but rates are extortionate. Otherwise, rent a bicycle, car or scooter to reach Matira, but it’s walkable to Vaitape and the terminal for boat transfers to the airport. Best of all: staff at the lodge can provide free transfers to Vaitape and Matira.
Sunset Hill Lodge – The Hotel
The lodge is divided into 2 separate buildings, with 1 up a slight hill.
The building up the hill is quietly distant from the main road, and faces a small garden.
Rooms in this building are simple, but spacious and colorful.
Walls of the rooms are lined with Polynesian-style art.
Better are the studios and apartment in the blue house, almost opposite the other building.
The Moana Apartment in the blue building features a massive kitchen.
The apartment contains 2 bedrooms, and with several beds also in the lounge area, it can comfortably accommodate 8 people.
The bathroom in the apartment is also large.
The décor in the apartment is remarkably garish, with the colors of the linen, curtains and wall not remotely matching.
There is nothing fancy about the décor and furnishings in the second bedroom of the apartment, but it’s comfortable enough.
The advantage of staying in the apartment is the balcony that juts out over the water.
The blue building faces the sea and provides lovely views across the lagoon.
About 300m further up the road from the town centre is the MaiKai Restaurant, part of a classy yacht club.
An easy walk towards town is the Restaurant Saint James, ideal for views, sunsets and seafood.
Almost opposite the Saint James is this modest but popular Chinese restaurant.
All rooms at the lodge feature a kitchen, and 2 well-stocked supermarkets are within a 5-minute walk.
1 advantage of staying at the lodge is its proximity to the boutiques and bistros in Vaitape, the only town in Bora Bora.
From the lodge, it’s an easy walk into Vaitape.
Vaitape is a pleasant laidback town – touristy, but with a few amenities for locals.
A fun way to explore the main island is by the sort of buggy car available for rent in Vaitape.
Staff are usually able to provide free transfers to the main beach region at Matira.
Bora Bora is about 45 minutes by air from the Tahiti capital, Pape’ete.
The airport is on an atoll, and linked to the main island by free boat transfers.