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“Paradise found!”
Review of Pension Papahani

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Pension Papahani
Ranked #4 of 14 Maupiti Island B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
14 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Paradise found!”
Reviewed 28 September 2011

We stayed at the Pension Papahani on the island of Maupiti in June of 2011 for 5 nights. The location is excellent, great beach, lagoon and snorkeling. We swam with giant manta rays 3 mornings in a row. The manta rays' "cleaning station" is located in front of the pension, a 2-minute boat ride. The bungalow are charming and clean. The food is excellent, however you need to love fish and seafood of all kinds! Great value for the money. Scenery out of this world, quiet and lovely island. Will definitely return.

Room Tip: Best two bungalows for view are the 2 nearest to the beach.
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  • Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank AndieFB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (2)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Santa Cruz, California
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 November 2009

Maupiti is as wonderful as the reviews describe.. non-commercialized and very remote. No resorts here to ruin the pristine waterfronts, just pure nature and tranquility. The motus are even more remote and there is no development at all other than a few pensions and a few private homes here and there. If you are looking for lots of organized activities go to Bora Bora instead, you might get bored in Maupiti. But if you're looking to relax in an unspoiled tropical paradise, this is it.

Pension Papahani is located on Motu Tiapaa, the south-easternmost motu in Maupiti. It is next to the only pass into Maupiti's lagoon. As such it is a bit remote, although the distances on Maupiti are short. The downside is that you need to pay for a boat ride whenever you want to go to the main island and at about $20/person it can become expensive if you go often.

(One option to consider is to stay on the main island for a few days first and get all your hikes and island touring done without having to schedule or worry about boat trips. Then move to Papahani for the rest of your stay for the true remote island paradise experience.)

To/From airport transfers (a boat ride) are free.

Use of kayaks is free. However, there is one big catch: they only have one kayak (a double) to share between all the guests. We were hoping to do more kayaking than we were able to do due to this limitation. It is a shame because the kayak is a wonderful way to get around Maupiti (it is easy to paddle to the main island, for example). If you're hoping to spend a lot of time on the kayak, be sure to ask them if they have acquired more kayaks before making your reservations.

If you get "half pension" this includes breakfast and dinner (highly recommended since there isn't anywhere else to eat!) Breakfast is simple (fruit, bread, juice). Dinner is the highlight here! It is a wonderful feast, very well prepared. A buffet with two main dishes and several side dishes, choices change daily. By far the best food during our stay in French Polynesia was the dinners at Papahani.

The bungalows are the standard issue ones (if you stay in multiple pensions you'll notice they all have the exact same ones) but very nicely decorated (ours looked nicer than in any other pension we stayed, even though the building was the same everywhere). No electronics here (no TV, nothing). There is electricity and hot water. Two of the five bungalows are slightly older units which are not as nice.

One drawback (shared by all pensions in Maupiti) is they don't take credit cards. So you'll have to travel with a LOT of cash. Calculate your budget carefully and exchange plenty of money to cover everything before leaving Papeete because once you get to Maupiti the cash you brought is all you have to pay for your entire stay. The other difficulty is that the only way to make reservations is to call them by phone, so find someone who speaks French! These inconveniences are the price to pay for the remote beauty of Maupiti, but it's worth it.

Motu Tiapaa is small and easily walkable, but some other properties of the motu have aggressive dogs so it's not possible to walk entirely around the southern tip. Papahani also has many (friendly!) dogs who love to go on walks with guests.

The owners are friendly and helpful. In short, Pension Papahani is a wonderful choice for staying in Maupiti. The single kayak is the only minus from an otherwise perfect score (and maybe they've addressed that problem by the time you read this). Highly recommended.

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank DJS4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Pension Papahani

Property: Pension Papahani
Address: Motu Tiapaa | P.O. BOX 1 - Vai'ea, 98732, French Polynesia
Region: French Polynesia > Society Islands > Maupiti Island
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 14 B&Bs / Inns in Maupiti Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 13
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