“Welcome Home”, the lovely lady at reception said.
After a short 30 min flight from Noumea and a 20 mins shuttle bus ride, we arrived at this famous resort – Le Meridien Ile Des Pins. This resort hides in the famous ora bay and has the direct access to the beach.
This resort belongs to SPG group (soon will belong to Marriot) and has the reputation of “one of the best resort in south pacific, or even at world level”.
Le Meridien has its own shuttle bus waiting outside the airport which connects each flight from Noumea. If you didn’t contact the hotel in advance, there is a small counter that belongs to Le Meridien, or you can just walk out and find their minibus.
The resort is spectaculars at its first sight, I can’t believe this resort has been around for 20 years.
Check in was smooth, we got offered a fruit smoothie as part of the SPG member privilege while we are waiting. And …. we were the super luck couple that got offered an upgrade to the Panoramic bungalow!
I didn’t realise how amazing the view is until I step in my bungalow. The balcony has direct access to the beach and the shortcut to the natural pool in low tide.
During high tide
The balcony has two sets of chairs, which are perfect for a lazy afternoon
The bathroom size said its luxury, with beach towel already available for use.
The bed is cozy and warm, I can just hide on it for the day (that’s what you looking for from a good resort isn’t it!)
Most importantly, the view I looked out while I was on the bed is just like the dream house.
The colour of the lagoon seems really unreal to me, and one giant “floating rock” just outside my window and the water was crystal clear
This is the perfect place for chill under the sun, but the downside is it is pretty cold/boring when its rain because there is no WiFi in the room.
(the amazing sunrise, I watched on the balcony)
(the sun sparkled just right next to the stairs to the private beach during high tide)
If the weather holds, there is plenty to do. This is a resort that nests in nature and included all the water activity equipment in the cost.
Kayak during the sunset (unfortunately high tide was afternoon nearly sunset period when we were there), snorkelling in the Piscine Naturelle (The nature pool) nearby, hiking to Baie D’Upi (UPI bay) or just lounge in the room enjoy the view, there are plenty of options to accomplish the stay here.
(those kayaks are free for rent for its resort customer)
(during the low tide, walk from the backyard beach around 10-15 mins, we saw this massive lagoon)
(The lagoon really just in front of you and easy to access during the low tide)
The resort also provides a couple of excursion options. One of the interesting ones is: for extra 4000 (55 aud)/Ppl, you can enjoy pirogue in upi bay (hiking back) for a morning. We didn’t manage to wake up 8 am and went out for the morning excursion, but it can be an enjoyable experience.
Other options including island tour by bus (2 hr in the afternoon, 3415 cfp per person), traditional island tour (whole day, price from 5000 without meal included to 10500 CFP including a lobster meal) and whale watching ( from July to Sep, a couple of hours, 9416 cfp). We didn’t try any of those because we want to explore the area around the resort during our 2.5 days here. Let us know how it goes!
We also asked the hotel about the cave that located about 10 mins driving distance. The reception kindly suggested that the cave is pretty small with an entrance fee. Therefore it is probably not worth the time to go there.
The hotel also has a library and a board game room, which just located right next to the fireplace. All the book and DVD is in French, but there are board games tables as well.
The restaurant located in a spot with a beneath view:
I have to say a big disappointment for this stay is the food. There are no other restaurants around this place (only one at the camping ground close to the beach, but they open and close at the uncertain time). The food in the hotel is very overpriced for its quality, but we have no other choice.
All the room have a buffet breakfast included, the selection is very limited:
(They also have 3-4 hot dishes selections)
(That’s my pick for the first breakfast)
The pastry in the breakfast is excellent. Make sure try some of those!
Local people call the lunch as “snack”, means sandwichs, pizzas and salads. We came back from the Nature pool and really starving. The sandwich wasn’t bad (AUD 35).
The little bar has some interesting selection and the cocktails are good but priced at a premium:
the dinner (the big problem):
Snail (Escargot) is the local delicacy here. Having said that, half dozen of the snail cost around $45 bucks:
(well, worth 4 photos for this dish?)
The snail tastes different from what I had before and was delicious.
All the other dishes we had was very average:
both fish fillets were really hard to chew, the Ile de pin duck breast taste ok but also hard to cut. Everything seems overcooked. This island has direct access to the ocean so I am not sure why that happens. The price of each dinner for two was around $100-$140. Price wasn’t too bad for a restaurant in a 5-star resort but wasn’t a satisfying food experience.
So my suggestion is: bring some instant noodle/snacks just in case.
Overall, this is a pleasant stay. We enjoy the great hospitality and fantastic nature here. The view is just spectacular during the sunny day.
There are no safeguards next to the beach, so make sure you always bring someone along with you for the safety reason.
Bring some snacks from the main land. I found swimming in the sea water can be tiring.
resort recommendation: 4/5
(The cat in the yard and the snail shell hanging next to the entree)