Today: Top 10 best luxury resorts & hotels in French Polynesia
The unspoiled coral reefs, islands and lagoons that make up French Polynesia are a mythical destination, having remained virtually unchanged since 18th-century sailors first reported sightings of these stunning islets. Located in the Pacific Ocean, the archipelago’s iconic islands of Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora are spectacularly beautiful. Thick with coconut forests and colorful villages, these island feature jagged green peaks that cascade down to miles of fine, white sandy beaches and crystal clear, turquoise water as far as the eye can see. No wonder that discerning travelers are flocking to these islands and that some of the most stunning hotels in the world are located here. Here’s my selection of the 10 best luxury hotels & resorts in French Polynesia, all but three of them located in Bora Bora.
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The InterContinental Tahiti Resort & Spa is the largest luxury resort on the main island of Tahiti. Located just five minutes from the airport, it is also the most convenient. Despite its proximity to the airport, the hotel provides a nice Polynesian oasis with some of the best views of Moorea on the horizon. The rooms and overwater bungalows are tastefully decorated and offer all the amenities of a deluxe international resort. Although not ultra modern, this only adds to its traditional Polynesian charm. The InterContinental Tahiti Resort features two freshwater infinity pools and provides an extensive range of activities and complimentary guest services. It is also home to the most popular traditional Tahitian dance show on the island, offered every Friday night at the hotel’s Tiare Restaurant. Elegantly engulfed by tropical gardens, this is the ideal resort to begin (or end) your visit to French Polynesia.
- Hotel website: InterContinental Tahiti Resort & Spa
- Review: read my review of the InterContinental Tahiti Resort & Spa here.
The Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa is centrally located on a sandy beach between Moorea’s two iconic bays. This northern placement creates the perfect setting to admire both the sunrise to the east and the sunset to the west from the comfort of your own overwater bungalow. The resort is also easily accessible by scenic drive from the airport or ferry dock, taking ten or fifteen minutes respectively. The spacious bungalows at the Hilton Moorea Resort are either scattered amidst exotic flower gardens or suspended over the tranquil lagoon. They feature a contemporary Polynesian design and offer all the comforts of a luxury hotel. Guest amenities include a fitness center, infinity pool, tennis courts and a range of complimentary water activities. The resort’s two restaurants serve traditional Polynesian and international cuisine, while the overwater Toatea Bar is the ideal place to indulge in a French crepe.
- Hotel website: Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa
The Sofitel Moorea Kia Ora Resort enjoys a secluded waterfront setting on one of French Polynesia’s best white sand beaches. The property is located on the eastern side of Moorea, close to the airport and ferry dock. Each spacious overwater, beachfront and garden bungalow is designed in a sleek, contemporary fashion and built with an impressive selection of natural materials. The overall ambiance of the Sofitel Moorea Kia Ora Resort reflects an air of French style infused with Tahitian hospitality. The hotel’s acclaimed restaurant provides an intimate and romantic setting with incredible panoramic views and occasional live entertainment. The wellness center, Le Spa, is a tranquil retreat with a diverse selection of signature treatments. Other guest amenities include an infinity pool, dive center and activities desk with water sports equipment to use at your disposal.
- Hotel website: The Sofitel Moorea Kia Ora Resort
Sofitel Bora Pora Private Island Resort is located on a lush islet in the crystal-clear lagoon of Bora Bora. From the private island resort, guests enjoy 360-degree views of endless ocean, the island of Bora Bora and Mount Otemanu. Nature meets stylish luxury in the design of each of the 21 luxurious and refurbished beachside, water or hillside bungalows. Pandanus thatch towers over sumptuous beds and plasma screen TVs, and stone tiled bathrooms offer up luxe French bath elixirs. Soak up lush surroundings and beautiful botanic gardens, then succumb to the resort’s signature restaurant and delight in fine food and panoramic views across your table. For weddings and other private events, the island and its bungalows are available for exclusive bookings.
- Hotel website: Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island
Since its opening in July 2002, Le Taha’a Island Resort & Spa has gathered its share of industry honors and has been included in the prestigious Relais & Châteaux collection. Designed in French Polynesia’s authentic architectural style, Le Taha’a by Pearl Resorts is located on the secluded Motu Tautau islet, facing the lush island of Taha’a on one side and the majestic silhouette of Bora Bora on the other side. The coral sand island is only a five-minute-boat ride away from Taha’a island, famous for its lush vanilla plantations and its black pearl farms. Idyllic, intimate and wonderfully preserved, the 50 thatched huts on stilts of this retreat are in the heart of a natural setting of fascinating beauty, where an enchanting vanilla fragrance and the scents of lush tropical vegetation fill the air. The lagoon has crystal-clear waters and splendid colors and there is an exceptional coral garden.
- Hotel website: Le Taha’a Island Resort
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, 75 euro spa credit, Vanilla beans from Taha’a as a farewell gift, one cocktail voucher per person to be used at the Tehutu Bar, and Chef’s treats in room upon arrival).
This 115-room resort, formerly known as Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa, re-opened in March 2017 as the Conrad Bora Bora Nui after undergoing a multimillion-dollar refurbishment. The hotel is located on a private cove on Motu To’opua, an islet off the coast of Bora Bora, about 20 minutes by boat from Bora Bora Airport. Offering panoramic ocean views, access to sea sports, coral reef dive sites and hiking trails, the beachfront Conrad Bora Bora Nui features 29 tropical garden and beach villas and 86 overwater bungalows, including the destination’s only double-story Presidential Suite. A full-service spa boasts tailored treatments like Tahitian massages, Polynesian body scrubs, and hydrating facials. Guests at the resort can look forward to inspired experiences, which marries Tahitian culture and charm with Conrad’s intuitive, discrete, and seamless service.
- Hotel website: Conrad Bora Bora Nui
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD resort credit).
Opened in May 2006 as one of the three hotels in French Polynesia managed by the InterContinental Hotel Group, the resort is located on a virgin beach on Motu Piti Aau, a coral island on the barrier reef along the eastern side of Bora Bora. The view of the main Island from the resort is unique, especially towards Mount Otemanu, rising majestically across the blue crystal waters of the spectacular lagoon. Comfortably chic bungalows jut out over the turquoise lagoon, each with a furnished sundeck with direct access to the water and an outdoor, freshwater shower. The resort boasts the region’s first thalassotherapy spa, using South Pacific marine ingredients in luscious skincare treatments. Dining is decadent, from barbecue buffets to fine French fare. On selected nights, theme dinners are organized to showcase traditional Polynesian food, song, and dance.
- Hotel website: InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and one dinner for two).
- Review: read my review of InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa here.
Reaching out across 44 acres of lush landscaping edged by white sands and a crystalline lagoon, The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort represents the epitome of carefree elegance. The resort’s 100 accommodations comprise the largest over-water villas in French Polynesia as well as some stunning beach villas, each one adorned with exotic woods, handwoven fabrics and regional art. Rising in the distance, the towering majesty of Mount Otemanu is an ever-present symbol of the lofty luxury and personalized service that are the hallmarks of the resort. Suspended over water is the Lagoon Restaurant, with views of Mount Otemanu, where Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s menu offers the finest dining experience. The St. Regis Butler Service offers coffee and tea delivery with wake-up calls, Champagne sabering, and more. A highlight is the Iridium Spa, set on its own private island, offering relaxing treatments.
- Hotel website: St Regis Bora Bora
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, 20% discount at spa, and complimentary round-trip boat transfers to/from the airport for up to 2 guests).
- Review: read my review of St Regis Bora Bora here.
Wrapped by majestic views, Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora is surrounded by sand-fringed islets on an outer coral reef that enclose a turquoise lagoon. The resort offers 115 spacious hideaways with 108 overwater bungalows and 7 enormous beachfront villa estates, all overlooking the lagoon’s crystal clear waters and some with spectacular views of Mount Otemanu, French Polynesia’s sacred mountain. Inspired by local architecture, all guest accommodations offer a restful, airy ambience; complete with traditional teak wood furnishings, high ceilings and thatched roofs made from pandanus leaves. Distinctive touches include the fragrance of vanilla and the texture of black pearls in the spa, alfresco dining overlooking Bora-Bora’s famed lagoon, and signature Four Seasons service at every turn.
- Hotel website: Four Seasons Bora Bora
- Other accolades: Four Seasons Bora Bora also features in my top 10 lists of hotels rooms with a spectacular view, the world’s best honeymoon resorts, and the most spectacular hotel bathrooms in the world.
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD spa credit).
- Review: read my review of Four Seasons Bora Bora here.
The Brando is the ultimate luxury resort in French Polynesia. Just 30 miles (50 km) north of Tahiti, the resort is located in the breathtakingly beautiful private atoll of Tetiaroa, which is comprised of a dozen idyllic islands surrounding a spectacular lagoon. With access provided by private plane, the atoll offers carefree luxury in the midst of pristine nature and is a special place of rare biodiversity and a natural sanctuary for birds and marine life. The all-inclusive The Brando Resort features 35 deluxe villas each with its own private beach area and plunge pool, restaurants showcasing Polynesian and French cuisine, a luxurious Polynesian spa, a beach bar & pool, organic garden, library, boutique, water sports, and an environmental research station with guest programs. It was in this natural wonderland that the legendary actor Marlon Brando settled down, and finally found his home.
- Hotel website: The Brando
- Other accolades: The Brando also features in my top 10 lists of the world’s most exclusive private island resorts, the most expensive hotels in the world, and luxury hotels with private airports.
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and 100 euro resort credit).
- Review: read my review of The Brando here.