Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.
Today: Top 10 best luxury resorts in Bora Bora
Unquestionably the most mythical of the Pacific islands, Bora Bora is love at first sight, and once seen it is never forgotten. With a lagoon famed to be the most beautiful one on the planet and castle-like Mount Otemanu piercing the sky, romantics and artists have laid claim to this island of overpowering beauty. Lush tropical slopes and valleys blossoming with hibiscus delight the eye, while palm-covered motus (islets) circle the illuminated lagoon like a delicate necklace. In Bora Bora, you can decide to be as active as you wish or do nothing at all and just take in the serene beauty of the island. Water is a way of life on the island and activities range from snorkeling tours to beach picnics, scuba diving, jet skiiing, stand up paddle boarding, deep sea fishing, and the popular shark and ray adventure! Having a reputation as one of the world’s top honeymoon destinations, Bora Bora is famous for its resorts with overwater bungalows, although it only features a handful of true five star hotels. Here’s my list of the top 10 best resorts in Bora Bora (with the first four hotels clearly a step above the other properties).
Have you ever stayed at a Bora Bora resort? If so, what was your experience? Leave a comment.
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10. SOFITEL BORA BORA MARARA BEACH RESORT
Situated on a private white sand beach, on the edge of one of the most beautiful lagoons in the world, the 4-star Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort offers an authentic and colourful Polynesian atmosphere. The resort’s location on the mainland allows guests to fully explore the island, its shops and restaurants. With a total of 55 luxurious bungalows set overwater, on the beach, or in the gardens, this address offers an intimate atmosphere. The interior design is inspired by the colors of the lagoon and traditional Polynesian architecture. Overlooking the turquoise lagoon and outdoor infinity pool, the restaurant, Latitude 16°, features, local, French and international cuisine, and seasonal themed buffets. LeSpa, the rejuvenating spa located at the resort, introduces guests to Tahitian well-being treatments and Tahitian scents and oils. The resort is currently under renovation.
- Hotel website: Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort
9. LE BORA BORA BY PEARL RESORTS
Featuring a spectacular view of Bora Bora’s Mount Otemanu, the 4-star Le Bora Bora by Pearl Resorts enjoys an idyllic location on Motu Tevairaoa, only a ten-minute boat ride from the airport and fifteen minutes across the lagoon from Vaitape (the main village on Bora Bora island). The resort boasts authentic Polynesian style and architecture and certainly offers some of the most traditionally designed and affordable rooms in Bora Bora. The 108 rooms and villas are nestled in a beautiful tropical garden, on the beach or suspended above the dazzling lagoon. Facilities include three restaurants (serving international cuisine with a Polynesian twist), two bars, two meeting rooms, one boutique, an on-site diving center, a prestigious spa and a fitness center, a fresh-water swimming pool, a floodlight tennis court, mini-golf, table tennis, volley-ball and bocce ball courts, billiards and a wide variety of activities and excursions.
- Hotel website: Le Bora Bora by Pearl Resort
8. INTERCONTINENTAL BORA BORA LE MOANA RESORT
The InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana Resort is a charming hotel where classic Polynesian design is combined with an understated luxury. It is one of only three hotels located on the main island of Bora Bora, affording easy access to Vaitape and Matira Point, often considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The resort’s 65 overwater and beach villas share a southeastern view of the outstretched lagoon and the nearby islands of Raiatea and Taha’a. Each overwater bungalow also features a glass coffee table, providing your own private aquarium with access to the lagoon below. Noa Noa, the main restaurant, serves French cuisine infused with local flavors in an outdoor, beachside setting with live entertainment two nights a week, while the Vini Vini Bar and Terrace provides a casual poolside dining option during the day. Other facilities include a large pool and a wellness center.
- Hotel website: Intercontinental Bora Bora Le Moana Resort
7. PAUL GAUGUIN CRUISES
For some travelers, a cruise might be a valuable alternative for a hotel in Bora Bora as it allows easy island hopping. Paul Gauguin Cruises operates the highest-rated and longest continually-sailing cruise ship in the South Pacific. The ship – m/s Paul Gauguin – has been designed to explore the pristine lagoon of Bora Bora (and other islands), while the team of local Tahitians extend genuine Polynesian hospitality. Artful onboard features include luxurious, oceanview accommodations with balconies in select staterooms, gourmet dining curated by award-winning chef Jean-Pierre Vigato, a lavish spa offering signature treatments, an expansive deck and outdoor pool, fitness center, a boutique, and a lounge with live local entertainment introducing you to Polynesia’s vibrant cultures. Guests can spend as much time as they’d like during the day on the company’s private beach in Bora Bora.
- Cruise website: Paul Gauguin Cruises
6. LE MERIDIEN BORA BORA
When it opened in the late ’90s, Le Meridien Bora Bora was the first luxury hotel of its kind in the area. Since then, it has consistently remained one of Bora Bora’s best resorts. The property occupies one of the most prized spots in Bora Bora’s mesmerizing lagoon, overlooking the water towards the magnificent Mount Otemanu, the island’s highest point. Guests stay in beach bungalows under coconut trees, or in luxurious over-water bungalows, built on stilts above the lagoon. All bungalows have chic and modern furniture, full facilities and the flavour of the Polynesian culture. Calm waters flow under glass-bottom floors and private terraces in the overwater villas provide space to gaze at the stars and feel the breeze. A turtle sanctuary at Le Meridien Bora Bora is the only one of its kind in French Polynesia, and allows guests to experience swimming with the magnificent hawksbill sea turtle. The resort is currently under renovation and is rumored to reopen as a Westin in 2023.
- Hotel website: Le Meridien Bora Bora
5. SOFITEL BORA BORA PRIVATE ISLAND 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
4. CONRAD BORA BORA NUI
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
- Other accolades: Conrad Bora Bora Nui also features in my top 10 list of the best hotels & resorts in French Polynesia.
- 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).
3. INTERCONTINENTAL BORA BORA RESORT & THALASSO SPA
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
- Other accolades: InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa also features in my top 10 list of the best hotels & resorts in French Polynesia.
- 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.
2. THE ST REGIS BORA BORA
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
- Other accolades: St Regis Bora Bora also features in my top 10 list of the best hotels & resorts in French Polynesia.
- 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.
1. FOUR SEASONS BORA BORA
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 list of the best hotels & resorts in French Polynesia.
- 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.
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St Regis Bora Bora, is the best Hotel 🙂 i like it! Perfect Location! Biggest watervillas!