The Bora Bora wow factor starts as soon as you step out of your plane onto the tarmac.
After walking to the small terminal in the caress of the sunshine you’ll be welcomed with a flower lei and a warm greeting from a representative of your hotel. The crystal clear water is just a few metres away, and a boat is waiting to whisk you away to your resort. It’s the perfect welcome to beautiful Bora Bora.
The world’s favourite images of overwater bungalows are from Bora Bora, and the luxury resort offerings are the stuff that romantic dreams are made of. The following resorts offer premium overwater accommodation, but the luxury doesn’t stop there.
Conrad Bora Bora Nui Resort
Check in is taken care of on the yacht transfer, so the relaxation starts the moment you set foot in Conrad Bora Bora Nui Resort. A cool towel and refreshing drink await you in a gorgeous arrival area, and before you know it you’re being guided to your home away from home.
The bed in my spacious overwater bungalow faced the direction of the water, just metres away through the doors to the deck, which were flung wide open to welcome the tropical breeze. The first thing I did was flop down and gaze at views of paradise from between my toes. I was soon up again to check out the designer bathroom with its massive round bathtub and the sun-warmed deck complete with netting that stretches over the water.
The incredible features continue throughout the resort. The gorgeous pool has plenty of sun lounges and little sandy coves, with some lounges actually set in the pool. Upa Upa Lounge Bar is the perfect place for a cocktail, with its glass floor and sweeping outlook, which boasts some of the only sunset views available on Bora Bora.
Le Meridien Bora Bora
One of the first properties built in Bora Bora, Le Meridien sits alongside the same atolls as those of the Intercontinental and Four Seasons, ensuring beautiful views over Mount Otemanu.
The overwater bungalows have a two-metre-square glass floor window, some of the largest on offer. I felt like it really invited nature into my bungalow, as the glow of the blue green water diffused throughout the room like mood lighting.
Offering either lagoon views or a lookout towards iconic Mount Otemanu, the overwater bungalows have an inviting deck where it’s easy to imagine yourself warming up in the sunshine before descending the short flight of stairs to slip into the lagoon.
The property centres on a huge lagoon where a unique green turtle conservation program is based. The Turtle Sanctuary is dedicated to helping these gorgeous creatures breed in safety and recuperate after injury or illness. It all started with a guest bringing a sick turtle in for care and has blossomed into a wonderful project where you can get up close with green turtles without hindering their wellbeing.
St Regis Bora Bora Resort
You could get lost wandering in the beautiful grounds of the St Regis Bora Bora. There are 44 acres of exquisitely landscaped gardens, walkways and beaches to explore, and the 77 overwater bungalows are set amidst this splendour.
This is where Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban enjoyed their honeymoon, and while I didn’t get to stay in the 1,200-square-metre Royal Estate like the Urbans, even the lead-in overwater bungalow starts at a staggering 144 square metres.
From the glass floor window that looks straight down onto the lagoon to the stylish contemporary furnishings, each detail of a St Regis overwater bungalow embraces the tropical paradise of Bora Bora. You can kick back in your roomy king-sized bed and gaze straight out on the ocean across your private deck, complete with outdoor shower.
You are assigned your own personal butler upon check in, just one of the hallmarks of St Regis’ superior service. Whether you fancy snorkelling in the lagoon, exploring with the underwater motor scooter or taking a cooking class at the luscious Lagoon Restaurant, the staff will book in your activity and be waiting to pick you up when it’s time to go adventuring.
The Miri Miri Spa by CLARINS is a resort within a resort; there’s an area overlooking the internal lagoon that you’ll recognise from scenes from the movie Couples’ Retreat, although there are no photos or movies that could do this location justice.
One of my favourite things about the St Regis was the Aparima Bar. Set on a jewel-green pocket of grass that leads down to the white sand, this awesome little bar has possibly the best outlook of any bar I’ve visited. They sabre open the bottles of champagne in the traditional St Regis method, a highly entertaining introduction to your sunset glass of bubbles.
Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora
The overwater bungalows and beachfront villas of the Four Seasons stretch over 24 acres, many nestled in locations that make you feel as if you’re enjoying a secluded escape.
One of my favourite things about the Mountain View Overwater Bungalow I stayed in was the huge bath tub. It was set right next to windows that you could fling wide open, so I could sink into the tub and soak in my L’Occitane-scented bath while enjoying views of the heavenly lagoon and majestic Mount Otemanu.
There were glass floors and lookouts in the shower and toilet so you always felt like you had this connection with the ocean, with every space enjoying views of the spectacular blue water.
From 4pm every day you can enjoy the services of a professional mixologist at the Four Seasons’ Sunset Restaurant and Bar, a wonderful spot for an evening cocktail. You can enjoy sushi and other Asian-inspired dinner choices at the bar, or make your way to Arii Moana Restaurant for delicious Polynesian/ French fusion dining in a gorgeous setting.
The Spa at Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora has a delightful tree house inspired design that makes you feel as if you are visiting a movie set. It’s nestled right on the lagoon’s edge, and all treatments strive to embrace ingredients and inspiration from the natural surrounds.
Sofitel Bora Bora Motu Private Island
With only 30 villas and bungalows, Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island is the ideal choice if you’re seeking seclusion and escape.
The traditional overwater bungalows have a one-metre-square glass floor window where you can gaze down into the clear blue water, and one of Bora Bora’s best established coral gardens is just a short swim or walk away. Other hotels offer trips out to this coral garden, but we were able to walk, swim or kayak there whenever the fancy took us. The free mini-bar was a lovely touch, stocked daily with a selection of beers and soft drinks. Every evening I took a cold drink out on to the deck and stretched out on the sun lounger, enjoying the twilight views of the lagoon.
One thing I really loved about this resort was the lookout on the hill behind the resort. It’s an amazing little spot with incredible, breezy views over the lagoon - a magnificent setting for a sunset cheese and wine picnic.
I loved the ‘castaway’ feeling offered by the private island setting, although it was nice to know that the complimentary boat to the main island and the facilities of the Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort were available if I felt the need for some action.
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Intercontinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa
We were welcomed by a blast of a conch shell, blown by staff in traditional warrior dress!
The overwater bungalows really blew me away with their spaciousness and stylish, contemporary interiors. The instant you enter the view snatches all your attention, with a full length glass door that frames the lagoon. The king beds are nestled close to a vast glass window that made me feel as if I was floating on the aquamarine ocean.
There were countless luxury touches at Intercontinental Bora Bora. Upon arrival they snapped my photo, and at check out they gifted me with a framed version as a souvenir! Those on a romantic getaway will adore the Secret Garden of Love - a grove of trees that each have a different name and meaning. Couples choose a tree, secure their love with a padlock, and throw away the keys in the garden’s Tiki, which promises to protect their love forever.
You can immerse yourself in Bora Bora’s underwater world at the Lagoonarium, a coral nursery maintained by a team of marine biologists who are eager to teach you about the many colourful fish and different types of coral. Once you jump in the water, the many lagoons feeding into the resort area make it easy to explore with a snorkel.
I can’t move on without a mention of the Deep Ocean Spa. The treatment rooms have a glass floor, so you can gaze into the ocean while you’re enjoying a massage or one of the many unique Signature Treatments.
Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa
The owners have gone to a lot of effort to make Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa feel authentic, and the extensive use of beautiful local coral, shells and wood will make you feel right at home in French Polynesia.
Overwater bungalows and villas
The 50 overwater bungalows are set over calm waters, where a coral garden attracts plenty of inquisitive fish. At only 1.5 metres, the lagoon between the bungalows is perfect for those less confident swimmers who still want to explore the crystal clear waters.
I loved the little corner table on the deck of my overwater bungalow, a dreamy place to enjoy lunch or dinner while gazing out over the lagoon. The villas and suites were equally as inviting, many offering Jacuzzi and pool options along with the same charming, traditional interiors.
There are plenty of opportunities to get in and on the ocean - kayaking, diving, fishing, jet skiing and paddle boarding are available from the resort. There’s also a mini golf course, tennis courts and a games room for those who can tear themselves away from the water.