It’s a common question — “What is the best luxury hotel in Bora Bora?” — but there is no definitive answer. The choice depends on what kind of experience you want to have. Do you want…
- a great beach
- great snorkeling
- a feeling of seclusion
- being in the middle of the action
- a local Polynesian experience
- a spare-no-expense high-end luxury experience
- luxury on a budget
Perhaps what follows will provide some clarity about the vacation you want to have in Bora Bora.
If you want to enjoy the best beach on Bora Bora, the hotel of choice is (*) Hotel Bora Bora. I recommend a beach bungalow. Guests can walk directly out their door onto the beach pictured at the left. Though somewhat dated (40 years old), this hotel offers a great sand-between-your-toes kind of beach experience. We spent an entire afternoon on their beach.
Perhaps snorkeling is your priority as it was for us when we visited in February. The waters are so inviting, 80 degrees warm and beautiful shades of blue and aquamarine, but these incredible colors are found where the water is shallow and the bottom is sandy. Tropical fish, however, are not attracted to sandy bottoms. They are attracted to coral reefs, and thus these are the best choices for snorkeling:
• Bora Bora Lagoon offers the best snorkeling we experienced. A small, intimate resort, it was developed fourteen years ago. Though the bungalows are smaller and less state-of-the-art than those of the newer luxury resorts, we grew to love this hotel. If you can, reserve a 1 BR pool bungalow. These new suites have everything you could possibly want including your private plunge pool.
• Bora Bora Nui is located in a more secluded area of the lagoon, and the coral formations are nearly as good as those at Bora Bora Lagoon. The overwater bungalows are large 900 square feet suites, beautifully decorated, with separate living room, bedroom, and a huge marble bathroom with two counters, soaking tub, and an immense separate shower room.
The other three choices are on the east side of the lagoon. Beautiful aquamarine water … but less coral reefs.
For a spare-no-expense pure luxury experience, your first choice, as of today, would be the St. Regis. Its immense overwater bungalows represent the ultimate in luxurious accommodations and offer every amenity you could desire: wireless internet, two large flat screen televisions (one in the bedroom and another in the living room), a soaking tub with a view of the lagoon, and beautiful ultra-contemporary furnishings.
For a luxurious experience at a lower price point, the InterContinental Thalasso is an extraordinary resort. The rooms are smaller, but beautiful nonetheless. All rooms are the same size; the three room categories — emerald, sapphire, and diamond — designate the quality of the view. If you can afford it, spring the for a diamond room and wake up each morning to a stunning view of Mount Pahia right from your bed.
The Four Seasons Bora Bora is due to open in 2008. Being a Four Seasons property, this property situated next to the St. Regis promises to offer contemporary luxury with a taste of Polynesian culture.
(*) The three starred hotels are Virtuoso properties and offer special packages with competitive pricing and valuable amenities.