The islands of French Polynesia are incredibly aspirational holiday destinations, not least Bora Bora, the South Pacific idyll boasting white sands, palm trees and pure aquamarine coastline. It’s far-flung for those travelling from the UK, so is often labelled as a trip of a lifetime and chosen as a honeymoon destination. And if you’re coming all this way for a bucket list experience, you’ll want to stay in one of its finest hotels. These resorts will take your breath away and help you fall even deeper in love with this incredible island.
The St Regis Bora Bora Resort
It’s exactly how you imagine paradise: staying in an over-water thatched villa on stilts, with the blue, fish-filled ocean visible via glass panels, 24-hour butler service, spa treatments and your own pool. Guests have access to the resort’s main pool with a sociable swim-up bar, a fitness centre and four restaurants. Lagoon Restaurant by Jean-Georges is the resort’s exclusive signature venue and the food is hard to beat anywhere on the island. Like many of the villas, it sits over the water, serving fish caught from the local area. If you’re in the mood for some fine Italian cuisine, eat at Far Niente Ristorante, or there’s Bam Boo with classic wok cuisine, teppanyaki and sushi.
Four Seasons Bora Bora
Featuring 100 stunning over-water bungalows, the Four Seasons is a 13-year-old resort that oozes luxury. The site is expansive, with landscaped gardens, a plethora of onsite activities, its own boutiques and multiple dining choices. As such, you’ll need to like walking or grab a lift on one of its many golf buggies to get around. It’s not all about lying back and sunning yourself (although doing that on one of the poolside teak loungers is a pleasure). Here you can take part in a workshop with the hotel’s own marine biologist, learn a paddle sport, or practise yoga. The opulent Kahai Spa is quite something — it has treatments incorporating 24-carat gold.
InterContinental Le Moana Bora Bora
Choose from villas that lie next to the beach, or over the water, at Le Moana Bora Bora. There are 64 suites in total – all leading out to furnished balconies or patio spaces – and two restaurants. It has its own private beach, arguably one of the most beautiful on the island and you can swim in the sea, the saltwater lagoon, or the hotel’s infinity pool. Le Moana is located at Matira Point and takes on a traditional Polynesian feel. While there isn’t a spa onsite, a boat shuttle can transfer you to the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa where guests can use the facilities including the Deep Ocean Spa.
Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island
At the far south of Bora Bora’s stunning lagoon, beside Mount Otemanu, lies a private island. On it, is an intimate resort, with just 31 bungalows (a mix of overwater, hillside and beachside). Mantas, sharks and rays pass by in the crystal clear waters — Sofitel offers a feeding excursion at the edge of the lagoon, to meet them up close. The island has one excellent restaurant, but if you fancy a little more variety, you can jump on the boat shuttle to dine in one of the restaurants at the brand’s sister hotel, Sofitel Marara (as well as using its spa, infinity pool and beach).
Le Taha’a Island Resort & Spa
This Relais and Chateaux property is operated by Pearl Resorts and has been designed in authentic Polynesian style. Like the Sofitel, it’s situated on its own private islet and is right beside a coral garden for prime snorkelling opportunities (snorkels and SUP hire is free and the hotel has its own scuba dive centre). Guests can book one of 45 overwater bungalows with wrap-around decks providing direct water access, or one of 12 beach villas each with a plunge pool, walled tropical gardens and thatched roof cabanas. There are three dining venues: La Plage, Le Vanille and the gourmet restaurant, L’Ohiri, serving five-course banquets crafted from sustainable ingredients. It also has a spa and a floodlit tennis court.