Sign Up for Our Monthly Asia Newsletter
Bora Bora’s iconic overwater bungalows and crystal-clear lagoon attract everyone from celebrities in search of exclusivity to honeymooners celebrating their first days of marriage. Fittingly, the only way for this dream destination to retain its elite status is with constant, thoughtful refinement — with the needs of well-traveled guests in mind.
“Throughout the Islands of Tahiti, it is necessary to continually update and maintain the resorts, primarily due to the tropical weather coupled with the natural building materials utilized,” said Jonathan Reap, managing director of Tahiti Tourisme North America. “In Bora Bora, where a majority of our luxury resorts are located, properties maintain a high level of sophistication blended with true Polynesian hospitality — and they are ever-evolving to offer that at the highest level.”
To that end, properties continue to polish and fine-tune their offerings, some with annual renovations. One such resort is the 95-bungalow Le Meridien Bora Bora, which reopened after refurbishments at the end of March. Refreshments include restored interiors in all of its overwater bungalows as well as new roofs, new pool decks and a new deck at the Miki Miki bar. The Miki Miki bar has become a focal point of the resort, with incredible views of Mount Otemanu, a new sushi menu on Saturday nights and a new “bites” menu, so that guests have other alternatives to full-dining options. In addition, the resort has unveiled a wine and tapas bar, Happaina, where more than 100 wines are served alongside small plates of charcuterie, cheese and smoked fish.
Experiences are the new luxury at the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora, a TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Winner for 2016. The resort is making it easy for guests to kick back and relax by offering fully inclusive vacations, including day tours and in-villa experiences, when staying in a Beachfront Villa Estate.
“Our guests are with us for more than just a beautiful setting, great rooms and delicious food,” said Michel Volk, general manager of the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora. “They are coming here for a life experience — something amazingly special they will remember forever and share widely.”
Beach villa estates range in size from 3,228 to 5,380 square feet and come with the services of a personal assistant. Guests receive pre-arrival planning and a consultation, roundtrip airport transfers and all meals. Guests of the three-bedroom Beachfront Villa Estate receive additional inclusions, such as a private beach barbecue, a private Polynesian show, a hefty spa credit and three excursions (a guided jet ski island tour, a half-day shark and ray excursion and a Catamaran cruise). The resort is also offering the Ashore Afloat package, combining the experiences of staying in a beachfront villa estate and an overwater bungalow.
Romance comes first at the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa. Drawing inspiration from the symbolic padlocks of Pont des Arts in Paris and Rome’s Ponte Milvio Bridge, the resort created a Secret Garden of Love botanical garden where couples can seal their love with a lock in true Polynesian style — on the exterior of a palm tree.
The resort is also planning for the addition of four new overwater villas in June 2017. Construction for the two-bedroom villas is scheduled to begin on Sept. 1, and according to a representative of the resort, the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa will temporarily close the end of pontoon villas to reduce impact of the construction. Furthermore, the construction will be on the lagoon-side, and workers will not be seen within the resort.
Since November 2014, Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa has been updating its offerings, beginning with overwater bungalows in the desirable “300s area.” This area includes the Presidential, Sunset Pool, Deluxe and Overwater villas. The hotel declined to comment on the progress of the renovations but, according to TripAdvisor reviews, at least some of the bungalows in the 300s area are finished and accepting bookings. Refurbishments around the resort are ongoing, however, and the completion date has not been publicized.
“Bora Bora is very popular this year, and it’s already becoming challenging to find accommodations during specific periods, which is great news for the destination,” Reap said. “From the tourism office’s perspective, we are doing our best to educate our travel partners on experiences beyond Bora Bora. With several islands offering amazing accommodations, we’d like for our visitors to consider including other islands such as Huahine, Tikehau, Rangiroa, Tahaa — even Tahiti’s sister island, Moorea.”
According to Reap, the more experiences travelers have in the Islands of Tahiti, the happier they will be — and the more likely it is that they will come back to the destination in the future.