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Build a quaint bedroom on stilts over gorgeous water, and they will come. That’s been the working theory for overwater bungalows, and, given their success, it’s a little presumptuous to think that the room category needed any improvement.
But then I stayed in a guestroom at the new Conrad Bora Bora Nui — and now I know what I’ve been missing.
The Conrad overtook Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa, one of the island’s historic properties located on Moto Toopua, a relatively secluded hillside nook of Bora Bora. After 15 months of a full-blown renovation, the 114-guestroom resort reopened as a Conrad. And the new digs speak volumes.
Let’s start with what’s arguably the most important part of the bungalow: the terrace. All overwater bungalows come complete with a floor hammock (a la the net of a sailing ship), and some — such as my new Pool Overwater Villa category and the new two-story Presidential Villas — feature an infinity pool. More than just great photo opportunities, these features make the terrace an inviting place to unwind and meditate on the colors of the lagoon and ocean.
Every morning, I headed to the net and listened to some of my favorite music. Songs were not weakly playing from my phone’s speakers, either — they were beaming clearly from the terrace stereo synced up with my phone’s Bluetooth and streaming from the room’s Wi-Fi access.
Everything in my bungalow was designed to face the ocean — including the bed. The combination of dreamy views and a soft-but-structured mattress provided some of the best sleep my partner and I have ever experienced. To this day, he measures every bed’s comfort on a scale from zero to the bed at Conrad Bora Bora Nui.
Behind the bed — and separated by sliding doors — is the bathroom, which features his-and-hers vanities across from each other. Above the sinks are twin circular mirrors, which create an alluring mirror-behind-a-mirror quality, complemented by the nearby circular standalone tub. The sophisticated Zen look can be admired from all angles thanks to mirrors on the sliding doors.
Surfaces — such as the bathroom’s slate floors and marble countertops and the bedroom’s wood floors — solidify the room’s modern look.
Though the rooms are about as tech-savvy as they come, it’s presented subtly. For example, lighting settings are located by the bed, and the room’s television is out of sight at the base of the bed unless conjured upward by a remote control. (Hypnotized by the view, we never turned on the TV).
The walk-in closet — also usually an unsightly place — is located in the corner of the room and separated by a door.
The overall design, which leans on symmetry and sleekness, takes a cue from Japanese aesthetics. But where you might expect a bonsai, Conrad’s rooms feature gorgeous bouquets of tropical flowers picked fresh from the resort.
When walking up to hilltop Hina Spa — my favorite place at the hotel after my room — I watched as an employee cut frangipani and tiare flowers from the trees leading up to the spa, before surprising me with a particularly pretty pink one.
The flower theme continued at the spa, where guests select a floral or fruity massage oil for their treatment, ranging from tiare flowers to pineapple scents. Couples treatments are a must; our deep-tissue massage — balanced with long, relaxing strokes — ranks as one of the most memorable we’ve experienced thanks to our spa suite’s privileged views of the hotel’s overwater bungalows and lagoon.
The spa is located near the hotel’s chapel and lookout point — all worth the climb for the unspoiled 360-degree views alone.
Back on the ground level, there’s plenty more to do, from tackling a miniature golf course — with all-natural sand traps and fallen fruit as added challenges — to working out at the expansive gym. There’s also a big pool with a swim-up bar and plenty of watersports equipment available.
Another way this property amplifies the Bora Bora luxury experience is through six unique dining establishments — a rare and staggering amount of choice for a property floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
Be sure to suggest happy hour drinks at Upa Upa Lounge Bar, which features a glass-floor deck, a perfect vantage point for sherbet-sky sunsets and mood-lifting live music. But save room for dinner at Iriatai French Restaurant (also the site of breakfast), which wows with an expansive wine collection, ocean views and French fine-dining techniques. And reserve dinner at Banyan Chinese Restaurant far in advance — it’s a crowd favorite.
Or — for the most intimate dinner with your partner — order room service, put on a favorite playlist and savor views from the terrace together.
How to Get ThereTo reach Bora Bora, Air Tahiti Nui offers daily flights from Los Angeles International Airport to Tahiti’s Faaa International Airport. From Tahiti, regional carrier Air Tahiti flies to Bora Bora.