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I was surrounded. A school of tropical fish of all shapes, sizes and colors encircled me moments after I dipped into the translucent turquoise waters that French Polynesia’s idyllic island of Bora Bora is known for.
With my snorkel on and fins fastened, I couldn’t tell if they were interested in or offended by my presence — when I feigned nonchalance, they cautiously swam closer, but when I tried to graze their eye-catching fins with my outstretched hands, they swiftly wiggled away.
Though French Polynesia is full of opportunities for interacting with marine life, I didn’t even have to leave my hotel to do so. At The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort, guests are treated to their own life-size aquarium via the on-property Lagoonarium, a protected microcosm of the renowned Bora Bora lagoon that features coral, Napoleon fish, moray eels, bicolor parrotfish, pipefish and more. During our honeymoon, my husband, Ben, and I were delighted to have its depths all to ourselves to explore for hours.
But we didn’t have to stray far from our guestroom for an aquatic fix, either. After checking into the five-star resort and arriving at our overwater bungalow, we immediately put on swimwear and dived into the lagoon from the structure’s spacious deck, which also held two lounge chairs, a dining gazebo and an outdoor shower.
Once we had satisfied the urge for a saltwater dip — complete with a heart-shaped float we had packed — we took our sweet time to settle into our temporary home.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by valerie (chen) adair 👋🏻 (@valerielily) on Apr 7, 2019 at 11:41am PDT
A post shared by valerie (chen) adair 👋🏻 (@valerielily) on Apr 7, 2019 at 11:41am PDT
Starting at 1,550 square feet, The St. Regis Bora Bora’s overwater bungalows are ideal for a romantic, special-occasion getaway — a conviction proven by the many smitten twosomes we spotted around the property.
Our Overwater Superior Villa featured a large bedroom in addition to a separate lounge area, as well as two 42-inch plasma televisions, large glass floor panels, a surround-sound system, an espresso machine, complimentary Wi-Fi access and Polynesian-inspired decor. Ben and I agreed that the palatial bathroom with two sinks, a sunken bathtub and an open rain shower is surely the secret to everlasting marital bliss. The resort’s courtesy butler service — including coffee and tea delivery, on-call shuttle rides and more — is also likely a factor. (Note: The St. Regis Bora Bora’s 3,455-square-foot, two-bedroom Overwater Royal Suite Villas are the largest overwater bungalows in the South Pacific.)
In truth, The St. Regis Bora Bora can just about sell itself to anyone, from couples to families and beyond. This sentiment occurred to me again and again — during our numerous scenic bike rides around the resort’s sprawling 44 acres; and when we enjoyed other complimentary activities including kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, canoeing and riding comically large waterbikes. Another highlight was admiring the craggy Mount Otemanu set against a lustrous, watercolor-streaked sunset from the on-site Lagoon Restaurant by Jean-Georges.
Fare at the resort’s signature fine-dining restaurant is on par with what one might expect from world-famous, Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten: beautifully prepared, exquisitely plated and nuanced in flavor. But as much as I loved the Lagoon Restaurant’s elevated spice-encrusted papio (a local fish) served in a veggie broth, it was the resort’s simple, beachside mahi mahi fish and chips that won me over — hook, line and sinker.
My own prize catch agreed.
The DetailsThe St. Regis Bora Bora Resortwww.stregisborabora.com