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Equating Bora Bora with luxury is not a novel concept. The destination is far away, on an island and offers the creme de la creme of hotel guestrooms: the overwater bungalow.
Adding to the small island’s allure is the fact that it can only accommodate a limited number of visitors per year.
“We have a total of 11 resorts on Bora Bora, many of which are built on the surrounding islets (called motu in Tahitian), and 13 pensions, or Tahitian guesthouses similar to either small hotels or bed-and-breakfasts,” said Jonathan Reap, managing director of Tahiti Tourisme North America. “So, we actually don’t have that many rooms total.”
Though there are some hotels for sale and some available land, no new properties are currently being built. What you see is what you get — sort of.
When executives considered a renovation of Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa — one of the first properties built on Bora Bora — they decided to rebrand as the more upscale Conrad Bora Bora Nui.
“Seeing an increase in demand for luxury, the owners were willing to revamp,” said Daniele Venuti, regional director of sales and marketing for Conrad Bora Bora Nui and Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa. “And the Conrad Hotels & Resorts brand fits the well-traveled and affluent clientele we have on Tahiti.”
In order to rebrand as a Conrad property, the 114-key hotel will be closed for a total of 15 months. It is set to soft launch on Jan. 25 before its official grand opening in April 2017.
Venuti says the property will take the booming luxury market on Bora Bora to the next level.
And Reap agrees.
“The Conrad Bora Bora Nui will bring a newly designed, authentic, sophisticated resort to add to the collection of luxury resorts on the island of Bora Bora,” Reap said.
New Features at Conrad Bora Bora NuiThough no new structures are being built, this is an entirely new product offering. According to Venuti, standouts include the 18 (out of 86) Overwater Villas that will feature private infinity plunge pools and the two, two-story Presidential Villas — to be the only offering of its kind on Bora Bora. At 3,229 square feet, these villas will feature a private pool; a private spa that includes a sauna and a Jacuzzi with a veranda; two bedrooms; and a bathtub with an oceanfront view. The property will also offer 28 Beach, Garden and Horizon villas.
Though a Polynesian influence will be apparent if guests look for it, Conrad is planning for a decidedly modern look that is more in line with mainland luxury properties.
“Our clients have been to many places,” Venuti said. “They want to feel local culture and what we can provide. The property will give a touch of modernity to Polynesia.”
This will be apparent in the resort’s view-oriented guestrooms, which will feature clever details such as televisions that rest in bed frames, in order to prevent them from blocking sight of the water. There will be sleek new furniture, sliding doors that open to spotless viewing decks and a generally airier design.
The upcoming Conrad Bora Bora Nui promises to bring a touch of modernity to French Polynesia. // © 2016 Conrad Bora Bora Nui
Guestrooms will feature sliding doors for clean, uncluttered access to ocean views. // © 2016 Conrad Bora Bora Nui
Bathrooms will feature his and her sinks, a soaking tub and a rainwater shower. // © 2016 Conrad Bora Bora Nui
One of six dining concepts, Banyan Chinese Restaurant will serve traditional Cantonese and seafood. // © 2016 Conrad Bora Bora Nui
Iriatai French Restaurant will also serve breakfast. // © 2016 Conrad Bora Bora Nui
Guests will be able to book a locally inspired treatment at Hina Spa. // © 2016 Conrad Bora Bora Nui
Food and ActivitiesThe resort also believes that high luxury means not having to do (or eat) the same thing every day. While the Hilton had two dining options, Conrad will offer six dining concepts. According to Venuti, this will allow guests — who stay an average of five to seven nights and who rarely leave the property — to enjoy a variety of culinary delights.
There will be Tamure Beach Grill, a Polynesian, feet-in-the-sand restaurant that will offer a Polynesian show two times a week; Banyan Chinese Restaurant, which will serve seafood and Cantonese cuisine; Iriatai French Restaurant and Uaina Wine Cellar for modern twists on French cuisine; swim-up Tarava Pool Bar for fruit cocktails, beer and spirits; and the overwater Upa Upa Lounge Bar.
After realizing that the Hilton’s front desk staff enjoyed the best views in the house, Conrad decided to turn the structure into Upa Upa, which will offer a glass-floor deck and the optimal location to watch the sunset. The lounge will also feature a mobile bartender who will prepare cocktails tableside, as well as an afternoon service of tea and pastries.
Due to the absence of a front desk, guests will be checked in on the 20-minute boat ride taking them from Bora Bora Airport straight to their bungalow.
And what can guests do while there?
Unlike Hilton, Conrad will offer a kids’ club. The property will also offer a mini-golf course, a daily glass-bottom boat ride, a 3,280-square-foot infinity pool, a private beach, an outdoor jogging track, a fitness center and Motu Tapu, its own private islet ideal for romantic dinners as well as larger group events. Guests will also be able to schedule guided jet skiing, sailing, snorkeling, sightseeing boat tours, sailing and helping with the resort’s coral restoration efforts.
Wellness seekers will also want to book a treatment at the locally inspired Hina Spa, which will feature one open-air treatment space and seven bungalows. Most of these spaces will provide a Jacuzzi and a view of the lagoon.
This will be the same view offered from the Garden Villas (perched on the same hill as the spa).
“The Conrad Bora Bora Nui will be the only property on the island of Bora Bora that has views from its location on Motu Toopua looking beyond the turquoise lagoon outward toward the Pacific Ocean,” Reap said. “Most of Bora Bora’s properties are built with a view of famous Mount Otemanu, while the Conrad Bora Bora Nui has a unique location where you can practically see no other property.”
No matter where clients ultimately decide to stay, though, Reap suggests to book soon.
“Forward bookings remain strong for the island and destination overall,” Reap said. “We are recommending that agents get their reservations and bookings in even earlier for 2017.”
Conrad Bora Bora Nuiwww.conradhotels.com
Tahiti Tourisme North Americawww.tahiti-tourisme.com