Bora Bora’s most luxurious overwater bungalows
by Nicole Lenoir-Jourdan
If you are ever going to treat yourself, splash out on a holiday to Bora Bora. There is nothing on earth more decadent than diving off the stairs of your private overwater bungalow into a vast lagoon that is your own personal pool. The water is the perfect temperature, not too hot, not too cold. The turquoise palette of the lagoon defies belief and looking down upon it from your glass bottom floor is an experience unrivalled by anything on the planet.
The overwater bungalow was created for the heaven that is Tahiti so it’s a given that this is where you’ll stay. Here’s our choice of our favourite resorts built over Bora Bora’s stunning lagoon.
Four Seasons Bora Bora
Each of the 100 overwater villas presents a mini oasis with eight boasting infinity plunge pools, a truly unnecessary addition when you have acres of private lagoon to snorkel, lie on your back or just blow bubbles at the fish. You cannot fault this resort from the staff through to the food through to the incredible spa with 72 foot soaring ceilings. Set on 54 acres with an internal private lagoon, decadence surrounds you from the daily raking of the beach sand through to the red coral like chandelier with lights on the top of each stem.
There is an infinity pool, tennis court and guided snorkelling tours of the lagoon sanctuary as well as kayaking, catamaran cruises, windsurfing and shark feeding. There are four on site restaurants offering Polynesian, French and Asian specialities. The Sunset Bar offers the end to a perfect day with a pina colada and a sunset.
St Regis Bora Bora
The St Regis and Four Seasons rival each other for luxury. Set on 44 acres with its own heli-pad, private yacht and personal butlers, this decadent resort has been home to many a celebrity including hosting Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban’s honeymoon in 2006. The resort offers 100 over water bungalows, the largest in Bora Bora with the smallest being 1,550 square feet, and they come either with a private garden, sun deck or even the unnecessary plunge pool. The Spa Miri Miri is set on its own private island and is reached by a passing golf cart. There are multiple restaurants including the famous Lagoon by Jean-Georges. There’s also a tennis court, bridal boutique and an internal private lagoon teeming with brightly coloured fish.
Le Meridien Bora Bora
Le Meridien was the first to introduce the overwater bungalows with glass floors. It’s magical in the evening to put the floor light on and watch what swims beneath you. The resort has a prime location with the best views to Mount Otemanu.
One of the highlights is the Turtle Centre which rehabilitates turtles. The project began when an injured turtle was brought to the hotel by a guest. From there on, the concept for the Turtle Centre emerged. Over the past ten years, Le Meridien Bora Bora has continued to invest in the centre which has its own conservationist and a special program to ensure a lively and successful future for turtles in Bora Bora.
Besides turtles, there is free snorkelling equipment, canoes, kayaks, pedal boats, paddleboards and even children’s windsurfing boards.
Of course there is a wellness centre where one can enjoy massages and there are two restaurants and a cocktail bar with the best views in Bora Bora.
Le Meridien Tahiti
If you’re travelling to Bora Bora or any of Tahiti’s islands, there’s usually an obligatory overnight stay in Papeete. Le Meridien is one of the best hotels in Papeete situated in a quiet location around 20 minutes by shtuttle bus from the hotel. Papeete does not offer the same luxury and turquoise waters as Bora Bora yet there is still many reasons to visit from buying some Tahitian black pearls to watching one of the heaviest waves on the planet, Teauhupoo which is the place of battle for the Billabong pro every year in August. There’s also the Paul Gaugin museum, deep sea fishing, temples, lava tubes and more.
Le Meridien Tahiti offers overwater bungalows although there are just twelve. Most decided to stay in on one of the rooms. The corner suite offers an undercover verandah which looks out to sea past grassed lawns and tropical gardens.
When not sipping cocktails, you can play tennis, swim in the pool, or enjoy some food at one of the two restaurants or poolside bar or sampling the art at L’atelier. This art space has been developed by Le Meridient Tahiti for guests to enjoy and even meet with contemporary artists from across French Polynesia and also international artists. Se next to the lagoon, L’Atelier offers a wonderful tropical setting for lectures, art workshops and openings where one can learn techniques and be insired by artists who are creating original works, sometimes onsite.
Bora Bora’s best restaurants
Lagoon Restaurant by Jean-Georges
Dine under the stars whilst sharks swim underneath the glass floor. World class cuisine at the St Regis.
Bora Bora Yacht Club
Polynesian with a French twist with sensational views.
La Villa Mahana
There are just seven tables in this private villa and it must be booked months in advance.
Restaurant St James
French Polynesian fusion cooking with evening manta rays swimming by, hoping for scraps.
Four Seasons best restaurant looks out on to the lagoon and Mount Otemanu and offers fine dining Polynesian/French fusion style.