Four Seasons Bora Bora is just like Hualalai (sort of)
Intro: Compared to typically intimate Bora Bora properties, Four Seasons Bora Bora feels like a “mega resort” in this jetset destination with 108 Tahitian-style villas and sprawling grounds on its own private motu. That said, you’ll find loads to do and it still never feels crowded. Four Seasons Bora Bora is considered one of the most romantic resorts in French Polynesia, and it’s a magnet to honeymooners including Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux, who honeymooned here in August 2015. Expect the usual Four Seasons bells and whistles at this five-star resort in French Polynesia, located extremely remote in the South Pacific, 2,500 miles south of Hawaii.
Wow factor: While some visitors love the intimacy of a small property, Four Season Bora Bora sprawls among tiny islets, connected by bridges. It’s a tropical paradise with lush landscapes, sprawling beaches, a tiny, deserted island you can swim to and a self-contained lagoon sanctuary. It reminded me of Four Seasons Hualalai in Big Island with the man-made, natural pool “aquarium” full of tropical fish . My friend Jason and I spent most of our time here, snorkeling and chilling out on the lagoon sanctuary’s beach. The view from the main pool was breathtaking. It looked directly into the beach and lagoon with Mount Otemanu in the backdrop, and quite possibly the best pool view from all the Bora Bora resorts I’ve stayed at.
Service and facilities: As I mentioned, there’s loads to do here. Everything from water sports to village visits to diving to arranged activities like cooking classes. There’s only so much you can do in the middle of the Pacific, but they manage to find everything one could possibly get involved in. I loved the spa immersed in the stunning landscape, lush with tropical groves, thatch-roof huts and the soundtrack of nature. It has an extensive treatment menu with massage tables over glass panels on the floor to see the marine life below. Service was OK. The staff were crazy busy the weekend we stayed (the resort was fully sold out, though it should not be an excuse). When people vacation in Tahiti, they expect genuinely amazing service with smiling Tahitians. The employees looked overworked and tired. I felt bad for them!
Room: My One-Bedroom Lagoon-View Overwater Bungalow Suite was huge, about 1,110 square feet, with several glass panels in the floor, high ceilings and teak furnished. There were modern comforts like WIFI, bluetooth speaker and flat-screen TVs, and our bathtub looked out into the lagoons, so views were impressive. The suite was directly over the lagoon like typical overwater villas, with a wide deck and stepladder to get in the water, though we preferred jumping off deck. Privacy wasn’t the suite’s best attribute. There were always kayakers, stand-up paddle boarders or other water lovers right in front of us when we were on our deck, and we looked straight at the other cluster of overwater bungalows, but we sort of loved showing off. If honeymooners want to have total privacy, they need to upgrade. I was surprised to see that the majority of rooms at Four Seasons Bora Bora were overwater bungalows. This makes sense as the overwater bungalow is the huge draw in Bora Bora (it was invented in French Polynesia) though I wish there were only 6 beach villas, most of which were two-bedroom estates. One of the true trademarks of Bora Bora is that beach villas are on or close to the beach. Unlike other tropical destinations, where you typically take an elevator at a resort, cross a boardwalk or whatever, Bora Bora villas are just steps from the water, and some people love this.
Food/beverage: There are fours restaurants, and the food was fine. You could tell the chefs put a lot of effort into creating memorable menus based on the little availability of options you can get in Bora Bora. We mostly did in-room dining, though we dined at the signature restaurant Arii Moana, which offered an upscale, classy experience with fresh salads and fish.
Drawbacks: If you love villas on the beach, you’ll have to splurge on a one- or two-bedroom estate, which is mostly intended for families.
Is this hotel right for you? The hotel is great for honeymooners, couples, gay travelers, families, girlfriend getaways and solo travelers. While the resort is big for Bora Bora, it still feels very intimate. One thing I should mention is that the resort caters to incentive groups or just large groups in general. This brought a different vibe during our stay, where the main pool was constantly crowded with groups, many of whom seemed to be friends or colleagues with a smatter of jetsetting types. We loved this, as it creates a social scene, but honeymooners looking for peace and quiet should take note. Obviously, peace and quiet can be had at the beach or the comfort of their own overwater bungalow, which is the main draw anyway.
Accolades Trip Advisor Traveler’s Choice 2017.
Rates: One-Bedroom Overwater Bungalow Suite average $1,200-1,600 a night.
Final thoughts: If you’re flinging yourself all the way to Bora Bora, this is a great destination resort for an upscale, Polynesian experience. There’s lots to do here. Even if you want to chill out on the beach or your overwater bungalow all day, which is perfectly fine, at least you know there will be options to keep you busy should you want to peel away.
For more photos of Four Seasons Bora Bora, click through the gallery below.