If you’re going to go all the way to Bora Bora, you’re probably going to want to stay directly on one of its insanely beautiful beaches (preferably in an overwater bungalow). We did go all the way to Bora Bora, and these six hotels are the best beach resorts we saw.
The Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora has 115 overwater and beachfront bungalows, each beautifully appointed with luxe Polynesian decor and great amenities like Nespresso machines and free minibars. (And beachfront villas have private beach access.) Just beyond the resort's beautiful infinity-edge pool is main beach, a large, white-sand stretch with calm waters. Beach attendants consistently walk up and down the shoreline to help guests with beach chairs and towels. Though the beach is great for swimming, guests looking for superior snorkeling should head to the resort’s protected inner lagoon. Here guests can swim with an assortment of tropical fish and see local reef life. There’s also a small beach purely dedicated to water sports, where guests can try out kayaks, paddleboards, and the resort’s nifty water bicycles. For a fee, guests can also rent jet skis on an hourly basis.
The luxurious St. Regis Bora Bora Resort's 89 overwater and beachfront bungalows are the largest in French Polynesia, and are richly appointed with modern island decor and thoughtful amenities. The 44-acre hotel's wide beach has lounge chairs, hammocks -- and stunning views of Mt. Otemanu. At the beach, guests have access to free non-motorized water-sports equipment, like Hobie Cats, paddleboards, kayaks, and pedal boats. Towels, sunscreen, and snorkel gear are also available for free at the adjacent beach hut. Snorkelers can head to the resort’s private lagoonarium -- a protected lagoon with dozens of tropical fish and coral species. Three times a week, the resort’s marine biologists host feeding sessions where guests can learn more about the local aquatic life and get up close and personal with the fishes.
This 62-room resort is next to Matira Beach, often considered one of the world’s most beautiful beaches. The resort's large beach has soft white sand and calm waters that are perfect for snorkeling or kayaking. Snorkel gear, kayaks, and other non-motorized water sports equipment like paddleboards and canoes are free to use. Like other top Bora Bora resorts, Le Moana has a quiet atmosphere, gorgeous overwater bungalows, a nice pool, and a few quality restaurants.
Le Meridien Bora Bora was the first luxury hotel of its kind in the area, and has remained one of Bora Bora’s most exclusive resorts. Its large, crescent-shaped beach has two sides, one facing Mt. Otemanu and the outer lagoon, and the other facing the protected interior lagoon. Free kayaks and paddleboards are available for guests to use, plus free snorkel gear for anyone who wants to check out the incredible marine life in the protected lagoon. What sets the Meridien apart is its on-site turtle sanctuary, where guests can visit rescued turtles and learn about the hotel’s efforts to rehabilitate them.
The Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort is an upscale property on Bora Bora’s main island, and the most affordable option in its category. Though it’s not as luxurious as many other (pricier) Bora Bora resorts, it does have a beautiful, crescent-shaped beach with lounge chairs, picnic tables, and a water-sports rental hut, where guests can rent kayaks, paddleboards and snorkel equipment. Marara Beach has calm, crystal-clear water, but it can get crowded with guests. Matira Beach, one of Bora Bora’s most famous stretches of sand, is about a 15-minute walk from the hotel, and tends to be less crowded.
The InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa is an incredible luxury resort on a private motu. Directly in front of its rarely-crowded infinity pool is the main beach. It's quite long, but narrow, and can be a bit rocky along the shoreline. The beach itself isn’t as nice as those at the St. Regis or the Meridien, but the calm, crystal-clear water is perfect for snorkeling, paddleboarding, and kayaking -- the equipment for which can be rented for free at the pool hut. Umbrella-covered lounge chairs are scattered across the beach, along with large hammocks between the trees. One of the coolest things to do at the InterContinental’s beach is watching the daily stingray feeding. Every afternoon, hotel staff members bring buckets of fish into the water, and guests can watch as dozens of sting rays eagerly swim to the shore. The InterContinental also has its own protected lagoon, which is great for snorkeling and leisurely swimming. However the lagoon is much smaller than those at the InterContinental’s luxury competitors, and doesn’t have as much varied marine life.