Additional charge for shuttle boat to and from the main island (competitors offer this for free)
Beach villas are far from most amenities (a pro for some)
Everything is expensive
The five-pearl Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora has broad appeal for all types of luxury travelers. It’s the only resort in Bora Bora where families, honeymooners, and friend groups all manage to peacefully coexist, and it’s not hard to see why. The resort’s 115 overwater and beachfront bungalows are beautifully appointed with luxe Polynesian decor, and standard rooms can accommodate up to four people thanks to a pullout couch. Features are impressive here as well. The resort is home to a stunning infinity pool, a beautiful beach and protected lagoon, a top-notch spa and workout facility, and four on-site restaurants. Plus, it has both kids' and teens' clubs with a host of daily activities. Freebies like Wi-Fi, non-motorized water sports, and snorkel gear are nice perks, but hardly outweigh the mighty costs of everything else at the Four Seasons. Travelers looking for a less expensive option might prefer Le Meridien Bora Bora, which has smaller rooms and fewer amenities.
One of the best resorts in Bora Bora, attracting both families and couples
The Four Seasons Bora Bora experience begins at the airport, where hotel representatives greet guests with flower leis and cold towels. Guests and their luggage are escorted to the resort’s boat, and then whisked away to the luxurious property. The Four Seasons is the closest of its luxury competitors to the airport -- about a 15-minute ride. The A-frame roof of the Four Seasons’ lobby is the first thing that comes into view as the boat pulls into the protected lagoon. Lobby decor is simple and understated, which allows the resort’s stunning natural beauty to play a large role in its design aesthetic. It seems as though every space was designed to maximize the natural effortlessness of indoor/outdoor living.
The Four Seasons is a sprawling property, but still feels pretty walkable. Most of the hotel’s amenities -- restaurants, pool, beach, and kids' club -- are centrally located near the overwater bungalows. Other amenities, like the spa, fitness center, and protected lagoon are a bit farther afield. The beach bungalows, while entirely secluded, are far from all of these amenities.
The Four Seasons is the only luxury resort in Bora Bora that manages to feel both romantic and family-friendly. The quiet grounds feel private enough for honeymooners, while the list of daily activities and fantastic kids' club also attract those traveling with children. While couples are certainly the majority here, we did see a fair number of families with young children and teens, whereas the clientele at the St. Regis, Le Meridien, and the Intercontinental was almost exclusively couples.
On a private motu, about 15 minutes from the airport
Bora Bora, perhaps French Polynesia’s most famous island, is known for its incredible beauty, the highlight of which is its crystalline lagoon. Bora Bora’s main island is surrounded by dozens of tiny islands, known as motus. Guests traveling to Bora Bora have two options: stay on the main island, or stay on a motu. Most of Bora Bora’s most exclusive resorts are located on private motus, while more budget-friendly options are located on the main island. Located on a private motu about a 15-minute boat ride from the airport, the Four Seasons feels secluded and exclusive. The resort offers stunning views of Bora Bora’s famous Mt. Otemanu, which, in local mythology, is believed to be the birth place of the Polynesian islands.
All travelers going to Bora Bora must first fly to Papeete, Tahiti. From Tahiti, Bora Bora is about a 45-minute flight. At the airport, guests will be greeted by Four Seasons representatives and escorted to the hotel’s boat for immediate transfer to the resort.
Gorgeous decor, top-notch amenities, and stunning views
Rooms at the Four Seasons are a stunning blend of traditional Polynesian and luxurious modern decor. The overwater bungalows -- far and away the most popular room option -- are set above the crystalline lagoon and are perfectly positioned for watching the sun rise or set. Light wood floors and paneled walls give the overwater bungalows a bright, airy feeling, while sky-blue and sand-colored accents bring the outdoors in. The interior of an overwater bungalow, a massive 1,080 square foot space, is split between three rooms: the bedroom, the bathroom, and the living room, all of which can be open to or closed off from one another with sliding pocket doors. The living area has a sofa bed, a large desk, and a wall-mounted flat-screen TV. The desk is equipped with a Nespresso machine, outlet convertors, and a fully stocked minibar that’s free for guests to indulge in.
The bedroom has a king-size bed, outfitted with a fluffy duvet and down pillows, an iPod dock, and a cozy window seat that overlooks the lagoon. But the room’s piece-de-resistance is its bathroom. A two-person soaking tub sits in front of a large picture window, which can be opened to expose incredible views of Mt. Otemanu. Double sinks stand across the room from one another, giving each vanity a distinctive feel. Instead of conventional plastic bottles, soaps, lotions, and shampoo and conditioner are kept in tiny ceramic jars -- a detail that is both charming and eco-friendly. The large walk-in shower has a glass ledge, so guests can peer into the water below, and the toilet is housed in a separate water closet. Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t discuss the overwater bungalows’ massive balconies. Each balcony has two cushioned lounge chairs, and a patio table that seats four. From the balcony, guests can climb down a small ladder that leads directly into the water beneath.
Beachfront villas are larger than their overwater counterparts, but feature similar decor and amenities. The beach villas are popular with families and groups who need space to sprawl. The Four Seasons has one-, two-, and three-bedroom options, all of which has private pools, gorgeous outdoor patios, and private beach access. The only flaw here is their location -- far away from most of the resort’s amenities.
Travelers in search of a Polynesian hotel that “has it all” needn’t look further than the Four Seasons. Packed with fantastic amenities, the Four Seasons appeals to all sorts of travelers, including honeymooners, families with children, and friend groups.
The resort’s beautiful infinity-edge pool is a main draw for guests looking to relax. Many people spend their days lounging poolside, or in one of the hotel’s private cabanas. The freeform pool overlooks the beach and is surrounded by tall palm trees and cushioned lounge chairs. While there isn’t a conventional swim-up bar, there is a swim-up table of sorts, where guests can bring their drinks and sit on underwater stools. Guests can also reserve the poolside spa cabana, where they can receive poolside massages and other select spa treatments.
Just beyond the pool is the resort’s main beach. With soft white sand and calm waters, the beach is another popular spot for guests to spend their days. 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 Four Seasons’ spa and fitness facilities are some of the best in Bora Bora. Guests enter the luxe spa through a palapa-covered archway. The spa’s reception area has tall cathedral ceilings with lots of dark wood elements, stone floors, and an indoor/outdoor feel. An outdoor pathway leads to several freestanding treatment rooms, a relaxation room, and an outdoor whirlpool with stunning views of Mt. Otemanu. The spa has a litany of services, including signature two-hour spa rituals, couples massages, facials, and even teens' and kids' treatments. The resort’s 24-hour fitness center is one of the nicest we’ve ever seen. It has a spa-like feel with dark wood walls and abstract hanging light fixtures, but also has tons of modern Technogym equipment. There’s free towel and bottled water service, plus free headphones for anyone who’s forgotten a pair. Plus, how many gyms do you know of that have Nespresso machines in their entryways?
Unlike many of its competitors, The Four Seasons does not offer a free shuttle to and from Bora Bora’s main island. Guests can request transfers, but will have to pay for the service.
Excellent casual and fine-dining options, plus a weekly Polynesian show and buffet
The Four Seasons has four on-site restaurants, where menu offerings range from classical French cuisine to sushi and sashimi. Tere Nui is the hotel’s main restaurant, and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Breakfast is served buffet style, and includes American favorites like omelets and pancakes as well as local specialities like "poisson cru" and coconut sweet bread. Tere Nui has an a la carte lunch menu, but transforms back into a buffet restaurant at dinner time. Each night of the week the buffet has a different theme, like Italian, Tahitian, or grill night.
Arii Moana is the Four Seasons’ signature restaurant. Open nightly for dinner, Arii Moana serves French Polynesian fusion cuisine. The restaurant itself is stunning, with bold textural details and dark woods throughout. Advanced reservations are strongly recommended.
The Sunset Bar is aptly named, as it’s perfectly situated for watching the sun set each evening. The gorgeous open-air bar feels sophisticated and lounge-like, with low-lying tables and chairs and an L-shape bar overlooking the water. The Sunset Bar serves exotic cocktails and Asian light fare like sushi and sashimi. Without a doubt, our meal here was one of the best we had while in Bora Bora.
The Fare Hoa Beach Bar & Grill is open daily for lunch, and select nights for dinner. The sand-floor setting and casual menu are popular with guests looking to take a break from sophisticated resort dining. Here, guests can order bar food favorites like burgers and nachos as well as local and international beers.
In addition to the Four Seasons’ on-site restaurants, there is also a weekly Polynesian show with traditional dancing and a Polynesian buffet. Advanced reservations for the Polynesian evening are strongly recommended. Guests looking for a romantic dining experience can arrange private dinners on one of the hotel’s sand bars, or have breakfast brought to their rooms by canoe.
Across the globe, the Four Seasons has built a reputation for family-friendliness, and its Bora Bora location is no exception. Its Kids For All Seasons kids' club is our pick for the best in Bora Bora. Every day the kids' club has an awesome list of activities, which may include sandcastle building, hermit crab races, and arts and crafts. There’s also an outdoor splash pad where kids can run through darting fountains. But little kids aren’t the only ones who get to have all the fun. The Four Seasons also has its own teens' club, but it was being renovated at the time of our visit. Teens can also receive custom treatments at the spa.
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