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Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island 4.5

Bora Bora, French Polynesia

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Situated on stunning private island with views of Bora Bora mainland
  • Lovely sandy beach area with wicker loungers and umbrellas
  • Luxe overwater bungalows and villas with attractive Polynesian flair
  • In-room free minibars, Nespresso machines, flat-screen TVs, safes, and AC
  • Free buffet breakfast served in all-day restaurant
  • Free-to-borrow snorkeling gear, life vests, and kayaks, plus a coral garden
  • Gorgeous view point with seating and panoramic vistas
  • Spa offering well-reviewed massage treatments
  • Free boat shuttle to mainland sister property and use of its facilities
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout property

Cons

  • Some wear and tear visible in rooms
  • Bathrooms don't have tubs
  • Food receives mixed reviews
  • No swimming pool 
  • Lots of steps may be difficult for those with mobility issues

Bottom Line

This luxurious Sofitel is situated on a stunning private island off Bora Bora, offering gorgeous views of the reef and mainland from multiple vantage points. The 31 rooms consist of overwater bungalows and villas, all with Polynesian decor, furnished outdoor spaces, rainfall showers, free minibars, and Nespresso machines. Although there's no swimming pool, most guests make use of the lovely stretch of beach, and the free kayaks and snorkeling gear that are available to take around the island and see the coral garden. All rates include a free buffet breakfast, but other meals at the restaurant receive mixed reviews. Fortunately, a free boat shuttle is available from early until late to sister hotel Sofitel Marara, and guests have free access to its facilities. Travelers looking for a true five-pearl experience should consider the St. Regis, though expect to pay significantly more.

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Scene

Luxurious private island resort with Polynesian flair and quiet atmosphere

Travelers staying at this property will either receive a free boat transfer from the airport or from sister hotel Sofitel Bora Bora Marara if they're coming from the mainland. Situated on its own private island (called a motu), and with only 31 units, the atmosphere is quiet, relaxed, and friendly. Although it lacks the extensive features found at its sister hotel and other luxury properties in Bora Bora, it's all about nature and utilizing the stunning setting here. From the sandy beach and free snorkeling gear, to the free kayaks, coral garden, and view point with panoramic vistas, visitors have a lengthy list of ways to spend their days on-site. Guests, which are almost exclusively honeymooners and older couples, can typically be seen swimming or rowing to the coral garden, sunbathing on their overwater bungalow's terrace, or heading to the spa. The open-air, thatched-roof restaurant houses the front desk, and just outside its entrance is a tiny bar with wicker seating, where guests are given a welcome coconut water while checking in. Although the facilities are compact, lots of stone steps may be difficult for those with mobility issues to traverse. 

The lack of a pool and average food are downsides here, but it's hard to find a more intimate luxury property at this price. Those willing to pay more may prefer the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa, which is also on a private motu and has an ocean-view pool. 

Location

On a private motu off mainland Bora Bora

The Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island is true to its name, as it's located on a private motu off the southeastern coast of mainland Bora Bora -- arguably the most famous French Polynesian island due to its turquoise lagoon. The hotel is a quick five-minute free boat ride from its sister property Sofitel Marara, though most visitors will likely be arriving at the Bora Bora Airport. The hotel provides free airport transfer for two people, and it's about a 25-minute boat ride to the resort. At the airport, guests will be greeted by Sofitel representatives and escorted to the hotel’s boat for transfer to the resort. Alternatively, a free ferry is available from Bora Bora Airport to the city of Vaitape -- the largest on the island. From there, it's a 15-minute taxi ride to the sister hotel, where shuttles to Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island can be requested from early until late. Given there's only one restaurant at the hotel and no sundries or snack shop, many guests choose to head to the sister hotel and either eat there or explore the dining options nearby. The resort offers stunning views of Bora Bora’s famous Mt. Otemanu, which, according to local mythology, is believed to be the birthplace 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. 

Rooms

Free minibars, Polynesian decor, and outdoor spaces with stunning vistas

Unlike competing properties, this Sofitel has a limited number of rooms, offering just 31 overwater bungalows and luxury villas. Housed in wooden structures with thatched roofs, all are similarly decorated with rich wood flooring, furniture, and ceilings, white walls, and pops of Polynesian flair in headboard designs, tropical-print sitting areas, and bird carvings. On arrival, the plush, comfortable beds are topped with free floral-motif sarongs and Sofitel-branded T-shirts, plus a strategic scattering of colorful hibiscus and frangipani flowers. Unsurprisingly for the tropical setting, some wear and tear is evident, and there are occasional bugs and geckos. 

Most guests opt for the higher-category overwater bungalows, which provide direct access to the sea from their lounger-equipped terraces and have floor windows in the bedrooms that provide peaks of marine life below. The majority of other bungalows are set within the grounds overlooking the overwater bungalows and sea beyond. Two other rooms with terraces jutting over the ocean are somewhat isolated by the spa, and these are largely quiet, except when boat shuttles are arriving and departing nearby. Each room has a shaded terrace with a table and chairs, and views are beautiful from all.

Luxe amenities are the same across the board, consisting of flat-screen TVs, espresso machines, kettles with instant tea and coffee, and free minibars stocked with local Hinano beer, juice, soda, and water, plus free sweet treats on arrival. Wardrobes contain laptop-sized safes, life vests and snorkeling gear, and ironing facilities. Bathrooms unfortunately lack tubs, but they have roomy rainfall showers, bathrobes, slippers, hairdryers, and shaving kits. Upscale Lanvin toiletries are provided, except for lotion. Turndown service brings more bottled water and tasty macarons.

Features

Beautiful beach and coral garden, but no pool

Highlights here are undoubtedly the water-based activities. The property has a lovely stretch of beach with wicker loungers -- though these don't have multiple reclining positions -- and umbrellas, and the water here is warm and shallow, allowing guests to walk out to deeper depths. Kayaks and snorkeling gear are free and available to take around the island -- the lovely coral garden is on the same side of the island as the spa, and lots of tropical fish, stingrays, and small sharks are widely spotted. Although there's no pool, most guests don't mind thanks to the enticing ocean. Additionally, guests can use the pool and other facilities at the sister property for free.

There's only one restaurant here, housed in a circular room with windows providing lovely views. All rates include a varied hot and cold breakfast buffet, which largely gets positive reviews. Unfortunately, other meals, which have both local and international fare, receive mixed feedback. Many guests choose to take the free boat shuttle to the Sofitel Marara to dine there. Outside of the restaurant is a small bar area with shaded wicker seating near an atmospheric waterfall.

Not to be missed is the View Point, which is reached via several stone steps. At the top of the island, this area has multiple seating options -- none of which are shaded -- and breathtaking panoramic views of Bora Bora and the lagoon. The spa bungalow offers massage treatments. Free and reliable Wi-Fi is accessible throughout the property. 

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Address

BP 516 , 98730, French Polynesia

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