Popular spot for weddings and honeymoons, with on-site bridal boutique and romance concierge
Free Wi-Fi, bike rentals, and daily shuttle to and from Vaitape
Huge resort that requires bikes or golf carts to get around
Everything is expensive
It’s hard to find fault with The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort, a luxurious 44-acre property with stunning views of Mt. Otemanu. Its 89 overwater and beachfront bungalows are the largest in French Polynesia, and are richly appointed with modern island decor and thoughtful amenities. Four on-site restaurants, including a Jean-Georges outpost, two beautiful pools, a large beachfront and a protected lagoonarium, and a Clarins sponsored spa are a mere sampling of the incredible amenities here. Further setting the St. Regis apart are a romance concierge and bridal boutique, which creates custom itineraries for couples on romantic vacations and plans exclusive weddings and parties. Like all luxury resorts of this caliber, The St. Regis is expensive. This, combined with its sprawling size, may be a turnoff for some travelers. Those looking for a luxury hotel that’s smaller and less expensive might prefer the nearby Le Meridien Bora Bora, though its rooms are much smaller than those at the St. Regis.
The St. Regis Bora Bora experience begins at the airport. Minutes after landing, guests are greeted by a resort representative with fresh flower leis and bottled water. Guests and their luggage are then whisked away by the St. Regis boat — one of the nicest at the airport’s crowded dock. Depending on the weather, the boat ride from the airport to the St. Regis takes about 20 to 30 minutes. Once at the resort, guests are welcomed dockside by staff members proffering staff members and escorted to the lobby, a room that serves as the perfect example of what we've dubbed Polynesian minimalism. The gorgeous lobby is full of strangely satisfying contrasts — bright white walls look chicly stark when paired with a dark thatched work ceiling, and a central modern light fixture feels perfectly matched with hanging indigenous costumes. A circular table holding fresh flowers centers the room, with the concierge on one side and the check-in desk on the other.
Widely known as a honeymoon destination, Bora Bora sees more vacationing couples than families, and the St. Regis is no exception. Though the hotel welcomes children, and even has its own kids' club, we did not see a single person under the age of 18 during our visit. Families with children may feel out of place at the St. Regis, where the atmosphere is pin-drop quiet and overwhelmingly catered towards couples.
Spread across three tiny "motus," with stunning views of Mt. Otemanu
Like many of Bora Bora’s most luxurious resorts, The St. Regis is located on its own "motu," or tiny island, across from the main island of Vaitape. The 44-acre property is actually spread across three tiny motus, which are connected by wide pedestrian bridges. The St. Regis is a huge property, and getting around is no easy feat. Luckily, the resort offers free bike rentals to make it easier for guests to get around.
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 a St. Regis representative and escorted to the hotel’s boat for immediate transfer to the hotel. Depending on weather conditions, the hotel is about a 20- to 30-minute ride from the airport. It's about 35 minutes by boat from the ferry dock in Vaitape. There's not much in the way of sightseeing on Bora Bora, and most guests will stay on the premises, though some will occasionally head to the main island for dinner.
The largest in French Polynesia, with gorgeous decor and luxury amenities throughout
Starting at 1,550 square feet, rooms at the St. Regis are the largest in French Polynesia (and bigger than most Manhattan apartments). The mere size of the resort’s standard rooms will have you saying “This is a standard room?” But dimensions aren’t the only impressive aspect: Rooms are also superbly curated with luxurious finishes and thoughtful amenities. There are essentially two room types at the St. Regis — on land or over water. Of course there are dozens of further breakdowns — east or west facing, mountain view or beach view, one bedroom or two bedroom — but land and water are the two major categories.
Of the resort’s 89 rooms, 77 are overwater bungalows, and are overwhelmingly the most popular pick amongst travelers. Overwater bungalows feature the same Polynesian minimalist decor found throughout the hotel. Dark, wide plank wood floors complement pitched thatch-work ceilings and textured walls. Beds are elegantly dressed in white, and feature billowy floating canopies above them. Behind the bed, a graphic black and white feature wall is reminiscent of the bold patterns found in Polynesian body art. In the living room, dark wood furniture is is brightened with bright green cushions and patterned multi-colored pillows. A rectangularly shaped glass window on the floor allows guests to peer into the bright blue water beneath. In a cabinet that holds one of the room’s two 42-inch Plasmas, guests can also find an espresso maker and a fully stocked minibar.
Bathrooms are a decadent affair, with a large soaking tub, an open shower, double sinks, a separate water closet, and luxe Remède toiletries. Closets, along with being spacious, hold thoughtful amenities like umbrellas, rain ponchos, slippers, and bug spray. Outside, huge wooden decks lead guests straight into the ocean beneath. Some rooms also have outdoor plunge pools or whirlpools.
Beachside and Reefside bungalows are the St. Regis’ land-based accommodations. Villas on the land feature the same decor and same luxe amenities as their overwater counterparts, but offer a bit more seclusion. The Royal Estate, a 13,000-square-foot private compound, features three bedrooms, four bathrooms, a professional kitchen, a large pool, and personal butler service.
Everything one might expect from a luxury resort, including great pools, outstanding restaurants, a romance concierge, and a bevy of on-site activities
You won’t be bored or hungry at the St. Regis Bora Bora, but your wallet might take a serious beating. As can be expected with a luxury hotel of this caliber, everything at the St. Regis is expensive. But for those who don’t mind shelling out the cash, the St. Regis has a litany of incredible features and amenities. As far as freebies are concerned, the St. Regis does have a few: fast Wi-Fi, shuttles to and from the main island, and bikes to help guests get around the large property easily.
There are two pools at the St. Regis, one main pool in the center of the property, and one just for adults near the overwater bungalows. The main pool has several zero-entry edges and a swim-up bar. Eager pool attendants will happily arrange towels on cushioned lounge chairs, or set up large umbrellas when it gets too sunny. Many guests spend their days near the main pool and surrounding beach, but the area typically remains quiet.
The Oasis pool is located near the overwater bungalows, and is reserved for adults only. The Oasis pool is surrounded by palm trees and covered cabanas. It’s so secluded, it’s easy to walk past without even realizing it’s there. With a tranquil water feature and a freeform shape, the Oasis pool allows adults to enjoy some privacy.
A few steps from the main pool is the St. Regis’s beach. A wide stretch of sand with stunning views of Mt. Otemanu, the beach is a relaxing spot filled with lounge chairs and hammocks. 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. Guests looking for great snorkeling can head to the resort’s private lagoonarium — a protected lagoon with dozens of tropical fish and coral species. The resort’s marine biologists host thrice-weekly feeding sessions where guests can learn more about the local aquatic life, and get up close and personal with the fishes.
Four restaurants, and a weekly Polynesian dinner show
The hotel’s four on-site restaurants have diverse menus, featuring everything from sushi to Italian fare. But the real standout here is Lagoon by Jean-Georges Restaurant and Bar. Set over the water and facing Mt. Otemanu, this glass-enclosed restaurant is a real stunner. Glass panels on the floor allow guests to peer into the protected lagoon below, where tropical fish and black tip sharks swim throughout the day. The menu features an assortment of local seafood with French-inspired preparations.
Every week, the resort hosts a Polynesian evening at its central buffet restaurant, Te Pahu. The Polynesian evening features a Tahitian-style buffet, coconut cocktails, and a traditional Tamure dance. Reservations are strongly recommended.
Through the romance concierge, guests can book private candlelight dinners for two. Candlelight dinners are held in romantic locations across the property, and feature custom menus, intimate service, and special decorations.
Miri Miri Spa by Clarins is one of the best in Bora Bora. The spa, which sits on its own island and has its own beach, is an oasis in the middle of the resort’s lagoonarium. Guests can choose between Clarins treatments, which use exclusive Clarins products, and Polynesian treatments, which feature traditional beauty rituals, local medicinal plants, and ancient massage practices. All hotel guests have free access to the spa’s whirlpools, steam room, and sauna, as well as the 24-hour fitness center, and two tennis courts. Private yoga classes are held weekly at the spa, but advanced reservations are required.
Popular spot for weddings and honeymoons, with a dedicated romance concierge
The St. Regis is one of the most popular hotels for weddings and honeymoons in Bora Bora. The hotel has an exclusive romance concierge that regularly creates custom honeymoon, anniversary, and wedding itineraries for couples. The romance concierge has a seemingly endless list of romantic excursions and activities, including private candlelit dinners, moonlight cruises, and private cooking classes or picnics. The romance concierge also arranges weddings (including underwater ceremonies), proposals, and vow renewals. The romance concierge is located inside the Bridal Boutique, where brides can purchase and store gowns, find accessories like shoes and jewelry, and even try on traditional Polynesian wedding attire.
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