As a young girl I dreamt of honeymooning on the Tahitian island of Bora Bora, which to me seemed the most romantic place in the world. In the fullness of time that dream came true and I have to say it was as wonderful as I imagined.
Bora Bora is 230 kilometres northwest of Papeete in the Leeward Group of Tahiti and her Islands, and most visitors reach it via several daily one-hour flights by Air Tahiti. It is also a stop on cruise itineraries and there are ferries, but the journey time for the latter tends to eat into a shorter stay. The Air Tahiti timetables to the island also mean that most travellers need to overnight at least once in Papeete, but we struck it lucky by flying out of Auckland on a Monday, the only day of the week when there is a connection straight through.
Although we arrived in Bora Bora at night and thus missed the amazing views of its lagoon and neighbouring islands that everyone talks about, it was great to get there seamlessly and to have to unpack only on arrival. Even better was that we arrived on Valentine’s Day, where we were greeted with Champagne and a special Valentine’s chocolate creation on arrival. Our overwater bure or bungalow, our home for the next seven days, was stunning and incredibly spacious inside and out; the “wow” factor for me was sitting in the oversized bath with the floor-to-ceiling doors open to the lagoon. The overwater bures are sited so their outdoor decks have complete privacy.
A tip about the overwater bure options at Four Seasons Bora Bora: the bures are spread out over the lagoon like two branches on a tree; one is closer to the restaurant and pool area and the other is further down the beach. Guests have the option of Beach View, Lagoon View and Mountain View, in that order of pricing.
Our bure was a Lagoon View that faced east, which we appreciated for the shelter it provided from the prevailing westerly wind, which at times was strong. This also allowed us to use our deck all the time. The resort also offers pool cabanas and on-shore villas stretching along a semiprivate beach, and a private island.
As we were travelling in February we had a mixed bag of weather with some rain at times. But it was still warm so it didn’t stop us enjoying the lagoon, swimming every morning before breakfast and snorkelling in the lagoon reserve with over a hundred different species of fish and some beautiful coral. The fish were as inquisitive as we were and came up close to our goggles to check us out.
The resort also has a great selection of water activities gear so we got to do some stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking as well as our daily workout in the resort’s Fitness Centre. It is well equipped and includes complimentary bottled water and fresh fruit.
All the exercise meant we had no guilt about enjoying the resort’s wonderful food, which is incredibly fresh, with most of it coming straight from the sea. The cuisine has an obvious French influence, particularly at the resort’s fine-dining restaurant, Arii Moana, which is very romantic and elegant, especially on a starlit night.
The menu at Arii Moana also has a Polynesian influence and the Tahitian speciality, Poisson Cru, was definitely a favourite dish for us, as was the Black Angus Beef Tenderloin that was recommended by our lovely part-Tahitian, part-Swiss waiter: it was a taste sensation beyond belief!
Another tip: although the selection of wines and alcoholic beverages at the resort’s four restaurants and bars is impeccable, alcohol is expensive in Tahiti so I suggest you make the most of your two litre per person duty-free allowance.
As a romantic and luxurious honeymoon destination, Bora Bora in my view is justly celebrated as one of the best in the world. With its turquoise-coloured lagoon, sprinkling of motus (islets) and the soaring peak of Mount Otemanu surrounded by luxuriant vegetation, it is as extravagantly beautiful as everyone says.
The list of available recreations, from island tours to 4x4 excursions to ray and shark feeding, fishing, snorkelling, diving and catamaran, speedboat, yacht and helicopter excursions could easily have occupied our seven-day stay but we also loved the opportunity the island gave us to really relax and unwind. A particular treat was the couples’ Polynesian Massage we enjoyed at the resort’s award-winning spa. It is also worth visiting the spa to spend time in the steam room and outdoor vitality pool complete with separate relaxation lounges for female and male guests. We will definitely be back!
Have you ever seen the beauty of Bora Bora in real life? Tell us about it in the comment section below.