Bora Bora: I am practically without words. It’s incredible.
When we returned from our honeymoon to French Polynesia (Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora) and I posted my photos to the Web, friends and family agreed that it looks like we shot everything in front of a green screen here in L.A. It’s just too spectacular to be real.
But back specifically now to the Hilton Bora Bora Nui. The great service began when the Hilton’s boat picked us up from the Bora Bora airport. For some reason, we were the only ones on it — V.V.I.P.-ish! We got our leis and never had to hassle with our bags (at all, on the whole trip). The staff whisked them away and handled everything. We were greeted with fruit juice and taken by golf cart to our bungalow after a little tour of the sprawling resort. Seeing my jaw drop, the woman checking us in said (in her best English, which was overall great): “Welcome in the postcard.”
Et voila. We got a magical upgrade to one of two Royal Overwater Bungalows in the whole resort (107). It was absolutely massive—more a house than a hotel room. Windows in the floor to the lagoon in practically every area of the bungalow. And a hot tub on the deck. HELLO: a hot tub on the upper deck!
Our bungalow was over fairly deep water, so we needed fins to snorkel from our deck back over to shallower water, but that was fun. Shallower snorkeling is available from almost anywhere in the resort, including at least three or so gorgeous stretches of white sand beach. We brought our new wedding snorkeling gear 4,000+ miles—which was probably not necessary. It’s available for free every day. Also available with no checkout of any kind required: an array of kayaks with oars and safety vests right on the beach for the taking.
Every seat on the beach is amazing. Hammocks, covered cabanas for shade—even a private pier with two lounge chairs on it—is more photogenic than the next, and there’s never a hustle for a great seat (there are so many). And we were there on the high season.
I’m a terrible sleeper at home (an infamous insomniac), and I slept like a log. Granted, French Polynesia is so relaxing. But the sleep quality in both the Hiltons where we stayed is very, very fine. (I also highly recommend the Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa.)
Everyone will tell you about how expensive food is, and this is true. The best thing to do would be to prepay for meals. There’s not too much of a way around this, but French Polynesia (to my mind) is a very special occasion place, so some amount of money hemorrhaging is unavoidable and expected. The food is by no means the best part of the French Polynesian experience (this coming from a vegetarian Angeleno more accustomed to cooking tofu with Pam than eating waffles with Nutella), but who cares, kinda? There is really no end to the beauty and majesty of the experience.
We did the shark and ray feeding—probably Bora’s signature excursion—with the picnic on the Hilton’s private motu, and it was quite memorable and fun. I was working with the theory that they wouldn’t offer the activity to tourists if it were dangerous! What? Honeymoon brain.
Let’s see, what else. Oh, there is a library with books in several languages (I saw at least English, Italian, and Japanese) plus games. Also, there is Internet there and it is free. I didn’t want to spend my whole honeymoon online, of course, and I was fairly disciplined, but it was nice to be able to access important information — like the link to our wedding photos, which I would gnash my teeth to avoid clicking until we got home, leaving something to look forward to. English speakers: Use the computer on the far left of the three. The French keyboards won’t accept your passwords and will get you nowhere.
Homebody in Motion’s random tips:
- Take some bread from dinner or breakfast to feed the fish off your deck or in the lagoon! Be a little patient, they’ll come in droves!
- Happy hour is from 6 to 7 p.m. Take advantage for two-for-one drinks.
- Desserts take a while to arrive. We were pleasantly surprised when our waiter said he could send ours to our bungalow! By the time we walked back leisurely, our dessert was ready for us in our room.
- Bring an electricity adapter if you require one. There were none for us to borrow in high season.
- Go! Go to Bora Bora. Go to the Bora Bora Nui. Die happy. #YOLO