A small island in French Polynesia Bora Bora is part of the beautiful chain known as the Society Islands. At its centre rises the jagged Mount Otemanu, a dormant volcano peerlessly casting its gaze over the bright turquoise lagoon, sand-fringed islets and coral reefs that make this tropical paradise one of the most exclusive luxury destinations in the world.
The area was settled by Polynesians who arrived around 1300 BC. By the time the island was visited by Captain Cook in 1770, a thriving community and culture based on the rhythms of the ocean had been established.
Aside from its reputation as the ultimate island destination for relaxation, Bora Bora offers visitors a range of water-based activities including snorkelling, diving, cruising and kitesurfing in the lagoon, with dolphins, sharks and whales in open water.
The island is northwest of Tahiti and an hour by plane from Papeete, the capital city of French Polynesia. Bora Bora Airport is located on Motu Mete and, as you approach, the sight from the plane’s window will be etched into your memory forever.
Bora Bora is synonymous with overwater villas and bungalows fitted with glass floors or viewing portals that provide a living window into the clear waters below.
Located on Motu Ome’e, to the east of the main island, the expansive and immaculate St. Regis Bora Bora Resort bills itself as the ultimate South Pacific splurge and is home to some of the most enticing overwater accommodation on the island. The resort also has a private lagoon, the Lagoonarium, teeming with exotic fish and corals built and maintained in cooperation with Bora Eco Fish.
To the west and on the islet of Motu To’opua and set within its own private cove, is the Conrad Bora Bora Nui. Offering a choice of garden and spectacular overwater villas, backed by world-class dining, service and facilities, it is a truly blissful and luxurious tropical retreat.
Picking out a couple of notable restaurants on an island dominated by five-star luxury properties is near impossible – nevertheless we highly recommend the fabulous Arii Moana at the Four Seasons Bora Bora. Overlooking the tranquil waters of the lagoon and featuring views of distant Mount Otemanu, the chic restaurant blends Polynesian and French traditions with an emphasis on fresh locally caught seafood.
Lagoon, by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, the signature restaurant at the St. Regis Bora Bora is our second pick. The restaurant is situated over water with long glass floor panels giving an amazing view of the black tip sharks swimming below. Vongerichten’s inspired menu is an elegant and beautifully presented blend of some of the best Eastern and Western flavours.
WATER SPORTS AND ACTIVITIES
There are numerous specialist operators such as Moana Adventure Tours that provide an array of standard and bespoke trips. With a boat pick-up from your hotel’s private jetty, be sure to try one of our favourites, the Sunset Champagne Tour.
Alongside resort-based windsurfing, snorkelling and other water sports there are numerous diving specialists such as TOPDIVE. Located at the Maikai Marina & Yacht Club, the InterContinental Resort and Thalasso Spa Bora Bora and Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa, TOPDIVE offers private and group diving to sites such as Anau, one of the few places manta rays and sharks can be seen using the services of the cleaner wrasse.
Bora Bora is a remarkable destination and one that offers some of the most breath-taking scenery in the world as a backdrop to your perfect tropical honeymoon or luxury holiday.