With its sapphire seas, sandy islets and overwater bungalows, Bora Bora exudes romance. This postcard-perfect locale is a top honeymoon destination, and for good reason. Here are our top picks for a Bora Bora honeymoon (or just a romantic getaway) for the best hotels, restaurants and things to do for lovebirds.
Romantic Hotel: Conrad Bora Bora Nui
New and Improved
Book a room at the Conrad Bora Bora Nui, which has just emerged from a multimillion-dollar renovation with plenty of modern bells and whistles (think marble-clad bathrooms with freestanding soaking tubs, and TVs that rise magically from bottom-of-bed cabinetry and swivel so you can watch from bed or your private plunge pool). Presiding over a ½-mile-long white-sand beach (the largest of any Bora Bora hotel) on the southwest end of Motu To'opua, the resort looks like a computer screensaver come to life, with a string of thatch-roofed overwater bungalows perched over impossibly blue sea. And a cocktail at its Upa Upa lounge, where the glass floor reveals colorful tropical fish, is the perfect toast to your trip.
Romantic Hotel: Le Méridien Bora Bora
The overwater bungalows are more compact than competing resorts and there’s no onsite spa, but chances are you won’t notice either at Le Méridien Bora Bora, where couples rave about the views of iconic Mount Otemanu and the crescent-shaped beach, which has two sides, one facing the mountain, the other the sparkling lagoon. Watch “Tahitian TV” (the underwater world) through the glass panels in 85 overwater suites; don’t miss the resort’s turtle sanctuary, where you can see rescued turtles thriving in their rehab center; or simply snorkel the lagoon. And if you’re still in need of couples-friendly pursuits, Le Meridien’s romance concierge can arrange private dinners, sunset cruises and even symbolic wedding or vow renewal ceremonies.
Romantic Hotel: The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort
It doesn’t get more idyllic than this 44-acre The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort, which is spread across three motus (islands), surrounded by the ocean and a large lagoon, with views of Mount Otemanu from almost every vantage point. It’s other claim to fame: The St. Regis was featured in the 2009 film, Couples Retreat, which plays in a loop on TVs in its 90 butler-serviced suites (77 of which are overwater). The Edenic property features Clarins’ only French Polynesian spa; a manmade “lagoonarium” for snorkeling with schools of tropical fish; and four restaurants, including the overwater Lagoon by Jean-Georges, where you can sample chef Vongerichten’s Asian-Fusion menu as you watch lemon sharks glide beneath glass panels in the floor.
Romantic Restaurant: Breakfast By Outrigger Canoe
At The St. Regis Bora Bora and the Conrad Bora Bora Nui, the best part of waking up is the sight of a sarong-clad oarsman and flower-festooned waitress skimming across the turquoise sea in an outrigger canoe decorated with tropical blooms. Once at the deck of your overwater villa, the pair sets up your canoe breakfast, a hearty spread for two that includes pastries, tropical fruit and the ceviche-style French Polynesian fish dish, poisson cru. Sure, it’ll set you back about 100 bucks per person, but the memories of your only-in-Bora Bora brekkie will last a lifetime.
Romantic Restaurant: Villa Mahana
In Vaitape on Bora Bora’s main island, Villa Mahana is a tiny restaurant with a mere half-dozen courtyard tables that are in hot demand by honeymooners, so book well in advance. Come for chef Damien Rinaldi-Dovio’s French entrees (the foie gras and lobster risotto get raves) and linger on the candlelit bougainvillea-draped terrace over dessert of molten chocolate cake with Tahitian vanilla ice cream. Just don’t forget your wallet. Because with prix fixe menus that start at around $120 a head, dinner is a splurge, even by Bora Bora standards.
Romantic Restaurant: Bloody Mary’s
From your resort you’ll need to take a boat and then a cab to Bloody Mary’s, but an evening at this classic and casual Bora Bora restaurant is worth it. Soon after you arrive at the thatch-roofed eatery where celebrities ranging from the Rolling Stones to Goldie Hawn have also dined, you’ll be summoned to the open kitchen to select your meal from the fresh-caught varieties of fish and seafood displayed on ice. While you wait for the main event, kick back with the signature Bloody Mary or a frosty Hinano beer in the sand-floored dining room. But don’t kick back too far, because those coconut tree stumps you’re sitting on have been known to topple.
Romantic Things to Do: Have a Private Island to Yourself
As you fly into Bora Bora, you’ll no doubt notice those Instagrammable sand-fringed islets floating in Windex-blue water. And if you’re a guest at Conrad Bora Bora Nui, you can actually have one of those motus all to yourself. Book the Day in Paradise package and you’ll be whisked away by boat to Motu Tapu, the resort’s idyllic private island, for lunch served on the sand followed by hours of snorkeling, beachcombing and, well, whatever else the two of you can think of (wink, wink!).
Romantic Things to Do: The Ultimate Couples Massage
At The St. Regis Bora Bora they take couples’ treatments to a whole new level, with a romantic evening you’ll remember long after your tan has faded. First, reserve the last couples massage (we recommend the relaxing Polynesian massage) of the day — around 5:30 p.m., depending on the time of year — and request to have it performed by candlelight in the thatch-roof cabana on the spa’s beach. Then, once the massage is over and you’re suitably chill, you’ll dine in private at a table for two at the now-closed sanctuary, where the surrounding lagoon and tropical foliage are the perfect backdrop to a night to remember.
Romantic Things to Do: Snorkel Excursion to Teti'aroa
To get to Bora Bora from the U.S. you’ll probably fly from LAX to Tahiti. And once you land in Tahiti in the wee hours of the morning, you’ll likely have an hours-long layover before your evening connection to Bora Bora. So make good use of your time by joining Poe Charter’s catamaran cruise to Teti'aroa, an atoll about 30 miles north of Tahiti that’s surrounded by a dozen sandy motus just waiting for your footprints. The day trip leaves from Papeete and includes breakfast and lunch on board Ohana, a guided tour of the bird sanctuary on Rimatu'u, and all the snorkel gear you need to explore Tahiti’s turquoise waters.