Heaven is indeed a place on earth, and its name is Bora Bora. But how do you decide which overwater bungalow is worth your precious vacation time? Our top pick: the Conrad Bora Bora Nui. The former Hilton emerged from a multimillion-dollar renovation, and reopened in April 2017 as the only Conrad property in French Polynesia. The property has also debuted another first in the region: a pair of two-story overwater bungalows. Read on to see why this dreamy hotel is worthy of your bucket list.
Arriving at the Conrad Bora Bora Nui is a surreal moment, one that you’ll probably experience a few times during your stay thanks to the resort’s location on Motu To’opua, its own private island. And since Bora Bora’s airport is also located on an island, you’ll arrive to the resort via boat transfer. Seeing the overwater bungalows from the water kicks off a romantic getaway in a special way, and truly never gets old.
Of the 114 rooms at the property, the overwater bungalows are the star. (Although if it’s a view you’re after, opt for a Garden Villa, perched on the hillside, or the Beach Villas give direct access to the sand.) The Overwater Villas have everything you’ve dreamed of: a king-size bed, a dining table and a sitting area, plus wall-to-wall sliding glass doors that lead to an expansive deck with lounge chairs, an outdoor shower and direct access to the water. There’s also a Bluetooth sound system throughout the villa — hook up your device and listen to your music while lounging on the catamaran net, spying spotted eagle rays floating below.
You may not think you need a plunge pool, considering this is an overwater bungalow and all. Trust us: book one of the 18 King Pool Villas anyway. You’ll appreciate the option to lounge in the infinity pool to watch the sunset, or to take a late-night dip after dinner.
Again, is a massive soaking tub really necessary when you’re staying over the water? Absolutely. The sleek bathroom also features his-and-hers sinks, a rain shower and windows that open out so you can see the water below.
5. Two-story Overwater Villas
If Oprah and Gayle were to stay in Bora Bora, we’re pretty sure they would stay in these two Presidential Suites. Each swanky two-story overwater bungalow (the first in French Polynesia) is 4,300 square feet and features two bedrooms, two outdoor decks, a private pool, a hot tub, a sauna and an outdoor dining space. Get a tour of a villa on our Facebook page.
Swimming right off your overwater bungalow is nice, but the beachfront infinity pool at is also pretty sweet. Hang out at the swim-up bar or soak up the sun from the built-in loungers. Then laze on the resort’s beach, or take advantage of the complimentary snorkel gear, kayaks and paddleboats. The property also provides bicycles to ride to and from your bungalow.
Named for the Polynesian goddess Hina, the spa is perched on a hillside with an amazing view of the resort. All of the treatment rooms have been designed to take in said view, so you can wake up refreshed after a Tahitian massage and gaze at the lagoon below. The spa also features an outdoor treatment deck, a couple’s room with a Jacuzzi tub, a steam room and a sauna.
The dilemma: you want to get a feel for local culture but have limited time while on vacation. The solution: the Conrad 1/3/5 program, which offers curated 1- 3- and 5-hour excursions of authentic experiences and activities. If you have one hour, learn how to make a crown of flowers or how to play the ukulele. If you have three hours, learn about the history and creation of Tahitian pearls, or get a Polynesian tattoo. With five hours, you can hike to the cave in Mount Otemanu or visit a church service on the main island of Bora Bora.
Motu Tapu is the resort’s private island, and it’s literal paradise on earth. Located just a short boat ride from the property, you can arrange to spend the day here in total seclusion. Have a picnic lunch on the beach, snorkel in the lagoon and explore the small island. It’s also a perfect spot to plan a romantic dinner for two or an intimate wedding ceremony.
10. Polynesian Dinner Show
Every Tuesday night, the resort features a traditional Polynesian show. A buffet of authentic local cuisine is served, while drummers, hula dancers and fire throwers tell the stories of Polynesian legends.