Craggy mountains and aquamarine atolls, hibiscus-filled gardens, white-sand beaches, stars above deep waters where dolphins swim… Bora Bora is French Polynesia’s poster island. With as many tourists as locals, you won’t find remote, unspoilt Tahitian culture here, and you’ll need deep pockets, but with over-the-water bungalows as standard, it’s hard to beat for intimate beach-and-reef luxury. Here are the top Bora Bora resorts – all bookable on Culture Trip.
The St Regis is big on romance, from the private plunge-pool views of the setting sun silhouetting Mount Otemanu, to the huge beds in the gigantic over-the-water villas; not to mention the heart-shaped bathtubs and the private steps from your bungalow into a lagoon of turtles. There are even wedding dresses to choose from in the resort boutique, priests on standby and a full bridal water-chauffeur service in an outrigger canoe accompanied by Polynesian dancers.
This place delivers every luxury you’d expect from the five-star-plus international brand – and more. There are island views from every bedroom, fish flickering over the reef below your private sun deck and the scent of Tahitian gardenia rising from the tropical gardens as the stars twinkle above. As well as doing romance, the Four Seasons extends a welcome to families. Check in for complimentary childcare, a clubhouse for children under 12, a designated chill island for teens and an endless menu of activities, from snorkelling with marine biologists to paddleboard classes.
Like its rivals, the InterContinental has those over-the-lagoon rooms with easy access to snorkel-worthy waters. It has al fresco under-the-stars dining, a beach of sugar-white sand and an extravagant seawater spa. Moreover, it’s romantic almost to the point of excess – there’s even a garden of love, where couples can lock a padlock into a tree. But what really sets the hotel apart is its location in one of the calmest, shallowest and most secluded corners of the lagoon, where the water is waist height and you don’t have to watch out for whizzing jet skis and boats.
Now part of the landscape from the Maldives to the Caribbean, over-the-water bungalows were invented at the Bora Bora Nui. Why does this matter? Because as the pioneer, Conrad bagged the best beach – a half-mile stretch of powdery perfection that makes the island’s other resorts look bonsai by comparison. Better still, as the property is tucked away behind an islet, there are no other hotels to spoil the view.
Set on a tiny coral cay, safely removed from the competition, the Pearl is something of a Bora Bora bargain, with affordable room prices, including unobstructed views of Mount Otemanu. You don’t get the sparkling perfection of pricier properties – the rooms and amenities need refurbishment, and the bars and restaurants will cost you extra.
The Maitai is a resort of simple tiled-floor cubes for rooms, with balcony views over a garden of hibiscus blooms. Rooms are located just metres from the aquamarine lagoon, and they’re under starry skies every bit as beautiful as the ones you’ll see above the glamorous Four Seasons. That said, the beach can’t compare, and you won’t get any mountain or sunset backdrops, as the Maitai Polynesia is on the main island. It’s worth noting, too, that if you upgrade and stay over the water, you’ll pay almost as much as you would in the big-brand hotels.
Kids will love this place, as it’s home to the Bora Bora Turtle Center, which protects and cares for local marine life, including endangered green turtles – and guests can observe and participate. The location is beautiful to contemplate over raw fish marinated in coconut milk at the toes-in-the-sand Le Te Ava, or Le Tipanié, with its metallic lagoon view. Book an overwater premium lagoon-view bungalow; a fixed ladder eases you into deep water for cooling swims.
Looking for more inspiration on places to stay? Check out our expertly curated guide to the top hotels in Bora Bora.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.