Four Seasons Bora Bora in French Polynesia is the definition of paradise. Over the last 5 years, we have traveled around the world, seen some of the most naturally gorgeous places on Earth, and stayed at the world’s finest 5-star resorts. None, compare to the magic, utopia, that is Four Seasons (FS) Bora Bora. Sure, Four Seasons Sayan was the #1 resort in the world last year (and we LOVE this resort), but there is just something indescribably beautiful about Bora Bora. Magical and dreamlike were the 2 words that we kept using to describe the feeling one experiences in Bora Bora, and more specifically, at FS Bora Bora. Following our wedding at Four Seasons Bora Bora, we shared some blogs with tips for planning a destination wedding and/or honeymoon here, but we never did a proper FS Bora Bora reviews blog. So, here is a long-form review of, perhaps, the best resort in the world.
From Los Angeles (LAX) you can fly directly to Papeete, Tahiti (PPT), and then continue on to Bora Bora. The flight from LAX to PPT is usually a nice overnight 8-hour flight, perfect for a quick night’s sleep. From PPT to BOB (Bora Bora), the flight is only about 45 minutes. Be sure to sit on the left side of the plane (with the rear of the plan behind you and the cockpit in front of you) for the best views of Bora Bora upon arrival. Do the opposite on the way back to PPT.
Bora Bora’s outer motus (little islands where you’ll find the nicest resorts) aren’t accessible by cars, so resorts like FS have private boats that pick guests up from the airport. The airport baggage claim is literally right next to the dock! It’s definitely the coolest airport we have ever visited.
Bora Bora – and more specifically Four Seasons Bora Bora (FS Bora Bora) is an oasis that is best experienced with loved ones. The ubiquitous honeymooners will probably agitate you if you’re traveling solo. Considering how many other gorgeous islands there are around the world, try to save Bora Bora for a romantic getaway, your destination wedding, your honeymoon, or even a family gathering. We saw a number of families with children during our week at FS Bora Bora, but the lion’s share were couples either on a honeymoon or anniversary trip.
What’s better than waking up in one of the most comfortable beds you’ve ever slept in, sliding open the door, and jumping naked directly into the South Pacific Ocean? The overwater bungalows at FS Bora Bora are the basic category of rooms, so unless you’re staying in a private beach villa, you’ll be staying in an overwater bungalow. There are, of course, different categories, sizes, etc. Each bungalow has sections of glass bottom floors so you can see fish, stingrays, and other marine life swimming underneath your room! They’re equipped with large, plush, king-size beds, a full living room, a spacious outdoor deck, and every amenity you’d expect to find in a 5-star hotel room.
For families, groups traveling together for a wedding, etc. you might consider the private villas. Personally, we loved the idea of being in the overwater bungalow so we could jump right into the ocean every day, but the private villas are awesome for groups. They’re secluded, have their own private pools, and literally feel like Malibu mansions on the Bora Bora beachfront. Your options include a 2 and 3-bedroom villa estate that can, comfortably, sleep 7 (6 adults and 1 child). Typically, these villas run about $10,000 – $15,000/night.
For adventurous, aquatic loving travelers, there is PLENTY to do in Bora Bora. Or, if you prefer, you can just lay on the beach! FS Bora Bora offers many activities/excursions including on-property activities and activities around Bora Bora.
The ray and shark safari is easily one of the coolest experiences we have had in our lives. Swimming with sharks is a major bucket list item for many, and French Polynesia is the perfect place to cross that off your list. This is a 6-hour, half-day excursion and a once in a lifetime experience you can’t miss.
We have been pampered at some amazing spas before but nothing compares to our treatment in the overwater spa suite at FS Bora Bora. This was EASILY the best spa experience of our lives.
Unwind in the ultimate couple’s suite, where treatment beds sit on glass panels above the lagoon and the outdoor tub overlooks Mount Otemanu. Restore inner balance with this life-embracing treatment, ideal for sharing with a loved one in one of our double treatment rooms or overwater Spa Suite. A skin-smoothing body treatment begins with cleansing using naturally exfoliating kahaia body scrub, legendary Tahitian black pearl powder and native fragrant vanilla. Once the skin is prepared, an exquisite massage of your choice, using native monoi oil of your choice is given. This experience concludes with a holistic and de-stressing Lagoon Express Facial.Kahaia Haven treatment in the overwater spa suite
Be sure to buy the Kahaia body souffle from the spa too. It’s a lotion that is legitimately our favorite smell in the world. Alex has been using this so sparingly since she bought it 2 years ago, so she still has some left! We get a rush of nostalgia and memories every time she puts it on. It’s like we are immediately transported back to Bora Bora every time we smell it.
Arii Moana is a Polynesian French fusion restaurant that serves traditional French plates as well as traditional local Polynesian plates. This was our favorite restaurant on the property where we had dinner the night of our wedding.
We loved this spot! They serve delicious sushi, Asian-inspired cuisine and small plates. Absolutely delicious!
Another one of our favorite spots, this restaurant provided the island ambiance we wanted over a meal. Tables on the sand and comfortable chairs allow honeymooners and other visitors to relax and enjoy delicious local fish with their toes in the sand.
The terrace is where you will have one of the most delicious breakfast buffets you’ll find at any resort in the world.
As with any FS property, the fitness center (gym) at FS Bora Bora is pristine and has all of the modern equipment you need to keep your beach body while on vacation. Many people use vacation as an excuse to skip workouts, but we use it as an excuse to workout in new ways. You’ll use new equipment, engage in new outdoor activities, and hopefully, find fun ways to workout. The fitness center is right on the motu, with great views of the backside of the beach.
Room rates vary depending on the season and often times FS will run a deal that gives travelers the 4th night free, $2,000 in resort credit for a stay of 4 or more nights, etc. If you sign up for their email newsletter, you can be the first to find out about deals like this. As a baseline, you can assume that the overwater bungalows are going to cost about $1,500/night. Add $300/night if you want your room to have a view of Mount Otemanu.
If you’re keen to upgrade to the overwater bungalow that has a private plunge pool, expect to pay well into the $2,000/night range. The overwater bungalows and overwater suites continue to climb in price as more amenities and square footage are added. The top category two-bedroom overwater bungalows run around $4,000 – $5,000/night.
On top of accommodation, plan to spend quite a bit of money on food, drinks, excursions, spa experiences, etc. The resort is an isolated oasis, and while you can take the ferry to the mainland, you’ll likely eat all of your meals at the resort. French Polynesia is expensive and FS Bora Bora is even more expensive.
Typically, breakfast is included in your room rate. This is great because Four Seasons breakfast buffets are the best in the world. Lunches (without alcohol) will cost couples about $75 – 100/each and dinners will easily exceed $100/each without alcohol. Couples spa treatments can easily eclipse $1,000 and other excursions will run in the range of a few hundred USD.
If Four Seasons Bora Bora is out of your price range, we have some tips to help you visit Bora Bora on a budget.
Our wedding day at FS Bora Bora was the most magical day of our lives. The ambiance, aesthetic beauty of the resort, and traditional Polynesian wedding ceremony, all combined for what felt like an out of body experience. Alex and I said over and over, “This is so magical!” and “This literally feels like a dream!” I never had dreams of grandeur in relation to my wedding. My parents got married in a backyard and they were happy – so, why spend $50,000 on a wedding? My only requirement for our wedding was that we got married on the beach and that we were both barefoot.