French Polynesia is well-known for its luxury accommodation and consequent price tags. Most of the world’s leading hotel brands are here and the resorts take full advantage of the spectacular scenery and natural features. Competition ensures high quality digs, service and facilities, wherever you stay.
Overwater bungalows are one of French Polynesia’s signature items, along with the lagoons they stand in. They were invented here in the 1960s and have since been copied extensively. The overwater bungalow experience is an exotic thrill and is perfect for a romantic swim.
Bungalows are generally very spacious, supremely comfortable and always have their own balconies with breathtaking views across the blue water. Glass windows in the floor often look down on illuminated reef, installed to attract fish. Try to book one at the end of the jetty for uninterrupted views. The next overwater bungalow resort to open will be Conrads Bora Bora, due in early 2017.
In between being entranced by the hypnotic beauty of the lagoon and the next magnificent meal or spa treatment, you may bump into a Hollywood A-lister or two.
The InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa is a stunning accommodation cooled by deep sea water pumped up from a kilometre below the surface. It even has a ‘salt water’ bubbler that is safe to drink and high in nutrients. St Regis Bora Bora Resort boasts iconic views and Bora Bora’s largest overwater bungalows, while Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island is a very exclusive boutique island resort set against a hillside and adjacent to the Coral Garden.
Bora Bora’s larger cousin is encircled by a coastal road along which you’ll find townships, restaurants and plantations. Or head inland for more scenic and cultural adventures.
Sofitel Moorea la Ora Beach Resort has a large white sandy beach on a beautiful lagoon and is home to the sandy floor gourmet marvel, K Restaurant. The recently-renovated Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa is nestled between the two bays mid-way between the east and west coasts and you can see sunrise and sunset from the overwater bungalows. And they have an overwater crêperie. Moorea Pearl Resort & Spa is ideal for a high-end family holiday and is built on a reef edge with a spectacular drop-off for snorkelling.
Sometimes ignored as just first night/last night stopover on the way to and from other islands, Tahiti is definitely worth a longer stay. This is the cultural hub of the group with museums, cafes, shopping centres and art galleries to peruse and enjoy.
Le Meridien Tahiti has a sandy bottom pool that looks like an extension of the lagoon on one side, plus shops and restaurants on other side. Tahiti Pearl Beach Resort has very spacious rooms and sits on an exotic black volcanic sand beach with surf and picturesque views over Matavai Bay to Moorea. The recently refurbished InterContinental Tahiti Resort & Spa boasts two palm-lined infinity pools plus an adults-only swim up bar pool.