The Four Seasons Bora Bora Resort is paradise. In fact, simply put, Bora Bora itself is paradise. I’m going to do quite a few posts about our time in Bora Bora, as there’s just so much to talk about – the food, the resort (the spa, the rooms, the paddle boarding, the snorkel sanctuary), and of course the excursions (jet skiing around the island, swimming with sharks and eagle rays, and snorkeling in the actual Bora Bora lagoon)!
The Four Seasons Bora Bora Resort is located on it’s very own motu, between the ocean and the lagoon, so you’re actually facing the main island of Bora Bora. For being on its own island, the resort is huge – much bigger than I expected! It’s not as remote as I thought it would be either. If you take a look at the picture below (as well as some of the other plane shots I took), you’ll see for yourself… The resort all the way to the left is the St. Regis Bora Bora, the large one in the middle (with the massive lagoon sanctuary) is The Four Seasons, and there’s actually another resort not too far from where the blog’s logo is on the bottom right hand side of the picture.
I don’t have to tell you how amazingly beautiful Bora Bora is. You can stay in a tent and it will be just as beautiful as if you were at a hotel – the shades of turquoise and blue, the mere sight of Mt. Otemanu – it’s all drop dead gorgeous. Call me vain, but I had high expectations when it came to Bora Bora’s looks, and they were met. She’s stunning.
However, you’re not just paying for airfare and sleeping on the ground. You’re paying a pretty penny to stay in one of Bora Bora’s steep-priced resorts, especially if you’re looking at their top two, which are The St. Regis and The Four Seasons. We chose The Four Seasons, because we love their hotels (In the past, I’ve written about The Four Seasons Papagayo Resort in Costa Rica here, and The Four Seasons Bangkok here).
If this is your very first time experiencing the magic that is The Four Seasons Resort brand, you’re going to be amazed. However, if this isn’t your first rodeo, you’ll actually be slightly floored by the lack of service (for a Four Seasons). The biggest issues are by the beach and pool areas – they are MAJORLY understaffed.
During a moderately crowded time of day, you will have to wait for someone to make up a chair for you, so much so, that you’ll end up finding yourself grabbing towels and tackling it yourself – and them letting you. If you’re looking to hang by the pool and it’s super busy, you won’t even find empty chairs, and don’t look for help in trying to get some brought over. Umbrella’s are also hard to come by, so you’ll most likely find yourself out of luck on that front too. However, if you arrive early enough, secure one of the beautifully shaded (and totally heavenly) bed areas.
One of the biggest disappointments is that you will actually have to raise your hand and call over an attendant to take your lunch order (or if you need anything in general). Nine times out of ten, they don’t just come by and check on you willingly. Don’t expect to be waited on hand and foot like you are at other Four Seasons properties, and don’t bother waiting for someone to bring around sunscreen either. It happens, but it’s rare. You’ll be a lobster by the time you wait! Same goes with water. You have to continually request it.
Like I said, if you’ve never been to a Four Seasons property, you’ll think this place is beyond wonderful, and it is. However, if you’re a seasoned vet, you’re going to question the staffing and service, and why, when pool service shuts down at 5pm, are they starting to clean up the chair beds and not willingly making one for you when you arrive at 2:30? It’s small, little things like that which makes the resort seem slightly off given the brand that it is.
The scenery, the surroundings – everything is stunning. You’ll just have to work on getting a little more comfortable on your own, which in my Four Seasons experience thus far has been unheard of! Typically, the staff has always been one step ahead. We’ve never had to ask for anything when staying at a Four Seasons in the past, but found ourselves having to call housekeeping because they didn’t change our wet lounge chair towels on our deck. It was other little things too – like turn down service forgot to leave us water (which I needed to take medicine – and fyi, you’ll want the water here, because walking to get some will be rough). All of these things aren’t a big deal, but it’s typically what separates a Four Seasons from say, a Marriott. Especially when you’re paying over $1,000 per night for a regular bungalow, and upwards of $4,000 a night for one of their premiere suites. We happened to stay in one of those pricey rooms, and when it came time for us to switch to a “regular” room (which is still very amazing), the transition was not as smooth as we expected it to be.
We’ve noticed some brush off the little service mishaps, because you’re dealing with the French culture, which is very laid back. The Four Seasons Bora Bora employs locals, and, well, that’s their mentality. However, it’s simply not The Four Seasons’ mentality, so it feels a bit off.
I loved that not only is Wi-Fi complimentary throughout the resort, but the connection is GREAT! Even from our super amazing bungalow, which was the very last one on the pontoon, we never had any problems.
Aside from the pool, another main hangout is the beach, which is absolutely breathtaking. However, the same mediocre service is also found there, as most of the time, they share staff with the pool. The beach shuts down early too, which is probably because they need to set up for those “private” beach dinners (you can see a small table set up in the above picture). I quote “private,” because they aren’t really all that private, which I’ll get into when I talk about the food and such.
I still to this day cannot get over the water in Bora Bora. I’ve been all over – from the Caribbean to the Phi Phi islands in Thailand, and nothing comes close to Bora Bora’s shades of turquoise and blue. I could literally sit and look at that water forever.
The water is so amazingly clear, you can see the fish swimming from just standing in the water.
The sunsets aren’t too shabby either. And the stars! Oh the STARS! I’ll post those pictures when I show off our bungalows, but the stars were hands down one of my favorite sights! We sat outside on our deck every night to admire them. I’ve never seen such a lit up sky!
Where the services lacks, the amenities make up for it. I would still choose this hotel, and I’ll give you two words as to why: Snorkel sanctuary. I know I’ve said this before, but Bora Bora isn’t widely known for its reefs, and many visitors mistake the fact that they will see a lot of fish under their bungalows when in fact they won’t (that’s why you go to Moorea!). The Four Seasons makes up for this big time, thanks to their snorkel sanctuary. It’s a huge lagoon (that you can swim in) that runs throughout the resort, and The Four Seasons even has their very own in house marine biologist, Oliver Martin (who is simply wonderful!). If you see him, definitely spark up a conversation, or even join him in the mornings for some coral grafting. I’m dedicating an entire post to the snorkel sanctuary later on, because it’s just so amazing, so I’ll go more into detail then.
When walking the grounds one thing you’re sure to notice is all the crabs, and my goodness they are everywhere! I think I’ve only ever seen the small ones that hang out on beaches, but these guys are monsters! Don’t be freaked out when you’re walking to dinner and it’s dark. That movement you’re seeing in the bushes? It’s just them 🙂
Aside from the snorkel sanctuary, the resort also offers water sports. Non-motorized sports are complimentary, and of course when in Bora Bora paddle boarding is a MUST! I’ll also get to that in another post (hint: I was a natural). The gentleman at the water sports desk is wonderful and will give a quick lesson to anyone in need!
I’ll go into details of all this sort of stuff later on, but overall the food was great. The breakfast was wonderful and offered an amazing selection, room service was decent and timely, and the filet mignon at Arii Moana was the absolute best I’ve EVER eaten! Ever.
We obviously didn’t get to test out any of the other resorts in Bora Bora, but I can’t imagine them having a spa better than the one here. The facilities are to die for! I mean, that view from the spa pool – drop dead gorgeous. And I have to give a HUGE thumbs up to any resort that offers coed spa facilities. THANK YOU! It was so relaxing that we fell asleep, to this:
Up next, a tour of our super amazing over water bungalow!