Bora Bora is one of the most stunning islands in the world, not to mention one of the most desired places to visit. Its rich turquoise lagoon radiates under the warm sun and its signature peaks can be stared at for an entire day, yet choosing the right place to stay in Bora Bora can be a daunting task, considering the investment that needs to be made. Having visited the island on three separate occasions, I’ll share with you an extensive list of the best places to stay and help answer the burning question of where to stay in Bora Bora?
Bora Bora Travel Guide
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Bora Bora’s Topography
Before we begin covering the list of the best places to stay in Bora Bora, it’s extremely important to understand the topography of the island. Bora Bora is a high island surrounded by a coral reef. Like all islands in this part of the Pacific, Bora Bora is gradually sinking. In fact, the island’s signature peaks are all that remain of the extinct volcano, which forms what is referred to as the “main island”. Surrounding the main island is a coral reef which, over the years, has slightly risen to form small landmasses known as “motu”.
Why is this lesson in basic Polynesian topography key to planning your visit to Bora Bora? Because the “prime tourist real estate” is located on those dreamy motus that offer the most seclusion and the best views towards the signature peaks of the main island. The motus are where you’ll find nearly all of the top resorts and there’s very limited choice in terms of pensions. On the main island, you’ll find a small selection of high-end resorts but many mid-tier resorts, hotels, and pensions.
Motu or Main Island? Pros and cons
So as you may have already guessed, there’s a slight dilemma when choosing where to stay in Bora Bora, assuming that cost is of little factor.
Staying on a motu
Best suited for those seeking seclusion, where the main priority is to relax and not necessarily get out there and explore the island. All motu-based Bora Bora resorts will also have a “boat station” on the main island which can be used for getting to/from the main island.
- The “classic” Bora Bora experience
- Seclusion and privacy
- The best views of the main island and its signature peaks
- The finest white sand beaches
- Accessible snorkeling spots
- Requires a mandatory pricey boat transfer from/to the airport (which in itself is located on a motu).
- Shuttle service to the main island might be infrequent and is rarely free of charge.
- Unless you catch an evening shuttle to the main island, you will need to dine at the resort.
- The “prime real estate” of the motu usually entails a premium on the cost of accommodation.
- If your stay is short, you might not get to experience an evening buffet and dance show. Those usually take place once or twice during the week.
Staying on the main island
Best suited for those who aren’t looking for an over-the-top experience and travelers seeking budget accommodations on Bora Bora. Keep in mind that the best options will be in or around Matira Point and that there’s little charm in the main village of Vaitape.
- Can utilize the free Air Tahiti boat shuttle from the airport to Vaitape village
- Prices are much lower versus motu-based accommodations
- Can easily explore the main island
- You are not confined to dining in resort restaurants
- Can take part in any main island festivals or events that might be taking place on the island or at neighboring hotels, such as evening buffet and dance shows.
- You’ll only get the Bora Bora “money shot” when touring the lagoon on a boat excursion.
- Matira Beach is pretty, but it can get crowded on weekends and it isn’t great for swimming or snorkeling.
- There have been cases of thefts from beach-front guest rooms (not in resorts) so do lock your doors and windows at night and when you’re exploring the island.
Where to Stay in Bora Bora?
I’ll now review some of the best places to stay in Bora Bora, covering the entire range from luxury resorts to family-owned pensions.
Here’s a map covering all accommodations mentioned in this guide. Simply click on the image to open in Google Maps.
Here’s a list of all Bora Bora accommodations that you can book online.
Best Luxury Resorts in Bora Bora
Most luxury resorts in Bora Bora are located on the dreamy motus that face the main island. When you see an image of Bora Bora with both its lagoon and its signature peaks in the background, it was most likely taken on one of these motus.
Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort
The Pearl Beach Resort, a fantastic option for luxury seekers without completely breaking your savings account. The four-star resort is located on prime real estate on a dreamy motu not too far from the airport and has a perfect view of Bora Bora’s classic peak. The resort offers free shuttles to the main island where you can be picked up by various tour operators and restaurants.
I stayed in the Garden Villas, units beautifully decorated with Polynesian motifs and equipped with a personal plunge pool. The villa is spacious and the bed offered a calming sleep night after night.
As for the famous overwater bungalows, those are gradually undergoing renovations and are now much more up to par compared with some of the more expensive luxury resorts on neighboring motu.
The resort boasts a magnificent white-sand beach, fringed by palm trees and a coral reef that is currently being grown on platforms between the overwater bungalows. I was fortunate enough to come across a large stingray while snorkeling nearby.
An important part of your resort stay is the food and at the Pearl Beach Resort, you’re offered a selection of restaurants when it comes to dinner, from the simple to the gourmet. On some nights, a BBQ buffet is offered on the beach, an evening capped off by local Polynesian fire dancing!
Conrad Bora Bora Nui
Formerly the Hilton Bora Bora, the Conrad Bora Bora Nui is one of the newest additions to the island’s list of top resorts. The five-star resort is located on Motu Toopua which faces the sunset and is located only 10 mins from the main village of Vaitape (resort shuttle offered for a reasonable fee).
The Conrad boasts 114 villas in various categories and its overwater bungalows offer the opportunity to plunge straight into a coral garden. The resort’s spa is nestled at the top of a hill with outstanding panoramic views and there’s a wealth of dining options to choose from. WiFi is free of charge throughout the resort’s property. Though prices have slightly gone up since reopening, the Conrad still offers good value-for-money for luxury seekers and even for families, thanks to its kid’s club.
Four Seasons Bora Bora
Situated between the deep blue of the Pacific and the tranquil lagoon, the Bora Bora Four Seasons Resort offers South Seas escape on its own sublimely private small islet – Motu Piti Aau on the eastern side of Bora Bora. Inspired by Polynesian architecture, the village-like five-star resort blends into a lush world of unsurpassed tropical beauty and takes full advantage of heartstopping views. The ultimate in luxurious seclusion, the Four Seasons combines thoughtful service and impeccable modern amenities, not to mention some of the most spacious and pampering overwater bungalows in Bora Bora.
Many of the famous images of Bora Bora were taken right from above the Four Seasons Resort as it has some of the best views of Mount Otemanu. Shuttle service to the main island is limited, however, so choose to stay here if you wish to spend the bulk of your time relaxing at this incredibly luxurious property. Free WiFis available throughout the resort for up to three devices per bungalow. Other pros to staying here include a kid’s club and a lagoon sanctuary nearby that will appeal to snorkelers.
St Regis Resort
The St Regis Bora Bora Resort is really in a league of its own when it comes to luxury five-star resorts in Bora Bora. It even served as the filming location for the cheesy Hollywood flick Couple’s Retreat. Upon your arrival at the pontoon dock, a team of butlers welcomes you and leads you to the fancy lobby that combines Polynesian warmth and ambiance with grandiose architecture and modern amenities.
With a starting size of 144m² and up to 1,200m² for the Royal Estate Villa, the St Regis offers without question the most spacious villas in Bora Bora. Available in one, two, or three bedrooms, whether located on the beach, facing the ocean, or over the lagoon, all categories are elegantly decorated and embellished with colorful Polynesian touches, with very appreciated large openings, separate living and bedroom areas, and luxurious bathrooms fitted with Italian marble and exotic wood.
At the heart of the property are four restaurants and two bars, two swimming pools, the main beach the only wedding boutique in Bora Bora. Guests also have a choice of several isolated areas, such as the Miri Miri Spa by Clarins, the St Regis lagoonarium and its many fish to be discovered while snorkeling, or the Oasis swimming pool with its private gazebos accessible to adults only. Free WiFis available throughout the resort for up to five devices per bungalow as well as a kid’s club.
Intercontinental Thalasso Spa
Located on the same motu as the St Regis and facing Mount Otemanu, the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa stands out for its modern design and its signature spa treatments based on balneotherapy and thalassotherapy, hence its name.
The five-star resort features an eco-friendly air-conditioning system by using the cold deep-sea water extracted from the Pacific Ocean and its spa is the very first Thalasso spa in the world to utilize the benefits of the deep-sea water and minerals in all of its signature treatments. Free WiFis available throughout the resort for up to two devices per bungalow and guests can also enjoy two fitness trails along the reef on the ocean-facing side.
The neighbor of the Intercontinental Thalasso, Le Meridien is a contemporary and elegant five-star resort that also features stunning views over Mount Otemanu – Bora Bora’s signature peak.
Among its wide range of activities, Le Meridien hosts the famous Turtle Sanctuary, devoted to preserving the magnificent hawksbill and green turtles. This care center, located in the heart of the hotel, is unique in the world, with a special program implemented to ensure the successful future of the turtles in the ocean.
So as you may have already guessed, this resort is all about preservation, and guests can enjoy a wide range of free activities centered around this theme such as daily 30-minute lagoon tours, free access to the Turtle Sanctuary, the eco-center, and snorkeling in the regenerated coral nursery. Free WiFi is provided throughout the property.
Sofitel Private Island
In the four-star resort range, the Sofitel Private Island is a top choice, together with the Pearl Beach Resort. It’s one of two Sofitel properties in Bora Bora and it is located on a small island just off the tip of Matira Point where coral is abundant. The intimate property has only 31 bungalows, branding itself as the ultimate escape for a holiday away from it all. It offers a unique location on Bora Bora with its panoramic 360° view of Otemanu Mount and the turquoise lagoon.
Guests staying at the Private Island can utilize its free shuttle to its sister resort on the main island (Sofitel Marara) between 06:00-23:00 as well as free WiFi throughout the resort. To maintain the intimate atmosphere of the resort, children under the age of 12 are not permitted.
Intercontinental Le Moana Resort
The InterContinental Le Moana Resort is the main-island twin of the Thalasso Resort and is considered the finest option on the main island. The four-star resort is located on the best spot of Matira Point, the main island’s “prime real estate” and its only real stretch of white sand. Right across the road from the resort is the public beach so guests can enjoy a private slice of this pretty spot while also leveraging the numerous casual dining options of the area without being restricted to the resort’s restaurants.
This is a great option for those seeking to stay in overwater bungalows without paying the premium of the motu-based resorts. Guests of the Le Moana resort can take the resort’s shuttle boat (for a fee) and use the sister resort’s spa and fitness center in addition to checking out the stunning views from the motu. Free WiFis available throughout the resort for up to two devices.
Best Mid-Range Resorts in Bora Bora
The mid-range resorts and hotels in Bora Bora that are listed here are all located on the main island.
Sofitel Marara Beach Resort
Together with the Le Moana Resort, the Sofitel Marara is another great option for those seeking a pampering stay at a reasonable cost in Bora Bora. The three-star resort is located on the edge of a beautiful white sand beach on the main island, not too far from Matira Point. It offers 53 bungalows including overwater. As far as facilities, the Sofitel Marara boasts a sparkling infinity pool, a proper spa, and a beautiful coral garden ready to be explored. Guests of this family-friendly resort can purchase a day pass and spend time in the high-end sister resort. WiFi is complimentary throughout the property.
The Maitai Polynesia Resort is set in lush tropical gardens, close to Matira Beach, and offers good value for money, friendly hospitality, two restaurants, two bars, and gift shops. This three-star resort offers affordable beachfront as well as overwater accommodation, and most of its rooms and bungalows enjoy great views over the lagoon.
It’s very important to note that the resort actually covers the two sides of the coastal road with regular rooms located on the mountainside, while the bungalows, main restaurant, and beach bar on the lagoon side on the white sand beach. WiFi is available throughout the property for a charge (free in overwater bungalows) and bicycles can be rented. Also, note that the resort has no swimming pool but I don’t think it’s such a minus since the shallow beach is more than perfect.
Royal Bora Bora
Recently reopened, the Royal Bora Bora is a neighbor of the Maitai Resort. Like its neighbor, the three-star hotel is composed of two sections. The mountainside features 80 units spread over ten buildings settled in a lush tropical garden with a small natural lake, while the seaside hosts the reception, swimming pool, and, of course, the white sand beach and breathtaking views of the turquoise lagoon. The Royal Bora Bora is also very ideal for families, thanks to its connecting rooms and the shallow water of the beach. Free WiFi is available for up to two devices.
Best Budget Accommodations in Bora Bora
Apart from really basic Airbnb units, budget accommodations in Bora Bora also come with the island’s premium. This is, after all, Bora Bora. That said, travelers to Bora Bora can find decently priced hotels, pensions, and boutique lodges but the secret is to book well in advance since the number of such units is limited. If you’re wondering about camping in Bora Bora, there used to be a camping site located on one of the islets but, to the best of my knowledge, it is no longer in operation.
Rohotu Fare Lodge
Probably the best option for a “boutique” stay in Bora Bora, Rohotu Fare features only three units, nestled mountainside in a lush botanical garden offering shade and coolness. Each bungalow is unique, beautifully decorated with carved pieces of solid wood, marble, and Pacific crafts, with a kitchen, terrace, beautiful view of the lagoon, and the imposing panorama of Mount Otemanu, located just to the right.
The lodge is not too far from Vaitape Village with its shops and activities and Matira with its beach and restaurants but you will need to use a bicycle to get around or get a ride in the owner’s 4X4 (offered free of charge). The lodge offers free WiFi and free transfers from/to Vaitape but has no restaurant on site.
Located right on Matira Beach, the two-star Hotel Matira offers exceptional views of the turquoise lagoon. Surrounded by small shops, scooter rental, and local restaurants, this is the perfect place for those looking for autonomy and cheap accommodation. The wooden bungalows are simple, with little privacy but they are very spacious and can accommodate up to four people, ideal for families. Free WiFi is available throughout the hotel property.
Sunset Hill Lodge
Located slightly north of the main village of Vaitape, the Sunset Hill Lodge is a good choice for self-catering travelers but do note that it isn’t located next to a sandy beach. Each unit features a kitchen with a stovetop, microwave, and refrigerator.
Pension Alice and Raphael
Moving away from the main island, Pension Alice and Raphael is located on Motu Ome, a very long islet just a few minutes from the airport. So guests staying here can get that Robinson Crusoe type of stay without breaking the bank. The 1.5-hectare property extends across the motu, from the lagoon to the ocean side so guests can enjoy both sides of the islet. On the lagoon side, there’s a nice stretch of beach with a great view on the main island of Bora Bora and Mount Otemanu, while on the ocean side, a landscape of corals and a beach extends all along the motu for great walks.
The pension only features three units, very ideal for a quiet stay. Another asset is that the guest house has total autonomy thanks to solar panels and water tanks providing electricity, running water, and hot water on the property. The wooden structures of the pension and the typical architecture of bungalows blend perfectly into the natural environment. As with most pensions, meals are enjoyed together with other guests and it is recommended to go full board here. Also, note there is no WiFi on the motu.
Back on the main island, just next to the InterContinental Le Moana Resort, Pension Village Temanuata is a small budget guest house, ideally located at Matira point, the heart of all activities and distractions on the island. It has a beautiful uncrowded beach protected on one side by the neighboring resort and the other side by private houses. Early risers will enjoy magnificent sunrises from the pension and guests of all 12 units will enjoy breakfast delivered straight to their bungalow.
Villa Bora Bora
A luxury self-catering villa, Villa Bora Bora is built in traditional fashion and located near Matira Beach. This beachfront property features a terrace, free private parking, and free WiFi. The air-conditioned villa is composed of two separate bedrooms, a living room, a fully equipped kitchen with a fridge and oven, and a bathroom.
Set right on Matira Beach, Pension Chez Nono offers four very simple units but with an excellent location. Do note that units are only cooled by a ceiling fan and the breeze but since I personally do not recommend sleeping with the windows wide open on this part of the island due to occasional thefts, it can get a bit stuffy.
More from Bora Bora
This extensive list should help you answer the question of where to stay in Bora Bora. You can check out the entire list of Bora Bora accommodations that are available online and I also strongly recommend browsing the extensive additional information on this site about traveling to Bora Bora.
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