I don’t think I will ever forget the look on my husband’s face as the scene came into focus. The brilliant turquoise clarity of the water and the topography of the land and surrounding islands were unlike anything we had ever seen; the marine life teeming just below the ocean’s surface and the luxuriously enchanting overwater bungalows that seemed to be part of the natural landscape. It was a combination of sheer disbelief accompanied by uncontrollable pleasure.
Upon disembarking we heard a lovely word, “Laorana”, the traditional Tahitian greeting accompanied by a warm smile and a loving helping hand that never seemed to leave us throughout the trip. Our destination was the Bora Bora Lagoon Resort & Spa, a superb representative of the Orient Express hotel collection, “an operation known for its unprecedented commitment to luxurious accommodation, personalized service and cuisine. award-winning “.
Distinguished from all other properties on Bora Bora and located on Motu Toopua (a much smaller island), the Bora Bora Lagoon Resort & Spa is a haven of luxury and tranquility in itself, raising the bar for exceptional service despite its limited access to the outside world.
Atop Motu Toopua’s highest hill is the stone formation of the Hiro Bell, an archaeological treasure that resonated in religious ceremonies of old. Today, despite the presence of the seaside resort, the Motu Toopua retains the sensitivity of its sacred past; owned only by a limited number of local families, hardly anyone lives on the island. No roads have been dug and the resort is connected to the main island only for electricity purposes to carry water to the hotel. Everything else remains intact.
The 76 guest bungalows exude the natural beauty offered throughout the region, with hardwood floors, bamboo, pandanau roofing, beamed ceilings, tiki statues, and South Pacific-inspired fabrics. Although Polynesian in appearance, the property still maintains the little luxuries that many of their guests prefer, such as internet access, air conditioning, an incredibly comfortable king-size bed, internal DVD players, hairdryers, and more. . And while I’m more of the ‘when you’re in Rome’ type myself, it’s good to know that amenities are there for those looking for them.
The overwater bungalows were designed with our curiosity in mind, with low glass tables for watching and feeding the fish. We weren’t in our room for ten minutes before my husband disappeared and reappeared from downstairs to entertain me, along with some scaly friends. Glass tables are an amazing touch, a constant reminder of where you are in the world. But the truth is, the views are incredible from everywhere. No matter where you look, you will find the most incredible shade of turquoise, fascinating sea creatures, and a collection of islands that defy any normal land topography you have ever seen.
The food here is exceptional: the Otemanu restaurant is the culinary highlight of the resort. Huge windows framing exceptional views of Mount Otemanu and the engaging blue waters of the lagoon are the backdrop to this tantalizing dining experience. Showcasing the chef’s vision of local cuisine, the dishes are designed to dazzle the most discerning palates.
One of my favorite elements for this great escape is the resort’s Maru treetops. spa, which opened in 2004, the only one of its kind in Bora Bora. The spa has six treatment rooms (four at the water’s edge) and two massage rooms built in almost mythical banyan trees. The Tahitian-based spa treatments offered at Maru use herbs and remedies that have been practiced in the South Pacific for hundreds of years. It truly is a beautiful place – a life changing experience giving your body and mind the opportunity to let go and believe again, just like you maybe did when you were a child, in Heaven. , Eden, and the idea that fairy tales can actually come true.
Other, perhaps less wonderful, activities on and around the property include tennis, swimming, fitness, volleyball, and billiards. Next are water sports, such as snorkeling, windsurfing, Hobie cats, canoeing, and kayaking, all of which are must-sees. You also have the option, as we did, to participate in something a little more adventurous, like swimming with the sharks. Here on Bora Bora, you are reminded at times like this that there is an incredible coexistence between man and creature – a natural synergy that is not only necessary but embraced in a truly remarkable way.
The Tahitian Islands are approximately 11 hours from New York on direct service from JFK Airport. It might seem like a pretty arduous flight, but it’s worth it!