After sailing aboard a chartered 50-foot catamaran over 100 miles northwest from Tahiti, (and stopping at some of the most beautiful tropical islands in the world including Morea, Huahine, and Raiatea) arriving in Bora Bora was bittersweet. I was sad because my magical week of sailing and exploring Tahiti’s Society Islands was over.
But since I went immediately from the deck of a private yacht, to the private deck of an ultra-lux overwater villa at the Conrad Bora Bora Nui, my immersion in the magic of French Polynesian hospitality and luxury was only just beginning.
In fact, my villa boasted similar views (and easy water access!) that we were treated to on the catamaran. But the villa was also much bigger to my cabin on the yacht. The air conditioning was much cooler. The sheet thread counts were much higher. And best of all, the Conrad’s resort service was way more luxurious.
Located on the most private side of Bora Bora’s world-famous lagoon, the Conrad Bora Bora Nui resort enjoys everything that Bora Bora is famous for: warm breezes, warm water, warm people and nearly 360-degree views of the ocean and Bora Bora’s dormant Mount Otemanu volcano. I soon learned that the Conrad also has six restaurants and bars (ranging from fine dining to beach casual), a full-service spa and beauty salon, a state-of-the-art fitness center, large infinity pool, and one of the coolest miniature golf course (every hole is a “water hole”) I’ve ever seen.
But when I first arrived, settling into my over water villa was what had the most profound effect on me. Maybe it’s because I’m a sailor, but the reality of enjoying all the over-the-top comforts of a 5-star resort in a large private villa that’s hovering over a warm and peaceful lagoon in the Pacific was hard to wrap my mind around at first. But, don’t worry. I got used to it pretty quick.
It was only after I’d taken some serious time ponder stunning natural beauty of my surroundings (in the villa and on my deck) that I started to wonder what the rest of the large resort was like. And since, dinnertime was approaching, I did what most of the Conrad’s guests do when they need to get around. I grabbed one of the plentiful beach cruiser bikes they have in racks all over the resort and went for a spin. Soon the resort’s wooden walkways were murmuring under the fat tires of my bike as I passed the the pool,the spa and the virtually endless beach.
I even went for a quick sail on the resort’s well-kept Hobie before attending the traditional Ahi Ma’a Polynesian dinner on the beach. We dined on a selection of meat, seafood and vegetables that were cooked by native islanders for up to 12 hours in a traditional Tahitian underground oven that’s made from coconut leaves and rocks.
Then it was time to head back to the high-thread-count bliss that was waiting for me back at the villa. And let’s just say waking rested and restored, and watching the sunrise from the comfortable high-thread-count- cocoon of my king-size bed was one of the highlights of my entire Tahitian trip.
But there was one more thing I really wanted to do. Since we first sailed through the outer reef that rings the island, I wanted to go back so I could explore it underwater. So, I simply grabbed a snorkel, mask and stand up paddle board (that was readily available at the beach) and started paddling. The paddle was a bit longer, and a bit harder than I was expecting to get out there. But it was sooooo worth it. I felt a primal connection to the ocean and gloriously unplugged from the world. I was treated to diving in some of clearest water I’ve ever seen. And the colors took my breath away.
That’s when I realized the Conrad Bora Bora Nui is too special to visit just once. And since Tahiti is only an eight-hour flight from Los Angeles, I may have to make a yearly pilgrimage back.