We stayed at the St Regis in Bora Bora as part of our trip to French Polynesia. It was to be the main event during our trip through the Island chain. We arrived on Bora Bora island and transferred to Vaitape as we wanted to explore the main island before our stay at the St Regis.
We understood that the norm would be to transfer from the airport directly to the St Regis, so we called them before departing on our holiday and was informed that we could transfer to the resort via the main island shuttle boat which departed from the Robert Wan pearl store in Vaitape.
We had no problems with this and on the morning of our arrival to St Regis we called to reconfirm the exact times for the shuttle boat and to let them know that we would be arriving at a specific time on the shuttle boat. We called two times just to make sure and both times the St Regis confirmed our arrival.
The bus picked us up from the Robert Wan store without a problem and we arrived at the shuttle boat dock. Other guests proceeded to board the boat whilst we were made to wait. The boat then started to untie from the dock. We enquired what about us? There was plenty of room on the boat for us and our luggage. We were informed that there was another boat coming in 10 minutes.
Ok we thought, a bit strange as there was room on this boat but we were genuinely excited at our stay so shrugged it off. After looking at the fish by the dock for 20 minutes, we asked the security guard at the dock what was happening. He had no idea and so we just waited, and waited. About 35 minutes after the first boat left we saw another boat appoach. After it had pulled in we realised it was the SAME boat!
Why were we told lies that there was another boat coming when the driver knew he had to come back? So, 40 minutes of dead time later I found myself loading my luggage onto the transfer boat. This was really not the experience I was expecting for a $1,500 per night OWB stay, but hey it can only get better right? We shrugged it off again and enjoyed the amazing beauty of the lagoon during our ride to the St Regis resort.
Upon arrival at the dock at the St Regis again I found myself unloading my luggage off the boat to the dock. The shuttle boat then pulled away leaving us standing there like idiots. The reception was no where in sight, and not another soul was around.
Getting extremely frustrated at this stage I started dragging my luggage around in various directions until I found stairs leading to what could be the reception. After almost arriving at the reception I was finally spotted by a female management staff member who offered to take my luggage. By this stage i could see the reception and said forget it. She went back inside and summoned other porters to assist the last 1m of my journey to the reception.
I was quite hot at this stage. Both physically and mentally. I asked in a reasonable tone of voice is this how guests are checked in and is this the normal welcome? I mean come on, at a $90 per night Ibis ok, but not here? I was given a slightly apologetic speil from the caucasian reception staff about not knowing we were arriving and asking how did we get to the resort. I explained I had called twice this morning to confirm and inform them of my arrival on this specific shuttle boat.
I didnt even mention the debarcle of actually getting on a shuttle boat because the situation on arriving at the resort was insane! They gave their apologies (as they couldnt explain their actions at all) but that was it! I mean even if they had comp'd a drink or something at the bar that would have been something. But nothing further was done. The manager wasnt even summoned to attend to the situation. Our expectations and intial impressions were not very good at this time.
We had been treated much much better at our resort on the main island which cost 10% of the room rate at the St Regis.
At this stage as disappointed as one can be after such treatment, we again cooled our jets and tried to enjoy ourself. The rest of the check in was prompt and we were taken to our OWB by a well mannered french man who gave us information on the resort facilities and restaurants.
The OWB itself was faultless and tidy, and the view across the lagoon was fantastic. Generally the resort facilities are really well kept and the Tahitian staff that work at these facilities are genuinely friendly and welcoming. Perhaps they should replace the reception staff with Tahitians who genuinely care about guests and their wellbeing?
So as we discovered the pros of the St Regis Bora Bora:
1. Its natural beauty and views are simply unique in the world. It really is fantastic.
2. Resort facilities are well kept.
3. The lagoonairum on the resort is alot of fun with large amounts of different fish (it is best at the small dock near the spa centre. Bring some baguettes from the mainland to feed the fish and marvel at your new popularity with the local aquatic life!)
4. Bicycles are provided to allow you to easily get around the resort (definately required if you are in one of the OWBs furthest away from the resort)
5. The local Tahitian staff that work in the resort facilities and the housekeeping department.
And some of the other cons in addition to those stated of the St Regis Bora Bora:
1. The beach was dirty - yes depending on tides and location etc seaweed and other objects in the water will be deposited on the beach. However would it be too much to ask if management were to arrange it to be cleaned every morning. The beach even with its flaws was extremely picturesque however.
2. Breakfast Buffet - was disappointing to say the least. Especially when compared to the price that is charged for it. The selection of food was not large, the quality of the food available was not good either. We also had an incident with a rude waitress. One morning we presented ourselves to breakfast and enquired if we could sit at a free table. A french waitress unexpectedly responded with a sharp and blunt 'No'. We were shocked and in spite of her we sat down anyway.
There were numerous free tables and there could be no logical reason why we couldnt sit at this one. Nor was there any signage stating we need to be seated.
3. Restaurant - the restaurant is situated with a remarkable view of the main island and the outside tables are the most desireable. We booked in advance expecting to be seated outside, however the outside tables were 'all booked' and we had to make do with 'an inside seat'. There were tables setup outside for drinks or cocktails that were free. Not once were we asked if we wanted to be seated there despite the smaller table size. The entire evening those tables were not occupied at all.
In addition to the above the waitress tasked with our service was cold and borderline rude. Service was slow, however the meals were of decent quality if extremely pricey.
The best characteristics of the St Regis Bora Bora sadly are those that have been endowed on it from the beauty of its surroundings. The resort facilities themselves are excellent however the management and service provided by some members of the resort staff could be much much better. In reading about the St Regis before our stay we only read the overwhelming good reviews here on tripadvisor. However on our return, and after reviewing the poor reviews it appears that there are a number
of reoccuring issues (namely the transfers to the resort, poor service provided by some staff, and issues with the F&B department - breakfast namely) Service standards are measured consistenly woldwide. Just because a certain nationalilty of 'service' is offered at the St Regis it should not be accepted as the norm. We are experienced travellers and expected much much more from the St Regis however we were disappointed at what it offered in certain regards. It is still one of the experiences
we use when travelling to compare other resorts and hotels around the world. We have come across many establishments since our visit that make us wonder what went wrong at the St Regis Bora Bora.
In a nutshell it is still a fantastic resort to visit. However it could be so much better. Would we visit again? Never again! Going to try 4 Seasons or the Intercontinental !
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The exclusive St. Regis Bora Bora is 44-acre island resort located in Polynesian paradise. Our elite accommodation features the 13,000 sq ft Miri Miri spa and Lagoon Restaurant by Jean Georges. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The St. Regis Bora Bora Hotel Bora Bora
- St Regis Hotel Bora
- St Regis Bora Bora
- St Regis Resort Bora Bora