I am giving this review 5 stars because of the over water bungalow we had - If you want to experience the over water bungalow hut experience in Bora Bora and you have money to blow with very little complimentary/free anything then Bora Bora Four Seasons is the place. After a 10 day 10 night Honeymoon - my husband and I came to the conclusion that you are PAYING for the bungalow amenities (air condition) plunge pool - and a beautifully luxuriously designed indoor bungalow decor. Everything else is hit or miss!
I am going to give an indepth review on everything because research lacks because I wish I knew certain things before making the trek here.
Travel - We are from Baltimore - so we literally spent a whole day of travel to and from - I made the mistake of not weighing my bags so my advice pack as little as possible clothes wise!
We did Bmore to Dallas (4 hours) - Dallas to LAX (5 hour plus 2 hour layover) - LAX to Tahiti (8 hours plus 4 hour layover) - Tahiti to Papeete (45 minutes and the plane is bigger than I thought yay and we had 5 hour layover UGH PAIN) You arrive in Papeete Bora Bora - go to the Four Season Kiosk - wait for someone to get your luggage - wait for the Four Season to round up all the guests - boat comes - water and cold towel given and 30 minute boat ride to the resort (GORGEOUS BOAT RIDE) then you start to relax - then we arrived - I wanted to go in our room but it wouldn't be ready til 3 - We arrived at 12 - I am exhausted - I am hot - I don't want to rummage through my luggage to get clothes - I want some air coolness - I walk my way to the spa - felt like forever - I was annoyed because no one riding a golf cart(FSBB needs more golf carts and more drivers be prepared to WAIT at least 10 minutes ) offered to take us clearly seeing us in distress - I get to the spa - Have a mini break down because I thought I could get a spa service they were full - UGH - and they proceded to take us to a pavillion with two lounge chairs and fan outside - I took a nap - I feel check in could be a little more organized. The language barrier is definately an issue. I am surprised the staff etc are not trained in better English especially the amount of people from USA and London - I would suggest team building language class for the staff. It is very strange at first how the french staff do not really interact with the local staff - (but then I read the history) - Ami the front desk is the most strong in English and she is what makes the staff! So accomadating. We had a lot of french descent front desk lady (with stink face all the time) give us a tour and let's just say she was not a happy person or professional! She was not educated or familiar with that the airline makes us CHECK EVERYTHING - so when she demanded certain itinerairy etc the whole group we came with all told her the same thing - it is with our luggage didn't know we needed it - the group was all very disappointed with her treatment to us HELLO WE ARE PAYING YOU THOUSANDS ++++ EVERYDAY - WHERE IS THAT SMILE?!?!?!? She sat down with us to go over things then out of nowhere in coversation just got and left ummmm - we had to track down flag another person helping to help us finish the fill out forms- weird and didn't like - Our group we checked in with not just us were all looking at each other like WTH - We couldn't figure out if it was the culture of her rudeness or what. But we all were exhausted an wanted to be in our room. They said the spa is complimentary - which leads me back to the spa - but everyone who checked in that day was using it - it is not big enough to accomadate more than 5 people (to feel private and spacey) at once - so i just took a nap out on the pavillion - This was the same thing upon leaving - a lot of people - I counted 6 ladies getting ready in the small quarters of the locker room with one hair dryer one shower and one bathroom and one changing room - Four Seasons you can do better! They do not have a lot of staff working there. The towels ran out quick and it was overwhelming. Finally our room was ready and it is amazing! Gorgeous ! The bungalow is the only bang for your buck you get what you pay for here! We had 331 which was 1 out of the three creme de la creme bungalows on that side and in the 400s they have 3 creme de la creme rooms also. It is worth the extra money to get a pool - you don't have to leave and enjoy the privacy and natural beauty of the 360 degree views. And you dont have to walk 20 minutes to the pool and beach. So the bungalow was spotless - However, during our week we notice a dramatic change in the cleanliness service - The first 4 days Beatrice was our housekeeper! Loved Beatrice she cleaned so thourough and gave the personal touches - even picked up where we like to set things and I was so happy to have her - she spoke great english and did everything I asked her to do ! Then no more Beatrice! =( We did not have her - it rotatated and we were disappointed in the lack of thrououghness communication and we had to call back or tell for certain things over and over - UGH - We later found out at the end of the trip that the OWNERS of Four Seasons Bora Bora were there the first 4 days of our trip so that made perfect sense as to why we experience such a dramatic change in service. Also FSBB is also very cheap with the amount of toiletries they give you - I have been to places 5 star all over the world and they always restock you with more more more - We had ONE bar of soap for one sink and another ONE for the other sink - and ONE LEMON L'OCCTAINE for the shower! They never replaced them for the 10 full days we were there! EW. I had to ask for an extra shower gel to use as hand soap. Thank God , I brought my own luxury toiletries (la mer everything) because you don't get it here. At a 5 star resort you shouldn't have to ask or tell it should just be done no mistake! So you bring your clothes and you want them clean - we had 6 items we wanted cleaned (our travel clothes) the bill came to 200 bucks! I was confused because being in one of the top rooms - you would think we would have the staff doing our laundry! NOPE - I found out that there are complimentary washer and dryer but you share it with other guests AND it is a hike and in the hot sun NO not worth it back and forth - I want to lay out relax - This REALLY annoyed me because the three top rooms were all the way at the end and they need to accomadate better especially since they are the most expensive. Plus this is an island where we do not have suits or glamourous pieces - it is all cotton laid back attire - so confusing - so my husband and I washed our bathing suits in the sinks w/ bath gel we brought - that really helped but be careful laying your clothes out because it gets quite windy - I lost one of my favorite lilly pulitzer shirts(blew away) because FSBB decided to be ridiculous and unpractical with the laundry. Plus when we did pay for the laundry it took forever!
Food - I really need to spread the word about not having snacks! Or lack of! And if you do buy snacks or leftovers be prepared to cram it into your itty bitty refrigerator (which was def a more money tactic). For a pack of 3 doritos from room service is 20 bucks - it is 2 dollars cheaper in the little boutique and that basically is the snack choices. A annoying thing is the refrigerator lady comes TWICE a day to keep a record of what you drank or make sure they didn't miss a dollar - She comes odd times and if you do not have the do not disturb sign up - they make you wait but when it comes to getting your dollar they don't wait for you - we were outside enjoying the sun and the loud buzzer door bell ring not even 5 seconds later again ! And then they just barge in! They should know most people come as honeymoon destinatation or romantic so barging in is not the best idea - We learned quite quickly to put the do not disturb on 24 hours and call the front desk when we wanted cleaning turn down service or the tiny refridge to be restocked. So you pay 100 bucks for two for a buffet style breakfast in terre nui - and it was hit or miss - some days great others not so great - runny eggs - or dry so dry sticking to the pan eggs benedict - chewy bacon not crispy - or great creamy eggs - crispy bacon etc - you could tell what chef was there that day - nothing wowed us - just a good breakfast - lunch was better more choices - bout 100 bucks a day for two - i loved the buffalo mozzerella and tomatoe salad always fresh - and the proscuitto panini - and the bora bora vice drink (22 bucks) was my lunch every day and my husband got a burger or chicken fingers - dinner - average 200 for two a night - polynesian night was 400 - pasta night was 200 - dinner the resort has 3 restaurants - with very little menu options - i felt room service for dinner had the best selection - sunset bar has light sushi - amazing lavacake desert - terre nui okay - and ari moana didn't wow us (the decor was beautiful) also the staff in there were confused and fighting and made everyone wait a least 30 minutes for our food - bad bad bad -
NOTE - you can not just take a taxi and go to another restaurant as FSBB is its own island surrounded by water - cars are irrelevant - everything is by boat - so if you want to venture and spend your money elsewear on dinner be prepared that FSBB will charge you 50 bucks to and from A PERSON to take you there - and the boat doesn't just up and leave they have specific times - it leaves - not very romantic to have a set time go on a boat and another set time it leaves - feels like you are rushing - so we did one night out to Villa Mahaina (totally worth it) and experience an amazing food experience (600 bucks average for 2) - (you have to make a reservation months in advance or take a gamble) so you are stuck at the FSBB food choices. The food cuisine is asian/polynesia with a hint of french (lots of bread and cheese) and you can get tired of that.
Public Areas -
Pool - pretty - comfy lounge chairs but can get crowded(as majority do not have own pool) - we did the pool a few times just to get drinks by the pool - average drink alcohol 15 bucks - average regular 10 bucks - so if u are out by the pool all day getting your drink on and snack and food one would spend 100 bucks a day extra - the pool is behind the little beach which we did not do as it fillls up fast and lots of rocks - we did the beach one day - we swam to the little island to collect coral bring the water shoes that has a fee - you do not feel the sand at ur feet but rocks coral etc ouch!
Beach - small and crowded
Now for something very important to know - They have ONE BATHROOM (3 toilets total) for the restaurants the beach and the pool! So if you are the beach and have to use the rest room 5 minute walk - from the pool 3 minute walk - and I totally disliked being in a restaurant having to PAUSE and walk to the bathroom not in the facility WEIRD - ari moana is a 3 minute walk - terre nui closest. and sunset bar across. Total inconveince. ADD SOME MORE BATHROOMS!
Lagoon about a 5 minute walk from pool and beach - more quaint and private - that does have a bathroom so we fancied this place more - plus the fish are beautiful - more relaxing - however you can't order drinks or food there. I'm sure if u demanded they could with an extra fee. You can not take rafts in the lagoon not if u pay extra. The cheapest thing we did all week was pay 50 bucks for a loveboat raft all day outside our bungalow. We loved it - wear lots of sunscreen.
SPA- I so wanted to love the spa! I am in the spa industry! I know talent and I know service that comes with a spa - my second home in cayman island the ritz carlton has the la prairie spa so i know service and relaxtions - the grounds of the spa are in the kahaia forest and the design is gorgeous - but the talent and retail lack! It is mostly french women as the staff. I got a pedicure just a cut and polish (they didn't have time for a full) for 85 - and a facial (50 min) massage 80 min and reflexology 30 min i was not impressed the girls are sweet very broken english but talent really lacks - the package combined with everything came to 600 which is less than what a pay on the regualar at la prairie and cualdelie (plaza nyc) so that was nice but the talent was just ok - and NO OXYGEN FACIAL! come on! the retail sucked essie nail polish you can get at home - jane iradale ??? u can get at home and a brand i never heard of french they sold - very disappointed - again bring your toiletries cuz slim pickings - they also have local monoi oil that i did buy - (you can also get on amazon) - only went to spa once cuz it was blah - usually on a vacay i am at the spa three times getting the same thing - oh and you cant eat in the relaxation room only outdoor pavillion
didnt check out fitness center
Shark and Coral garden excursion - HIGHLIGHT OF OUR TRIP for 600 dollars you can get a private excursion with Ed who has his own cute little boat - highly reccomend doing PRIVATE with ED and not semi private - that way he is more focused with you - so much fun the sharks are right there with you and they are gorgeous the sting rays are huge but so cute and friendly and the coral garden is beyond words! DO IT! Beer and Water provided and Ed is not with FS - he was awesome! YAY ED Also he gave you a tour of the island so I feel that we killed two birds with one stone
- scuba diving - my husband did the introductiory course (100 bucks) and loved it!
we have jet skis at home and in caymans so we didn't feel the need to jetski there
The island - the main island has a lot of poverty - and shacks - I thought it would be more developed but no - be careful venturing out there - not pretty at all - and not what i expected. the only luxury is the resorts that are their own property. on the main island you are on your own. its very SKETCH!
MEDICAL- NADA - u are screwed if something happens to you healthwise - bring antibiotics and everything back home bring your own pharmacy - you will feel like a nut but you will be so glad you did - the boutique only sells very little toiletries and no over the counter meds - I am surprised not more travelers talked about this - good luck waiting for a boat and the drive to the main island to see a dr in the poverish surroundings
Overall - we are glad we did this trip as our honeymoon do we want to go back NO - maybe - if we want to experience the over water bungalow with 5 star amenities yes we will - but staff serivice food etc did not wow us. We are glad to say we did Bora Bora and traveled as far as we did to say we were there - we are glad to have spent time at Villa Mahaina. If you are from LA area and are looking for an awesome place - Go to Seven Mile Beach - its the glam and the luxury and the seclusion - has the best hospital in the carribean and possibly world - zero poverty and you basicaly see ferraris bentleys audis beamers and benzes and porsches drive by - and the food is amazing - If you any questions please feel free to contact me - or for pics I hope this review helps -
Also - boutique is expensive and very small
the black pearl lounge is the place to buy pearls - fyi you have to go through customs for the pearls also be prepared on your way back to travel the shops at airport closes at 5 and you are doing a lot of waiting to have things open up - you will appreciate USA - it was great to be back home
AND - fly business class air tahiti was another highlight!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora is a South Pacific paradise, combining the highest standards of service with ultramodern comforts and the natural ease and gracious hospitality of the Polynesian culture. Set upon Bora Bora's surrounding coral atoll, the Resort is a vast tropical grove, replete with coconut palms and pandanus trees. Meandering channels of pure turquoise lead to the main beach or to smaller lagoons, waiting to be discovered. Every vista is breathtaking. The Resort offers 100 overwater bungalow suites and seven beachfront villa estates, all designed with thatched roofs and decorated with indigenous artwork. Four restaurants offer a vast selection of creative culinary experiences, while the full-service spa is balanced by the powerful rhythms of the Pacific Ocean and the tranquility of the island's lagoon - offering an unmatched combination of relaxation and exhilaration. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora Hotel Bora Bora
- 4 Seasons Resort Bora Bora
- Four Seasons Bora
- Four Seasons Hotel Bora
- Bora Bora Four Seasons