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There’s something deliciously sensual about drifting off to sleep listening to the splish-splash of waves against the stilts beneath you. Diving off your deck for a morning swim in warm azure waters. Sunning topless, French-style, with views of craggy Otemanu peak in the distance.
Topless? Oops – don’t peek!
The overwater bungalows in Bora Bora are some of the most romantic and luxurious accommodations in the world.
But Bora Bora’s bungalows over water can’t be beat for a honeymoon, anniversary or other special celebration.
Overwater bungalows in Bora Bora: Comparing 8 best resorts
There are only a handful of places on earth which boast overwater bungalows.
One of the most beautiful is Bora Bora in French Polynesia, a nation of 118 islands.
Several overwater bungalow resorts have been built on the necklace of motus (tiny islets) encircling Bora Bora’s famous lagoon.
These wooden villas perch over the turquoise waters, where sea turtles, tropical fish and other sea life abound.
How do you get to Bora Bora?
First, let’s answer the question: How do you get to Bora Bora?
Most travelers fly to Faa’a International Airport (also called Tahiti International Island) in Papeete on the island of Tahiti.
Once you’ve landed in Tahiti, you can fly to Motu Mute Airport on Bora Bora. Air Tahiti offers several flights a day (50-minute flight).
Tip: To get over jet lag after a long international flight, you might want to stay in Tahiti for a night, before flying on to Bora Bora. We loved the InterContinental Tahiti Resort & Spa, which is only a 5 minutes’ drive away from the airport.
Okay, now you’re excited to see where you’re going to stay once you get to Bora Bora!
Here are our reviews of 8 of the best resorts with overwater bungalows in Bora Bora (complete with pros and cons).
1) Four Seasons Bora Bora
Number of overwater bungalows: 108
We bedded down at the Four Seasons Bora Bora Resort, where some 100 palm-thatched bungalows perch on stilts over the bathtub-warm water.
Located on a private island (shared with the St. Regis Bora Bora Resort), it was recently named the best hotel in French Polynesia (also the top hotel for romance) in the 2020 TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice Awards.
If you’re mulling over scads of reviews trying to figure out where to stay in Bora Bora, you simply can’t go wrong with the Four Seasons.
The brand is top-notch.
Recently spruced up as part of the resort’s 2019 renovation, each bungalow features a separate bedroom, living room and bathroom.
At over 1,000 square feet in size, they’re roomier than the digs of many of the honeymooners who comprise over 50% of the guests.
They come with indigenous artwork such as glass-framed mother-of-pearl necklaces, traditional teak furnishings, vaulted tatami ceiling, a double-size stone tub facing the sea through huge sliding windows, natural Panpuri bath products in ceramic pots, an Espresso machine and snorkeling gear.
A deck with steps leads down into that beautiful blue water.
What’s wow: Some bungalows even sport private pools on their decks.
A resort for everyone:
While ideal for honeymooners, the Four Seasons Bora Bora is highly recommended for families too.
The resort has a children’s and teen’s club.
And there are plenty of activities to keep everyone entertained – from tennis lessons, jeep tours and beach volleyball courts to snorkel safaris, outrigger canoe rides and free SUP boarding and kayaking.
Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora: Check rates and availability
2) Le Bora Bora
Number of overwater bungalows: 50
Say hello to the new Le Bora Bora!
After an extensive 2020 renovation, the Pearl Beach Resort has been turned into Le Bora Bora by Pearl Resorts.
If you want to be closer to restaurants on the main island, Le Bora Bora – located on a white-sand motu – is just a ten-minute boat ride away. (Boat transfers are complimentary during the day, but there’s a charge in the evening.)
Note: The resort tends to attract more younger couples and honeymooners than, say, the St. Regis Bora Bora Resort (see #3 below).
Complimentary activities include kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and outrigger canoeing – though you may be perfectly content just to chill all day long, occasionally glancing at the close-up views of Mount Otemanu.
Of the resort’s 80 thatched-roof bungalows, 50 are built on stilts over the lagoon – keep an eye out for the (harmless) sharks you can sometimes see swimming right by your deck!
The 850 sq. ft. bungalows each have a bedroom, bathroom (with separate tub and shower) and a furnished sundeck with a gazebo.
And don’t worry. There’s still that much-loved glass coffee table at the end of the bed – just lift up the lid to feed the fish in the lagoon below.
Bonus: You’ll find another glass panel for peering into the lagoon by the bathtub.
Best of both worlds:
You have the seclusion of a private island resort here. But you’re close enough to Vaitape village on Bora Bora to enjoy the island’s activities and restaurants.
Don’t miss bicycling around Bora Bora’s 18-mile quaint coastal road. Be sure to stop at Bloody Mary’s for lunch, happy hour or dinner! It’s a Bora Bora institution – where the floors are sand and you sit on coconut stools.
And if you can snag reservations at St James for dinner, do it. It’s said to be the best restaurant in Bora Bora (and less expensive than most resort restaurants).
Le Bora Bora: Check rates and availability
3) St. Regis Bora Bora Resort
Number of overwater bungalows: 48
This staggering Bora Bora resort is almost too luxurious to be believed (we walked to it from the Four Seasons). Spread across three tiny private motus, it’s all about privacy and unparalleled service.
Activities and dining options galore (five restaurants), tons of private spaces and being waited on hand and foot make the St. Regis Bora Bora Resort a tropical playground for well-heeled vacationers, as well as celebrities like Justin Bieber and Nicole Kidman (who honeymooned here with Keith Urban).
Note: With blue-suited butlers to serve you, the St. Regis has a sophisticated exclusive vibe. It’s not as laid-back as Le Bora Bora (#2) or the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa (#5).
Mature and well-traveled couples will find more guests in the same age range here than at Le Bora Bora, which attracts mostly young couples.
These are some of the best overwater bungalows in Bora Bora – certainly the largest, with the smallest being an incredible 1,550 sq. ft. in size.
You can also choose from different types of bungalows.
The Overwater Deluxe has a separate bedroom with a king-size bed, marble bathroom and a glass panel in the living room to see fish below in the lagoon.
Traveling with another couple? The Overwater Royal Otemanu has two bedrooms (each with a king-bed) and two bathrooms.
Some bungalows also have their own pools.
The villas were all “refreshed” in 2019 and 2020, so you’ll find new parquet floors and furniture, along with new decks and pandanus roofs, as needed.
Size is everything:
With the amount of size and space you get at these Bora Bora overwater villas, you have all the room you need to fully relax.
You’re given so much private space, you can really stretch out and enjoy the 24/7 food and drinks room service (get breakfast delivered by canoe).
St. Regis Bora Bora Resort: Check rates and availability
4) Le Meridien Bora Bora
Number of overwater bungalows: 85
The collection of overwater bungalows in Bora Bora at Le Meridien boast the largest glass floors of any resort in the are. And you get unparalleled close-up views of Mt. Otemanu at Le Meridien Bora Bora.
Those are the above-water perks.
The underwater perk? With the supervision of a marine biologist, you can swim with sea turtles near the resort.
Between the bed and the sofa, with a coffee table perched atop one side, you’ll find the largest glass floor in Bora Bora.
No mere panel, this is a big window through which you can see fish and turtles swimming in the tranquil turquoise waters below the bungalow.
Note: Every overwater bungalow at Le Meridien is the same – they only differ in terms of the views offered (the more expensive have Mount Otemanu views).
On the beach side of the resort, two infinity pools look out across the lagoon and to Mt. Otemanu and beyond.
And if swimming in these pools doesn’t give you enough exercise, there’s also a state-of-the-art fitness center.
Le Meridien Bora Bora Resort: Check rates and availability
5) InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa
Number of overwater bungalows: 84
Located on the long narrow crescent-shaped island of Motu Piti Aau, the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa is 5-star.
Its overwater bungalows are lovely – some of the most appealing of all the resorts.
The resort grounds are very well maintained too, matching the luxury of the overwater bungalows.
With three restaurants and two bars, as well as themed nights, you’ll also find a good variety of dining options.
It’s all about the bungalows at this resort.
They have separate bedrooms and living rooms (nice if you want to sleep in but your partner is an early riser).
The bed also faces a floor-to-ceiling window, so you wake up to fabulous views of the lagoon.
And the bathtub sits by a picture window.
The bungalows also come with a lot of amenities that make them feel like a home away from home. That includes two TVs for each bungalow!
As well, you’ll find a terrace that overlooks the water (with an outdoor freshwater shower and a shaded area to relax), minibar and a work desk.
All the bungalows (1,000 sq. ft. in size) have the same layout inside, only differing in terms of view and position.
Some kick it up several notches, however, with private attached pools.
Cool feature: The resort pioneered and uses a unique sustainable air-conditioning system called Sea Water Air Conditioning (SWAC), which uses cold deep-sea salt water to cool the resort – no need to feel guilty using the air con!
Over-the-top Brando suites:
If you want to really splurge, splash out on one of the four new overwater Brando Suites located at the ends of the two outstretched arms of bungalows.
With upstairs decks, large private plunge pools and gorgeous art and furnishings, these Brando Suites are some of the swankiest overwater villas in Bora Bora.
Ineede, they’re some of the poshest in the world!
InterContinental Bora Bora Thalasso Resort: Check rates and availability
6) InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana
Overwater bungalows: 50
Most of the Bora Bora resorts covered here are on their own private motus.
Not so with the InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana.
It’s located on the southern tip of the main Bora Bora island – right on Matira Point by beautiful Matira Beach (considered by some to be one of the prettiest beaches in the world).
Being on the main island means you feel more connected to the life and atmosphere of Bora Bora, rather than having a sense of disconnected privacy.
The comfortable wooden bungalows are very Polynesian in feel, with pointy thatch roofs, walls covered in textured paper (that looks like straw matting), polished wooden countertops in the bathrooms and wooden louvers.
The bedroom is separate from the living room, which has a glass coffee table through which you can glimpse fish swimming underneath.
Wooden decks have wood sun loungers covered in cushions, along with a rustic table and chairs.
Great value resort:
If you’re trying to choose between the InterContinental Thalasso resort (#5 above) and this one, most people say go to Thalasso. The reason is because Le Moana isn’t as fancy.
But the IC Le Moana is less expensive. And it offers great value.
And if you want the ability to try different local restaurants and easily explore Bora Bora’s attractions (like jeep tours and bicycling around the island) – a big plus – then Le Moana trumps Thalasso.
InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana: Check rates and availability
7) Conrad Bora Bora Nui
Number of overwater bungalows: 86
Set on the private island of Motu To’opua, the Conrad Bora Bora Nui fronts a seemingly endless stretch of soft white sand (the longest stretch of beach in Bora Bora).
And with a coral reef at the resort’s doorstep, the snorkeling is better here than at the Four Seasons or St. Regis.
With six different restaurants (from French and Chinese restaurants to a Polynesian beach grill), you’re also not likely to get bored with the food.
Completely renovated within the past couple of years, the Conrad Bora Bora Nui was named the No. 2 resort in French Polynesia in Conde Nast Traveler’s 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards (after the Four Seasons, #1 above).
The overwater bungalows (1,249 sq. ft.) at the Conrad feel fresh and new.
Kitted out with granite countertops, modern furnishings and in-suite coffee facilities, they have an open plan (so there’s no separate bedroom and living area).
We really like their fully retractable windows, which bring the outside in – push back the windows when you wake up, and you can lie in bed, gazing out over the water and feeling the fresh air.
About a third of the overwater bungalows have private pools.
But all bungalows have smashing views of the lagoon and its ever-changing hues of aqua, emerald and blue.
You’ll also find bicycles on the walkways (as the property is large), so you can bike to the beach or restaurant from your bungalow.
Tip: Those in the know say the best snorkeling is from the overwater bungalows in the 300 wing.
Hammocks over the water:
What’s better than a mere deck? An additional hammock floor.
Every bungalow deck has a built-in overwater hammock – like a catamaran net. It makes a perfect day bed for lounging around.
You might even want to sleep outside there under the stars one night!
Conrad Bora Bora Nui: Check rates and availability
8) Maitai Polynesia Bora Bora
Number of overwater bungalows: 13
What makes the Maitai Polynesia Bora Bora stand out is the resort’s setting, surrounded by swaying palms and lush tropical gardens – right on Bora Bora.
Let’s call these Bora Bora huts on water what they are – huts. Nice ones though!
At the Matai (considered 3-star), they’re not as fancy as other overwater villas in Bora Bora. But they’re very clean.
The sweetest touch is discovering your bed sprinkled with local flowers (a charming way to welcome you).
Also cool: Each overwater hut comes with a glass coffee table, essentially turning your bungalow into a private aquarium of sorts.
Location, location, location
If you want the freedom to easily leave your resort, you’ll love Maitai Polynesia.
Like the IC Bora Bora Le Moana (#6 above), the Maitai is located right on the mainland of Bora Bora island.
It’s just a 7-minute stroll from two small grocery stores, several restaurants and picture-perfect Matira Beach.
Maitai Polynesia Bora Bora: Check rates and availability
Overwater Bora Bora bungalow prices
How much are overwater bungalows in Bora Bora?
There’s no denying that overwater bungalows in Bora Bora are a splurge.
These bungalows represent the ultimate luxury vacation destination for everyone.
As such, they range from expensive to, for most people, unaffordable. But that does also depend on what you’re looking for in terms of cuisine, activities and unique details.
Most expensive overwater bungalows in Bora Bora:
The St. Regis and the Four Seasons are usually rated the two best Bora Bora resorts with overwater bungalows.
Rooms at the St. Regis Bora Bora Resort are the most expensive (starting at about $1,400 USD per night just for the room). But they’re also the largest in Bora Bora.
The Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora is the second most expensive overwater bungalow resort in Bora Bora. A 7-night stay (accommodations only) will cost, on average, about $1,500 USD less than the St. Regis.
High-end overwater villas in Bora Bora:
The InterContinental Bora Bora & Thalasso Spa and Conrad Bora Bora Nui are at the upper price range for Bora Bora – and guest satisfaction is high.
Mid-range Bora bora bungalows over water:
InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana, Le Bora Bora by Pearl Resorts and Le Meridien are all within the same mid-price range for Bora Bora.
For a 7-night stay, you can probably shave off a couple of thousand dollars or more in accommodation costs (compared to, say, the Four Seasons) staying in one of these resorts.
Cheapest overwater bungalows in Bora Bora:
There are no really cheap Bora Bora overwater bungalows.
Still, one resort – Maitai Polynesia Bora Bora (#8 above) – is much less expensive than the others.
Their overwater bungalows are the easiest on the wallet. You can get an overwater bungalow at the Maitai for half the price of one at the St. Regis – around $650 USD per night.
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Photo credits: 2, 3, 6, 38, 39 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase | Lead image InterContinental Bora Bora Thalasso Resort | Remaining images courtesy the respective Bora Bora resorts