Hotel Review: Le Bora Bora by Pearl Resorts, French Polynesia
On our recent trip to Bora Bora, we were invited to experience the newly renovated Le Bora Bora (previously Bora Bora Pearl Resort) and it did not disappoint. The property is situated directly in front of Mount Otemanu with stunning views from every angle. Read on to find out everything you need to know before you book.
Le Bora Bora is approximately 20 minutes by boat from the airport in Bora Bora and features spectacular views of the mountain and sunrise as it rises over Otemanu. The resort also features one of the best white sand beaches in Bora Bora, with coral-free access to the pristine blue lagoon.
Every building and restaurant focuses its view on the mountain, providing dramatic angles from every area of the property. A large percentage of the overwater bungalows also face the mountain, giving guests the quintessential Bora Bora experience.
One note about the location is that it is across the water from the only night club on Bora Bora. Depending on the wind, weather and position of your bungalow, you may be woken up by some music and bass sounds coming from the club. We did experience an issue with this and were assured it does not happen every night.
Lobby & Check in experience: 5/5
The check in experience begins on arrival at the airport in Bora Bora. There is a counter for the hotel located directly in front of the exist and you are greeted by the awaiting staff of the hotel. We were given flower necklaces and promptly escorted to the boat. We received water upon boarding and were swiftly taken to the hotel from there. The ride is approximately 20 minutes and it’s absolutely stunning.
When we arrived to the dock, we were taken to the lobby to complete a seated check in. We loved that the same staff member who picked us up at the airport was the same person that continued our check in throughout the entire experience. We were provided with lemonade before heading off on a tour. While we walked to our room, the hotel staff explained all the highlights along the way, including the activities that are offered for free every day. Once we got to the room, the tour did not stop as he explained all the helpful tips about the room and features. The entire experience was professional, courteous and well done.
We were booked in an Otemanu Overwater Bungalow. Sitting at 851 square feet, the overwater bungalows all feature the same layout, with different views.
The rooms are completely renovated and the new design is stunning. The walls, woodwork and design is all very authentic and Polynesian feeling with carvings and clever wall paper. The bedroom features a bed facing the view as well as a sitting area and hole in the floor to see the fish. This hole is built into the bed and you can open it up to feed the fish fish food (they sell it at the shop).
The bathroom, while open to the bedroom, can be completely closed off and features two vanities, a free-standing tub, rain shower and separate toilet room. There are windows to the water in the bathroom as well, giving a very ethereal glow to the room. The closets are definitely small and lack areas to tuck your suitcases away, but we found the shelving to be sufficient for a shorter stay without too many clothing items. They offer a variety of branded products and we loved the inclusion of Tiki Vanilla (a body oil made of coconut oil and vanilla essence), which is also great for bugs.
The outdoor patio features a comfortable lounging hammock, chaise lounges, dining set and a lower dock to access the shallow lagoon. It’s the perfect place to lounge out during the day and evenings.
There is a minibar that is restocked daily with complementary beers (2), soda (2), fruit juice and 2 bounty bars. There is also a nespresso machine and they restock it with new pods every day.
Overall, the renovation elevated the room design and comfort tremendously. We absolutely loved the authentic and curated Polynesian elements throughout the room and loved the spectacular views from the bed.
Unless you book the garden bungalows, the rooms are not very private. What they lack in privacy, they make up for in stellar views, but it is worth noting that if you are looking for privacy on your balcony, you may want to consider a garden bungalow.
French Polynesian people are some of the kindest, most genuine people in the world and Le Bora Bora’s frontline staff absolutely embody everything we love about French Polynesia. From the moment we arrived, the staff member assigned to us for check in helped us with laughter and genuine love of hospitality. The excitement he shared over the renovated property and all the amenities was contagious.
The dining staff, activities staff and bellmen were equally as lovely as you would expect. We were particularly impressed with the dining staff who proactively gave us a complimentary drink after realizing our entrees were forgotten. Proactive service like this seems to be somewhat rare across all the hotels we stayed at in French Polynesia at this trip.
The hotel offers daily housekeeping, turndown and mini-bar restocking. Housekeeping did a great job in cleaning and refilling the small toiletry products every day as well as performing a basic turndown service. The mini bar was consistent, however, it’s worth noting that they came to our corridor of rooms between 7:45-8:15 every morning and didn’t seem to understand the purpose of the Do Not Disturb, so I would let the front desk know if you prefer the minibar refresh at a different time.
Dinner reservations are required for all guests on property and you must make them with the concierge. We made all our reservations on the first day with the front desk at check in. It’s not possible to request a specific table or area of the restaurant, even for the special Polynesian show, so our recommendation is to arrive as soon as the restaurant opens to secure the best table.
Lastly, the front desk management was a bit hit or miss. While staff in other departments went above and beyond in many cases, we found the front desk to be a bit disorganized in certain areas, particularly in their understanding of guest celebrations. The front desk didn’t go out of their way to celebrate guests who were here for birthdays, honeymoons or anniversaries. We met a number of couples who were disappointed that the hotel didn’t offer any congratulations as they do in the Maldives, Mexico and many other destinations around the world. We inquired with the management and the response was that they don’t have a many honeymooners. We urged them to reconsider this attitude towards guests since the primary guest profile during our visit was actually honeymooners. That being said, we did not experience any proactive “above and beyond” celebration at any hotel we visited on this trip so it appears to be fairly widespread in French Polynesia. If you are celebrating a special occasion, I would recommend letting them know in advance and upon check in. I would also recommend asking what’s available for purchase if you want to surprise your partner or travel buddy, as it’s not something they will proactively do.
Overall, we had great interactions with staff and it’s clear they are excited about the renovation and this wonderful slice of paradise in Bora Bora.
Before coming to Bora Bora, we had heard that the food on this island was not as good as other islands in French Polynesia, and that, truthfully is accurate. However, the food at Le Bora Bora was not only very good, but also extremely reasonably priced compared to comparable properties in the area. While many people at other hotels were clamoring to get off the island for more affordable and tasty options, we found no need or desire to leave Le Bora Bora.
Otemanu is the main restaurant at the hotel and it has a spectacular setting above the property, overlooking the famed mountain. This was by far our favorite restaurant for both the food and the view. They serve breakfast and dinner at this outlet.
Breakfast offered a buffet and had a pretty good selection, including fresh fish, fruits, yogurt, American classics like pancakes and waffles, a bread station and made-to-order omlettes. If you are comparing the buffet at Le Tahaa and Le Bora Bora, I’d say the Tahaa selection was more extensive and overall better, however Le Bora Bora has a lot to offer here. They do not offer green juices or a huge selection of fresh juices, but they did have mango, pineapple and orange.
Dinner is a la carte and has a great selection of local dishes of fish, pork and more. Our recommendation is to arrive early, before sunset around 6/6:15pm to secure the best table on the edge of the restaurant outside. The prices were about the same as what you will find on the local island. If you have a half board package, you have access to a starter, main and a dessert which was more than enough food.
Miki Miki Restaurant is the poolside casual restaurant, open for lunch and dinner. They offer pastas, pizzas and cook-it-yourself meats and fish. We tried the fish and steak on the stones, without quite realizing that we had to cook it ourselves. If I were to return to Miki Miki, I would probably order a pizza because it was a bit too easy for me to screw up the cooking. It’s a very fun experience, though!
Uaina is sold as a wine bar with sushi and light bites. It has a beautiful view over the pool and mountain in the distance and they serve cocktails, wine and more. At night, this bar had a very energetic and fun atmosphere. If you are looking for a party-vibe, this is the spot. We heard the sushi was excellent and you can use your half board credit there for dinner, though it will be more limited than Otemanu.
Poerava Gourmet Restaurant
They do offer a pre-set menu at the gourmet restaurant tucked behind Miki Miki. We did not have the chance to experience it, but it appears you can get a discount if you are on a meal plan and we heard it was very good.
Overall, the food is very good and we appreciate their attention on local cuisines and local dishes, such as parrotfish and wahoo. The prices are great, the food is very good and the service was overall very nice. They do offer a Polynesian show once a week and it was fun. The food was not quite up to our expectations after the amazing show and buffet at Le Tahaa, however, if you have not seen a show like this before, it’s worth seeing.
Facilities is one of the areas Le Bora Bora excels. Not only do they have everything you need for a great beach vacation in Bora Bora, but they also offer a daily free activity at 11am. They offer flower crown making, poisson cru making, woven basket making and more. We had a blast learning how to do some of these traditional crafts and the instructors were so passionate and helpful. We highly recommend taking part in these activities.
The pool area on property is connected to the pristine beach. There aren’t too many perfect white sand beaches on Bora Bora, but this property has a spectacular beachfront. There are plenty of umbrellas and chairs on the beach and around the pool. The pool also has a cozy bar that is open all day.
There are 3 shops on property: a high-end clothing store, a fun Hinano and local brands store at affordable prices and a jewelry store. The prices were the exact same at the high end clothing store and the Hinano store as they were on the main island. We did some shopping and loved the selections.
There is a fitness center connected to the spa near the back of the property and it has brand new equipment and is absolutely suitable for a great workout. The spa is small and does not offer a lot of amenities, but there are a number of massage rooms. They were doing some renovations so we did not take part in a treatment on this trip.
There is a “free” shuttle boat to the main island of Bora Bora for guests looking to explore the main island. Do note that the pier is NOT in Vaitape, where most of the hotel boats drop off. It is a $20 cab ride to Vaitape from the pier each way, so do keep that in mind. Also make sure if you do go to the mainland that you triple confirm that they called you a taxi. There is no taxi stand at the pier and no one to help you if they did not call one. If you do want to go to town, it is absolutely an option, just keep in mind the extra travel time and expense with a cab.
Overall, we loved the amenities available at Le Bora Bora. Everything felt very fresh, new and clean. The pool area and beachfront were some of the best on the island and had a really nice style to it. If you are staying on property 3-5 nights, we would recommend enjoying the hotel itself rather than going to the main land because the prices of food and shops were genuinely the same as going to the main island. If you stay more than 5 nights, heading to the main land is worth it.
Le Bora Bora’s renovation is truly exceptional. The rooms and main areas of the hotel are modern, clean and yet maintain the beautiful Polynesian designs that make it feel like you’re actually in French Polynesia. The furnishings are comfortable, oversized and stylish and the design across the hotel is very cohesive.
While the rooms are not suite-style like many of the 5-star hotels in Bora Bora, they are extremely comfortable and modern.
Overall, we genuinely loved our experience at Le Bora Bora. We would not hesitate to recommend this property to anyone looking for an amazing vacation that won’t completely break the bank. Their focus and attention of creating a sense of place for guests, combined with the modern upgrades and facilities, we cannot wait to return.
Disclaimer: We were hosted by Le Bora Bora on a media stay. Please know the opinions expressed are all our own and may not reflect the hotel’s own views.