All the reasons honeymooners head to the idyllic French Polynesian island of Bora Bora still stand when you drop the couples component. You can be pampered in overwater spa suites, shop for black pearls at the source and frolic in a turquoise lagoon. So why not earmark it for your next girlfriend getaway?
Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora
We consulted local members of the team at Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora for input on the ultimate itinerary, and their answers did not disappoint. Ready to dive in?
Your first order of business is a no-brainer: Choose to stay in an open-air overwater bungalow suite. Each thatched-roof sanctuary, reminiscent of a screen saver sprung to life, is over 100 square metres (1,000 square feet) and outfitted with teak daybeds, a deep soaking tub and snorkelling gear – in the event you decide to step out your front door and go for a swim. There’s no time for squabbling over who gets the sofa bed versus the king; exquisite adventure awaits.
Kick off your stay with an “only at Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora” exploit: the Lagoon Sanctuary Tour and coral grafting, led by French marine biologist Denis Schneider. “This amazing activity allows guests to actually contribute to our underwater ecosystem,” Concierge Rayanna Holman says. “Denis loves to share his research and knowledge with guests.” On the docket: cutting coral nubbins and then attaching them to GPS-tracked underwater structures to grow new coral colonies, as well as affixing coral to build itself up on doughnut-shaped forms in the Resort’s own Lagoon Sanctuary, where octopus, unicorn fish and even Picasso trumpet fish flourish.
It’s a great first-night dining choice for delicious sushi and Asian small plates, plus beautiful sunset views over Mount Otemanu and Mount Pahia.
In the afternoon, browse the Resort’s boutique, MoeMoea (“dream” in Tahitian) – you’ll find everything from Roberta Roller Rabbit to Eres among the wares. “Our new boutique will feature 330 square metres [3,550 square feet] of high fashion, accessories and everything in between,” after its December opening, team member Ewa Poujade says. “It’s sure to be a highlight for girlfriends travelling together.”
Another is bound to be a twilight dinner with your friends – and that’s where Sunset Restaurant & Bar, lofted over crystalline water, comes in. On the menu: mahi mahi skewers, pineapple shrimp sushi rolls and passionfruit-poached baba cake for a sweet finish. “Sunset is a great first-night dining choice for delicious sushi and Asian small plates, plus beautiful sunset views over Mount Otemanu and Mount Pahia,” Reservations Manager Maxi Zani says. “Start with the signature Mahana cocktail.” And when it’s a wrap, just stroll back to your bungalow.
Start the day by hitting the tennis courts. At Four Seasons Bora Bora, that means donning your whites for a lesson with pro Joachim Arab, former tennis coach at Academie Tennis Alain Barrere in Pontet, France. “Joachim loves working with multiple guests at a time,” General Manager Maria Jagla says. “He can organize everything from a simple lesson to a clinic or even a small tournament.”
Afterwards, get some wind in your hair with a guided WaveRunner tour of the island, complete with lunch on white-sand Matira Beach. “It’s untraditional and absolutely the best way to see our island,” Holman says. “Matira Beach, where you’ll stop for lunch, is one of French Polynesia’s most beautiful beaches.”
Matira Beach, where you’ll stop for lunch, is one of French Polynesia’s most beautiful beaches.
Following a day of adventure, you and yours can while away the evening at Fare Hoa Beach Bar & Grill for dinner, and live music, right on the sand. Order a round of highly photogenic Shades of Blue cocktails, made with vodka, elderflower liqueur, blue curaçao, grapefruit juice, fresh mint leaves and lime juice. As for dinner, the shaved coconut salad and grilled Marquesas Islands spiny lobster with clarified butter are what Bora Bora dreams are made of.
Launch your third day in paradise at open-air Tere Nui, where a breakfast buffet awaits as early as dawn. This being French Polynesia, the options would suit any ardent Francophile: Think salmon eggs Benedict and lighter-than-air crêpes with Nutella and fresh berries on the side.
The best (and most restorative) way to proceed: a yoga session led by yogi Rajeeb Prajapati on a teak platform above the shimmering lagoon. After quieting your mind, report immediately to the Spa, where treatment beds are set above glass-floor panels for a clear line of sight into the lagoon below.
This colourful experience uses local pareos [wrap-around skirts] to stretch and manipulate the body, bringing incredible relief and increased range of motion.
Of the myriad blissful treatments, Spa Director Stephanie Cherbakow recommends the brand-new Pareo Ritual. “This colourful experience uses local pareos [wrap-around skirts] to stretch and manipulate the body, bringing incredible relief and increased range of motion,” she says. “And guests are able to keep the pareo as a souvenir.” The Trio of Gold Global Anti-Aging facial is another favourite.
End the day in mermaid fashion within the confines of a private thatched-roof cabana, where attendants anticipate your every need. Chilled towel and fresh fruit slices, anyone?
There’s arguably no better way to cap off a Bora Bora stay than diving deep – literally. Take a half-day Shark and Ray Snorkelling Tour, which affords the opportunity to feed sharks and stingrays in person, and then lunch on your guide’s motu. “This is the quintessential Bora Bora experience, and something I recommend to all of our guests,” Jagla says. “A guide takes you out to snorkel in three beautiful areas of the lagoon, where you get to see and interact with coral fish, rays and reef sharks.”
A guide takes you out to snorkel in three beautiful areas of the lagoon, where you get to see and interact with coral fish, rays and reef sharks.
Before you reluctantly begin to pack, stop at the ultimate source of Bora Bora souvenirs: Tahia Pearls, where you’ll find the black pearls Tahiti is known for. “Guests can learn all about Bora Bora’s signature indigenous treasure and do some shopping if they’re so moved,” Zani says. Spoiler alert: You will be so moved.
Get dressed up and take your goodbye dinner at Polynesian-meets-French boîte Arii Moana, where the seasonal menu is an ode to all things Bora Bora. You don’t want to miss the langoustine tails, steamed in lagoon water and served with fresh house-made gnocchi. Aptly named, The Exotic provides a decadent finale. Order one for the table and plan your next getaway between bites of shortbread, poached pineapple, passion cream and mango passion sorbet.
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