The Best Bora Bora Overwater Bungalow? [Conrad Bora Bora Review]
Staying in a Bora Bora overwater bungalow is perhaps the most bucket list-worthy travel experience of them all.
And the Conrad Hilton’s Bora Bora overwater bungalow is among the best of the best.
Last fall, for our 10 year wedding anniversary, we decided to go big. Like, really big. Like ‘overwater bungalow in French Polynesia’ big.
Was it expensive? Yes. But was it worth it? Well, I’ll let you see for yourself…
Read on for an honest review of the Conrad Bora Bora Nui and their best ever Bora Bora overwater bungalows.
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An Honest Review of the Conrad Bora Bora Overwater Bungalows
When traveling to Bora Bora, French Polynesia, there are four big luxury resorts most people consider for their Bora Bora overwater bungalow experience:
Intercontinental | Starting at $800/night, we found the overwater bungalows at the Intercontinental to look a bit more dated looking, given the Conrad Bora Bora is at the same price point.
Four Seasons | Starting at $1300/night, th Four Seasons is definitely the creme de la creme of overwater bungalow experiences. However, we found the amenties and dining options offered by the Four Seasons to be comparable to the Conrad, so it wasn’t worth to extra price tag for us.
St. Regis | Starting at $1250/night, the St. Regis is definitely a bucket list-worthy destination. Home to the best restaurant on Bora Bora, it’s definitely a foodie heaven. The bungalows are very spread out, however, meaning getting to and from main hotel amenities, restaurants, etc. takes a bit of time. This may be a plus for those who want complete serenity, but for us, we preferred the smaller resort feel of the Conrad.
Conrad Bora Bora | Starting at $800/night, we found the Conrad to be the perfect combination of a modern, yet boutique-feeling resort at one of the most “affordable” price points in Bora Bora (as far as luxury overwater bungalows go). After poring over the resort photos and restaurant menus, our decision was made. Bora Bora, here we come!
A Note for Families: Three of the big Bora Bora resorts offer kids clubs. The Conrad Bora Bora‘s kids club is open to children age 3-14 years old. The Four Seasons offers a lively club for children age 5-12 years old. And the St. Regis kids club serves children age 5-12 years old.
How to Get to Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Staying in a Bora Bora overwater bungalow is peak travel luxury. Unfortunately, getting there is not so easy.
One way you can offset the cost of your stay is by finding a cheap flight deal. We use Scott’s Cheap Flights for nearly every trip we book, and in this case sent us an email every time they found a cheap flight deal to Tahiti. Even today, I regularly see alerts for $600-700 flights from San Francisco (SFO) or Los Angeles (LAX) to Pape’ete Tahiti.
After your international flight is booked, you’ll likely need a “repositioning flight”: a separate flight itinerary to get you to and from the airport you’re flying international from. When booking this flight, make sure to allow plenty of time for your layover so you don’t get into a situation where you miss your connection because of a delay. (Yes, it happened to us. And it sure put a damper on the beginning of our trip!)
Lastly, you’ll need to book a flight from Pape’ete, Tahiti to Bora Bora. Air Tahiti (not to be confused with Air Tahiti Nui), is the main airline providing connections throughout the islands of French Polynesia. And while the flights aren’t cheap by any means, they are quick and efficient.
You could fly directly on to Bora Bora from Pape’ete after your arrival in French Polynesia, but a lot of people will choose to stay 1 or 2 nights at a more affordable resort on Tahiti while they work off the jet lag. The Intercontinental Tahiti is a popular Tahiti resort that’s close to Tahiti Faaa Airport.
Pro Tip: For a slightly more budget-friendly alternative to flying the islands, you could stay on Moorea instead of Bora Bora. A ferry travels from Pape’ete to Moorea, making it much more affordable than a flight.
Getting to the Conrad Hilton Bora Bora from the Airport
Once you land in Bora Bora, you’re not done yet. Next, you’ll head by boat to the Conrad Bora Bora Nui! As with all of the big four luxury hotels, the Conrad has a private ferry service ready to take you directly from airport to the resort.
Once again, it’s not cheap: I believe we paid around $250 per person round-trip for the direct transportation.
For a budget-friendly alternative, though much more time consuming, you could take the public ferry from the airport to Vaitape, Bora Bora’s main town. From there most hotels have a free or cheap shuttle for day trips into town, so you could hop that back to the resort.
Again, it’s time consuming, and if you’re already shelling out thousands for an overwater bungalow, it’s probably not an inconvenience you want to deal with.
Budget-Friendly Tip: If you’re checking luggage, stop at the Tahiti Faaa Airport Duty Free right when you arrive in Pape’ete. Duty free is located before you go through customs. Here you can stock up on liquor and wine for your overwater bungalow at a much more affordable price than buying alcohol on the resort!
Overwater Bungalows at the Conrad Bora Bora
There are several different villa options at the Conrad Bora Bora: most overwater bungalows, but some not.
Overwater Villa | This classic overwater bungalow is what we chose for our stay. With 1249 square feet of living space, private terrace overlooking the lagoon, and an overwater hammock, it’s the ultimate luxury experience.
The bathroom is absolutely massive and features huge dual vanities, a large round soaking tub, and a walk-in rain shower. The room also features a mini bar, small dining area, walk-in closet and a sofa for lounging. The king-size bed looks straight out towards the ocean for uninterrupted ocean views.
While the villa is stunning, it was outside where we chose to spend most of our time. Through dual sliding glass doors you’ll find a two-tier deck with side-by-side overwater hammocks for wasting the day away. We borrowed the resort’s free snorkeling equipment and frequently dove off the back deck to see what wildlife was swimming around that day (among the brightly colored fish, we also saw stingrays and a giant sea turtle!)
A few other villa choices at the Conrad Bora Bora Nui:
Overwater Villa with Pool | Take the classic villa one step further by adding a small plunge pool on your private terrace. This is definitely something I hope to add next time. 😉
Deluxe Overwater Villa | Situated in a more remote location on the resort, the deluxe overwater villa offers uninterrupted views and much less foot traffic than the classic overwater villas.
Beach Pool Villa | Want the private pool, but don’t necessarily need the overwater bungalow? The beach pool villa, situated right on the sand, is the perfect mix. This would be a great choice for families.
Garden Villa / Horizon View Villa | For those on a budget, the Garden or Horizon View Villas are a great way to experience the Conrad Bora Bora luxury resort without the steep price tag.
Presidential Overwater Villa | And speaking of steep price tags, the Conrad Bora Bora Nui offers two presidential two-story villas, each with 2 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, and a spacious living area. This is the villa where Kim Kardashian famously cried about losing her diamond earring in the crystal blue waters, and where Paris Hilton recently celebrated her two-week long honeymoon. It’s definitely not in our budget, but sure does look amazing!
Read Next: 10 Luxury Family Hotels in the US Worth Splurging For
Activities at the Conrad Bora Bora Overwater Bungalows
Now, if the Conrad Bora Bora’s overwater bungalow wasn’t amazing enough, the Hilton Bora Bora resort offers a wide range of things to do, many of them being free!
And I have to give a shout out to the staff at the hotel. Everyone at the Conrad Bora Bora was genuinely so nice and helpful, always with a smile on their face.
Here’s a few of our favorite ways to spend the day at Conrad Bora Bora:
Lounge by the Infinity Pool | Nearly every day after breakfast, Matt and I found ourselves setting up in a cabana by the two-tiered infinity pool. With poolside food service and a swim up bar, there were literally some days we never left.
Bike the Property | Free bikes are located around the resort and available on a first come, first serve basis. We biked from end to end, and it was a great way to get a look at the different villa types for next time. 😉
Snorkeling | The Conrad Hilton Bora Bora offers free snorkeling equipment – a must when staying in an overwater bungalow! Just stop by the activities desk near the pool to check out your gear for the duration of your stay.
Stand Up Paddleboarding and Kayaking | Both experiences are offered free of charge on the beach near the pool. The amazing staff at the Conrad will set you up with everything you need! We borrowed both on multiple occassions as a fun way to see more of the island and experience the coral reefs below.
Hina Spa | If high energy activity is not your thing, head to the Hina Spa situated on a hilltop overlooking the resort. An extensive menu of treatment options is available.
Day Trip to Vaitape | Vaitape is Bora Bora’s main town, and while it’s not huge, it does offer a bit of shopping and local culture. The hotel offers a shuttle to and from Vaitape multiple times a day. Unfortunately, we chose not to visit Vaitape since we travelled to Bora Bora during the height of the pandemic and most shops were still closed.
Polynesian Dinner Show | Once a week, the Conrad Bora Bora Nui hosts a Polynesian luau, better than any I’d ever seen before! The show includes a buffet dinner at an extra charge, and while it’s a bit expensive, it should not be missed, in my opinion.
Cultural Experiences | Many cultural experiences are available daily, like how to open a coconut, the art of polynesian tattoo, and making traditional flower crowns or coconut leaf hats. Check in with the activities desk to see what’s happening that day.
Book an Excursion | The resort offers a variety of adventurous excursions and water sports, like a jet skiing adventure, fishing and boating, or even a jeep island safari. All excursions can be arranged through the Conrad’s amazing concierge team.
Pro Tip: Don’t speak French? No problem! There’s just one word you need to know: Māuruuru!
Māuruuru means thank you, but is also used as a way to greet people (similar to how Aloha has several different meanings in Hawaiian).
While not necessary, if you do want to brush up on your French skills, consider enrolling in Babbel’s online language program.
Dining at the Conrad Bora Bora Nui
A review of the Conrad Bora Bora Nui wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the food. And wow, it sure did not disappoint!
Be warned though, food and drink in Bora Bora is expensive. I mean, it is a luxury resort in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, after all. The good news is that the food is definitely worth it! You’ll discover truly upscale dining at every restaurant on the resort.
When you’re ready to step away from your overwater bungalow, the resort offers several restaurant options, each with their own unique offerings:
Iriatai French Restaurant | This classic French restaurant is home to the resort’s daily breakfast buffet (surcharge) by morning and refined French dining by night. It’s lovely open air setting overlooks the beach.
Banyan Chinese Restaurant | Perhaps my favorite meal at the Conrad Bora Bora, Banyan Chinese offers upscale Chinese offerings unlike anything I’d ever had. We did a full tasting menu to try a little of everything and I would 1000% recommend it!
Tamure Beach Grill | Sit with your toes in the sand at Tamure Beach Grill, the restaurant’s only lunch spot situated adjacent to the infinity pool. They have a lovely selection of salads, seafood, and other lighter fare.
Tarava Pool Bar | A spot where you’ll likely spend a fair amount of time, the Tarava Pool Bar features lounge seating on one side and a swim up bar from the pool on the opposite. If you can stomach spending $25 for a cocktail, this is the place to be.
Pro Tip: Head to the pool bar before dinner for ‘Golden Hour’, when you’ll get half off cocktails.
Upa Upa Lounge Bar | Another contendor for our favorite spot was Upa Upa, a lounge bar serving out of this world sushi and sashimi. The atmosphere is cool, yet casual, with tables extending out onto the dock. After dinner, watch the sharks dance in circles under the restaurant.
Special Dining Experiences | Whether breakfast delivered to your overwater bungalow by canoe, a romantic picnic lunch on a private island, or a sunset lobster and champagne dinner, the Conrad Bora Bora Nui has a range of over the top dining experiences to add to your bucket list stay.
Read Next: Honolulu Travel Guide
Bora Bora Overwater Bungalow: How Much Does it Cost?
All this sounds lovely right, but how much does it cost?
That’s a very valid question. Being the budget travellers that we normally are, our stay at the Conrad Bora Bora Nui was definitely the biggest splurge we’ve ever made on a travel experience.
During your stay, all of the food and drink is paid a la carte, and with menus listing everything in the local currency (XPF, or Polynesian Francs), it can be easy to lose track of just how much you’re spending!
To give you an idea of the cost of our overwater bungalow stay:
Airfare | about $1300 each, including all flights from Omaha to Bora Bora*
Ferry Transport | $250 each
Hotel Rate | $800/night
Breakfast Buffet Cost | $0 (we received a special promotion that included this in our room rate)
Average Lunch Cost | $125 (food and drink for two)
Average Dinner Cost | $250 (food and drink for two)
Miscellaneous Drink Spend (bottles of wine, pool cocktails) | $100/day
Activities: $0 (we opted not to do any excursions and enjoy the resort’s free activities instead!)
As you can see, this is definitely not the kind of trip we would take often! Instead, we saved up for years knowing it would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary.
*Budget Tip: We booked flights from San Francisco to Tahiti for $600 round-trip, thanks to a Scott’s Cheap Flights deal. Sign up here for a premium membership which more than pays for itself with one cheap flight booking!
Overwater Bungalow at Conrad Bora Bora Nui: Is it Worth it?
The question I’ve been asked the most about our overwater bungalow stay at the Conrad Bora Bora: is it worth it?
And the answer is unequivocally, YES! And it’s hard to compare the experience to anything else, because there is really nothing like it! Arriving in our overwater bungalow was a true ‘pinch me’ moment. And Bora Bora is a true paradise like I’ve never experienced before.
Is it expensive? Heck, yea. Would I do it again? Absolutely!
It is truly an experience every travel lover should cross off their bucket list!
planning a trip to bora bora?
Here’s a few final tips…
- Sign up for Scott’s Cheap Flights to get flight deal alerts to Pape’ete, Tahiti.
- Book the Conrad Bora Bora Nui directly with the hotel.
- Brush up on your French skills with Babbel.
- Book top-rated Bora Bora tours and adventures with Viator.
- Be prepared for anything with travel insurance from World Nomads.