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Hotel Highlights

  • Seductive island setting, with views towards peak-topped Bora Bora
  • Gorgeous spa with impressive range of treatments, including a tattoo artist
  • Stylish, spacious Garden Pool Villas, Beach Suites and Overwater Bungalows

Overview

RUNNER-UP: BEST SPA HOTEL – SMITH HOTEL AWARDS 2013

Beloved of honeymooners and the jet set, supermodel-beautiful Bora Bora's soaring, jungle-green central island is surrounded by a beyond-blue lagoon. Polynesian temptress Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa hotel has the best seat in the house, perched on a magical motu (mini isle) at the lagoon's edge, looking in on spectacular scenes. Flaunting overwater bungalows, beachside suites and a stellar spa, it's a recipe for seduction.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa with us:

A bottle of atoll-grown Tahitian wine

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa

Low-season special offer Stay longer offer: save 25%

Facilities

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Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa – Bora Bora – French Polynesia

Need To Know

Rooms

80, including 10 suites.

Check–out

11am; check-in, 2pm. Late check-outs are subject to availability in low season, for 50 per cent of the tariff before 6pm; after 6pm, you'll need to fork out for an extra night. Changing rooms can be booked on site for transfer days.

Rates

Double rooms from $393.56 (XPF37,719), excluding tax at 14 per cent.

More details

Rates include breakfast.

Also

The hotel even boasts its own in-house tattoo artist! Polynesian tattoos are beautiful, abstract, personal and symbolic, representing everything from family to power, protection or nature. Tuhei, from the Tuamotus islands, is at the lobby daily if you'd like to discuss designs or see books of his work, with appointments carried out in a dedicated spa room and priced according to the duration and difficulty of the piece.

At the hotel

Spa, gym, dive shop, snorkelling gear, kayaks, canoes, paddleboats, windsurfing boards, activities hut, Jacuzzi, floodlit tennis court, mini-golf, table tennis, billiards, volleyball, bocce, games room, boutique, tattooist, coral nursery, wedding chapel, WiFi throughout from XPF900 an hour (XPF2,900 a day). In rooms: flatscreen TV, minibar, own-label toiletries.

Our favourite rooms

For privacy and space (although no sea views), we like the Garden Pool Suites, which feature huge boudoirs, open-air showers, and a plunge pool, deck and shaded seating area in your own walled garden. Beach Suites with Jacuzzis are a hit with families, set directly on the sand with a separate living area that can sleep the smalls. Honeymooners will love the Overwater Bungalows, with decks giving direct access to the water, or treat yourself to the Premium variety for the best lagoon scoping.

Poolside

Forget power laps, the voluptuous pool is all about dreamy dips and leisurely swims. Set at the heart of the resort, overlooked by the main restaurant and poolside eatery, it's fringed by foliage and white sunloungers with vistas out to the lagoon. A Jacuzzi beckons for bubbles.

Packing tips

An underwater camera for snapping the dazzling, multi-coloured fish and coral (glass-bottomed coffee-tables in Overwater Bungalows allow you to ogle the aquatic world below).

Also

Seductive, spacious Manea Spa embraces the gardens, with serene, pond-peppered treatment rooms looking out over lily-dotted water and tropical trees. Exclusive treatments include Vichy showers or massages with 'dancing feet'.

Children

Kids up to age 14 get free boat transfers, can dine on children's menu meals gratis, and can stay in your room for free on a converted sofa-bed (or bag an extra rollaway bed for a fee). Babysitting available at additional cost.

Eco‐friendly

Make time to snorkel around the hotel's intriguing coral nursery under the Overwater Bungalows, which aims to regenerate sick coral and clams relocated from damaged reef areas elsewhere before returning them to their original habitats. Tie-in projects educate local kids on caring for the lagoon. The resort also recycles, saves water, harness solar heaters and employs local staff.

Food & Drink

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Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa – Bora Bora – French Polynesia

Hotel Restaurant

Occupying a lofty perch atop the main resort building, Tevairoa restaurant is a simple, thatched space with an airy terrace and views over the swimming pool to the lagoon. Breakfast and dinner are served here, with a cosmopolitan mix of French, Polynesian and international dishes, starring fish, seafood and local produce. On Mondays, there's a Polynesian buffet and traditional dance show; Fridays herald a lavish seafood spread. Poolside Miki Miki restaurant and bar dishes up light lunches of panini, burgers, salads and smoothies on its shaded deck. If you're mad for Med cuisine, adjacent Fare Ambrosia whips up Italian favourites (reserve for dinner Tuesdays to Thursdays; closed May to mid-October).

Hotel Bar

Happy hour kicks in from 5.30pm at elevated Taurearea Bar, a curvy eyrie above the lobby. Pull up a lounge chair or sink into a sofa to soak up lagoon views. Jaunty cocktails and rum marinated with fruits and vanilla are the go.

Last orders

Dinner is served at Tevairoa from 6.30pm until 9.30pm (with buffets Mondays and Fridays, 7pm until 9.30pm). Poolside Miki Miki is open from 11am until 4pm. Taurearea Bar pours drinks from 5pm until 11.30pm.

Room service

24-hour room service embraces breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, with soft drinks and wine for tipples. Minibars come stocked with beer, water and snacks, too.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Floaty, informal cottons by day; more sophisticated statements by night. If you tuck a tiare flower behind your ear, left means you're taken, right you're still looking!

Top table

For the best panoramas of Bora Bora's lagoon-lapped mountains, pick a table at the front of the open-air terrace at Tevairoa; front-row seats are also a smart pick for the cultural shows.

Local Guide

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Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa – Bora Bora – French Polynesia
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

Free aquatic activities abound at the resort, so take your pick of swimming, snorkelling, canoeing or windsurfing. It's worth bagging a free snorkel, mask and flippers from the Activities Fare (hut) by the pool to explore the coral nursery under the Overwater Bungalows. Descend the ladder off the pontoon to check out the reef regeneration project, which includes rescued coral and clams replanted on artificial tressles. Overseen by a marine biologist, the scheme has encouraged more than 70 fish species to return to the area, and allows you to get up close and personal with Nemo and co. At extra cost, you can enjoy fishing trips, sunset catamaran cruises, jet-ski tours, waterskiing, parasailing, glass-bottom boat trips or shark- and stingray-feeding sessions (the Smith jury is out on whether encouraging unnatural behaviour is a good idea).

 

Beginners and certified divers are well catered for, at extra cost, with an on-site Blue Nui by Topdive shop (www.topdive.com). Experienced divers can embark on an early morning two-tank dive followed by a one-tank foray in the afternoon, with night dives on request. Two of the main sites, Teavanui Pass and Tapu, are near the hotel's motu, with a cluster of other rated sites both inside and outside the lagoon. Manta rays, turtles and lemon sharks usually make their presence felt, with possible whale sightings from August to November. Ask about package deals if you plan to dive on other islands.

 

Prefer to stay on dry land? Kids will love the beach and turf-based games here, with tennis, volleyball, ping pong, bocce and mini-golf all up for grabs, as well as a billiards room beside the bar. There are also a host of romantic experiences, if you're planning a proposal, honeymooning or just feeling the love, including canoe-delivered breakfast, beach lunches for two or dinner under the stars.

 

Spa treats more your passion? Manea Spa, set amid lush gardens and pools towards the back of the grounds, is a serene, secluded sanctuary. Striking Polynesian architecture sets the softly-lit scene, with pandanus-leaf-thatched pavilions sporting relaxing ponds. Choose the oils and fragrances you want for your treatments at the spa reception, then take your pick of hot-stone massage, reviving Vichy shower therapies or a pummelling massage harnessing 'dancing feet' rather than hands. A sumptuous couple's experience can be yours, and there's a tranquil chill-out area for coming down with a herbal tea afterwards. The hotel's own tattoo artist has a dedicated room here, if you want to commission your own Polynesian skin art.

 

To explore further afield, hop on one of the hotel's free scheduled shuttle boats over to Bora Bora's main island. Central 'town' Vaitape is pretty small and low-key, but offers a handy shopping fix, with a cluster of black-pearl, souvenir, tattoo and art shops, as well as local produce stalls out on the street. It also has banks, ATMs, car-hire, a pretty church and a grocer for good-value snacks. You may also spy mobile food trucks (roulottes), which pop up regularly in French Polynesia. The hotel's own boutique, beside the lobby, offers stylish local buys, including a huge selection of pareus (sarongs), shell jewellery, toiletries and postcards (plus you can pick up internet cards).

 

Bora Bora's best public strand, Matira Beach, is on the southern tip of the island for a cooling dip, or inland you'll find lush hiking, lofty look-outs and old World War II gun emplacements. At additional cost, the hotel can organise hikes up Mount Pahia, guided island tours to discover the cultural and natural highs, or high-octane 4WD safaris. You can also take it all in from the air if you splash out on a helicopter tour, also organised via the hotel.

Local restaurants

Bloody Mary's (+689 66 72 86; www.bloodymarys.com), on the south-west coast road of Bora Bora's main island, is a legendary French Polynesian restaurant and bar, thanks to its borderline-kitsch tiki-chic styling, tasty lunchtime fare (spanning quesadillas, Caesar salads and mahi mahi burgers), and sumptuous seafood buffet dinners, starring copious catches-of-the-day. With a thatched roof, sand floor and coconut stools, it has attracted a rollcall of celebs since it launched in 1979, including Bill Gates, Cameron Diaz, Rob Lowe and George Michael. Sure, it's touristy and not directly on the lagoon, but it's a fun place for a feast, with tasty food and cocktails. Needless to say, the Bloody Marys rock.

 

For a cooler, more contemporary night out, make for Mai Kai (+689 603 800; www.maikaimarina.com), on the main island west-coast road behind the Topdive centre (at BP 162, between Faanui Bay and Vaitape). Boasting a sleek, mod-Polynesian space with a dreamy deck overlooking the marina, it feels like a slick city eatery. Neutral wood and glass rule the minimal design, with switched-on service to match. Dine on French faves (goat's cheese salad), Polynesian classics (poisson cru tuna and vegetables in a zesty broth of coconut milk and lime) or tasty mains drawn from the sea or land. Like most Bora Bora restaurants, pick-ups or drop-offs from nearby hotels are offered for free (and it's just a five-minute drive from the pontoon for free shuttle boats to Bora Bora Pearl).

 

Other popular pitt-stops, touting thatched roofs, sandy floors and a casual beachy-keen vibe, include La Bounty (+689 67 70 43) at Matira Point, which serves pizza, pasta and seafood, and Bora Kaina Hut (+689 67 54 06) on the west coast, dishing up fish and seafood. 

Local cafés

On Bora Bora's central island, dinky Aloe Cafe (+689 67 78 88), tucked away at the back of Vaitape's Centre Le Pahia shopping square, is a mellow spot for a coffee, milkshake, patisserie or ice-cream (tropical mango and passionfruit flavours rule). Tahitian wine is also served if you fancy something stronger. Sit outside on the terrace, the perfect place to rest your pins after a shopping session.

+ Enlarge
Private Motu Tevairoa isle

Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa

Motu Tevairoa, BP 169 Vaitape, Bora Bora, French Polynesia, 98730

Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa sits on outlying isle Motu Tevairoa, on the north-west fringe of the lagoon, facing Bora's mountain-topped central island.

Planes

All international flights to French Polynesia touch down at Tahiti's Faa'a Airport (www.tahiti-aeroport.pf), five kilometres west of capital Pape'ete. National carrier Air Tahiti Nui (www.airtahitinui.com) covers the key routes (see our Tahiti guide for details). Inter-island travel is normally via domestic carrier Air Tahiti (www.airtahiti.pf), which offers money-saving AirPasses if you plan on visiting several islands. At least six daily 50-minute flights link Tahiti and Bora Bora, landing at the dramatic airport on tiny Motu Mute, on the northern side of the lagoon. From here, the hotel offers private 10-minute boat transfers directly to the motu. Alternatively, return public shuttle transfers by catamaran to Vaitape quay on the main island are included in your air ticket price; from Vaitape it's a 15-minute taxi ride to the pontoon for free, regular shuttle boat crossings to the hotel's pier.

Automobiles

Bora Bora has one main, paved road running around the perimeter of its central island, with just a few offshoot tracks. Hire a car at Vaitape or via the hotel if you fancy circumnavigating the isle or checking out southern Matira Beach. You're unlikely to need one for the whole of your holiday at Bora Bora Pearl though, as you'll spend most of your time chilling offshore.

Other

When only a chopper will do, contact Tahiti Helicopters (www.tahiti-helicopters.com); there's a handy helipad in the hotel grounds. For charter flights to Bora Bora, try Air Archipels (www.air-archipels.com) or Pol'Air (www.compagniepolair.com).

Reviews

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Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa – Bora Bora – French Polynesia

Anonymous review

By Mr & Mrs Smith.

Every hotel is visited personally by members of our team and given the Smith seal of approval. As soon as our anonymous reviewers have returned from a stay at this spa-toting sanctuary, a full account of their romantic French Polynesian island retreat will be with you. In the meantime, just to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick postcard from Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa in Bora Bora...…
Read more

Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa

By Mr & Mrs Smith.

Every hotel is visited personally by members of our team and given the Smith seal of approval. As soon as our anonymous reviewers have returned from a stay at this spa-toting sanctuary, a full account of their romantic French Polynesian island retreat will be with you. In the meantime, just to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick postcard from Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa in Bora Bora...

You've got to love a country where ukelele tunes are the soundtrack and outrigger-canoeing is the national sport. To soak up the sounds and sights of French Polynesia, it's hard to beat Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa, a boutique retreat on its own private island with dress-circle views of Bora Bora's dramatic lagoon. Bora Bora is the stuff of honeymoon legend, earning its spot in romantic fantasies thanks to its seriously good looks.

Flying in you'll be met by verdant peaks rearing out of the lagoon, encircled by low mini isles, including the hotel's castaway haven. Although there are pretty white-sand beaches here, it's really a lagoon destination, so kick back on your sunlounger and watch locals paddle past on their canoes, boats drift by or fish frolic off the edge of your overwater bungalow.

Sophisticated and seductive, this sprawling resort has a confident, classy feel, with a great choice of rooms. Bag the gorgeous Garden Pool Suites if you value privacy and space, but don't mind missing out on sea vistas. Family-friendly Beach Suites let you step straight out onto the sand. The two tiers of Overwater Bungalows both flaunt decks with direct access to the lagoon, but Premium ones are more secluded with better views.

With three restaurants and a lofty cocktail bar, dining is a swish affair, teaming local flavours with European flair. The spa is a star here, too, one of the biggest in Polynesia, with a tropical setting among koi-filled ponds and flower-dotted foliage. Spend your days snorkelling at the coral nursery, kayaking on the lagoon, relaxing on the beach or floating in the curvy pool. You'll leave with dreamy memories of Bora Bora, or if you need a permanent reminder the in-house tattooist can help...

 

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel with us, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa's Guestbook below.

 

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