Review: Conrad Bora Bora Nui Resort

Filed Under: Hilton, Hotel Reviews

Introduction: Dreamlining To Tahiti
Review: Air Tahiti Nui Business Class 787-9 Los Angeles To Papeete
Review: Air Tahiti ATR 72 Economy Papeete To Bora Bora
Review: St. Regis Bora Bora Reefside Garden Villa
Review: St. Regis Bora Bora Overwater Superior Villa
Review: St. Regis Bora Bora Resort
Review: Conrad Bora Bora Overwater Villa
Review: Conrad Bora Bora Nui Resort
Review: Air Tahiti Nui Lounge Papeete Airport
Review: United Business Class 787-8 Papeete To San Francisco
Review: United Polaris Lounge San Francisco Airport
Bora Bora Vs. Maldives: Which Should You Visit?


In the last installment I covered the overwater villa that we stayed in for our two night stay at the Conrad Bora Bora, while in this post I wanted to cover everything else about the property.

Getting to & from the Conrad Bora Bora

The Conrad Bora Bora is about a 20 minute boat ride from Bora Bora Airport. The hotel offers transportation for 13,560XPF (~127USD) per person roundtrip.

However, we were coming from the St. Regis, which required a separate transfer. The hotel would charge $200+ for a private transfer like that, though a blog reader mentioned a good experience using a private taxi service, which I reached at [email protected]

They charged 14,000XPF (~130USD) for the transfer for both of us. On the plus side, it was much cheaper than what the hotel would have charged directly. Unfortunately they showed up 30 minutes late and I felt like we were going to have to start plugging holes in the boat, since it was really run down. So whether or not that’s worth it is up to you. 😉

Despite our private transportation, the hotel seemed to know we were coming, since I let them know when we were planning on taking a boat, and I’m guessing we were the only ones who had arranged separate transportation. The boat arrived at the main dock, which is also where the welcome center is.

Conrad Bora Bora arrival dock

We were offered a welcome drink and cold towel, and Caroline, the guest relations manager, immediately drove us to our villa on a golf cart.


Conrad Bora Bora welcome drink

On departure we used the Conrad Bora Bora’s transportation from the hotel to the airport, so paid half the roundtrip cost. They had quite a big boat, especially compared to the St. Regis.

Conrad Bora Bora airport transfer boat


Arriving at Conrad Bora Bora

Arriving at Conrad Bora Bora

Conrad Bora Bora location

I’m going to have a lot of nice things to say, but let me start with one of the slight negatives about this resort. The Conrad doesn’t have an ideal location. Below you can see where the St. Regis is — it faces inwards towards the lagoon of Bora Bora, so not only do you have great views, but the water is really calm.

Meanwhile the Conrad Bora is on the outer edge of Bora Bora, and faces into the open ocean. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still crystal clear water and it’s calm enough so you can swim and kayak in the immediate area, but you don’t have the same views or the same amount of calm water as you’d have at the St. Regis.

Conrad Bora Bora map

Here’s a resort map, just to give you a general orientation:

Conrad Bora Bora beach & pool

People come to Bora Bora for the beaches, and not surprisingly, the hotel doesn’t disappoint. The hotel has a beautiful stretch of beach with powdery white sand and crystal clear water. The beach was pretty consistently empty, though in fairness we were staying in low season.


Conrad Bora Bora beach


Conrad Bora Bora beach


Conrad Bora Bora beach

Along the beach were a variety of non-motorized water sports, including kayaks.


Conrad Bora Bora beach activities


Conrad Bora Bora beach activities

Just past the beach is the infinity pool, which is big and gorgeously designed. It was also never full.


Conrad Bora Bora pool


Conrad Bora Bora pool


Conrad Bora Bora pool

There was plenty of seating around the pool, including traditional lounge chairs with umbrellas, mini-cabanas by the pool, and more.


Conrad Bora Bora pool seating


Conrad Bora Bora pool seating

There was also a pool bar.


Conrad Bora Bora pool bar

By the pool there was also complimentary sunscreen.


Conrad Bora Bora complimentary sunscreen

Conrad Bora Bora property

The hotel is partly built into the side of a hill, so just past the beach and main pool is the hotel’s main building, which has a couple of the restaurants and some of the other public areas.

Conrad Bora Bora main building


Conrad Bora Bora main building

This area was covered but open-air, and had fish ponds, a pool table, the main reception desk and concierge, and a bar.

Conrad Bora Bora main building


Conrad Bora Bora main building

Conrad Bora Bora reception


Conrad Bora Bora main building


Conrad Bora Bora main building bar


Conrad Bora Bora main building bar


Conrad Bora Bora main building bar

The hotel had a variety of paths along the water. For example, our overwater villa was at one end of the property, so we’d first walk down the dock, and would then walk down a long path to the main part of the resort.


Conrad Bora Bora overwater villas


Conrad Bora Bora pathway

But there were paths like this along the entire hotel.


Conrad Bora Bora


Conrad Bora Bora

The opposite end of the resort even had a mini-golf course, though we never did play.

Conrad Bora Bora mini-golf


Conrad Bora Bora mini-golf

The resort looked even prettier at night.


Conrad Bora Bora at sunset

The Conrad is built into the side of a hill, and you can go all the way to the top. The spa is right at the top, but it can be worth going just for the views, especially at sunset, I’m told.

Conrad Bora Bora hilltop view


Conrad Bora Bora hilltop view

What’s cool is that in addition to having a cool view of the resort…


Conrad Bora Bora hilltop view

…you also have a cool view of the interior of Bora Bora, which you don’t otherwise have a view of from most of the resort.


Conrad Bora Bora hilltop view

Conrad Bora Bora gym

The Conrad has a 24/7 gym, which was pretty well equipped. It consisted of two main rooms, one with cardio and one with weights.

Conrad Bora Bora gym


Conrad Bora Bora gym


Conrad Bora Bora gym

Conrad Bora Bora spa

We only visited the spa on our last afternoon, right before departure. While spa treatments aren’t cheap, my gosh, this is an absolutely beautiful spa.

Conrad Bora Bora spa


Conrad Bora Bora spa


Conrad Bora Bora spa

The spa has a relaxation room, steam room, sauna, and has individual villas, each of which act as treatment rooms.


Conrad Bora Bora spa relaxation room


Conrad Bora Bora spa

The spa menu read as follows:

We each got 50 minute signature massages. While not cheap, on the plus side the taxes and service charges are included here, so it’s not that bad given where you are.

Conrad Bora Bora Iriati French Restaurant

Now let’s talk a bit about food at the hotel. Breakfast is served daily at Iriati French Restaurant, which is the hotel’s signature restaurant located in the main building. This restaurant is open for breakfast and dinner, though we only ever went for breakfast.

Breakfast is served from 7AM until 10:30AM. Thanks to my Hilton Honors Diamond status we received complimentary breakfast. Seriously, look at how beautiful this restaurant is, and it even had tablecloths. The Conrad breakfast restaurant made the St. Regis look like a Four Points by Sheraton, by comparison (and not one of the nice Four Points properties either).


Conrad Bora Bora Iriati French Restaurant


Conrad Bora Bora Iriati French Restaurant

Conrad Bora Bora Iriati French Restaurant

Both mornings we sat in the first “row” of tables, with a view of the water.


Conrad Bora Bora Iriati French Restaurant view

We received a complimentary “continental” breakfast, which consists of the whole buffet (including both hot and cold options).

The buffet was excellent, and I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Conrad Bora Bora breakfast buffet


Conrad Bora Bora breakfast buffet


Conrad Bora Bora breakfast buffet


Conrad Bora Bora breakfast buffet


Conrad Bora Bora breakfast buffet


Conrad Bora Bora breakfast buffet


Conrad Bora Bora breakfast buffet


Conrad Bora Bora breakfast buffet


Conrad Bora Bora breakfast buffet


Conrad Bora Bora breakfast buffet


Conrad Bora Bora breakfast buffet

In addition to the buffet, the hotel has a menu off of which you can order eggs, pancakes, etc. The hotel does charge a supplement of 1,200XPF (~11USD) for ordering off the menu.

That menu read as follows:


Conrad Bora Bora poached eggs

Conrad Bora Bora Tamure Beach Grill

For lunch on two days we ate at Tamure Beach Grill, which is the restaurant right by the beach and pool. It serves lunch from 11:30AM until 3:30PM. It’s only otherwise open on Tuesday nights for a themed dinner.

Most of the restaurant has sand “floors,” and then there’s also some seating along the pool, where you have to walk along a path, and you’re basically sitting somewhat “under” water.


Conrad Bora Bora Tamure Beach Grill


Conrad Bora Bora Tamure Beach Grill


Conrad Bora Bora Tamure Beach Grill


Conrad Bora Bora Tamure Beach Grill

The lunch menu read as follows (note that all prices include taxes and service charges, and 1USD=107XPF):

The food here was exceptional. The food we had here was better than anything we had at the St. Regis.

Conrad Bora Bora lunch


Conrad Bora Bora lunch


Conrad Bora Bora lunch


Conrad Bora Bora lunch


Conrad Bora Bora lunch

Conrad Bora Bora Upa Upa Lounge Bar

Upa Upa Lounge is the hotel’s cocktail bar and sushi restaurant, and it’s located on the arrival dock. It’s open daily from 5PM until 11PM. The restaurant has gorgeous outdoor seating…


Conrad Bora Bora Upa Upa Lounge Bar

The indoor seating is very nice as well (yes, those are Roche Bobois couches, and I don’t even want to know how much they cost).

Conrad Bora Bora Upa Upa Lounge Bar


Conrad Bora Bora Upa Upa Lounge Bar


Conrad Bora Bora Upa Upa Lounge Bar


Conrad Bora Bora Upa Upa Lounge Bar

One night we had cocktails and some sashimi and sushi here. The menu read as follows:


Conrad Bora Bora Upa Upa Lounge Bar drinks


Conrad Bora Bora Upa Upa Lounge Bar dinner


Conrad Bora Bora Upa Upa Lounge Bar dinner

Conrad Bora Bora Banyan Chinese Restaurant

On our last night we had dinner at Banyan Chinese Restaurant, open from 6:30PM until 9:30PM. This included both indoor and outdoor seating.

Conrad Bora Bora Banyan Chinese Restaurant

The menu read as follows:

While the food otherwise was excellent, I’d say the food here was only alright. It wasn’t bad at all, but was completely unmemorable.


Conrad Bora Bora Banyan Chinese Restaurant dinner


Conrad Bora Bora Banyan Chinese Restaurant dinner


Conrad Bora Bora Banyan Chinese Restaurant dinner


Conrad Bora Bora Banyan Chinese Restaurant dinner

Conrad Bora Bora room service

We ate room service lunch our last afternoon, as it was raining, and we had spa treatments planned before our departure. The room service menu read as follows:

Conrad Bora Bora room service


Conrad Bora Bora room service


Conrad Bora Bora room service


Conrad Bora Bora room service

Conrad Bora Bora service

Service at the Conrad Bora Bora was mostly excellent.

First and foremost I have to commend Caroline, the guest relations manager. I could never work in hospitality, because I’m an introvert and interacting with people all day would make me so exhausted. Some people belong in hospitality, because they’re outgoing and can’t help but make you smile. Caroline was one of those people.

It was amazing to see the connection she developed to so many guests, and she constantly greeted people around the resort. She had such enthusiasm for her job, and that’s beautiful to see.

Here’s one cute example of what she did, which was completely unnecessary, but very kind. When we showed up at the Conrad we were wearing St. Regis hats. We bought these overpriced hats at the St. Regis because we stupidly didn’t bring any hats, but wanted to avoid a sunburn.

As she drove us to our room when we arrived, she jokingly said “you can’t be wearing those hats here.” A couple of hours later after we returned from walking around the resort, we found the below gift and note in our room.

Conrad Bora Bora hats

That’s one of those little touches that leaves a lasting impression, in my opinion.

But in general I also found the service to be very good. Almost everyone working at the hotel was a local, so there was still an element of “island time” to everything. However, I do feel like the service training was a bit better than at the St. Regis.

The only exception was at the Chinese restaurant, which was a disaster. I think this simply came down to the restaurant being horribly understaffed. The restaurant was booked out, which maybe they weren’t expecting in low season, so they only had a couple of people working there. The servers were literally running around the restaurant.

Conrad Bora Bora random musings

Our transfer from the hotel back to the airport was only at 5PM, and I’d note that the hotel let us check out at that time. That was very kind of them.

For those interested in going to Bora Bora, here’s the shuttle schedule and pricing:

The hotel also had this handy sheet with 10 things you can do in Bora Bora:

Personally our activities were limited to jet skiing and a stop for lunch, going to the main town once, and going snorkeling to look at sharks and sting rays (or more accurately, Ford doing that, and me being in the boat hoping he doesn’t die).

Conrad Bora Bora bottom line

I loved the Conrad Bora Bora, and can’t say enough good things about it. Our overwater villa was gorgeous, the resort is generally in very good condition with excellent food and beverage outlets, and I can’t wait to return.

The only downside to the Conrad is that the location isn’t quite as spectacular as that of some of the other hotels located in the “lagoon” area. Personally I don’t think that’s a deal breaker at all, as you can do day trips to the main town, or can go on snorkeling trips.

I’d return to the Conrad in a heartbeat, and all things considered thought it was a step up over the St. Regis. What a pleasant surprise.

If you’ve stayed at the Conrad Bora Bora, what was your experience like?

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Comments
  1. This is a very detailed review, maybe I’m missing something but don’t see anything about the actual room?

  2. @Jason he reviewed the room in a separate installment – check the lost of installments at the top of this post 🙂

  3. @Jason, The previous review talked about his room. When staying at a resort, Lucky often talks about the room in one review, and the resort as a whole in a separate review.

  4. Isn’t the Conrad Bora Bora one of the newest luxury resorts there? I think it opened in 2017 so it makes sense that it looks amazing. I just hope they maintain the property well. I went to Bora Bora back in 2016 and recall seeing some construction there during a full island tour. The closed Hotel Bora Bora (Aman) is just across the lagoon from Conrad Bora Bora on the main island so in terms of location it’s not that bad. In time, I bet the Conrad has some gorgeous snorkeling given its location. Loved your photos!

  5. @ Joey — Yep, it used to be a Hilton, but underwent a significant renovation to become the Conrad. I also hope they maintain it well. For what it’s worth, it’s owned by HNA Group as well (just like the St. Regis), so I have my concerns in that regard.

  6. Very expensive for food & activities. I guess that is to expected in Bora Bora… we would need to save our pennies to make this happen (even with free breakfast because of HH Gold). This is on my list thought always thought St Regis…. will now consider the Conrad. Thanks

  7. Very expensive for food & activities. I guess that is to be expected in Bora Bora… we would need to save our pennies to make this happen (even with free breakfast because of HH Gold). This is on my list though always thought St Regis…. will now consider the Conrad. Thanks

  8. I don´t know if the pictures don´t do justice, but both Conrad and St Regis Bora Bora seems to be much less picturesque than Conrad and St Regis Maldives. I also searched on AirBNB and wasn´t impressed by the images either.
    Is it more hype from a historical touristic destination or am I wrong?

  9. I was here at the same time as Ben and Ford. I took a picture with them, and my wife said that I was happier clicking a picture with them than I was throughout our honeymoon clicking pictures with her…Thanks for all the help you guys provide!!

  10. Stayed there when it was a Hilton.

    Beautiful property, food was terrible, went into town every night after the first night.
    A freak high tide came through, polluting the water table, many people got sick, including my wife and I. Wasn’t just Bora Bora, when we arrived at our next resort on Raritoa, the whole resort was sick.
    The water isn’t always potable in French Polynesia. Didn’t stop me from going back several years later (but didn’t stay at the Hilton, but the iHG Thalassos).

  11. “The restaurant was booked out, which maybe they weren’t expecting in high season” – Assuming you meant low season.

  12. Great review. Was fortunate to stay her after the rebrand and was hooked up with an upgrade to one of the two Presidential villas. Ate most meals in the room as it was simply too amazing to leave. I look forward to a return…..

  13. Restaurant and food looks so much better than St. Regis. While I understand the concerns about the location, this property is much better in almost every single aspect than the St. Regis!

  14. Thanks for the review. Based on our honeymoon experience, I want to give a vote to the value of staying on the main island (we were at the IC Le Moana, which is not as nice as the IC Thelasso, but is on the main island). Even if the Conrad food was good, I just hate the idea of being stuck at the resort for dinner, when there were several really good, and more reasonably priced restaurants on the main island. These restaurants would also pick you up for free from your on-island hotel. Presumably they would do the same from wherever the Conrad drops you off, but you have to pay $22 pp ($44 for a couple), plus you’re on the Conrad shuttle’s schedule for dinner.

  15. Great review again and glad you saved the best for last!
    I stayed there 3 nights last October in a Lagoon View Villa and … slightly preferred the decor of it compared to the OWB … but just a matter of taste?
    It is obvious that Bora Bora is not the nicest island of French Polynesia but boy … those resorts on the lagoon are just astonishing and my arrival from the airport, by boat in all those shades of blue… a lifetime memory!!

  16. Awesome report. I love the Conrad brand. Have yet to visit Bora Bora. Next up. And I love the the mini golf course! Thanks Lucky.

  17. Stayed when the change from Hilton to Conrad had just taken place and they hadn’t done the Conrad makeover yet. Judging from the pictures they took a huge step forward. I actually found the Conrad a better choice for being able to get back and forth to the main island. The St. Regis and Four Seasons want you to be trapped at the resort and the shuttle costs reflect that. Good review Lucky

  18. Lucky–thanks very much for the review. You mentioned that the facilities didn’t seem overcrowded while you were there. Do you think the hotel would have felt differently if it were at full capacity?

    We are heading there in about a week, and for a while, all of the over-water villas in all categories have been completely sold out. We are Diamond on points and we upgraded in advance to an over-water villa (for more than you paid, sadly, but we didn’t seem to have much negotiating room and I now understand why). Per your last post, we did ask about rooms 105 and 106, but heard back that those rooms were deluxe and already booked (i.e., no further upgrade for me).

  19. While you pay for this stay with points. How much do you actually pay for food and other things not covered by points. As others have pointed out it seems very pricey.

  20. Before this resort was a Hilton, wasn’t it the SPG Luxury Collection Bora Bora Nui Resort and Spa? I stayed in that 15 years ago. The layout of the property as well as the hillside villas all look very familiar but I can’t remember what atoll it was on.

  21. Ben, while I have not stayed here, I have stayed at many Conrads across the world (the most unique and aspirational location being Koi Samui, Thailand) and when I compare my experience with the international properties vs. domestic ones in the U.S., it’s like night and day. Have been very disappointed with the experience and ammenities offered as a Diamond here in the states. While we all know and have probably seen huge differences in the quality of big/leading American hotels that are located abroad (whether it’s a Hilton, Sheraton, etc.) I figured that the Conrad brand would be pretty consistent across the board, no matter the location, mainly because of the lower number of overall properties and that it is their luxury brand. Any insights as to why there clearly is a different (and better) experience overseas vs. say in NYC or Chicago? I’d be curious to try out the brand new property in Wash D.C. but frankly the last 2 stays in the U.S. have been subpar so not sure I want to waste $/points/weekend certificates for a stay in an American city.

  22. Girlfriend and I spent a week in Sept of last year here. We thought it was perfectly fine, but not exceptional or memorable. I do appreciate their attempt to provide a wonderful service experience, but it fails compared to some smaller luxury chains.

  23. Stayed there when it was SPG Bora Bora Nui for our Honeymoon. 15 years ago. Loved it. Great resort. Great Staff. Nice overwater rooms. Food and Wine are expensive so plan on dieting when visiting……

  24. The separate breakfast menu did not have a price indicated for the extra items. However, it does list prices on the back page for drinks. The server told us the food items were included as part of the buffet. There were ample options to choose from the buffet, but we ordered crepes one morning and eggs benedict another morning. We were not charged. This was in February 2019. Has the policy reverted back to a $12 charge?

  25. @ AMY — Did your rate maybe include breakfast? I’m not sure if there are different policies for different guests, but we were charged for add-ons for having breakfast based on my Hilton status.

  26. I’m just a Diamond member with free breakfast. I asked the server about the surcharge because I had read that there was one. I don’t remember seeing servers telling other guests about a surcharge, and many guests did order eggs, etc. How would guests know about a surcharge since the menu doesn’t indicate any price? Only beverages had a price tag.

    When did you visit? I can’t imagine a policy change timed just for my visit. 🙂

  27. I was there 3 nights last October, free continental bkfst thanks Hilton Honors Gold and there a fixed surcharge if ordering from special menu but … they kind of “forgot” to charge it?

  28. We stayed here not long after it opened and I dream about it daily. It was a once in a lifetime trip for us. I couldn’t recommend it higher. We were able to stay in the overwater pool villa due to the fact it wasn’t even open when we booked and WOW. We had perfect sunsets every night over the horizon so I’m glad we faced the open ocean. The staff were so kind and helpful and helped us make it even more incredible than it already was!

  29. How were you able to get such good prices for boat transfers? I was quoted 22000 xpf from st Regis to conrad by that private taxi company. Also, hotel boat transfer was charging 44000 xpf for 2 persons. Ridiculous!!!!

  30. Ben, sorry you obviously had such a poor experience at the St. Regis, but having just come back from both properties, I honestly find the comparisons laughable. The St. Regis is far superior to the Conrad in so many different ways.

    The St. Regis staff is so much more attentive, friendly, courteous and plentiful. I mean, let’s just start with StR butler service vs the Conrad assessing a delivery charge for a bucket of ice?!? It’s like there was no one working the pool or beach at the Conrad either. There are certainly some nice staff at the Conrad, but *everyone* at the St. Regis is 100% customer focused, from butlers to dining staff to concierge to the guys at the beach.

    The locations are literally night and day. The Conrad has expansive views of the open sea, and that’s about it; the St. Regis has Mt. Otemanu in view from just about every part of the property, and also the crystal blue water that Bora Bora is famous for literally everywhere. The water is much rougher at the Conrad.

    I won’t disagree that the rooms are much newer and more modern at the Conrad, albeit much smaller than the St. Regis. But this is not a place one comes to to stay inside a resort room anyhow. And there are a *lot* of *really* bad (location-wise) villas at the Conrad. Unless you’re in the 100s, you shouldn’t even bother paying for an overwater experience since you can’t use it. God forbid you should end up on the man-made Motu, where you have an over-rock experience.

    And I also won’t disagree that the Conrad using the French restaurant for breakfast was a nice touch, because hey who doesn’t like tablecloths, but the food was much, much better – and more varied – at the St. Regis. Plus all you desire made to order was included there. The hyperbole about the Four Points was a bit much in that review, but I’d love to know which one has such a gorgeous beachfront breakfast setting on crystal blue waters because I’ll be booking that ASAP for my next trip.

    Again, won’t dispute you obviously had a poor experience at the St. Regis, but I could write literally the same things about the Conrad in regards to very poor disrepair in tons of areas, half the bikes not working, bird crap everywhere, etc, and we didn’t see any of that at the St. Regis. We did, however, see the most amazing setting for a resort and its overwater villas, and I don’t think there’s anyone who could possible dispute that that aspect is far, far better than the Conrad.

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