I’m spending some time in beautiful Bora Bora at the moment. A couple of days ago I shared my initial impressions of the St. Regis Bora Bora, and now I wanted to share my impressions of the Conrad Bora Bora, where I stayed afterwards.
Let me start by saying that while the St. Regis had a beautiful location, I was shocked by the condition of the hotel. It was in awful condition, and it sure felt to me like they weren’t even doing basic maintenance at the hotel. With that in mind…
The Conrad is SO MUCH NICER than the St. Regis
The difference between these two resorts is night and day, and frankly I’m shocked, because generally I think of St. Regis as being a higher end brand than Conrad. On top of that, the Conrad was a Hilton until a couple of years ago, when it was rebranded. I figured they didn’t actually spend that much money updating the property.
But seriously, the difference in the quality of the two hotels is shocking, from the pools, to the restaurant design, to the other public spaces.
I think the service golf carts at the two hotels act as a good metaphor for the difference in upkeep between the properties.
This is a golf cart at the St. Regis:
And this is a golf cart at the Conrad:
The overwater villas at the Conrad Bora Bora are beautiful
I used points for my stay (a free weekend night certificate, and then 85,000 points per night), and then paid about $300 per night to upgrade to an overwater villa.
The overwater villas here are beautiful. They’re not huge, but they’re beautifully appointed.
The outdoor areas are great as well. I love the nets they have on the deck for lounging and our villa even had a great view.
Seriously, this villa made the St. Regis villa look like a run down Sheraton by comparison.
The Conrad feels high end
I hate to rag on the St. Regis, but I really do think it’s well deserved. The hotel just didn’t feel high end in terms of the furnishings and design, while this hotel is chic and they’ve actually invested in the furnishings. For example, some of the restaurants have (very expensive) Roche Bobois couches.
The hotel is just so beautifully maintained all around.
The food here is excellent
I thought the food at the St. Regis was mostly good, but the food at the Conrad is a significant step up.
For one, the breakfast experience is way better. Everything about it — the selection, the restaurant, the fact that they have white tablecloths on tables, etc.
I was surprised by how few fish dishes were on the menu at the St. Regis (given that we were in the middle of the ocean), but the Conrad had a huge selection of fish options, which I appreciated.
The one downside to the Conrad
Bora Bora only has a handful of major luxury hotels. The St. Regis has a very special location and property. It directly faces otemanu, so has incredible views. Similarly, the hotel has some unique lagoons.
The St. Regis literally has the perfect location but puts no effort into maintaining the hotel.
On the contrary, the Conrad’s location is good, but not ideal. It’s on a small island off to the side of the main island, so most rooms and most of the resort doesn’t have a view of the iconic otemanu, or of the main island in general for that matter.
I don’t think that’s a deal breaker at all, since there are all kinds of activities you can embark on that will allow you to see it. However, the hotel does feel a bit more like it’s in the Maldives than in Bora Bora, if that makes sense, since you’re mostly just looking at the ocean.
I’ll have a full review soon, but all things considered I think the Conrad Bora Bora is exceptional, and I can’t recommend it enough. Aside from the location, this place puts the St. Regis to shame, and not just by a little bit, but by a lot.
I’d 100% recommend the Conrad over the St. Regis, and that’s not even accounting for the fact that you can book it cheaper, especially if redeeming points.
The only downside to this property is that the location isn’t amazing. So if I were returning to Bora Bora, I might recommend a couple of nights at the St. Regis or Four Seasons just so you have the iconic Bora Bora view, and then spend the rest of your time at the Conrad.
This is a spectacular hotel. Seriously, if you haven’t been to Bora Bora, redeem points and stay here, even if you’re not typically a Hilton loyalist. You won’t be disappointed.
And St. Regis, get your act together. You’re an embarrassment to the brand, especially after seeing this hotel.