Impressions Of The St. Regis Bora Bora

Filed Under: Hotels, Marriott

Hello from Bora Bora! I’ve spent the past few days at the St. Regis Bora Bora, which is easily one of the most aspirational hotels in the Marriott & Starwood portfolio.

Until recently this hotel wasn’t actually bookable with points at the “standard” levels, but since the Marriott and Starwood merger it is, and for the time being it’s bookable for 60,000 points per night.

While I’ll have a full trip report soon, in this post I wanted to share my initial impressions of the resort. In no particular order:

Bora Bora is beautiful

I’ve been to the Maldives several times before, so I was curious to see how Bora Bora compared, given that they’re two of the biggest remote and exotic island hotspots.

Bora Bora is stunning, and I’m so happy to be here. I find the Maldives to be beautiful, though you’re stuck on one private island, and the scenery is all beautiful but flat.

In the case of Bora Bora you actually have a main island. It’s not the most interesting island in the world, but there are so many activities given that all of the major resorts are near one another. You can take the boat into town for dinner, there are all kinds of expeditions, etc.

I actually think Bora Bora might be even more beautiful than the Maldives. That’s thanks to the beautiful otemanu mountain which adds a nice contrast to the crystal clear water.

So I highly recommend visiting Bora Bora. It’s very different to the Maldives, and I like it just as much.

The St. Regis Bora Bora is a bit dated

I’m not sure it’s even fair to say this specifically about the St. Regis, as it seems to be true of all hotels in Bora Bora. There are only a handful of luxury hotels in Bora Bora, and they all look dated.

That’s part of the charm — you don’t come here looking for modern minimalist design — but everything does just feel a bit past its prime.

For example, we split our time between a land villa and an overwater villa. Our land villa was renovated, and I found the decor to be quite nice. Apparently this is the only renovated land villa so far.

Meanwhile the overwater villa wasn’t renovated, and I found the design to not at all be in line with what you’d expect from a St. Regis. The design wasn’t bad, but I’d expect this from a Sheraton or Le Meridien, and not from a St. Regis property.

So this hotel doesn’t at all compare to the St. Regis Maldives in terms of design. I’ll take it a step further — the St. Regis Maldives makes this place look like a subpar Sheraton or Le Meridien by comparison.

But to be fair, the St. Regis Maldives might be the most beautifully designed hotel I’ve ever been to.

You don’t come to Bora Bora for design, and given that all hotels in Bora Bora are sort of outdated, it seems like hotels don’t feel the need to invest. And again, the design style is very Tahitian, so it’s not out of place.

The service is mostly excellent

I didn’t know what to expect in terms of service, though I’ve been very impressed. Most of the people working at the hotel are “locals,” then you have some people from continental France here, and then they also have a mix of staff from other countries (China, Korea, India, etc.), given the diversity of the guests.

Service for the most part has been excellent. There were a few minor service incidents, but service was consistently friendly and well intentioned, and for the most part even very polished.

The hotel badly needs TLC

I can handle the hotel being a bit outdated, but what really disappoints me is that how much this hotel is lacking TLC (and I’m not talking about the cable network, though I do love 90 Day Fiancé). They’re just not maintaining what they have, and it’s actually pathetic.

This is what the floors look like throughout our room, and that might not be such an easy fix.

But this is what the tables looks like — seriously, in a $1,000+ per night overwater villa at a St. Regis?

This is what the cabinet right outside our villa looked like.

Here’s what the wall behind our bed looked like.

These aren’t just a few pieces of furniture that were that way, but I found these kinds of things throughout the room.

The hotel has bikes on which you can ride around, which are the most poorly maintained bikes I’ve seen in a long time. I’ve taken over a handful of bikes, and not a single one has worked correctly — the kickstands are broken, the breaks don’t work, they squeak like crazy, etc.

Prices are what I expected

Prices for everything are quite high, but in line with what I expected. As you can imagine, it’s really expensive to ship stuff here.

On top of that, all prices on the menus include a 17% tax and service charge, so at least the pricing is “all-in” (unlike in some places, where the prices shown don’t include an additional 30% in fees).

So cocktails here are $20-30, mains are $40-60, etc. Like I said, expensive, but also expected.

The food was a mixed bag

I was looking forward to amazing food here, given that I love fish. The hotel has five restaurants, and I’ve found the food to be quite inconsistent.

The breakfast is pretty good, and on top of that all the fish dishes I’ve had have been excellent.

The problem is, I’m a bit surprised by how few fish dishes have been on the menus. I’ve found more meat dishes than fish dishes, which just seems odd.

While the fish has been good, most of the non-fish options haven’t been good. They have pizzas at a couple of the restaurants and in-room dining, but they don’t actually taste great.

That’s just one example. Usually I rarely run out of things I want to eat at a hotel, but by day four here I’m actually over the food, other than the fish (and I don’t want to each fish for lunch and dinner every day).

Who knows, maybe I’ve just had bad luck with the food…

I also don’t really get their opening hours for things. They have five restaurants, but only the pool bar and in-room dining are open for lunch.

I’m not sure the overwater villa is worth the premium

We spent three nights in a land villa and one night in an overwater villa. For the novelty it’s absolutely worth staying in an overwater villa, since it’s something that’s really special. I’ve been fortunate enough to stay in a few over the years.

Personally I might just prefer the base land villa to the base overwater villa. The villa itself was nicer and it had a plunge pool, and on top of that the base overwater villa doesn’t have much of a view. It actually has a worse view than most of the other rooms, as it just looks at the flat portion of the outer island (which is still a nice view, but by comparison not as nice).

If you are getting an overwater villa, I do think it’s worth getting one that has a view of the otemanu, which is the beautiful mountain on Bora Bora.

But the thing is, a base water villa is about $300 per night more than a base villa, and then if you want one with a view, it’s another $400+, which just doesn’t seem worth it at that point, in my opinion.

Bottom line

This might sound like a negative review, which it’s not meant to me, because we had a really fantastic time, and I’d even recommend this place (if coming in with the right expectations).

I think Bora Bora is incredibly special, and I’d highly recommend a visit. While the Maldives is highly competitive with all kinds of new luxury hotels opening that are constantly one upping each other, the same isn’t true in Bora Bora. Hotels don’t have to be as physically beautiful, but that doesn’t mean Bora Bora isn’t worth visiting.

Personally I thought the service was excellent, the St. Regis has a great location, and Bora Bora is worth a visit.

The hotel is a bit outdated, and that’s fine.

The one area where I do think there’s big room for improvement is when it comes to the quality of the food, and also in particular when it comes to the lack of care that’s taken with basic stuff — paint a table so it doesn’t look chipped, make sure the bikes work, etc. The lack of attention to detail when it comes to so many things was appalling, in my opinion.

If you’ve stayed at the St. Regis Bora Bora (or another hotel in Bora Bora), what was your experience like?

Comments

  1. Did it ever occur to you that they might have given you “the rockstar room” which is the most beaten up suite they have, e.g. since you booked with points? We all know the issue when you book with points? You´ll often times get what´s left from guests that actually pay money.

  2. @ John — Did it ever occur to you that I actually paid cash for my stay and I’m a Platinum Premier Ambassador? 😉 But I know you’re just here to troll me, so…

  3. Very, very picky 🙂

    To be more serious: I was also surprised that the overwater villa was in such a poor condition. I would be very unhappy with that too, traveling 10+ hours, paying that much…

  4. I’ve seen Limited service discount properties in much better [email protected] 99 dollars a night
    I would never go there
    Shocking condition of furniture
    I would absolutely file a complaint at what I am sure are sky high pricing for revenue or award

  5. It sounds like you still enjoyed yourselves, in spite of these shortcomings. The island does look very beautiful.

    Re: food – I am not surprised at all that their pizzas are not good, why would they be? It would never cross my mind to order a pizza on a Pacific island. As you pointed out, fish dishes were great, as I am sure were local fruit and vegetables. One of the curses of globalization is that one can order almost anything almost anywhere. It does not mean, however, that one should.

  6. @ Ben — This hotel sounds like it may not be the best choice in Bora Bora. I wonder if the IHG properties are also in such poor condition? We’ve come close, but never pulled the trigger on actually traveling there. Maybe in 2019?

    Oh, and you sure are picky.

  7. Apologies if you’ve already discussed this, but any chance you’ll be able to swing by the recently renovated Conrad? Have yet to see a comprehensive review of the property since it’s been updated.

  8. @Gene, The IHG Thalasso is very nice, I was there in 2015 and the condition of our overwater bungalow is very well maintained. Check out my blog for photos.

  9. I have been to French Polynesia twice and earlier this year I went to The Maldives and stayed at the Conrad Maldives. I much prefer Bora Bora like Ben pointed out beautiful scenery with a main island and mountain, unlike the flat Maldives. You are not stuck to one hotel so you can stay at different hotels and visit the main island for cheaper dining options. In terms of food prices, after the Maldives, I actually thought Bora Bora is reasonable. The $14 water at the Conrad Maldives plus a 23% service and tax on top of that OMG! Furthermore, I like the Polynesian culture and the overwater bungalow architecture that The Maldives lack of; the overwater villas there are too modern and concrete for my taste. Lastly, you can visit multiple French Polynesia islands with one flat rate while $500+ per island seaplane ride in The Maldives. Check out my blog for detailed comparison and photo trip reports.

  10. @Gene I was at the IHG Thalasso last month for 4 days. It’s a beautiful property, the service is great and the OTWs are in great condition. The only issue I had is the AC in the living room area was not cooling our first day and they went above and beyond to get it working properly.

  11. For anyone who thinks pizza can’t be good in the middle of an ocean, the pizza at Crust @ the St Reeg Maldives was superb and was probably the best pound for pound value for money/quality of food ratio on property. Quality ingredients, legit oven, on the beach…total diamond in the rough and seemingly not that hard to do, if you just put in a decent effort, which they did.

  12. @ VitaliU — I have to disagree there. People often travel here for 1-2 weeks. While the primary thing you’ll want to eat is fish (since you’re in the ocean), you don’t want to eat the same thing for lunch and dinner every day. So I expect a luxury resort to also have other good dishes, including burgers, club sandwiches, pizza, etc. Hotels consistently choose to have these, and if they do, I expect them to be decent. As noted by Wilson above, the St. Regis Maldives has exceptional pizza.

  13. Stayed in the Four Seasons Bora Bora a few years ago. Much much better condition rooms at FS, I can’t believe how poorly maintained that room is. Very cheap modern looking as well, FS feels a bit more Tahitian and timeless. I think I now have to see the SR Maldives myself. I thought it looks god awful in photos.

  14. WTF are those toppings on that poor pizza? Looks like cauliflower, carrots, olives and ???? No self-respecting Italian would be caught dead eating that abomination!

  15. @Wilson
    it’s not only about the quality (or lack thereof) but also about food being an important part of traveling and discovering new destinations. If I have 3-4 nights somewhere, I would see it as robbing myself of an opportunity to have something I cannot have back home if I ordered a pizza (unless I am in Naples, NYC or a couple other places in the world that DO make a good pizza).

  16. @ Donna — Hah, yeah, exactly. Ordered a vegetarian pizza, and was shocked by the toppings. The menu just described them as “seasonal vegetables.”

  17. @Lucky, let’s agree to disagree 🙂 Eating local does not mean eating the same thing. The most important thing about food is that it brings joy to the person eating it. If it means having a burger or a pizza on an island in the Pacific or Indian Ocean, so be it 🙂

  18. @ VitaliU — I don’t disagree about the eating local thing, but I think maybe what I’m not stressing enough is how few fish options there were. For example, for lunch the only options are in-room dining or the pool bar, and the only fish options are fish & chips (which is even less healthy than a pizza, in my opinion) and mahi mahi. That’s it. You’d think they’d have more fish options on the menu, since that’s literally the local specialty.

    So I’d agree with you if they had 10 fish options on the menu, but they don’t…

  19. I stayed at the StR Bora Bora two years ago and am very surprised how downhill the room condition seems to have gotten. We loved our stay at this resort and thought that we received St Regis level quality and service. The weather and guests in Bora Bora must wreak absolute havoc on the facilities. My room didn’t look like that!

  20. I wouldn’t expect pizza to be good at Bora Bora either lmao. St Regis or not, it’s not their specialty, fish is.

  21. Ben, I’m confused as to why you only compare these properties to SPG, and not Marriott? They’re one in the same now, or will be very soon. I don’t really think of this as an SPG property anymore, and never will.

  22. Completely agree with the comments on the maintenance of the property. We stayed in August and our room was just as “beat” as shown in Lucky’s pictures. And not just the furnishings, but the overall property needed major maintenance. Not sure how a GM can walk past broken landscape lights with wires hanging out of the ground at a $1,000 / night property.

    Lucky, did your room have any signs of termites? We found plenty of sawdust all around the room daily (thought it was sand at first) and realized on the final day when we actually saw the bugs.

    By far this was the most disappointing of ~20 St. Regis stays around the world. And one of the most expensive. HNA needs to plow some major capex into the property to bring it back up to standard.

  23. I stayed at the property in 2005 and it was a mess then. Sounds like nothing has gotten better. The location and the water were great. Service, food,etc were really lacking. Guests had to go the kitchen to find out where there food was.

  24. For 60,000 points per night that’s a rip-off. I would be asking for me money back with that shabby of hotel or they move me to the Le Meridien.

  25. We stayed 3 nights at over water villa 2 years ago, it was 1200.00 per night and a once in a lifetime experience. Our bungalow was in better shape than yours and the view and water was amazing. We found the food in the restaurants to be over priced and just so so in quality. We preferred going to the island to eat in some fine restaurants.

  26. We heard ad nauseam about how Hilton is “weak” in the department of “luxury” properties. It turns out that there is perfectly good reason why that was the case, but the company is now moving aggressively to make up for it, as described in this must-read piece in Forbes:

    “Hilton Worldwide Is Set To Become A Force In the Luxury Hotel Market”

    at this link: https://goo.gl/wGLoM1

    It turns out that “from 1967 until 2005 there was one name [Hilton] with two owners”: Hilton U.S, and Hilton International. The Conrad brand was launched because Hilton U.S. could not use the name “Hilton” for its overseas properties as that would have infringed on Hilton International’s intellectual property!

    “For Hilton Hotels Corp. its expansion in the international high-end market came at a snail’s pace. Its now luxury brand Conrad was simply U.S. Hilton’s way of going international not being able to use its own name. In the U.S., Hilton International tried used Vista International, although a marketing agreement between the two Hiltons in 1997 enabled Conrad to be repositioned into the luxury segment, a late start, but a start none-the-less.”

    Very, very interesting stuff. Anyway, “outdated” luxury properties like this St Regis is probably not how Hilton luxury hotels will be characterized soon since most are either still in the pipeline or just being opened as new…

  27. I recently returned here for the first time in six years. It’s my favourite hotel in the world.

    The scale of the property is just immense: it’s around 2 square kilometres in size.

    The public areas remain well-maintained but the rooms not so, for which there is an obvious explanation.

    The Tahitian entrepreneur Louis Wane first built the Bora Bora Nui (now Conrad), then built the St Regis as a bigger, better version.

    But the St Regis was sold on a couple of years ago to the Chinese HNA group. A company whose CEO fell to his death from a cliff in France five months ago as creditors began to circle.

    I’m just not certain that the owners have the capital to maintain a hotel whose size and level of luxury – combined with a very high French Polynesian minimum wage – give it such a high cost base.

    To put it in perspective, at the St Regis Maldives the staff probably each earn 20% of what the staff at St Regis Princeville did. And the staff at St Regis Bora Bora probably earn 40% more than the Princeville staff did.

    It’s not just the cost of imports. It’s labor costs too.

  28. Just back from Conrad Bora Bora Nui and that one is brand new, perfect condition
    I booked with points, got upgraded to Garden Villa Lagoon View and was awesome… in particular the bathroom
    If they made you pay 1000$/night then I would write them a serious letter to get a refund or at least a compensation!

  29. Excellent impressions @Lucky. You are 100% correct to call out hotel on bikes. It’s a safety issue.

    The condition of the furniture and table would make me angry as well. Yes the water and weather does have an impact on the condition of the property but that is why you have good maintenance staff.

  30. “the design style is very Tahitian”
    This design has never been Tahitian: it has always been like the”colonialism” point of vue of Tahiti is supposed to be defined by the French.
    Not a single house was like that before the colonialisation of Polynesia.

    Regarding food:
    Here also, it is a kind of every food has to come from metropolitan France.
    This is absurd: almost few quantity of food are produced locally.
    You will find probably the same issue in all the overseas French territories, from the west indies, la reunion to new caledonia.

    Thanks for this first review.
    That’s a shame and a disaster for diversity.

  31. The first time I went to those islands was 25 plus years ago and it rained 7 days straight.
    It was magnificent. I’ve been back many times and it was better that first time in the rain. It also hasn’t changed much.
    Sorry but for your money you can get better.
    This pics of the room are embarrassing.
    I want to say more things about this but I’m glad you’re pointing out the low points.

  32. It is interesting that DavidF pointed out the Chinese HNA purchase of StR Bora Bora – I must have stayed there before it was taken over…looks like there have been some changes!

    Bob – you are right about Tahitian design. If you want something truly Polynesian, you need to go to the Tuomotus or the Marquesas.

  33. We were there April this year and what you describe is what we experienced. Dated room (we got double upgrade to the mountain view villa from the base villa), mediocre and expensive food but the service was good. However due to construction issue on the next villa, we weren’t able to enjoy our villa so the hotel comped us one night and gave us free dinner for 2 nights. We would love to return and try the land villa instead of OWV since I think we have enough OWV experience in our life.. If you are still there, you should use their free boat shuttle service to the main island and they take you to the main part of the town with a bus and you can enjoy a nice lunch on the main island.

  34. I stayed at both the Four Seasons and the St. Regis (a week each) in an overwater bungalow (water view). The owb’s at the St. Regis were larger(probably the largest owb’s of any Polynesian hotel on average) and with a more local design (but not very local) but were much older. The Four Seasons had a more modern design, were smaller and newer. I also found not only the food much better at the Four Seasons but the way they spaced out their dining times and venues (it always seemed more intimate because there were fewer people at each restaurant even though both hotels were equally crowded). The St. Regis brought in a new veteranGM to turn things around, Richard Schilling (formerly of the Hotel Martinez in Cannes) but the owners were not willing to invest the amount needed to do this. Is the St. Regis Bora Bora a bad hotel? Absolutely not and I rated it an “A” compared to the Four Seasons “A+”. The new aspirational property, however, is the Brando(the same owner as the Intercontinental Tahiti), on private Tetiaroa Island, just off Tahiti, although is extremely expensive.

  35. I thought in order to keep luxury badges, hotels were required to reinvest a certain amount over a certain period so that this kind of thing doesn’t harm the brand. I know I read something recently about a Ritz Carlton or something that was considering changing brands because they didn’t want to live up to the strict reinvestment requirements. Is this not the case with St. Regis? I definitely think seeing a St. Regis in that state of disrepair would harm the brand.

  36. I was there last year and split my time between a beach villa and a 2 bedroom overwater villa with a pool. Lucky, did you find the mosquitos to be endemic at the land based villa? I did.

  37. great blog lucky, I like how you never lose your cool over just a few inconsistencies, and rather take the whole overall into consideration. Even if you did pay or use points that really should not be the difference between a great room and an outdated one. Being St. Regis, they should definitely look into their issues with the upkeep & maintenance, as I would never expect the furniture (or the upkeep of) to be so crappy! You are right, a slap of paint and a service on the bikes would make such a better impression on the guests. One thing I really find appalling is the price difference from view to non view! Thats just mind blowing (and budget breaking). What, do they think that they only service the VIP and Elite demopgraphic, and if so, do they think this demographic is going to be happy with this product when they have Conrad and others to compete with for less $$ . What about honeymooners and the hard workers who like to spend their hard earned cash on a little luxury now and again? Anyhow, its great to have lucky here for the heads up, and I like his non condescending and fair reviews.

  38. Just to expand on my earlier points.

    It must be over a mile from the land-based villas next to the spa to the overwater bungalows neatest to Bora Bora.

    This property spends a fortune on maintenance and running expenses.

    But the ultimate owners come from a different background and don’t seem to have the same eye for perfection as the previous owners, and seem blind to the shock to our systems of seeing bashed-up old pushbikes or damaged furniture in a $1500 per night room.

    Incidentally, the brief points loophole of 60,000 points per night is about to end.

    Up until now, you could always book an overwater bungalow for roughly $900 per night (90,000 XPF) by booking either the now discontinued SPG50 award or one of Starwood Hawaii’s 35% off rack plus fifth night free rates.

    But none of those exist since the Marriott takeover. This was always a much better property to earn points than burn them, but the lack of competitive rates since the Marriott takeover has been startling.

  39. Reminds me of Le Meridien in Mahe. Not kidding, it truly does, albeit more luxurious. It’s sad how faded some luxury hotels can get. I am in Saudi Arabia right now, and while the Park Hyatt in Jeddah is beautiful (mostly because new) most other luxury hotels here seem not to have been renovated since opening in the 70s/80s.

  40. Looking at that room I would be pissed if it was a motel 6. words cannot describe my mood if I flew 10 hours and wasted 60K points or over $300 a night. Just no excuse

  41. If anything, your review is too kind. There’s no excuse for the condition of your over water villa. Crossing this property off my list!

  42. You’ll love the Conrad then. The views aren’t as good from that area, and you’re a little bit further out of the way from the main island, but it’s been beautifully renovated, and I’d say it’s on par with some of the better hotels in the Maldives.

  43. Tres tres picky indeed 🙂

    @lucky, in all honesty, thank you for your reviews. Been following your blog since your high school days? Read it everyday 🙂

  44. Thanks for the review. I had almost booked it last month. But I see it is just bad. Even more considering the price. Generally FP is overpriced but they could at least keep up the appearance and maintain it. Glad I did not end up there. Not worth the money. Seems greed has set in and maintenance is not happening.

    Tell me, did you have to take the ‘mandatory shuttle” for another ripoff price or did you manage to skip that one?

  45. Visiting Chin Lee grocery store in town is a must when visiting Bora Bora irrespective of which hotel you stay at (we did the Conrad) — key to saving $$$ on drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and snack foods.

    Plus when you go in town you can get a reasonably cheap and decent lunch at Aloe Cafe. Won’t blow you away but virtually the same as what you get at the hotels for 1/4 the price.

  46. Hey Lucky, I totally agree with your review/comments! I visited Bora Bora in 2017 for my honeymoon and stayed at Four Seasons and St Regis. We found FS Bora Bora to be prettier, newer and nicer in terms of resort/room design and amenities, as well as F&B. The St Regis Bora Bora really does look and feel like a Le Meridien/ Sheraton property and is definitely not worth the price. IMHO, the best/most luxurious resort in Bora Bora is currently The FS (though even this is not really like the most luxurious FS/resort we’ve been to). If only there is the likes of an Aman in Bora Bora…(apparently Hotel Bora Bora is in the Aman grp but no news yet on the reopening of the previously closed resort?)

  47. You should know better to stay at the Four Seasons in Bora Bora and not the boring St Regis! (unless ur paying in points ofc).

    Also idk why bloggers loooove the St Regis Maldives, it just looks so boring and bland and the water filled with those reefs makes it look disgusting and not welcoming to swim in for people looking for crystal clear waters.

    Regardless, the condition this room is in and the lack of fish options are abysmal for the prices they charge.

  48. btw- hows the weather been? December is off season, supposed to be rainy and mosquito-filled. How has it been so far?

  49. And that’s why staying at Four Seasons Bora Bora is a much better choice than St Regis Bora Bora. That over the water bungalow looks appalling at St Regis. If I were paying insane amount of points or cash, I would be very disappointed! I guess in a way, you get what you pay for.

    For my money and time, Bora Bora is a much better choice than Maldives (I live in US West coast). Not only Bora Bora is much easier to get to, but I also like the culture aspect of the Bora Bora island; Maldives resorts you get none. In addition, i like looking at the every changing clouds around Otemanu.

    Maybe you should take your dad to The Brando instead. It’s even more magical than Bora Bora but in a different way…. like a mixture of Bora Bora and Maldives.

  50. Hi Ben, long time no chat. Longtime reader and corespondent. I know your focus is on points and miles redemptions, and I think you do a great job in that space, but as your travel tastes change and those of your long time readers does as well, it would be great to hear more about great properties around the world that you can get to with points, but once there where you might not want to redeem as part of a hotel program. I’m all for getting to somewhere exotic with SQ or LH or EK miles (or whatever is the best redemption at the time), but when I get there, I’d rather be at an Aman or a Six Senses than a Sheraton or even an outdated St Regis (e.g. Bora Bora) and would like to know what you think are the best options. Isn’t there somewhere else you would rather have stayed for this Bora Bor trip? I think points redemptions are best on airlines for F and J travel (whether you use direct or convertible points) and points for most hotels are generally not a good value compared to what you could get redeeming them for airfare or what you could get just paying for the hotel room. I’d be happy for you to prove me wrong, but I think airlines are always the best choice for redemptions. I don’t mean that the Park Hyatt Sydney might not be a good deal with points compared to cash, but isn’t using points to get to Sydney in F or J always a better idea?

  51. Hello,

    I was in an internship on this hotel and the treatment could not have gotten worse. We were staying in a horrible accommodation full of cockroaches and all types of bugs. Food was very bad as well.
    We were about to have an hurricane (3 years ago) and management told us that our accommodation could not resist it and they just told us to go and find some place to stay if it’s happening . I wanted to resign (it was an internship but I couldn’t stand anymore) and they basically told me to take my stuff and go to the street. They knew I had a flight in 15 days and they didn’t want me to work till then. I said I didn’t have a place to stay at as in Bora Bora everything is super expensive and they told me that I would sleep very well in the street. Thanks God I knew someone who was from my country and was the owner of a diving company and she let me sleep at her place.
    Yeah the St Regis Bora Bora is amazing, but they treat employees like sh*t, specially interns.
    If you need proof of all this let me know.

  52. If you ar picky I am ultra picky. I would have left, beeing given a shaby room like this. No joke. Even if losing money I’d have done this.

    Bora bora reminds me a bit of st lucia

  53. Stayed here in 2017 on my honeymoon.

    Hotel definitely needs some TLC but service was very good. Food was okay depending on which restaurant you went too. Breakfast, Lagoon, Sushi was excellent.

    La Villa Mahana was the best meal we had on the island and in French Polynesia.

    We also stayed at the Hilton on Mo’orea and found the staff to care more. There was constant cleaning and maintenance being done to the public areas. The locals who worked there took a lot of pride in their jobs.

    You also need to remember people work on island time here and things happen at a much slower pace!

  54. If I am paying $1000 per night plus the expensive food I would definitely complain to death about the condition of the hotel regardless the island is beautiful.

  55. Many Tahiti regulars, me included, miss the Club Med Bora Bora, which closed in 2009. I stayed at the beautifully-situated property during several trips to Polynesia and appreciated the fact that all meals were included in the rates. And what meals they were! The mostly French guests demanded – and received – truly exceptional cuisine, along with complimentary red and white house wines.

    Both the Club Med Bora Bora and the Hotel Bora Bora (which closed in 2008 and was the first property on the island built with over-water bungalows) are still spoken of with great fondness by those who live on Bora Bora, as well as those travelers who knew the island before the arrival of the large chain hotels.

  56. Bora Bora is beautiful. We have never actually stayed on land since one can park a yacht and enjoy the island. I guess a tourist destination such as this come with wear and tear to the properties, so we are glad that we lived out of our yacht and came to land for enjoying the island only.

  57. VERY helpful post and comments – just crossed this property off my list of possibilities. Looking to the Conrad.

  58. Not surprised. I have never been to any big chain property (Marriott/SPG, HH, IHG, etc) where I have been completely satisfied with the room and or property. As a result, I prefer to stay with boutique hotels or with more exclusive chains such as the Oberoi, Taj, Four Seasons or Aman. The downside is the lack of properties worldwide to use points, but on the plus side – I have always been thoroughly pleased.

    At Bora Bora, the Four Seasons is highly recommended by my family. A true gem.

  59. Stayed at the Thalasso for six nights on our honeymoon in 2015 and while I seem to recall some minor room maintenance issues nothing like what you’ve shown. I also felt the food there to be average to exceptional. The fine dining restaurant at Thalasso was great as was breakfast. The Reef and Sands restaurants were average to good.

    Wish you had a chance to stay at th Thalasso to relive it through your eyes but oh well!

    Agree with someone before about Villa Mahana being amazing, one of my favorite meals ever. Even saw Jason Bateman there he was in Bora Bora for Jennifer Anistens honeymoon or wedding they all stayed at the FS.

    Would definitely love to go back one day but Thalasso is much harder to get on points these days!

  60. Oh and also experienced some badly damaged walls in our room at the StR Osaka in 2014…maybe their standards aren’t as high as other brands?

  61. I can’t believe the people calling Lucky picky in this review… this is a very high priced property.

    We stayed here for our honeymoon last year. I agree with everything in Lucky’s review. It wasn’t a perfect property, but the experience was magnificent. I too was surprised and slightly disappointed by the poor repair and general worn look of the room (we had an over water villa facing the mountain); one thing in particular I noticed just like Lucky was the very badly scratched and sometimes warped hardwood floors. But, the whole experience was of total and complete relaxation, and I would recommend it to anyone wanting a getaway like this. I can’t describe the feeling of relaxing on the back patio of the villa facing the mountain, dipping into the crystal clear water for a few minutes and getting right back up on the private patio. Incredible…

  62. Has anyone had any luck booking 60k/night rewards?? I’ve been checking religiously since the merger and haven’t had any luck. The only Bora Bora property showing is LeMeridian. Worried that I’m running out of time until the rate kicks up to 85k/night 🙁

  63. @Donny, yes I booked 2 nights within the first week of the merger by calling and via the Marriott app. The website had issues back then redirecting to SPG website and then the point rate disappeared, not sure if that’s still an issue. I booked another 2 nights at the Le Meridien by calling to use my Ritz free night certificate all worked out 🙂

  64. $30 for a cocktail. This is exactly why I would never stay here even if using points. For a party of two you are going to spend hundreds of dollars a day just to eat and have some drinks by the pool or on the beach.

  65. Umm… @Lucky, what’s with all the shade to the Le Méridien brand? I can understand the rundown Sheraton comparisons, but in the legacy SPG portfolio, LM has been undergoing a lot of change over the last few years to create a unified brand image and has been quite successful at it in many ways, so I’m curious as to why you allude to it so negatively.

  66. @Donny, booked 5 nights on points about three weeks ago. Currently shows good availability due to migration to Marriott reservation system.

    While I was very excited when I managed to book it, I am not sure I want to stay there after Lucky’s review. I am very picky and prefer to skip the vintage “charm”.

    Been to Conrad Bora Bora Nui and absolutely loved how new the hotel felt. And the bikes were actually pretty good. 🙂

    Good luck with your travels.

  67. Excellent blog. Am currently staying here, and must say this article is a real eye opener. I thought there was something wrong with me as this place just doesn’t live up to the hype. I have made them aware of the frustrations, but I doubt if anything will be done. Such a disappointing experience.

    I too am very picky. Will have to speak to AMEX FHR when I go home.

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