French Polynesia

Bora Bora 2021 – Le Bora Bora

The first resort of our Bora Bora resort hopping – Le Bora Bora by Pearl Resorts. Once we landed Bora Bora airport, we proceed to the Le Bora Bora counter where ladies received a crown and guys a lei. We tagged our luggage and onboard Le Bora Bora’s boat to the resort; the one-way transfer fee was 4000 XPF (~$40 USD) per person.

So glad to be back to Bora Bora, look at that eye-blinding turquoise, crystal clear water!

Le Bora Bora is located on the backside of Mount Otemanu and the two peaks can be clearly seen from this angle.

After a short boat ride and we arrived at the Le Bora Bora, ahhhh the overwater bungalows, how much I miss those!

We were greeted by the check-in receptionist who walked us to the main lobby building not far from the dock. We were seated and offered a chilled glass of juice with a piece of pineapple. The juice was sour so not my liking. The receptionist came and provided us with forms to fill and sign for the check-in process. When asked for our passports to make photocopies, Judy and her boyfriend realized they lost their passports!!!! They had them when boarding the flight at Tahiti airport so must be dropped either in Tahiti, the plane, or Bora Bora airport. The front desk personnel helped to call Bora Bora airport and we didn’t hear back from them until the check-out day (2 days later) that they found them at Bora Bora airport, phew!

The map of the resort, it’s a smaller resort compared to the others we had stayed before – St. Regis, Intercontinental Bora Bora Thalasso. Our room number was 219, Judy’s was 218, and Peter and Jeffrey was 220 as they booked the last pool overwater villa for one night.

Our room 219, the rooms were recently renovated so with great lighting and in great condition. The room is not as big as other 5* resorts (no separate living room) but still clean and comfortable.

The toiletries were local brand and they were okay.

The deck was okay in size with a net to sit on.

We had the view of Mount Otemanu from our deck, that was when I realized we got upgraded to a higher category room – Otemanu Overwater Bungalows versus Lagoon Overwater Bungalows that we paid for. I think the difference was like $50-$100 per night. I guess I requested for our 3 rooms to be close together and since Peter and Jeffrey booked the Pool Overwater Bungalows, the Otemanu Overwater Bungalows were next to it.

Our bungalows were almost the end of the pontoon so you can see the separation of shallow and deep water by the different shades of blue. Even though we were almost the end of the pontoon, the water level here is still shallow; Peter and them can walk from their overwater bungalow to ours on water, chest level. However, it was super windy, I heard it’s normal for August to be windy. We had been to French Polynesia during December, January, and March, and compared to those months, it was cooler, less humid but too windy in my opinion.

Welcome gift with pastries.

Also, our rate included free daily minibar refill – a can of coke, lemon soda, Rotui pineapple juice (I so wish for their mango juice instead), a beer, bottled water, a bounty chocolate bar, a pack of M&Ms and coffee capsules.

After we settled down, we headed out for lunch. Due to the pandemic, only the Miki Miki Bar & Grill was open for lunch and the Otemanu Restaurant was open for dinner. The hotel pool but who needs the pool when you have the crystal clear lagoon next to it 😉

I was surprised to see many guests during the lockdown, perhaps the resort is smaller scale so the guests were not as spread out as other resorts. Le Bora Bora definitely has more younger couples, I guess the price point attracts younger crowds.

Open-air Miki Miki Bar & Grill below. I contacted the hotel for the menus, you can view the menus and resort information via this dropbox link.

The Polynesian raw fish starter for 2600 XPF. I didn’t try it since it has raw fish but I heard it was just okay.

An expensive salad with shrimps for 3000 XPF!

Jeffrey wanted something healthy so he ordered the Wellness Bowl with vermicelli for 2700 XPF and he said so not worth it!

Peter ordered the pizza for 3250 XPF. The pizza was the most filling for the price!

Jason ordered the grilled steak from the weekend grill menu, it was almost well done instead of medium rare.

I ordered the cheese burger for 2300 XPF, it was nothing spectacular for that price!

Overall, the food at Miki Miki Bar & Grill was edible, a little bit cheaper than in other resorts but still expensive for the quality…..our lunch of two main entrees and two mango juices for 10,050 XPF! At least the taxes and service charges are included in the price of the dish so no extra tips unless extraordinary service is provided.

After lunch, while the rest of the group check out the gift shops next to the lobby, Jason and I went to take photos of the resort. The walkway to the overwater bungalows with the view of the back of Mount Otemanu.

The resort’s coral garden in between the two pontoons, not much variety of fishes and the corals weren’t as colorful.

We went back to our room for photos on our deck with an awesome view of Mount Otemanu. Jason creatively modified my all-green crown with a red flower from the floral decorations on our hotel bed LOL, much better!

Then, we went over to Peter and Jeffrey’s room where they have the Pool Overwater Bungalow. The room interior is the same as ours, the difference is the deck with the pool and smaller net.

After 3 PM, the angle of the sun made the watercolor not as pretty for photos so I recommend that you take all the photos from 10 AM – 3 PM and then do other activities if photography is important to you. We relax and chill out after the photos 🙂

For dinner, we went to Otemanu Restaurant. Le Bora Bora also offers a meal plan for a 3-course dinner for 7203 XPF + 10% taxes, it doesn’t save you that much compared to a la carte. The free oyster as an amuse-bouche, I couldn’t eat it since it was raw and I am not an oyster fan. Jason had it, he said was salty.

For the appetizer, I ordered the dumpling filled with lobster and soup. OMG it came out to be one dumpling and it cost like 2500 XPF what a rip-off! The taste was bland.

For my main course, I ordered the Asian-style duck breast with crispy sesame stir-fried noodle for 4000 XPF. The duck breast was dry, the sauce was too strong that it covered the duck’s taste. The stir-fried noodle was only a few bites and nothing crispy about it.

Meanwhile, Jason ordered the lamb rack and it was just okay.

The total for our dinner: 10,750 XPF!

Breakfast was also included in our room rate and it was buffet style at the Otemanu Restaurant. They set up a room for the buffet where guests need to wear their masks to enter. They provided separate scooping utensils for each guest to use. The milk and juice counter has coconut milk, cream, soy milk, juice of the day (no mango juice so sad), and a variety of yogurt in different flavors. The coconut milk, we suspect, made Jason has diarrhea. I got the soy milk and it was sour geez, thankfully, I took a small sip first! I asked the waitress if they have mango juice and a plain “no” instead of going extra effort; for sure the resort has mango juice!

Not many tropical fruits as we hoped, they don’t even have mango!

Cold cuts:

Salad station:

Japanese seaweed salad (that was the best of the food) and smoked fish:

The croissants were at least tasted freshly baked, that was what I rely on to get full, other food was just bad!

Limited hot options – the hash browns were soggy so we waited for the next refill.

My breakfast plate….I fill myself up with the croissants.

I tried the lychee-flavored yogurt, it was the first time I have seen in lychee flavor. It was runny but it has the lychee taste.

After the not-so-interesting breakfast, the lighting was great for photos so we went around the resort to take photos.

Someone was ordering the canoe breakfast, I felt bad for the staff to paddle in such a windy day, it was more windy than yesterday.

We first took photos at Jeffrey and Peter’s room since they need to checkout and re-check into another room by 11 AM.

The wind was so strong that the water in the pool was flying everywhere, they couldn’t even enjoy dipping in the pool. Luckily, they did all their pool photos yesterday.

I went over to Judy’s deck so Jason can take a photo from Peter’s room.

Then, we headed over to the room 300s branch of the pontoon for photos.

In general, I don’t like the layout/shape of the overwater bungalow pontoons in Le Bora Bora as they block the mountain view from many angles. Lots of other resorts have the “Y” layout to not obstruct the mountain view on the walkways.

The nicest thing about Le Bora Bora compared to other resorts is its beach where they have softer (I wouldn’t call it powdery) white sand.

Lots of coconut trees and islands (motu) as the backdrop.

Since the lockdown, resorts added extra activities to entertain guests such as flower crown making. We participated in that and it was interesting to learn how to make flower crowns with traditional Polynesian techniques – wrapping and securing the flowers/leaves with a string around a base made from coconut leaf. They only supply the leaves and the white flower so the “flower” crown didn’t look as colorful. Who did a better job, Jason or I? 🙂

Lunch at Miki Miki Bar & Grill again, yikes, thankfully we only stayed 2 nights; we already ran out of choices! I ordered the pizza for 3250 XPF which I couldn’t finish myself.

Jason ordered the grilled sirloin steak with rice as a side for 3200 XPF, it was not as good as the grilled steak yesterday.

The total for our lunch, cheaper than the day before: 6450 XPF. Then, we continued to take photos over the resort…the coral garden area.

After the photos, we hang out at our deck while they went snorkeling and dipping in the water. Time flies when you are in paradise, sunset time again that we hoped for a colorful tropical sunset in this trip. Some colors but not spectacular.

Then, there was a rainbow!

For dinner, it was a Monday which the resort has a Polynesian Buffet Dinner with Folkloric show every Monday. It was 7627 XPF + 10% taxes per person. I guess due to the lockdown, there was no Polynesian dance performance; only 3 guys playing music and singing songs.

The buffet food….same location as the breakfast buffet in a room where mask is required.

Fruits station, no mango!

Different types of salad and rice:

Poisson cru (raw fishes):

Salad and rice on the other side of the salad station:

Seafood dishes…

The dessert selection was disappointing and not good!

Being a French cuisine restaurant, I can make better creme brulee so that tells you something about the quality 🙁

Same fruit choices as breakfast:

The 3 guys singing and playing music:

The cooked food station has steak, chicken, and fish curry. The meat was dry, the roasted potatoes almost no taste, it was such a big disappointment for the price we paid…total 18,300 XPF for the two of us!

The hotel lobby at night, the Otemanu Restaurant is located upstairs.

After dinner, I went out to check out the sky at around 11 PM, and the Milkyway was visible right above our room!

So dreamy and magical!

The next morning, right after breakfast, we walked to the spa and garden villa area which has a lake filled with waterlilies.

Time for check-out and I checked our final bill….they mistakenly charged us the roundtrip transfer instead of one-way. I pointed that out and they corrected it right away so always double-check the final bill at check out. It’s easier to resolve issues there than afterward. The total for our 2-night stay (food, one-way boat transfer, and Go Green and city tax) was 54,750 XPF!

The Four Seasons boat arrived to pick us up! I have arranged the transfer with the Four Seasons as our rate included the airport transfer and they didn’t charge us extra. They also stopped by the airport to pick up Judy and her boyfriend’s passports before coming to pick us up, how nice!

The total cost of our 2-night stay: hotel room $2,580 booked via Hotels.com (Hotels.com has a reward program that gives 1 night free for every 10-night stay, basically 10% back. Sometimes they have special promotions like getting an extra “night” or an extra 5% off plus collecting the nights. So for this 2-night stay, I collected 3 nights). Food, one-way boat transfer, and Go Green and city tax total was 54,750 XPF, around $547.50.

My ratings of Le Bora Bora by Pearl Resorts (1 bad to 5 excellent):

  1. Service – 3, the check-in process was professional that they bring the paperwork to you, the service at the restaurants was prompt but when I asked for mango juice at breakfast, I got a “no” instead of going the extra mile to fulfill my request.
  2. Facility – 4, newly renovated rooms, clean and maintained, sanitizers are available in public areas such as the lobby and restaurants.
  3. Food – 2, breakfast was bad with limited choices and spoiled sour soy milk, lunch and dinner food were bland, small portion besides the pizza but at least edible. However, Jason got diarrhea.
  4. Photo ops – 3, picturesque beach, shallow water, the walkway view of Mount Otemanu is obstructed by the overwater bungalows, small resort so limited photo spots.
  5. Activity – 3, we only participated in the flower crown making and it was okay. The house coral looked okay but not as much fish nor colors.

My recommendation: for first-timer to Bora Bora with budget constraints, Le Bora Bora is a good choice to experience the overwater bungalows and have views of Mount Otemanu, shallow water and with okay snorkeling. Hopefully, by then no more lockdown so you can take the resort shuttle to Bora Bora town and have better and cheaper food there. If you have limited days in Bora Bora, I would definitely recommend staying at other resorts. And if you are staying at multiple resorts, go Le Bora Bora first otherwise your expectation would be much higher after other better resorts 😉

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