French Polynesia

Bora Bora 2021 – Four Seasons Bora Bora

The 2nd resort of our Bora Bora hopping – the famous Four Seasons Bora Bora. Their boat is spacious and comfortable!

In 15 minutes or so, we arrived at the Four Seasons Bora Bora, I much preferred the view of Mount Otemanu from this side of the lagoon.

Once the boat docked, we were greeted by the check-in receptionist and their check-in “lobby” is just next to the dock, quite convenient.

All the check-in paperwork were brought to us, the resort required a 10,000 xpf deposit (not a hold on the credit card but actually charged the credit card which I haven’t seen hotels do this for a long time). We got a postcard map of the resort and our room keys – room 410. Judy got room 408 and Peter got room 412; our rooms were next to each other as I requested in advance and located on the east pontoon.

Once we were done with the check-in process, two golf carts were waiting for us and the hotel staff gave us a tour of the resort. Right outside the reception area is the activity center with a ping pong table and a nice view of the overwater bungalows and mountain as backdrop.

All the restaurants and shops are located on the west side (right side of this picture). The resort grounds and landscapes are beautifully maintained!

There’s a bridge on the left side of the reception area to get to the east side of the resort but for pedestrians walking only. The golf carts need to drive this big loop around the lagoon to the chapel to the east side. The chapel:

We pass by the lagoon where the resort’s house reef located:

Then, we got to the overwater bungalows of the east pontoon…

The boardwalk of the east pontoon does not have a direct view of Mount Otemanu.

We got dropped off at the entrance of our room and our luggage came shortly after. However, the rest of our group’s luggage was “lost”. We couldn’t believe how they can lose the rest of the luggage when our group arrived together on the same boat with no other guests! Anyways, the luggage was found and delivered later that afternoon.

Our Superior Suite, 1 Bedroom, Beach View overwater bungalow consisted of a spacious living room. The furniture was all wood, looked high-end, and matched the Polynesian decors in the room.

On the living room table were the welcome drinks – a fresh coconut (yum) and a bottle of champagne with pastries.

The minibar table:

On the table was a small bottle of hand sanitizer (very watery, not the gel kind), face masks, wipes, laundry detergent pods (yes they have free washing machines and dryers throughout the resorts for guests to use, how convenient especially to dry up your swimwear) and a discount card for shopping at the Tahia pearl shop located within the resort.

The living room table and the sofa:

Next to the living room is the bathroom and the doors to the outside deck.

I like their cute do not disturb sign:

The bathroom where two vanity sinks located opposite to each other. The shower room is on the left side and the toilet is on the right side. There is also a small glass floor where you can see the lagoon beneath (but no fish).

There was a piece of soap and lotion in a refillable glass bottle. I tried to pour some out and it was a pain, the only way to get the lotion out was sticking your finger into it. Oh gosh, imagine how many people have done that and do I trust that the hotel empties out and disinfects the glass bottle in between each guest stay? I doubt it! Oh geez, it is disgusting! I understand that hotels want to be so-called environmental-friendly (at the end of the day, it’s all about cost-saving) but this is totally unacceptable especially during a pandemic! Just gross!

The resort also provided a free bottle of insect repellent spray, that tells how many bugs are at night (common in tropical places). I didn’t use that bottle so not sure how effective it is since I brought my own – the Moustidose brand that was first introduced to me at a pharmacy in Bora Bora on our first trip years ago.

The shower room:

Again, the gross glass bottles. I am surprised they don’t install those wall dispensers kind with a lock. Look at the shower gel, it’s not even full so either it has been used previously or housekeeping didn’t refill it to full level – yuck!!! I couldn’t believe I paid over $1500 per night and got those toiletries, what a big disappointment on Four Seasons! I should’ve called housekeeping if they have the plastic one-time-use bottles but I forgot! I ended up using the ones I brought from Santorini.

The toilet room:

The bath tub:

Then, after the bathroom is the bedroom in which the bed faces the deck/lagoon. The matress was comfortable!

In the closet, there’s a beach tote but it looked cheaply made, not what I expected from a Four Seasons:

The deck with panels for extra privacy but made the deck look much smaller. The railings looked old.

The overwater bungalow on the right side was Peter/Jeffrey’s room. The water current was super strong and there was no coral nor fish so not good for snorkeling right off from the deck.

Right outside our room entrance is the view of Mount Otemanu.

There are huts like this scattered on the boardwalk so the golf cart can pull into to let another golf cart in the opposite direction go as the boardwalk can’t fit two carts.

We walked out for lunch and it was a long walk so after that time, we always call a buggy. The phone in our room didn’t work but luckily Four Seasons created an app during the pandemic to enable contactless services. It is a brilliant idea and the response was very prompt!

The resort’s lagoon, it is better for snorkeling than our deck.

The hotel’s dock and lobby on the right.

Another section of the resort’s lagoon and a little beach:

The activity center hut:

Playing ping-pong while with this view?

The west pontoon rooms are much better located, close to everything and with better Mount Otemanu views!

The ice cream and snack food truck but only opens at certain time in the afternoon.

Another beach area:

The main/bigger beach is next to the resort’s pool. The sand is not white powdery soft though!

The main hotel pool is very nice but always with a lot of guests except for early morning.

There was only one restaurant opened for lunch – Fare Hoa Beach Bar & Grill. I ordered the Crispy Moorea Shrimp Wrap served with a mixed green salad for 3600 xpf. It tasted okay but only two or so shrimps 🙁 Jason ordered chicken wings for 2500 xpf, at least the portion was big for an appetizer. The wings tasted much better.

The Evian bottled water – 900 xpf.

After lunch, we walked around the resort for photos. The main beach area again, it has a little island that you walk to it (arm water level).

We walked back to our east pontoon, the private beach on the side for those staying at those bigger land villas but no one ever there!

The east pontoon with partial view of Mount Otemanu on the right side.

Only the rooms on the right side of the east pontoon have views of Mount Otemanu.

The beach on the right side of the east pontoon, hardly anyone there.

We walked to check out the chapel…

The view inside the chapel – Mount Otemanu was partially covered by the resort huts and palm trees.

Sunset time but not much color 🙁

For dinner, we went to Arii Moana, the resort’s French with Mediterranean influence cuisine, where we made advance reservations. We had to wear masks to walk into the restaurant and then right out to the table located on the outside facing the resort’s lagoon. After we placed our order, we waited over 45 minutes for our food – not even bread was served! No apology from the waitress, no explanation, no service at all! We were shocked by the lack of service at this restaurant – it does not live up to the Four Seasons’ standard!!!

The food finally came….Judy ordered a roasted whole chicken to share and it was the most expensive roasted chicken ever – 11000 xpf! It wasn’t that big to share LOL!

Jason and I both ordered a steak for 5000 xpf each. The portion looked big but mines came out dry….I asked for well-done but shouldn’t be this overcooked:( Whereas for Jason, he ordered medium-rare and ended up getting a well-done steak as well! It was not acceptable for a 5* resort never mind a Four Seasons! Jason waited and we had to wave to get the waitress’ attention to let her know. She apologized, took it back, and said have to wait another 15 minutes. 15 minutes later……he got a medium steak, he gave up! Seriously how hard is it to cook a steak right? Even Jason can do better!!!

Peter ordered a grilled lobster for 10500 xpf and look at the size….only a tail for over $100 OMG! It didn’t even taste good, it was too salty geez, he rather they just boil it and serve with melted butter!

Our dinner was super disappointing, with bad service and bad food! We were expecting much more from a Four Seasons!

At around 10 PM, I walked outside of our bungalow to check out the Milky Way…wow it was just above our bungalow and Mount Otemanu, perfect!

Our first night at the Four Seasons Bora Bora – disappointing besides the hotel grounds 🙁

The next morning, we got ready by 7 AM to take photos at the main pool area. Early in the morning is the only time that those individual huts next to the main pool are vacant for photos and there are like 5 huts only. People tend to leave a book or towel to “save” the huts for the rest of the day.

After some photos, we headed over to Tere Nui for breakfast. Breakfast was included with our rate and we were seated immediately. Service was more prompt here than last night at Arii Moana. Masks are required at the buffet area to get food. There is a drink station with fresh coconuts, wow!!!

Fruits – watermelon and pineapple but no mango 🙁 I guess not mango season?

Milk and juices in individual glass bottles – pineapple and mango, yay finally my favorite Rotui mango juice!!

Cold cuts and cheese:

Chia pudding with almond milk, it was good!

Yogurt station, I didn’t try it:

Breads and croissants are freshly baked.

Some hot items such as scrambled eggs, sausages, bacon, etc. No Asian selection though.

Bread and toaster:

Limited hot dishes but there was a separate made-to-order menu, it’s also included with the breakfast rate. Breakfast but obstructed view.

I ordered the spicy frittata sandwich which consisted of an egg frittata, bacon, avocado and chipotle sauce on an English muffin. It was good. Jason ordered an omelet.

Breakfast was the best meal out of all the meals we had at the Four Seasons, how sad is that?

After breakfast, we continued to have photos over the resort. We went back to the main pool area again but this time with Peter and Jeffrey so they can help us to take photos of us two.

We went to the activity hut where they got the stand-up paddling boards. They also provide free sunscreen at the activity hut and at the beach hut. However, the good smelling and lotion type of sunscreen (the same one as at the St. Regis) only available at the activity hut. The ones at the beach hut are mineral kind and hard to rub. I had a travel-size bottle in my purse that I filled up there. The guy at the activity hut even helped me to fill the bottle as the pump was kind of hard. Also, when he saw me grab a paper cup to get water from the water dispenser, he asked if I would like a bottle instead. 5* service there!

They paddled over to the small beach so I can take photos of them. Wish I can join them but I was pregnant so have to be cautious 🙁

They headed off to the resort manmade lagoon:

Meanwhile, Jason and I went to the west pontoon overwater bungalows for photos.

The boardwalk at the west pontoon has better views of Mount Otemanu, I recommend the west over the east pontoon – better views and closer to shops and restaurants. If you are going to stay at the Four Seasons Bora Bora – ask for a room on the west pontoon!

The crew finished their stand-up paddling and they joined us for photos. Much better weather than yesterday with blue sky and white clouds.

When we got back to our room to rest, we saw an overwater bungalow getting a roof replaced! Interesting to see how they assembled the roof in a Polynesian way!

Another photo right outside our room:

For lunch, we decided to order room service since more choices than Fare Hoa, the restaurant we had lunch the day before. Delivery charge was 1900 xpf not too bad when splitting between 6 of us. I ordered the butter makhani chicken with jasmine rice for 4600 xpf and Jason ordered the wings again for 2500 xpf. The chicken was on the salty side whereas Jason’s wings were a complete disaster, look at how burned they were! Another disappointing meal…

We were planning to participate in the perfume class (one of the free hotel activities they offered that day) at 3 PM at the gift shop. We got there and found out it was a smelling class instead of making your own perfume so we opted out. We walked over to the food truck (open hours 2:30 to 4:30 PM) for ice cream but the coconut ice cream already sold out! Judy ordered the raspberry flavor instead and it wasn’t good. Right after they took Judy’s order, they ran out of cones LOL. It was only 3 something, not even an hour after they open and they already run out!

Disappointment again, Jason and I went back to our room while the rest of the crew did more snorkeling.

For dinner, we made a reservation at their Asian restaurant – Vaimiti where we celebrate Nghia’s birthday. I ordered udon noodles stir-fried with carrot, cabbage, red onion, and spring onion for 3200 xpf. All I can taste was soy sauce!!!! It was hardly edible 🙁

Jason ordered the Cantonese stir-fried beef with jasmine rice for 4,900 xpf; one of their “chef’s signature dish”. It was so salty that even having it with jasmine rice; you can’t taste anything besides the saltiness of the soy sauce. Can I walk into their kitchen and cook my food? OMG unbelievable! It was the worst Chinese meal I ever had, it was that bad!

The only thing good – the coconut ice cream.

The strawberry ice cream was good too but coconut was the best.

Our not edible dinner – 10800 xpf for both of us. I rather have cup noodles! After dinner, we took turns to do our laundry. We planned to stay at the Four Seasons for Nghia’s birthday, thinking it should be the best resort for the special occasion. If we knew the food was that bad, we would’ve stayed at St. Regis and saved the Four Seasons at last to do laundry.

Stargazing time again!!!

Our last morning at the Four Seasons, I did wake up for the sunrise.

Laundry huts with a washer and dryer at several locations throughout the pontoon!

The roof was almost done…

We headed out for breakfast after the sunrise photos.

This time, I ordered the French toast, I like the egg frittata sandwich better.

After breakfast, Jason decided to walk over to the small island with our camera to take photos.

Shortly after I sat down on a beach chair waiting for Jason to walk over, the beach/pool boy came over with two bottles of cold water and beach towels! Now that’s service!

As he was walking over, I heard a very loud noise coming from a plane. I couldn’t believe what I saw – a plane heading directly above the overwater bungalows, it was so low that I thought it will crash on the resort!!!

I screamed “Jason, Jason!!!” and he had no idea what I was screaming about until he saw the plane flew over right in front of him! He did manage to capture some photos….see how low that plane was?

Jason finally made it to the small island.

With views like this:

Next, since he was already wet, we went over to the activity hut to get the stand-up paddleboard for photos.

But he fell (I should’ve known this, he always falls when we do stand-up paddling) and he got two cuts on his feet sigh!

Therefore, he couldn’t do much walk so I went with Jeffrey to check out other sections of the resort – the spa area. The view from the spa area:

The right side is the resort’s gym facing the ocean side.

With not much to see, we walked back.

Our transfer to St. Regis was at noon so we checked out by 11:30 to settle our bills. The total for our 2-night stay: $3,098.01 for the room which I booked via to get 2-night stamps and the food and room taxes – 37,200 xpf. The resort gave a special COVID-19 credit since our stay was during the lockdown for 100 Euros per room per night (11,933 xpf) which brought our bill down to 13,334 xpf (around $133.34). Our stay at the Four Seasons was almost the same as Le Bora Bora, hard to believe that!!!

We were ready to go, we made sure our luggage was loaded onto the boat, and the staff gave us a shell necklace as a goodbye gift. Then, another staff came into the boat and gave us iced cold water and a towel, great service! They waved goodbye as our boat was departing, goodbye Four Seasons!

My ratings of Four Seasons Bora Bora (1 bad to 5 excellent):

  1. Service – 4, the check-in process was professional that they bring the paperwork to you, we were given a hotel tour on a golf cart, requests via the app were promptly answered, great service at the beach/pool and activity huts. The 1 star was dropped by the lack of service at Arii Moana unfortunately.
  2. Facility – 4, beautiful hotel grounds, landscaping and well maintained. Nice layout of the overwater bungalow and furnishing. My only complaint was the deck area that looked small and old.
  3. Food – 2, breakfast was the best, all other meals were not edible except the first lunch we had. Very disappointed on the food quality!
  4. Photo ops – 4, few different beaches with different angles of Mount Otemanu, beautiful landscaping and hotel grounds especially the pool and the huts next to the pool for photos. It’s not a 5 because the east pontoon does not have the direct view of Mount Otemanu from the boardwalk.
  5. Activity – 4, plenty of paddle boards and water sport equipments. We didn’t participate in other free activities since we opted out of the perfume class as it wasn’t what we thought it is.

My recommendation: beautiful resort for photos but unfortunately the food was so bad. I couldn’t believe how it get highly rated without complaints about the food quality. We expected better from a Four Seasons!

2 thoughts on “Bora Bora 2021 – Four Seasons Bora Bora

  1. From everything I’ve read, the FS is *the* iconic property in Bora Bora. Given that recognition, and its high price point, the shortcomings you mention in your review are disappointing and concerning. I’m hoping that the renovations at Le Meridien will be spectacular, since it’s supposed to have the best location of all. Maybe it will be a contender?? Thanks again!

    1. Even Le Meridien is under renovation, I think their rooms will be still on the smaller side based on what I saw when we pass by. I would choose the IHG Thalasso over Le Meridien.

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