French Polynesia

Bora Bora 2021 – St. Regis

From the Four Seasons to St. Regis only took like 5 minutes as they are next to each other.

We are back to St. Regis again! Our butler, Paul, is Chinese and he greeted us at the dock. We walked over to the lobby to check-in. Unlike Le Bora Bora or the Four Seasons where we were seated and the receptionist brought over the paperwork to us, it was the typical hotel chain check-in desk that we stand and sign the paperwork. I reserved two rooms with points for Jason, Peter, Jeffrey, and myself and they were only 70,000 points per night per room. When we visited back in 2019, the rooms were 60,000 points when Starwoods was merged to Marriott and the cap was 60,000 points. Since then, they had introduced category 8 (the highest) and off-peak/standard/peak chart. 70,000 points per night is off-peak for category 8 hotels so it was a good deal considering the cash value for the Reef side Garden Villa room for $2000+ per night. In addition, one of our rooms was automatically upgraded to an overwater villa due to my gold status. Judy reserved her room with points too and it went up to peak pricing at 100,000 points per night! I constantly check for the rate and one day I saw it went down to standard pricing at 85,000 points per night, I told Judy to call and they adjusted and refunded her the 30,000 points for two nights 😉 Her room also got upgraded to an overwater villa due to her gold status. I emailed the hotel to let them know that 6 of us are traveling together and if they can have our rooms close together. Guess what, the hotel upgraded my other room to an overwater bungalow as well so that our rooms can be close together! Sweet, extra effort pays off and never hurt to ask 😀

I got room 319, Peter and Jeffrey 317, and Judy 316. Funny that the last time we stayed, we were given room 317 as our day room to use on the check-out day! Rooms 317 and 316 were ready but not our room 319. We were given a tour of the resort on the golf cart and then dropped off at Judy’s room. Peter and them were not hungry so they decided to bike around the hotel while we went for lunch.

Only one restaurant was open for lunch; the same as pre-pandemic time – Aparima Bar. Their menu slightly changed from when we visited in 2019. You can view the menus for all the restaurants here.

I ordered the tacos for 3600 xpf and they were tasty – finally, edible food and good portions too!!!

Jason ordered the Indian Butter Chicken for 3690 xpf and it tasted so much better than at the Four Seasons! The total for our lunch was 8290 xpf.

After lunch, our room was ready and Peter stopped by to drop off our room keys. What was different than our last visit – each room has two bikes assigned with room number tags on the basket so you don’t need to find bikes each time. However, the bikes were getting old and rusted; Jeffrey’s bike was broken on the 2nd day! At the entrance of each room, a hand sanitizer dispenser was installed.

All the overwater bungalow rooms are the same layout but with different views according to the category. Once entered the room, there’s a table with a free bottle of surface disinfectant and do not disturb “sign”.

A hallway leading to the bedroom on the right and the living room straight ahead.

St. Regis has the largest overwater bungalow villas in Bora Bora at 1549 sq. ft.! The decors are more on the classic side and the lights in the room are dim compared to the other resorts.

Welcome drinks including a big bottle of my favorite mango juice, thank you St. Regis! The coconut tray was cute filled with fruits and macarons.

The spacious bedroom with the signature St. Regis bed which I also have at home.

The huge (I think unnecessarily huge) bathroom. The laundry bin was new this time.

I really don’t like the open shower design, water gets splash everywhere!

Double sink with plenty of space:

Same toiletries as the previous stay, I don’t like the smell of them.

They also provided the refillable bottles which I did not use.

The spacious deck with a table, two chairs, and two beach chairs. The view is the lagoon side facing the hotel beach on the right side.

Two different sizes of slippers but I don’t like the fabric, it gets all over my feet.

Another thing new – free beach tote – a very good quality one too, we all loved it!

Compared to the cheaply made one at the Four Seasons:

Outside our room, there is no view of Mount Otemanu and this pontoon is much closer to the beach; the rooms in this pontoon are the superior overwater villas. It doesn’t branch out like the other pontoons.

When we stayed last time – room 203, we were at the pontoon branch that has the Mount Otemanu view; it’s the most picturesque in the resort. The rooms in the 200s series are higher category – deluxe overwater villa. Each day at sunset, we walked over to this pontoon hoping for a colorful sunset but no luck 🙁

For dinner, we made a reservation at the Lagoon Restaurant by Jean Georges. We were seated immediately at a large table in the center of the restaurant that fits 6 of us. The waitress came over to explain the menu to us. Once we placed our order by our room number to make splitting the bill easier, we got a free amuse-bouche – some kind of raw fish.

The resort was aware that I am pregnant so they did inform the restaurants and they took extra care of me. They made me a cooked amuse-bouche – a crab cake 🙂

For the starter, we ordered foie gras for 3790 xpf to share for two each, they even split it into individual dishes. The foie gras was as good as the previous trip, we enjoyed it even though it was expensive but at least worth it.

While we were waiting for our main course, we got another free dish to fill the time. The service was definitely fine-dining level! They got a crispy tuna dish.

While I got a beet dish, it was the first time I have beet and I don’t like it..not that it’s not good.

For the main, Nghia ordered the Smoked Lamb with Thyme and the waitress brought it out for us to see the smoking process and smell the herbs.

Jason ordered the beef for 6390 xpf, it was a small portion as expected from fine dining but it was good and cooked just right.

I ordered a pork dish with green peas purees for 6090 xpf, it was okay.

Lastly, for dessert, we ordered Pineapple & Coconut Cream as it sounded good for 2600 xpf and it was refreshing.

The total for our dinner – 21,930 xpf; the service and food quality definitely worth the Bora Bora price we paid! Judy and I even got a bottle of sea salt as a gift! Finally, we had a satisfying dinner in Bora Bora!

The golf cart arrived to give us a ride back to our overwater bungalows. A bottle of Tahiti body oil was on our bed as a gift, I like this better than a piece of chocolate!

I woke up just before the sunrise and I went out to our deck to wait for it.

The beach wasn’t powdery-white sand and hardly anyone hang out there.

Jason and them ride on the bike for photos while I can’t.

I slowly walked over to the Lagoon Restaurant for photos. Another change – no more reef sharks at the restaurant – I guess they released them because they don’t want to kept them captivate.

The eye blinding turquoise lagoon of Bora Bora! The restaurant offers the best view of Mount Otemanu!

Next, we went to the house lagoon for the coral demostration, one of the free activities offered by the resort. As it’s a long way walk to the lagoon, I walked over to the beach hut and asked the staff to call a golf cart to give me a walk. Our bulter, Paul, came and dropped me off. St. Regis has the best and largest house lagoon with lots of fishes to make it an awesome snorkeling spot!

The napoleon fish grew so much larger than two years ago!

There were a lot more guests here snorkeling than before. Also, they added benches which are convenient to put personel belongings.

The demostration was an overview of the history of the house lagoon and the process of planting corals – it takes a lot of work!

I was getting hungry so Jason and I didn’t stay for the whole demostration. Paul came and waited to pick me up, how thoughtful of him!

We went to Aparima for lunch. Jason ordered the Beef Fillet And Vegetables Skewers for 4500 xpf. It was good and the meat wasn’t dry out.

I ordered the Indian Butter Chicken that Jason had yesterday for 3690 xpf since it was good and filling.

The total for lunch was 9190 xpf. After lunch, we went to the beach for photos. We got iced water on a cup without a lid from the beach hut; the Four Seasons did much better to give bottled water. Those cubes are new; those weren’t there two years ago.

I saw a bike for kid, how cute they have that!

I walked over the bridge to the other motu to take photos of Judy and them on the hammock over the water.

They also did the water bike which looked fun to paddle!

At 3 PM, we went back to Peter and Jeffrey’s room for sabering the champagne by Paul.

Nicely done 🙂

Sunset again but no colorful sunset 🙁

For dinner, we had reservation at Bam Boo – their Asian restaurant. We ordered the red dragon roll for 4150 xpf; price increased from 3600 to 4150 xpf over the two years!

For the main course, I ordered the Sichuan Style Prawns for 4780 xpf, it wasn’t as spicy or numbing as I expect from a Sichuan dish but nevertheless good.

Jason ordered the New Zealand Stir Fried Beef for 5360 xpf and the beef was tender and juicy.

Time for the bill, the waiter totally mixed our rooms up even though we told him our room number when placing the order. He looked like he was having a hard time figuring out so we ended up marking each item with our room number; that was the only hiccup in terms of service at St. Regis. The total for our dinner was 14740 xpf.

Around 10 PM, we headed out for Milky Way photos!

The next morning, we went to the spa for photos; we did that last time as well. Weather wasn’t as nice as yesterday with partly cloudy sky.

Lastly, we went to Oasis Pool for photos before our check-out.

When we were ready, we called the front desk to send the golf carts to pick us and our luggage up for the check-out.

The total bill for our 2-nights stay: 140,000 Marriott points plus 56020 xpf (~$560.20) for the meals and city taxes.

I have arranged a private transfer with the Intercontinental Bora Bora Thalasso (they contracted to Lady Pearl) at 11 AM. The cost was 18000 xpf for the 6 of us; it was much cheaper than St. Regis’ one-way transfer fee of 7000 xpf per person. We got a shell necklace as a goodbye gift and a few butlers were there for our departure.

On our boat ride from St. Regis to the Thalasso, we passed by Le Meridien Bora Bora that is closed for renovation. They are rebuilding the overewater bungalows but still the same small size although a few added a pool.

My ratings of St Regis Bora Bora (1 bad to 5 excellent):

  1. Service – 4.5, definitely top notch as you would expect from a St. Regis. The only one hiccup was at Bam Boo Restaurant where the waiter couldn’t figure out our bill. Compared to our stay back in 2019, we had limited interaction with our butler, perhaps due to the pandemic. Also, the check-in process could be more luxurious like Le Bora Bora and the Four Seasons where they bring the paperwork to the guests instead of standing at the front desk counter to check-in like typical hotels. The tour around the hotel on the golf cart was nice to give an overview of the layout of the resort.
  2. Facility – 4, beautiful hotel grounds, landscaping and well maintained except for the bikes. The lightings in the room is dark and the shower area is awkward.
  3. Food – 5, the best food we had in the resorts in Bora Bora except for breakfast where I think the Four Seasons was better! Breakfast was not included this time since my status dropped from Platinum to Gold but I had reviewed before, see this post. Although St. Regis offered some Asian breakfast dishes, they weren’t as good. Lunch and dinner price points were similar to other 5* resorts but much better in quality!
  4. Photo ops – 4, the only down side of St. Regis is that it doesn’t have the beach facing the iconic Mount Otemanu view to take the postcard photos. The only locations with Mount Otemanu views are at the 200s series overwater bungalow room pontoon and the Lagoon Restaurant. However, there are plenty of other picturesque spots to take photos like the bridge connecting to the house lagoon motu and the hammock over the water. I didn’t take as much photos this time since it was our 2nd visit, see my first visit post for more photos.
  5. Activity – 5, the house lagoon is awesome for snorkeling with plenty of fishes and crystal clear water! There are free water sport equipment and water bike to use. The coral demostration was informative.

My recommendation: the best food and service but limited iconic views of Mount Otemanu. The resort is huge and spread out but because of that, it’s not a good choice for a babymoon. It was not convenient to have to call for a golf cart to get from one place to another as phones are not available at each location. For example, the house lagoon, the nearest phone is at the spa (thankfully, Paul came to pick me up without asking for it). I did asked to see if they can give me a golf cart to use during our stay but they declined due to security reason. Maybe if they have an app like the Four Seasons that I can send a message to request the golf cart would be more convenient. Other than that, great snorkeling and lots to do throughout the resort. If you are visiting multiple resorts in Bora Bora, I definitely recommend St Regis to be one of them!

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