French Polynesia

Bora Bora 2021 – Conrad Bora Bora Nui

The last resort of our Bora Bora trip: Conrad Bora Bora Nui. It was a last-minute change when we saw award availability for more than 3 rooms; usually you need to book months to almost a year in advance to book the room with the standard redemption rate of 89,000 Hilton points per room. We were lucky! Even though it was only for one night, it was nice to check out the property so I can compare it with others.

The Lady Pearl transfer boat picked us up at 11 AM and we arrived at the Conrad in around 20 minutes. The private transfer was 31000 XPF for all 6 of us; it was significantly cheaper than what Hilton quoted 75000 XPF.

We passed by their two presidential villas; they are huge! Judy and they wanted to stay at the presidential villa next time; they were spoiled by presidential villas we stayed at the IHG Thalasso.

The staff was there to greet us on arrival and one of the so-called “Island Host” (like a butler) helped to check us in and gave us a tour of the resort. His name is Daven? and he is super nice and professional. We found out he speaks Cantonese like us and has worked at the resorts in the Maldives (but not the Conrad Maldives that we visited).

We were seated to complete our check-in paperwork. The seating area was nice with glass floors to view the marine life underneath the bungalows.

There were tables and chairs out the deck as well, part of the Upa Upa bar but was closed due to the pandemic. It has great views of the overwater bungalows and the crystal clear water.

We were given electronic bracelets instead of room cards, that’s pretty high-tech but I was so worried that I’ll lose them! We walked out of the deck/check-in area and in front of us are where the resort restaurants are all located. There are two sides of the beaches, we were told the right side beach is for Hilton elite members only. Jason and Judy are Hilton Gold members so we got access, however, no one was ever there to check!

Both sides of the beaches are pretty vacant, probably the occupancy rate was low during the lockdown and people usually hang out at their villa instead of the beach.

The Conrad Bora Bora Nui has one of the most beautiful beaches in terms of sand quality and size but lacks the view of Mount Otemanu unfortunately.

The pool hut has free Babyganics mineral sunscreen so definitely recommended to use those as those are reef friendly!

As the resort area is scattered out, bikes are available. Their conditions are much better than St. Regis’s but they are not assigned by room so first come first serve! Unfortunately for me, I can’t ride on bikes so I have to call a golf cart to get to places ๐Ÿ™

We booked the King Garden View Suite on points which would be one of those rooms up on this building. The good news was that we got a free upgrade to the garden view pool villa due to Jason’s Hilton Gold status.

Both of our rooms were upgraded and they assigned the villas to be next to each other: we got villa 403 while Jeffrey and Peter got villa 404. Judy paid to further upgrade to the Deluxe Overwater Villa for 45000 XPF, villa 319 located on the further end of the property right next to the presidential villas.

Our villa, the design is very modern compared to other resorts in Bora Bora mostly Polynesian feel. Enter the villa is the living room with sliding doors to the deck. Behind the living room is the bedroom and to the right is the bathroom.

The bathroom is huge and functional, unlike the St. Regis’ bathroom.

Two sinks face each other with the big tub right in the center. The right side of the bathroom is the toilet while the left side is the shower.

I requested extra shampoo and conditioner via email and they surely stocked up for me! I really like their Shanghai Tang products.

The bedroom:

A little desk and closet area right next to the bed:

The pool on our deck was okay size for a dip; we were so spoiled by the big pool at the IHG Thalasso. The view, on the other hand, was blocked by those trees!

The deck at Jeffrey and Peter’s room has better views, at least the palm trees looked much better in pictures!

After we settled down, we went to have lunch at the Tamure Beach Grill. The restaurant is very lush covered with trees and right next to the pool and the lily pond.

With seatings on the water!

I ordered the seafood pasta and the portion was good; lots of seafood especially big pieces of fish that I don’t eat. Jason gladly took them all! Finally, good pasta in Bora Bora!

Jason ordered the fried chicken served with fried rice; it was good and filling. Both dishes cost 7400 XPF and the water cost the usual 800 XPF.

After lunch, we went to check out Judy’s overwater bungalow villa. The highlight was the big deck with nets to enjoy the turquoise water. The view is similar to the Maldives, no mountain view.

The overwater villa is modern and spacious, not as big as the garden villa because the living room area is right next to the bed instead of a separate room.

The bathroom is as huge as in the garden villa.

We wanted to check out the rest of the resort and Daven took us for a ride on a big golf cart up the hills. Bikes are not allowed to go up the hills, maybe too steep? The horizon villas are located up the hills so definitely need to call for a golf cart each time unless you want to have some exercise walking up! We started to see the views of the overwater bungalows from up here.

We arrived at the chapel, even though we didn’t go in, I think the location is quite inconvenient for a wedding with no awesome views of the water. It might have some view of Mount Otemanu.

The lava rocks behind the chapel with the view of Mount Otemanu; not that great, I preferred it with the beach.

Group photos ๐Ÿ™‚

Then, we went into the spa to checkout its panoramic views:

When we headed down and back to our villa, we got free chocolate and drinks. Too bad the juice wasn’t mango juice…it was pineapple! Before our arrival, the Island Host – Natalee, emailed us with information and a form to fill out for our preferences. I filled out that I love mango juice so I was disappointed that I didn’t get mango juice ๐Ÿ™

Afterwards, we headed out for photos of the resort. First stop: the overwater bungalow pontoon in front of our garden villa:

Apparantly this beach is reserved for Hilton elite members but no one there to check so I don’t know how it’s enforced. Also, barely anyone there anyways!

Peter and Jeffrey dip in their pool:

For sunset, we headed over to Judy’s overwater villa. There’s a deck in between the presidential villas for the best view of the sunset.

No colorful sunset, the 9 nights in Bora Bora, we didn’t have a colorful sunset ๐Ÿ™

After the sun has set, we went back to our villa since we still have time before our dinner at 8 PM. We didn’t make advance reservations so that was the only time available at the Banyan Restaurant, the resort’s Chinese restaurant. When we get back to our villa, our bed was decorated with flowers and towel animal.

We also got a departure gift; it was quite thoughtful for our flight!

I read that there are private rooms at the Banyan for large groups so we requested one and got it ๐Ÿ™‚ It was nice we have our own area, especially during COVID times. We did family style – ordered a few dishes and shared. The table is set up like that too with the rotating tray on the center.

We ordered:

Stir fried beef tenderloin with black pepper sauce for 4600 XPF:

The seafood tofu pot for 5900 XPF:

Wok-fried lagoon fish with chili bean sauce for 4100 XPF:

Wok fried prawns with chili sauce for 4200 XPF:

Sweet and sour pork loin with pineapple for 4300 XPF:

Sautรฉed squids with satay sauce for 4400 XPF:

All the dishes were tasty and had great quality ingredients but just small portions. I wouldn’t say they were authentic but much better than at those fast-food Chinese restaurants at home. The dinner cost 38,800 XPF excluding drinks for 6 people. It was expensive for sure but at least good food by Bora Bora standards and temporary fulfilled my craving for Asian food.

The restaurant decors:

The restaurant is located in the same building as the lobby and reception area:

The next morning, we had free breakfast thanks to Jason’s Hilton Gold status. Hilton’s status is much more valuable and easier to obtain as you can get Gold status from a high-end credit card which then gives free breakfast and complimentary upgrade when available. The breakfast restaurant – Iriatai, the resort’s French restaurant at night, is right next to the lobby/reception area on the second floor of the main building complex with views like those:

Mask is required at the buffet area; its buffet offered the most variety than other resorts we stayed at this trip.

They had a selection of Asian breakfast items like steamed buns!

As well as congee and miso soup that you can add chicken and vegetables.

My breakfast plate: the bun was okay but the dumpling was way too burned!

After breakfast, we went to Judy’s room for photos at the deck:

The presidential villas at day light, they are like a mansion!

Lots of corals here but not much variety of fishes according to Judy and them as they snorkeled yesterday.

We also had some photos at the main pool area, it gets busy in the afternoon.

Then, we walked down to another beach in between the overwater villas, no one there except for us!!!

This is my favorite photo location at the Conrad, beautiful white sand beach and the overwater villas.

The overwater villa pontoons at the Conrad spread out wide instead of going out to the water.

We walked back to the Hilton Elite member side of the beach for more photos. The clouds were so beautiful that day, just perfect tropical weather!

Photos at the pontoon where the deck and check-in building are located.

For lunch, we went back to Tamure Beach Grill as that was the only restaurant open for lunch. This time, I ordered the wings, nachos, and wraps from the appetizer menu and it was very filling and good! I highly recommended it!

Jason ordered the steak and it took forever to come out, seemed like were short-staffed due to COVID. The yummy lunch cost 8100 XPF and water 800 XPF. I will say the food quality at the Conrad is very good! We didn’t try their French cuisine so hard to compare with the St. Regis.

Our flight was at 4:50 PM from Bora Bora to Tahiti to stay as long as we could and our flight to San Francisco was at 9:15 PM. Since we did our COVID test already, we didn’t need to get back to Tahiti early to get tested. We checked out an hour before at the lobby/reception area; not sure why they instructed an hour ahead and we ended up sitting at the lobby for a good half an hour.

The bill for our one-night stay: 75100 XPF including the 15000 XPF airport transfer for the two of us and the meals we had including the dinner for 6 of us the night before.

It was time for our departure and quite a lot of guests were departing at the same time too. The farewell from the Conrad with staff dressed in costumes to play the drums.

The Island Hosts including Daven was there. Goodbye Conrad!

Goodbye Bora Bora, when will we meet again? Probably not anything soon with two kids in the family now ๐Ÿ˜‰ Our flight was delayed by an hour so thankfully we didn’t have to do COVID testing; there were others on our flight who ran to the COVID testing center. I am not sure if they made the flight! Our flight departed on time and only 1/3 full so we had an entire row to ourselves again.

My ratings of Conrad Bora Bora Nui (1 bad to 5 excellent):

  1. Service โ€“ 4.5, the check-in where the staff bring you the paperwork is more aligned with what you would expect from a 5* resort in Bora Bora. Daven was professional, he brought us to the spa to check out the views when we asked and helped us booked a private room at the Banyan Restaurant.
  2. Facility โ€“ 5, beautiful hotel grounds and landscaping. The bikes were better condition than the ones at St. Regis.
  3. Food โ€“ 5, both the lunches and the dinner were great compared to other 5* resorts in Bora Bora.
  4. Photo ops โ€“ 4, beautiful white sand beaches, the only downside was the lack of the Mount Otemanu view! The views are more like the Maldives than Bora Bora.
  5. Activity โ€“ 4, since we only stayed one night, we didn’t participate in any activity. However, the bicycles were in much better shape than the St. Regis and plenty of complimentary water sport equipments.

My recommendation: although the Conrad Bora Bora Nui is a really nice resort, I would only stay here if I combine it with another resort that has the iconic views of Mount Otemanu; that’s what makes it Bora Bora. I wouldn’t come all the way to Bora Bora to just stay at the Conrad Bora Bora, the Conrad Maldives would be a better choice for similar views of the turquoise ocean, experience the overwater bungalows, and excellent Asian food. See my review and photos of the Conrad Maldives here.

2 thoughts on “Bora Bora 2021 – Conrad Bora Bora Nui

  1. Do you find it is a hassle with moving between resorts? I’m asking because I’ll be doing the same thing due to booking with points with multiple hotel programs.
    Also, I asked before about the travel insurance, however, due to Covid time, did you use new travel insurance company?

    1. Since it was not my first time in Bora Bora, I don’t mind moving from resort to resort. In fact, I was glad we did that because we would be bored staying at one resort for more than 3 days (not many food choices being one of the reasons). The change of scenery was great that we can have awesome backdrops for our photos ๐Ÿ™‚

      I found out by calling my health insurance company that they do cover out-of-the-country medical emergencies so I don’t need to purchase additional. Also, our Chase Sapphire Reserved card included decent travel insurance (trip cancellation/interruption and medical evacuation) so with both was sufficient. The only reason I would purchase additional is if the country requires quarantine coverage.

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