French Polynesia

Le Meridien to St. Regis Bora Bora

Another perfect weather day in Bora Bora! Having breakfast, even though the food weren’t that impressive, the views were unbeatable at the Le Meridien. We got smarter this time, I got a table outside in front of the pool with the million dollar view of Mt. Otemanu. Our views:

I could never get tired of this view!

After the quick breakfast, we walked around the resort for last minute photos before saying goodbye to the Le Meridien and transfer to the St. Regis Bora Bora at around noon time.

The pool was nearly empty in the morning:

The pier deck with the most direct view of Mt. Otemanu of any hotels in Bora Bora in my opinion!

We then walked to the chapel again, another postcard-perfect location for photos.

However, we were still too early that there was a shadow so couldn’t get a complete photo of the chapel’s deck without shadow.

We decided to walk to the main pool for the reflection shots:

Mt. Otemanu was totally clear from clouds as with many mornings while we were there so super lucky with weather even though it was the end of the rainy season. The late morning lights were picture to light up the eye-blinding turquoise lagoon.

Views couldn’t get better than this….something that the Maldives don’t have πŸ˜‰

We went to wake up Peter and Jeffrey to make sure they are packed. Our plan was to go to the turtle feeding at 10:30 and check out at 11:00 then the transfer. On our way to the turtle feeding, we took some photos with the help of Peter.

The view of Mt. Otemanu along the lagoon where the turtle swim takes place and the chapel.

We went into the turtle feeding center/museum, waited and waited, and still not starting yet. Jason and I decided to leave to get the chapel photos while Jeffrey and Peter stayed for the feedback. At this time, there wasn’t shadow so it was just perfect!

We then went around for one last minute photos:

We got back to our room, double check everything, and walked back to the lobby to check out. Peter and Jeffrey just finished the turtle feeding, they said they did a brief introduction of the turtle center and then they were escorted to the back room where they actually get to feed the little turtles. It was a fun experience for them. The check out process was quick and we each got a shell necklace as a gift…more free gifts from the Le Meridien πŸ™‚

We waited for a little bit as the hotel staff loaded our luggage onto the boat and then notified us that our boat is ready. I was surprised that we were the only guests on the boat to the St. Regis so felt like a private transfer! Once again, the views were amazing!!!

As our boat departing, one hotel staff was there to wave goodbye to us, she’s so sweet! The “farewell” was disappointing compared to the Intercontinental Bora Bora Thalasso; I remembered a whole crew of staff were there and a guy blow the traditional seashell to wish us a safe travel home.

The 3rd or 4th one from the right was our room! Goodbye Le Meridien!

The ride was only like 10 minutes but with great views.

In no time, we arrived at the St. Regis Bora Bora where the Butler team was there to welcome us with fresh flower necklace and my favorite Rotui mango juice! There were a few pairs of guests arrived as well on their airport shuttle boat. We then got in a golf cart and were driven up to the lobby to check in. The process was quick and easy but then we got separated with Peter and Jeffrey for somehow. Once we were done with our check-in, we had no clue where they went. Then, the hotel GM came to greet us, it was nice of him to do so. Afterward, one of the butlers whose’s name I forgot but I know he’s Japanese and he drove us around the hotel to give us a tour via the golf cart. I asked if he knows where are Peter and Jeffrey and he didn’t realize that we were together so they went off with another butler on the hotel tour already. I said it is fine, we can meet up afterward.

The resort is huge compared to the Le Meridien, no wonder they provided bikes for guests; it would be exhausted to walk from on end to another end on foot! The resort tour was like a good 10 minutes because it is that huge! He showed us the lagoon where there are tons of fishes so best place to snorkel, he said the store sells fish food. Then the spa, the restaurants, and the beach. Our rooms were not ready yet so he brought us to the lounge where there’s tea, water, and AC. We met up with Peter and Jeffrey there. We decided to have lunch first hoping our rooms will be ready after that.

There’s only one restaurant open for lunch – Aparima Bar right in front of the beach.

The resort’s ground were more luxurious and beautiful but the views were lacking compared to the Le Meridien.

The menu of Aparima Bar, very funny to see the warning about the high prices LOL!

Don’t be shocked on the prices and don’t say I didn’t warn ya LOL! It wasn’t that bad considered the location, at least you don’t have the 20+% on top of the price as in the Maldives.

I ordered the Wok Thai and it was not good at all; I felt like the portion was small and mostly filled with Thai chili sauce…that was all I can taste….Thai chili sauce! One positive note was the shrimps were taste like shrimps and not the cheap frozen ones in Moorea.

Jason’s 5200 xpf (~$50) “Devil sexy beef”….small portion and loaded with sauce.

Right after lunch which cost us two 11,280 xpf (~$107), one of the rooms were ready so Ida (the butler from Hong Kong) took us 4 on a golf cart to the room – 208. Jeffrey and Peter booked the deluxe overwater 1 bedroom villa. We booked the beachside villa with 60,000 points per night and upgraded to the superior overwater villa for 27,000 xpf plus tax. Due to my Platinum status, we got a free category upgrade to the deluxe overwater 1 bedroom villa.

The villa which is the largest in Bora Bora at 1549 sq. ft., that’s like a good size apartment! The living room is huge with plenty of space and the furniture matched the wooden Polynesian style bungalow. The glass floor though was small compared to the Le Meridien.

The bedroom is also spacious with the signature St. Regis bed, which I have at home so it was very home-like! Finally, a good night sleep! There are two life vests on the couch which are useful for snorkeling.

My least favorite part of the bungalow is the bathroom. The design doesn’t have that luxurious feel even though plenty of space. The “heart shaped” tub and that shower floor looked a waste of space. I rather they have a real walk-in closet instead!

The double sinks were okay.

I don’t like their toiletries at all, I much preferred the ones at the Sofitel.

The deck space was plenty for two beach chairs and a covered area for a table and can fit 4 chairs.

The view from room 208’s deck with no Mt. Otemanu view. The water level is so deep and the current is so strong that barely any fish swim by and no corals. I don’t dare to jump into the water as I am not a strong swimmer.

The other side’s view from the deck:

Our overwater bungalow’s pontoon “branch” has the Mt. Otemanu view. There’s another pontoon “branch” with no view of Mt. Otemanu at all. Our room was finally ready and Jason and I went to that room – room 203 with the exact same layover as Peter and Jeffrey’s. Our room is right next to the end of the pontoon – Royal Otemanu 2 bedroom villa.

After settling in, we took some photos near our overwater villa then walked to the Oasis Pool.

Oasis Pool where we were the only ones there.

Then, we walked to the beach where we got our bicycles and refilled the sunscreen…..what I like about the St. Regis Bora Bora is that at the beach hut, there’s free sunscreen (spf 30 & 50) and aloe gel for after sun relief. I always carry a small refillable bottle so it was perfect to refill it there whenever I stop by the beach hut. The sun at French Polynesia is super strong so we had to constantly re-applying sunscreen to prevent sunburns. We used up one full bottle of sunscreen in 4 days LOL so thankfully St. Regis provided for free. Also, their sunscreen smelled so good (I think it’s the smell of the Polynesian Tiare flower) and absorbed so quickly without the sticky and oily feel.

On our bikes to explore the hotel, it was super fun!

We passed by another pier/deck for hotel staff to unload cargo.

We stopped whenever there’s a good spot for photos like this one.

One of my favorite photo spots:

Then, we ride to the lagoon where the water is extremely calm for snorkeling and filled with fishes.

The water is so clear that you can see the corals:

We ride around to explore the whole hotel before returning to our room for more photos. The lighting in the late afternoon wasn’t ideal for Mt. Otemanu but it was still fun taking turn taking those riding the bike photos.

Free welcome gifts included a trade of desserts, a bottle of champagne, Evian water, and sparkling water.

I really like those slippers where they have two sizes πŸ™‚

We relaxed in our room till almost sunset. From our room 203’s deck, we got a partial view of Mt. Otemanu behind that Royal Otemanu 2 bedroom villa.

The 2 bedroom villa in front of us, wish we got upgraded to that πŸ˜›

At the golden hour, I went outside to the walkway to take photos. It was amazing!

Unfortunately after the golden hour, the clouds rolled in so there was no colorful sunset πŸ™

Ida helped us booked Bam Boo (the Asian restaurant) for dinner at 8 since we booked last minute and that was the earliest available slot. She even came to pick us up with a golf cart. The service at the St. Regis Bora Bora was superb!

Our dinner at Bam Boo which was surprisingly much better than our lunch at a similar price point. We wish Bam Boo is open for lunch as well! The almost $36 dragon roll, yikes, but very good quality. Jeffrey works at a Japanese restaurant and he agreed that their Sashimi and sushi quality are great!

I ordered the beef stir-fried with oyster sauce and it was very tasty and cooked perfectly….not overcooked nor dry nor too saucy like lunch.

Peter ordered the New Zealand beef teppanyaki with included a fried rice and vegetable.

Jason ordered a local octopus teppanyaki:

Our dinner for 4, finally a proper Asian meal, for $282.30 including tips. We got a free mini dessert of chocolate and a very tasty marshmallow-mousse textured forgot the flavor either green tea or coconut cake. The waiter asked if we need to call Uber for our ride back to the room…the guys didn’t pay attention to that joke LOL! We said no thanks, we heard live music from the bar area so we want to check that out.

Yes, there is a live band at the bar till 10 pm….it was like 9:45 then. We 4 and two other guests were there. We found out that the band is from Boston area – what a coincidence!!! They travel around the world to perform in short term contracts like at the St. Regis Bora Bora where they stayed 3-4 months.

We felt like we should order a drink for “free music” right πŸ˜‰

Jason ordered a mango smoothie which costed like $16 and it turned out to be just a mango juice (the same Rotui brand) and with chopped ice. OMG what a big rip off……$16 to push a blender button…..I have a few bottles of that mango juice in our room!

Anyways, we pay for entertainment. It was the two other guests’ last night and they told us that they stayed at the Conrads Bora Bora prior to the St. Regis Bora Bora on points. I asked how was the Conrad as it was fully renovated not long ago. They said the property looked very modern with high-tech equips in the room like bluetooth speakers but service was so bad and everything so unorganized. They much preferred the St. Regis Bora Bora where the service was one of the tops they had experienced.

After 10 PM, the bar staff called a golf cart already to bring us back to our rooms. The sky was quite clear that night that we could see the Milky Way with our eyes. After we got back to our room, I took out the tripod and took some photos of the Milky Way πŸ˜€

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