Resort Highlight: St. Regis Bora Bora
Updated: Mar 6, 2021
If you're looking for luxury, look no further than the St. Regis Bora Bora
Like with any five star property, the true splendor lies in the details. Of course, the property and the rooms were absolutely stunning. And you would expect the food to be stellar, the service to be exemplary and the amenities to be aplenty. But what sets the St. Regis Bora Bora apart from other high end properties is the little details.
It starts at the moment you are greeted by St. Regis staff—wherever you’re coming from—whether it’s directly from the airport or another property. If you’re arriving from the airport, there are St. Regis staff members waiting at the airport, with Polynesian leis in hand to greet you with and place around your neck, who will immediately take your bags and load them onto the St. Regis’ very own yacht that will take you to the property. If you’re being transported from another property, you’ll get the same experience—just without the yacht, as they’ll be transporting you in a smaller speedboat for what is likely a shorter journey. Once you get off the plane or leave your prior hotel, you never once touch your luggage again until you physically leave Bora Bora at the airport. So overpackers, rejoice! You definitely get a break here.
The check-in process upon arrival was of course a breeze. After coming off the boat and setting foot on the island, you’re immediately handed a cold towel, a welcome drink and greeted by your personal butler. Then you’re led to the reception area before getting a tour of the property.
Because the award availability was so limited at the time we wanted to go (and having scouted this property for ages, I know this is a common occurrence), I actually booked the first two nights in an overwater bungalow for points and cash (I think it was approximately a $600/night supplement for the overwater bungalow) and then the remaining three nights on points alone in a garden villa. When we arrived to check in, I was immediately informed that not only had we been upgraded to a superior deluxe overwater bungalow on the lagoon, but that we could stay in the overwater bungalow for our entire stay, at no additional charge! The woman thanked me for my loyalty and for being a Titanium Elite member and grinned ear to ear as she told me. I was obviously elated.
For those of you curious about booking on points, I used 85,000 points per night for the three nights in the garden villa and another 92,500 points per night for the OWB, for a total of 440,000 points. It’s a lot—I know—but between card bonuses, racking up Marriott points through other stays at Marriott properties and putting nearly all of my everyday expenses (like groceries, gas, etc.) on my Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, I actually rack up points pretty quickly. Even having just spent nearly half a million points, I’m already up to about 500k points just a few months later.
It’s not just the service that sets the St. Regis apart from other properties. Again, there were little details that we noticed throughout our stay that really made us feel special.
Waiting for us in our room was a chilled bottle of Billecart Champagne, two beautiful champagne stems with the St. Regis logo (actual, nice stemware and not a cheap or disposable kind), a bottle of Evian water, a bottle of San Pellegrino sparkling, and a beautifully arranged plate of macarons and fresh fruit, served up in a half coconut shell on a bed of coconut shavings. This was accompanied by a beautifully handwritten note from the manager, thanking us for our Marriott Bonvoy loyalty and sending wishes that we enjoy our stay.
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We were reminded at any opportunity that if there was any way the hotel staff could assist us—regarding anything, really—that we were urged to reach out to them. Turns out, they will actually do just about anything upon request. Each room gets their own personal “butler” where you can—quite literally—ask for anything. We actually didn’t take advantage of this service that often but overheard another couple talking about how much they loved—and used—their butler for just about everything you could think of, from room service to blowing up floaties, booking activities, filling the bath and restocking the mini-bar outside of normal room cleaning times.
One pretty phenomenal thing was that our butler took the liberty of booking dinner reservations for us ahead of time, before we even arrived. She then emailed the reservations for the week, indicating that should we wish to change any of them, that would be easily accommodated (all we needed to do was ask). Since certain restaurants were only open on certain days, this ended up being a huge bonus, as the restaurant we dined at the first night was quite busy. We actually didn’t end up changing one single reservation since the timing was so perfect (they of course booked the nicest restaurant on our last night). In a series of fate, she even booked us for early dinners (6 and 6:30 pm) each night except our final night, which she booked at 7 pm—which is exactly what we would have done had we booked the reservations ourselves.
The stellar service doesn’t stop there though. Again, there were little gestures that we seemed to notice quite frequently. For one, nearly every staff member on the island knew us by name. It was quite impressive actually. And then of course we always seemed to be getting little gifts: another plate of fruit on our second night, some sweet treats on the third night, and a small gift of gardenia perfume (the fragrance that is smelled all around the island, in the soaps and other amenities) at dinner.
In the few times we actually did take advantage of the butler service or reach out to the concierge, they really hit it out of the park. Prior to our arrival, I actually emailed the contact person (in response to a pre-arrival e-mail I received asking if there was anything they could arrange for us ahead of time) and asked if they could get ahold of some non-alcoholic beers for us. My husband doesn’t drink and I had recently learned that I was pregnant, so we were really hoping to still be able to sip NA beers from our villa when we wanted to. Having been to four other properties before getting to the St. Regis and finding that very few of them carried non-alcoholic beers at all, I figured I would reach out to the St. Regis ahead of time.
The response I got initially was that they do not carry non-alcoholic beers at the property (glad I asked!) but that they would see if they could get ahold of any (while also noting there were no guarantees). I had asked for two six packs of beers. When we arrived at our room, we found two waiting in our fridge for us. When we inquired about why there were only two, we were told that these first two were complimentary and were placed there so we could try them first, let them know if we liked them (because they were a local beer) and then if we did like them, they would deliver (and charge us for) the rest. How thoughtful is that?! Another property would have gotten them—because after all, that’s what we asked for—and simply charged us for the beers whether we liked them or not. They were so smart to make sure we liked them first and wanted more before charging us for the full 12 beers.
One thing that obviously stands out about the St. Regis are all the amenities. They provide each guest with their own bike (numbered to match your villa) so that you can cruise around the property as you like (since it’s actually quite large—one of the largest resorts in Bora Bora). Not into biking? No problem. You can simply call up your butler or the front desk and someone will come to pick you up in a golf cart.
The rooms are, of course, stocked with everything you could possibly need. Beautiful robes, slippers, an array of soaps, bath salts, toiletries and extra linens, laundry service daily (seriously—they’ll launder anything you wish and will press one item per person per day complimentary) and had a fully stocked mini bar with snacks, teas coffees and water. The rooms had everything you needed from outlet converters to tea kettles and coffee machines to irons, ironing boards, multiple TVs, multiple couches and settees and ample space.
And of course the rooms aren’t the only star of the show. The property has numerous pools—including a secluded adult pool that feels like you’re in a water wonderland—several different restaurants, and plenty of hammocks and cabanas to lounge in. At he beach you’ll find toys, toys, and more toys! The St. Regis has more water sport toys than you can even dream of. Free of charge for all guests, you’ll find paddle boards, kayaks, traditional Polynesian canoes (that they’ll actually let you use—side note: they had these at some of the other properties we went to but never allowed us to actually use them because they said they were for “decoration”… lame), and even water bicycles and this crazy looking tractor/bicycle thing that we of course had to try!
And their excursions list—oh my! Literally everything you could think of—from private charters to sunset cruises, scuba to kitesurfing, private islands to shared tours, photography sessions to pearl sorting—they literally have it all.
DID YOU CATCH OUR BABY ANNOUNCEMENT? WATCH IT HERE. We actually rented a pontoon boat while staying at the St. Regis, and shot our own baby announcement by heading to a private beach (shown in the middle photo above) and filmed some shots with my iPhone (on a gimbal) and DJI Mavic 2 Zoom drone. Here are some behind the scenes shots.
One of our favorite, near daily activities, was actually feeding the fish in the lagoonarium. Yes, the lagoonarium. What is that, you ask? I had the same question, and actually had never heard of one until we got to Bora Bora, where several of the properties have them. It’s essentially a semi-enclosed lagoon that connects to the sea/ocean, where an abundance of fish and coral are either placed in there or planted. It’s basically a big outdoor aquarium.
So we made a bit of a routine to purchase fish food from the gift shop the evening before (usually on our way back from dinner) and then would ride our bikes over to the lagoonairum and feed the fish on the following day. It sounds mundane but seriously we had such a blast feeding the fish here. There were some crazy big fish, and since the resort does scheduled feedings for other guests to watch every morning at 10 am, the fish are sort of used to seeing food and get pretty aggressive to snag some. We got such a laugh out of watching them each and every time. Plus, if you’re standing at the end of the lagoonarium and looking toward Mt. Otemanu, you’ll get the perfect view of the spa on the left, with the water in the middle and the land again on the right, with Mt. Otemanu perfectly framed in the middle.
I seriously have nothing negative to say about this place or our stay. We are hoping to go back, and I’m assuming it’s a place we’ll return to over and over again as long as we have the means to. St. Regis is simply a dream--there is no better way to put it. It’s worth every penny or point that you spend.
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