Stylist’s acting deputy editor Alix Walker ‘pops’ over to Bora Bora in French Polynesia for her honeymoon
Let’s get one thing straight. Bora Bora is a long way away. First you have to fly to LA (11 hours). Then you have to fly to Tahiti (8 hours). Then sweaty, unwashed and smelling of aeroplanes you have to fly to Bora Bora (50 minutes). It’s like travelling to the moon (albeit without Richard Branson’s price tag). So it’s fitting that when you do actually get there you feel like you’re on another planet. One which is so superior to our sad little earth that you look back on mere humans in pity.
Bora Bora was our honeymoon choice simply because it was thousands (literally) of miles away from bunting, peonies and wedding cake and had the prerequisite icing powder sand and little houses on stilts that every honeymooner wants. Also, a friend who’d visited said he actually laughed out loud when he arrived because it was so beautiful. I was sold.
Bora Bora is made up of a lush green main island which has an inactive, sunken volcano at its core and a string of tiny islands where most of the hotels sit, all protected from the Pacific Ocean by a huge lagoon and a barrier reef. We finally landed at about 8am and headed straight for the Four Seasons Bora Bora boat – a gleaming white and chrome speedboat with cream leather lining – to speed us to the resort. We were handed water and an orchid necklace by our driver and bounced gently through the clearest waters you will ever see before pulling up in front of the reception. Our entrance was more dramatic than my walk down the aisle.
Once we’d disembarked we were greeted by a fruit cocktail and whisked off to our over-water villa in a golf buggy. There are 100 over-water suites and seven luxury villas, with a view of either the mountainous main island or the sea, and all seem to be positioned so you can’t see another soul. Our villa was on the west wing (definitely the best choice if you don’t fancy a lengthy walk to breakfast every morning) and came complete with its own sun terrace, sun loungers and a diving deck. Inside there was lots of dark wood, with rooms separated by moving walls, while a glass panel lets you see the turquoise water below in the shower. Once we got over the excitement that we’d actually made it we went to bed and had our first proper sleep in months.
Over-water villas at The Four Seasons Bora Bora: Now that’s what we call a thatched cottage…
Time to relax
The next day we woke early, watched the sunrise from our terrace, took daft pictures of ourselves star jumping into the lagoon from our deck and felt exactly like newlyweds should. We weren’t the only ones. Like Noah’s ark, couples went two-by-two to the bar, to the pool, to the breakfast buffet, to the sundowner cocktails… Mercifully, the Four Seasons Bora Bora resort is so big that you rarely see the same people twice.
Having been nil by mouth for a few months before the wedding (I’m such a cliché), the honeymoon saw me making up for lost time. The breakfast buffet is served on the main island (though you can have your breakfast delivered by canoe and served on your terrace) and definitely caters to American tastes with pastries, chocolate chip pancakes, an omelette station and fruit. Tip: food is expensive here because so much is imported so if you’re on half-board, supersize breakfast and stick to snacks during the day.
Then it was time to work on my tan. There are three options: a private beach overlooking the lagoon, a sprawling pool surrounded by huge cabanas for when you want a break from the sun and, of course, your own sundeck. We opted for the pool, quickly reaching first name status with the staff who brought iced water every ten minutes and replaced our towels with dry ones every time we took a dip. The pool bar serves an amazing shrimp tempura salad and I’m pretty sure my new husband tried every single item on their frozen cocktail menu.
The last thing I wanted was to actually move on my honeymoon, but there are so many brilliant activities that even I, the least sporty person you will ever meet, had to sample a few. Take the jet-ski tour of the island. We sped within two metres of an actual whale, along with turtles and dolphins. Then there was paddle surfing round the lagoon, which circles the entire resort and is filled with rainbow-coloured fish and little islands to rest at. You can borrow kayaks and snorkel gear for free and there’s even an onsite marine biologist who will talk you through the marine life. Heck, I even played badminton. And I’m aware that this next bit is hugely annoying, but we also did an outdoor yoga class on a veranda overlooking the lagoon. At sunset.
“Oh, yes, the view from my living room looks just like that too. Sob”
There are three restaurants, one serving sushi, one a casual buffet and one fine dining. You can also leave the resort to try other hotels’ restaurants or eat on the main island, but we didn’t bother because I had a feeling we’d have been disappointed. We had a candlelit dinner on the beach one night – we were taken by a driver on a golf buggy who serenaded us before dropping us off at the beach for a five-course meal…
Couples massage, couples yoga, a candlelit dinner on the beach… yes, it ticks every honeymoon cliché, but if you’re going to succumb then do it in style. I cannot think of a better place.
Rates at Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora (fourseasons.com/ borabora) start at £734.28 per room on a B&B basis, based on two people sharing (including taxes and charges). Air Tahiti Nui’s partner Virgin Atlantic flies direct from London to Los Angeles to connect at the same terminal on to Air Tahiti Nui’s service to Tahiti. Contact 0844-482 1675 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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