Few destinations elicit a sigh of happiness from the moment you descend from the sky, but French Polynesia is in that elite league. It’s dubbed the “jewel of the South Seas” for a reason, after all. Bora Bora, one of the most well-known of the cluster of more than 100 islands that make up the French collectivity, remains a luxe favorite for a reason. From its slew of decadent overwater resorts to its turquoise waters and sherbet-colored sunsets that sink behind the sea, it is truly among the world’s most romantic spots.
Getting there isn’t the easiest task in the world (especially for East Coast-dwellers) but, as the saying goes, the best things in life are worth the wait. You can fly direct from LAX to the archipelagos’ main island on Air Tahiti Nui’s new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners starting this November, with flights three times a week between Tahiti and Los Angeles. Its Poerava business cabin with 180-degree full-flat seats will ensure you arrive well-rested. Direct flights from the US can also be found on Air France and American Airlines, and United Airlines will be adding service to the island later this year as well.
Once you land in Tahiti, it’s a quick flight over to Bora Bora, where you’ll arrive in less than an hour. That’s when the magic truly begins.
If you’re channeling romance this trip, grab your luggage and head straight to the St. Regis Bora Bora, a sprawling 44-acre paradise complete with private beachside villas and overwater bungalows with endless views of that idyllic turquoise water of the South Pacific. Here, you’ll get both white sand beaches and views of the backdrop of Mount Otemanu. The best part? Once you get there, there’s really no reason to ever leave, thanks to the property’s expansive offering of restaurants, spa treatments and activities. Your first stop, to unwind from all that jet lag, should be a visit to the 13,000-square-foot Miri Miri Spa by Clarins, nestled on its own private island next to the resort’s lagoonarium (the only underwater sanctuary on the island). It’s the best way to unwind after a long flight. For a true nod to romance, try the outdoor candlelight couple’s massage, which takes place after the sunset on the spa beach, candlelight dotted all around you. Afterwards, stick around to enjoy the spa’s secluded beach, sauna, steam room and whirlpool.
Over at the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora, de-stress with Tahitian black pearl powder and detoxifying algae sourced from the ocean. Here, you can book the Overwater Spa Suite—while you’re face-down getting a massage, you’ll be taking in views of the turquoise waters via the glass panels below you. Post-rubdown, grab a glass of Champagne and immerse yourself in the outdoor tub with direct views of towering Mount Otemanu. Accommodations here are nothing less than spectacular, and include 100 overwater bungalow suites, some of which are equipped with their own private plunge pools. The resort is situated on its own little island, making for the ultimate in privacy.
Luxury resort options continue at the Le Meridien Bora Bora. Featuring glass-bottom-floored bungalows and even an overwater chapel with a glass floor for weddings, the contemporary-designed property exudes romance from every angle. Five white-sand beaches are perfect for lazy afternoons soaking up rays, and at beachfront restaurant Te Ava, you’ll be dining with your toes in the sand while listening to the lapping waves rolling in. The property’s truly unique feature is its turtle sanctuary, a care center where you can view the magnificent creatures before they’re returned to their natural habitat.
No matter if you create an itinerary filled with ocean adventures or you elect to sit back, relax and do absolutely nothing, it’s nearly impossible to return home not feeling completely rejuvenated in mind, body and soul.