If paradise has a name, it is Bora Bora.
Tahiti and her islands hold a special place for us. Not only did we get married in a traditional Tahitian wedding ceremony in Moorea, the island in French Polynesia marks the spot where I made the decision to accept Mr G’s marriage proposal. This romantic paradise became a hub to which we often return to celebrate special dates or anniversaries.
Bora Bora’s Location
Bora Bora lies 268 kilometres northwest of Papeete. After an obligatory overnight stay at Le Méridien Tahiti in Papeete, the island is reached by an hour long scenic plane ride over turquoise waters. The airport lies on its own motu, or islet, and is 20 minutes by boat from the main village of Vaitape.
Air Tahiti Bora Bora Airport
When it comes to choosing accommodation in Bora Bora, most luxurious resorts that dot the pristine waters with over-water bungalows cater for discerning travellers. Le Méridien Bora Bora has one distinguishing feature over the rest. It is a sanctuary and a scientific observatory for endangered marine turtles.
Located on its own motu with no roads or the hubbub of traffic, a private launch from the airport takes us on a 20 minute energising ride that washes away any remnants of jetlag and stress.
We arrive at the resort earlier than the check-in time and we are welcomed with a fruity cocktail and a brief orientation. While the final touches are added to our room, we are offered access to a private guest area where we can change into our bathers.
Accommodation at Le Meridien Bora Bora
Accommodation at Le Meridien Bora Bora comes in two styles. Beachfront bungalows, each with a private beach, deck chairs and a hammock, overlook the aquamarine colours of the internal lagoon.
We are staying in the overwater bungalows with views over Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu ahead. These luxurious huts are located over the external lagoon with one dominant feature. A large section of the floor is made of glass, providing countless opportunities to observe marine life right below.
Inside, our bungalow exudes luxury and comfort with all the modern facilities one expects. A large deck with reclining chairs provides a serene spot to relax and contemplate. Ladders extend from the deck to the lagoon for an irresistible dip into the warm turquoise waters.
Lagoons and Swimming Pool
There are two lagoons offering different lazing experiences. With the mountain as the backdrop, the outer lagoon looks onto the overwater bungalows, its shallow waters gradually deepen as you swim further in.
The interior lagoon has a rich marine life where tropical fish of all sizes are not shy to circle around us. The tepid waters are a couple of degrees warmer that the outer lagoon and the visibility is astounding. I can see each grain of sand through the water below.
The sparkling surfboard-shaped swimming pool beckons in late afternoons, when clouds mirror over still waters.
Although the resort has sporting facilities and equipment for hire, lazing by the lagoon is our favourite pass time after snorkelling and swimming with fish and turtles. We secure a hammock and swing with the breeze.
Marine Turtle Sanctuary
Further in from the interior lagoon lies the marine turtle sanctuary. These endangered green turtles or Chelonia mydas are a protected species under a program with the local Ministry and are cared for by a team who is devoted to their nurture and treatment.
We go on a tour of the facility and learn that the initiative started when a guest brought an injured turtle to the resort and consequently it became a project which led to the creation of this sanctuary. These sea creatures are very friendly and you can swim with the turtles in the lagoon.
Green turtles at the turtle sanctuary at Le Meridien Bora Bora
When it comes to dining, Le Meridien Bora Bora offers a choice of two restaurants serving local and international cuisines and one bar with an original design.
Le Te Ava restaurant is located by the pool and has a relaxed ambience in a Tahitian village style. Serving a small range of fast foods, it is a popular spot for lunch and snacks with the powdery sand under your feet.
Le Te Ava restaurant
Le Tipanié restaurant overlooks the interior lagoon and is the main restaurant where breakfast and dinner are served. A table for two by the lagoon has you gazing away from each others’ eyes as tropical fish come to play and feed. Occasionally, you spot the odd sea turtle. Breakfast is a buffet of international standard catering for all tastes while dinners have a theme that changes daily including Tahitian cuisine.
Le Tipanié restaurant
The Miki Miki Bar comes alive with couples and cocktails as the sun prepares to set. The outdoor bar is designed like a prow of a ship, its point facing the lagoon and the imposing Mount Otemanu. Here, the cocktails are presented in different styles, a delicate and floral twist for the ladies and a more rugged presentation for the men.
The Miki Miki Bar
Watching the sun set over the lagoon with Mount Otemanu turn into a darkened silhouette is one of those magical moments in paradise.
If the resort lacks in one aspect, it is in the absence of entertainment to occupy the evening. Once the Miki Miki bar has shut after sunset, and dinner has terminated, there is little to do. Even for couples and honeymooners who make up the majority if the clientele, playing the odd board game or retreating to one’s bungalow to watch television or any of the DVDs which can be borrowed makes the evenings drag.
Once a week, Tahitian dancers perform the tamure, inviting members of the audience to join them in the local dance but that is the only show on offer.
The ambience at Le Meridien Bora Bora is one of tranquillity and natural beauty set in private and lavish settings. Surprisingly, the atmosphere isn’t dominantly French but an international one, with guests contributing their own flavour. Most come from Europe, (France and Germany were well represented) the USA with a sprinkling from Australia, New Zealand and South America. Service and hospitality are of the standard that satisfies discerning travellers. Efficient and discreet, no request is a problem and the multi-lingual staff are attentive and approachable.
We leave Le Meridien Bora Bora with one shared thought that binds us in Tahiti. We have found our spot in paradise.
Le Meridien Bora Bora
Motu Tape, BP 190
Tahiti, French Polynesia
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