Fifty years after the debut of the first overwater bungalow, the stilted accommodation remains the pinnacle of tropical luxury. The latest example of the overwater phenomenon—French Polynesia’s new Conrad Bora Bora Nui—is certainly no exception. Opened April 3, the resort is making history as Bora Bora’s first five-star luxury opening in a decade.
The sprawling property—Conrad’s only in French Polynesia—is a welcome addition to the South Pacific overwater paradise. Located a short boat ride from the mainland in a private cove on Motu To’opua, the property comprises 114 rooms (two of which are the first multi-story overwater bungalows ever built in the archipelago), three restaurants, an exclusive-use private islet, and the longest stretch of white-sand beach in the region. In the 28 garden villas and 86 overwater bungalows, decor by the Bangkok-based firm P49 Design and BLINK Design Group is light and airy, elegantly blending modern luxury with Bora Bora’s natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. The two standout presidential villas are the most luxuriously appointed accommodations, each featuring two bedrooms, three bathrooms, and two separate dressing rooms. The suites also boast upgraded amenities like a whirlpool, a sauna, and a rooftop sundeck with sweeping views over the ocean.
Should lounging in your overwater paradise grow tiresome, Conrad has created a host of culturally focused activities as a part of its 1/3/5 program. The initiative works to bring local lore to life through one-, three-, and five-hour itineraries that include activities like ukulele lessons with local musicians and—for the truly brave—a traditional Polynesian tattooing experience in which local artists use a boar-tusk comb to create permanent tattoos on guests’ bodies. For something decidedly more low-key (and, mercifully, a lot less permanent), guests can head to the Hina Spa, where indulgent therapies are administered in treatment rooms that overlook the calm waters of a sparkling lagoon. (conradhotels.com)