Ever wanted to hang out in paradise? I did. When award availability opened up at the Conrad Bora Bora in late October 2021, I quickly snatched up a weeklong stay for February 2022. Being based in California meant that finding direct flights to Tahiti (PPT) was easy, so it was a no-brainer for me to snag this hotel.What was it like? In short: A calm, sandy, dream world featuring a lot of sunburns. Let’s talk about it.Table of contentsHotel ChoiceHotel LocationBookingChecking InVillaAmenitiesPoolSpaFitness CenterKids’ ClubSwing SuiteSports CourtBeachesWi-FiActivitiesFood and BeverageIriataiBanyanUpa Upa BarTamure Beach GrillPolynesian DinnerServiceDepartureFinal ThoughtsTable of ContentsHotel ChoiceHotel LocationBookingChecking InVillaAmenitiesPoolSpaFitness CenterKids’ ClubSwing SuiteSports CourtBeachesWi-FiActivitiesFood and BeverageIriataiBanyanUpa Upa BarTamure Beach GrillPolynesian DinnerServiceDepartureFinal ThoughtsHotel ChoiceIt’s not often that award availability shows up for the Conrad Bora Bora thanks to its high demand and exceptional reward rate. When you find space, you take it first and ask questions later.There are plenty of other hotels in Bora Bora (and French Polynesia in general), but reward redemptions aren’t that easy to find. Still, if you’re ever in the area, there are hotels from Marriott Bonvoy, IHG One Rewards, Hilton Honors, and Four Seasons, along with plenty of boutique options.Hotel LocationYou won’t want to leave either.The Conrad Bora Bora is unique in its location — unlike other resorts, it sits on its own private island facing away from the main island of Bora Bora. While this was great for staring into the endless ocean, it did mean that most rooms did not have a view of the island and its most famous peak, Mount Otemanu. This can be either a negative (if you’re there to look at the mountain) or a positive (as the view out is so expansive).There aren’t any direct flights from the U.S. to Bora Bora, which means you’ll need to stop over in Tahiti first. I booked a flight from Los Angeles Airport (LAX) to Fa’a’ā International Airport (PPT) in Pape’ete, then stayed 2 nights in Tahiti before boarding another flight on Air Tahiti directly to Bora Bora.Hot Tip: Looking to redeem miles for flights to Bora Bora? You’re in luck! Check out this handy guide: The Best Ways to Fly to Bora Bora With Points and Miles.It’s not possible to redeem rewards for flights on Air Tahiti, and since it has a monopoly on flights, the roundtrip journey was expensive — the little puddle hopper took about 40 minutes to get to Bora Bora and charged ~$400 roundtrip.The Bora Bora Airport (BOB) is located on its own little atoll, which means you’ll need to take a boat to the hotel. The big hotels had their own private docks at the airport and provided greeters when I landed. The cost of the boat transfer isn’t free, unfortunately; it’ll run you $150 roundtrip.BookingAs I’ve mentioned, booking this hotel requires a great deal of speed. Once you find availability, you’ll want to jump in and book — especially since you can cancel award nights with Hilton without penalty.There are 2 main reasons why you’ll want to book the Conrad Bora Bora using Hilton Honors points rather than paying cash: your fifth night is free and resort fees are waived. Maximizing both of these factors can save you substantial amounts of money and points.At the time of booking, the Conrad Bora Bora cost 89,000 points per night. Since I was staying 7 nights, I spent 445,000 points and used 1 free night certificate provided by the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. Technically, I could have used this certificate for a more “expensive” hotel since it’s not capped at any specific reward rate. However, the journey to Bora Bora is long enough to warrant a longer stay, so using the certificate here made sense. Plus, cash rates at this hotel generally go for upwards of $1,000 per night for even the cheapest rooms, so I gained excellent value with this redemption.I booked the base room using my award points. Image Credit: HiltonAll in, my 7-night stay would have cost me $7,950, including tax. In this case, I redeemed my points for 1.53 cents each, more than triple our valuation of 0.5 cents per point.Unfortunately, Hilton has recently (and brutally) increased the prices of many of its top-tier hotels, including the Conrad Bora Bora. Now, if you want to stay here, you’ll need to pay 120,000 points per night.Checking InAs I mentioned above, there were greeters at the airport who gave me a flower lei, took my luggage, and escorted me to the private Conrad Bora Bora boat. It’s about a 20-minute ride from the airport to the hotel, but it’s incredibly scenic.This is the view from Bora Bora airport, just before boarding the boat.During the journey, the staff members on board gave us complimentary bottles of water. As we drew near the dock for the Conrad Bora Bora, we were greeted by several more staff members playing music.The entrance to the Conrad Bora Bora is great!There were 4 other people on board and we were all escorted to the check-in lounge where a concierge sat with us to complete the check-in process.A polite arrival set the tone for the stay.We were also given complimentary welcome drinks.Complimentary drinks are always welcome.During check-in, I was informed that I’d been upgraded several room categories — all the way up to a Deluxe Overwater Villa. Yes, I was stunned.I attribute this upgrade to 2 things: I am a Hilton Honors Diamond elite member, courtesy of my Hilton Aspire card, and occupancy was low. I visited from February 15 to 22, 2022, which is during the low season and directly after Valentine’s Day, when they were fully booked.Rather than a room key, the resort gave us a color-coded wristband that opened our villa. This was especially helpful when snorkeling or doing any other water activities as I didn’t need a pocket to hold a key. Hilton Honors Diamond members receive black wristbands.Bands are color-coded according to elite status.After checking in, our concierge had me board a golf cart so I could get a tour of the property. As would seem obvious, it’s incredibly beautiful.The entire resort is gorgeous.I was then taken to my room, 203, which was nearby.My room was centrally located.The Conrad Bora Bora is quite long and narrow; most of the overwater villas are located on either edge of the resort, making it a long walk to reach any amenities. This block of villas, however, was very near the pool and restaurants while still maintaining a fabulous view — I’d recommend asking for these during your stay.Image Credit: HiltonVillaBedroomThere’s no denying that the property is stunning. This is true no matter where you end up, but I feel especially privileged to have been in one of these overwater villas. The room featured a king bed.Each thoughtful detail was very welcome!And of course, a spectacular view was just steps away.The view is worth every point!There was a seating area with a couch and coffee table.This room was spacious enough for all my needs!There was another seating area with a dining table and minibar, off of which was a walk-in closet.The minibar drinks were very expensive — skip and bring your own, like I did!I didn’t drink anything from the minibar, but they did have alcohol for purchase. The coffee was free.A kettle and a coffee maker meant in-room mornings were pleasant.If you’re wondering where the TV is, it pops up out of the end of the bed.Ever seen a TV pop out of a table?If you have a Samsung phone, you can also choose to stream media directly to the TV. This was great, but you couldn’t lock your screen or the display would shut off, so I recommend keeping a plug handy.You can stream your personal content on your TV.Although French Polynesia uses European plugs, the room provided several U.S. adapted outlets.No international adapters needed here.As a Hilton Honors Diamond member, I received a welcome amenity of water, sparkling water, fruit juice, and some chocolates.The welcome amnesty for Diamond members was generous!BathroomThe bathroom was expansive, featuring dual sinks and a huge soaking tub.No need to share with a bathroom this huge!Each villa has its own solar water tank on the roof. As I walked through the villa with my concierge, she let me know that the hot water was limited; this meant that if I filled the tub with water, it would take a few hours to get enough hot water for a shower. That didn’t sound too bad — but in actuality, the hot water ran out before the tub filled up, which meant I had a slightly warm half-full tub in which to soak. It wasn’t the best, but good enough.There was also a separate walk-in shower.The shower provided excellent water pressure.The bathroom also featured a separated toilet room, but noise privacy was minimal due to the glass door.Be wary of the glass door as there is little privacy.The Conrad Bora Bora provided large Mandarin Tea body products, along with robes, slippers, mouthwash, a razor kit, and a nail file.Amenities were restocked multiple times per day.DeckOf course, the star of the show was the outdoor deck. It featured seating for 2.These hammocks were a great way to spend the afternoon!It also included 2 lounge chairs for sunning (burning) yourself in the endless sun.You’ll never get tired of this view.Although there was no pool in this overwater villa, it did include 2 hammock nets for lounging and a separate deck with a ladder that dropped down into the water.Seriously, it’s worth the schlep.The water was warm, although deep compared to other overwater villas in which I’ve stayed. I didn’t jump in (and I was warned not to), but I did see others doing so. Down at the deck was a handheld shower with clean water so you could rinse yourself off.Bottom Line: The deluxe overwater villa at the Conrad Bora Bora was a several-category jump from my original booking. It was expansive and thoughtfully furnished, though the inability to fill that huge tub with hot water was a little disappointing. AmenitiesAs amazing as the room was, I had to leave sometimes, right? Fortunately, the Conrad Bora Bora features plenty of amenities.PoolThere are 2 distinct pools on the property, though they converge into each other. The top pool is shallow and suitable for children, while the bottom pool looks out over the beach and features half-submerged sunbathing chairs.The pool was sparsely populated.There were a total of 4 cabanas surrounding the pool available on a first-come, first-served basis. These were free.All cabanas were free.I was able to get a cabana most days without issue. Since occupancy was low, I could show up at 1 or 2 and still find an empty cabana. There were also plenty of sun chairs with umbrellas.The pool featured a dual-sided swim-up bar.The pool bar wrapped around 360 degrees.There was no hot tub at this hotel, which made sense given the heat and general climate. However, it did get pretty cool in the evenings, which meant the pool area emptied out at around 4 p.m.Hot Tip: Every day, the pool bar offered Golden Hour with discounted drinks. The hours for this will vary from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. depending on the season. SpaI love a good spa and this one is probably the best hotel spa I’ve ever been to. Over the course of a week, I returned 3 times. It was that good. The Hina Spa is located on a hill at the top of the resort, providing a fabulous view.The spa provided unparalleled views.As it’s located a good distance away up a steep hill, the spa sent someone with a golf cart to pick me up and whisk me away to my appointment. The walk back down the hill is beautiful, though. To make an appointment for a massage, you’ll need to call the Hina Spa from the phone in your room.Once inside the spa, I got checked in and chose from a variety of massage oils. These included floral scents, chocolate, and even coconut. I was also served my choice of cold tea. Once my massage therapist was ready, they fetched me to bring me to my treatment room.Ever seen a treatment room this beautiful?Prices were what you’d expect at a resort like this. An hour-long massage cost about $174.Image Credit: HiltonHere’s the spa brochure if you’re interested in perusing all the treatments.As I mentioned, I returned 3 times during my stay. Fortunately, all those charges earned me Hilton Honors points.Fitness CenterI know — who goes to the gym when they’re on vacation? (Me. I go.) I only saw 1 other couple there during my entire stay, although the fitness center was well-equipped. It consisted of 2 rooms, including a cardio room.The gym was well-stocked.There was also a room with free weights and resistance machines.There were free weights and resistance machines alike.The only disappointing thing about the gym was that, although both rooms had independent air conditioning units, there was no remote control in sight. It was hot and sweaty and that sucked.However, I did realize very quickly that the water in the gym was free, which saved me a lot of money over the week. The hotel provided 2 free bottles of water per day, but any more than that and I would’ve had to pay exorbitant amounts for water at the gift shop. Do yourself a favor and bring a refillable water bottle to bring to the gym.Kids’ ClubI don’t have children, so I didn’t need to use this center, but there were plenty of families at the resort. The kids club was open daily from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and again from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.Parents can enjoy some downtime with the kids’ club.The kids’ club offered babysitting services, though children under 5 years old had to be accompanied by a parent.Kids can enjoy a nice time, too!Swing SuiteI didn’t see anyone use this, but there was also a digital golf suite available for use. It cost money and was apparently new.Any golfers in the house?Sports CourtIf you’re looking for a game of tennis, you can also indulge yourself with a game at the complimentary court.Tennis rackets were included for free.BeachesOf course, the real stars of this stay were the water and the beaches. There are a total of 3 white sand beaches at the Conrad Bora Bora. Technically it’s all 1 beach, but it’s divided up by the walkways to the overwater villas. Although they’re gorgeous, I never actually saw anyone use them — the pool was much more popular.The beaches were never busy.There was a volleyball court set up for anyone who wanted to use it, and another beach with chairs and umbrellas.Non-motorized water activities were also complimentary.Finally, there was a third beach exclusively for Hilton Honors elite members. You needed to be either Hilton Honors Diamond or Gold to use the beach. Status was identified by the color of our wristbands.It’s great that they had a beach specifically for elite members!In practice, I never saw anyone managing this stand; I also didn’t see anyone using the beach here, either, though the beanbag chairs looked comfortable.Squashy beanbags and umbrellas were on hand for Hilton Honors elite members.Wi-FiI had a lot of work to do while I was on my vacation (such is the life), which meant that strong Wi-Fi was a must. Although I never managed to get a speed test done, I was able to stream movies, have a video call, and upload large files without issue. The entire resort is covered with Wi-Fi, which meant I never had to be disconnected.Bottom Line: The Conrad Bora Bora was full of high-end amenities and featured strong Wi-Fi that was suitable for streaming video. ActivitiesSince this is an island resort, you will, presumably, be spending a lot of time at the hotel. Thankfully, there was plenty to do aside from the amenities I’ve already mentioned above. Every day, the resort offered a variety of complimentary activities for guests.The list of activities changed every day.The hotel also offered complimentary non-motorized water equipment, including fins, snorkels, paddleboards, and kayaks. The coral reef around the hotel meant there was excellent snorkeling for even the most beginner of swimmers.There were also bicycles located around the property that were free to use.Note the bike with training wheels.Along with these, the Conrad Bora Bora also boasted a large variety of paid activities from which to choose. I ended up going on the manta ray tour with the Manta Trust; we saw 5 different manta rays and also managed to follow around a pack of eagle rays for about 20 minutes. I’d highly recommend joining in if you’re looking for something to do.In addition to all of this, you can opt to take the shuttle boat to the main island. There were multiple departures per day, though you’ll want to schedule yours in advance. It wasn’t expensive; the cost came out to around $15 roundtrip.Food and BeverageThe food at the Conrad Bora Bora was high-quality and very fresh. As you’d expect, seafood was heavy on the menu. However, even as a person who refuses any kind of fish, I still found plenty of options for meals. A note: you’ll need to make reservations for dinner at both Iriatai and Banyan. Upa Upa Bar is only available for walk-ins. Reservations can be made by texting your concierge.IriataiBreakfastThe resort’s French restaurant also doubles as the place where you’ll eat breakfast. As a Hilton Honors Gold or Diamond member, breakfast is complimentary. The meal was served in 2 different ways during my stay based on occupancy. When occupancy was low, I ordered things off an à la carte menu.Not all of the breakfast was free for elite members, but much of it was.You can order as much as you’d like. There were also paid options that include eggs benedict and omelets, though while I was there, the hotel was allowing elite members to order plain eggs without charge.The view doesn’t get much better than this.During periods of high occupancy, the hotel operated a breakfast buffet. In this case, the entire buffet was free and offered significantly more choice for elite members.There are never too many pastries!There were traditional American-style options.There was a wide variety of food for every taste.Plenty of fruits and vegetables were available.There were also vegetables if you were so inclined.Cold cut meats and cheeses were also offered.The meat was cold and so was the cheese — no food poisoning here!DinnerIn the evenings, Iriatai became a full-fledged French restaurant (menu). Whether it was open or not depended, again, on occupancy. The first few days of my stay, it alternated with Banyan as the only restaurant open in the evening. This was likely because there were only around 10 total guests at the resort. Later on, however, both restaurants were open and I had my choice of dining locations.Just a casual dinner meal.Prices were comparable to a nice place in California. In fact, this was my experience across the whole resort; although it was expensive, it wasn’t as egregiously priced as the Maldives. I ordered the steak, which was the most expensive entrée on the menu.The steak was perfectly cooked.The dinner also came with 3 different amuse-bouche to try.Complimentary food is always welcome!There was also complimentary bread and small desserts after I’d finished my steak. Although my main wasn’t huge, I still left the table uncomfortably full. Including a glass of water and a glass of wine, my total for dinner came out to about $90. The hotel includes a 5% tip charge on all services, though you can add more if you’re feeling generous.I particularly enjoyed Iriatai’s food and returned here multiple times during my stay. The steak was perfectly cooked (medium rare) and I appreciated all the free samplers, which changed every meal.BanyanThe other dinner restaurant requiring reservations, Banyan serves a full Chinese food menu. This wasn’t potstickers and orange chicken, however — the food here was upscale and featured a wide variety of flavors. I came here twice during my stay, and while it was good, I preferred Iriatai.For my first meal, I ordered the Immersion Menu, which included dumplings, spring rolls, soup, a main dish, and dessert. It was delicious and also entirely too much food.When I returned, I opted simply for a sauteed steak dish with rice.Every meal at this resort was delicious!Prices here were, overall, a little cheaper than Iriatai. This steak dish, for example, cost just $42.Upa Upa BarUpa Upa Bar is the resort’s casual dinner restaurant and bar and is located near the check-in area. This resulted in fabulous views.You could also watch the boats come and go.The restaurant served sushi and a wide variety of drinks. It also boasted a glass floor.Keep your eyes peeled for stingrays!I almost never saw anyone in here, though it was a good place to get some work done.Tamure Beach GrillI brought a lot of my own food (and alcohol) so I only ended up eating lunch at this restaurant once. It’s located next to the pool and served casual food such as burgers, pizza, and fish.This restaurant was always busy at lunch.I opted for the pizza, which was made in a stone oven. It was delicious but definitely too much for 1 person, and the fridge in the room didn’t have room for the box. I ended up snacking on some later but needed to throw much of it away, which felt wasteful.Polynesian DinnerOnce per week, the hotel put on a massive spread featuring culturally-relevant foods and entertainment. This is pretty common for French Polynesia, though in this case, it meant live music rather than dancers. The dinner was $90 per person and included a broad swathe of food for every taste. It also provided a complimentary alcoholic drink.Your fish won’t get any fresher.The seafood was plentiful.Bang for your buck was pretty solid if you like seafood.There was even an entire roast pig.I know how it looks, but it was tasty!The wide variety of desserts was tasty, though not as good as I experienced at Iriatai.My favorite part of the meal.There were also a few other hot items and a variety of salad options for those looking to stay healthy. All in, I enjoyed the meal, but I don’t feel like I got my money’s worth, especially given the limited items for non-seafood folks.Bottom Line: The food at the Conrad Bora Bora was always fresh and tasty. Although expensive, it rivaled upscale locations in California rather than the mind-boggling prices of the Maldives. ServiceThe service here was what made the stay for me. Yes, the hotel was phenomenal, but nice amenities only go so far if everyone is rude. That wasn’t the case here. When I checked in, the concierge took my phone number; everything I needed was taken care of through the concierge via SMS or WhatsApp, including meal reservations and booking excursions.The property offered housekeeping and turndown each day. In truth, I think the housekeeping was my largest disappointment. The room has a button indicating out front that you’d like your room cleaned. This didn’t actually do anything — instead, I ended up asking several times (through the concierge) for both turndown and housekeeping, especially when 3 p.m. rolled around and the room was still a mess. Once, turndown service didn’t come until 9:30 p.m. I only know this because they left a note at my door; I was already asleep.Snafus with room maintenance aside, the service at the Conrad Bora Bora was impeccable. By day 2 everyone knew my name. By day 3, the breakfast staff knew my order and preferred seat. Everyone was unfailingly polite and always greeted me with a smile. What more can you ask for?DepartureAs a Hilton Honors Diamond elite member, I was given a 4 p.m. checkout. This made sense, especially as there weren’t many folks at the resort and it wasn’t as if they were taking walk-ins. However, I did note that they had signage for day-use rooms, which would presumably be available for guests who had needed to checkout but weren’t ready to leave the resort. In my case, my boat left at 5 p.m. for a 7 p.m. flight back to Tahiti.One especially thoughtful touch was the inclusion of an eye mask and slippers to take back with me on my flight.I can’t wait to return!Final ThoughtsI fell in love with Bora Bora the moment I got off the plane. I made it my mission to return to this hotel 5 days in, when the calm of the island had fully taken me over. Although the Conrad Bora Bora Nui is now far more expensive than when I redeemed my own points, I’m still saving up. Combined with a free night certificate and Hilton’s fifth-night-free program, even the 120,000 point cost per night won’t put me off coming back to this extraordinary property.The information regarding the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.


Source: upgradedpoints.com