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Bora Bora.

Can a place so idyllic be real? A place that sounds so dreamy and exotic might compel you to ask, "What is a bucketlist Bora Bora beach resort holiday really like?"

For that, we asked a fellow Canadian Traveller.

Words by Catherine Dunwoody. 

 

catherine

For me, Bora Bora was the perfect blend of deliciously tropical climate, jaw-dropping natural beauty and Polynesian culture, mixed with all things fabulously French including art, the language, and of course food and drink.

Get used to hearing the singsong greeting of "Ia Orana" from every local you meet in magical Bora Bora, French Polynesia’s idyllic tropical island – especially during a visit to luxury resort Le Méridien.

 

Yes, the properties really are that swoon-worthy

Le Méridien bora boraLe Méridien

Le Méridien was recently renovated and the results are in: tres chic.

There are nods to the Polynesian atmosphere and traditional design of course, but in a fresh, sophisticated way that never veers into an unfortunate Gilligan’s Island vibe. (You know what I'm talking about.)

Once I flew into Tahiti, another short flight landed me at the tiny Bora Bora airport, where I hopped a water taxi to the resort. Skimming along the sea, en route to a dream vacation was pretty darned thrilling.

Le Méridien sits on an islet of sugar-fine sand beach skirted by swaying coconut groves, and is enveloped by water that illustrates the colour turquoise better than any Pantone chip ever could. That, and the stunning view of iconic Mount Otemanu? Everywhere I looked was a postcard.

 

Suite dreams in lagoon bungalows

Le Méridien bora boraLe MéridienLe Méridien bora boraLe Méridien

When you're planning to visit French Polynesia, without fail, the first question you're asked by friends is whether you'll stay in an overwater bungalow. Trust me, you want to answer, "Yes!"

Le Méridien has the largest number of glass-bottom floors anywhere in Bora Bora, and their overwater bungalows offer crystal views into the ocean, which teams with tropical fish.

Inside, the décor has touches of tiki, but dressed in a subtle way: dark woods, fresh white linens and pops of colour on textiles and accent furniture. But really, it's all about outdoor living.

My bungalow's deck offered a view of the sea that went on forever, and cooling off was as easy as lowering myself, rung by rung, into the cool blue via the adjoining ladder. Heaven.

For those who would rather be on dry land, the beach villas are lovely, especially if gently swaying on an island breeze in your own hammock appeals.

 

You never stop drinking in the views

Le Méridien bora boraLe Méridien

In the tropics, worshipping sunset is something of a daily ceremony. So, find a tiki bar, pull up a chair, and drink in those views. 

Catching sundown at Bar Miki Miki, with its boat-shaped terrace and wooden ​bar is about as vacation-fab as it gets. I imbibed the Bora Bora cocktail with white rum, Curaçao Bleu, coconut cream, and fresh banana and pineapple juices.

On Thursday evenings, dinner is served with a side of culture; catch the Polynesian show at Le Tipanié Restaurant. When in Rome right?

 

Le Méridien bora boraLe Méridien

Why would anyone not dine right on the beach when they had the chance? Kick off your sandals and feel the luxurious sand underfoot before digging into some fresh island fare. Lunch at Te Ava Restaurant meant tucking into a classic Tahitian salad made with raw fish in coconut milk. 

 

French Polynesia's botanicals are ingredients for bliss

tahiti oil

The flora of French Polynesia isn't just pretty to look at, it's good for you.

Fresh fruit enzymes, Tamanu oil anti-oxidants and sea salt minerals are the nutrient-rich ingredients of island wellness. You'll also be introduced to Monoi oil, which is coconut oil infused with tiare flower, or Tahitian gardenia. Monoi oil smells like vacation bottled, and a massage at a resort spa is essential.

Want to try something a bit unusual? I had a watsu water treatment and felt like I was a baby being cradled. Crazy cool.

 

The wildlife really is as Jungle Book as you'd expect

Le Méridien bora boraLe Méridien

Turtles, rays and sharks - oh my! Bora Bora's sheltered lagoon is the world's aquarium. 

Turtle sightings are assured at The Bora Bora Turtle Center. It's located in the Le Méridien's private lagoon and is a sanctuary for these gentle sea creatures. The Center also cultivates coral beds in an environmentally responsible way. I loved learning all I could from the on-staff experts.

 

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Le Méridien Bora Bora sounds like a fantasy,
but it doesn't have to be just a day dream...

With over 1,300 Starwood hotels and resorts across the globe to choose from, there’s a property to suit every passion. By using the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, you can earn Starpoints faster and redeem for free nights at eleven distinct brands including Le Méridien Bora Bora. You can also earn a limited time welcome bonus of 25,000 Starpoints. Offer ends October 18th, 2017.


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