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The term luxury overwater bungalows might seem something of an unnecessary embellishment as underwater bungalows are almost always a luxury vacation experience.
That being said though, some of you will want to be guaranteed the very highest standards in accommodation, service and facilities, and that means 5 Star standards.
We've done the research for you and so here now are our choices for, and reviews of, the best luxury 5 Star overwater bungalows & water villas in France in 2021.
All our chosen resorts come with instant online booking & a lowest price guarantee via our affiliate partnerships with Booking.com & Hotels.com.
- There may be a lot of competition in terms of luxury retreats in Bora Bora and indeed in the broader region of French Polynesia, but the 5 Star InterContinental Thalasso Bora Bora is really quite a place. It is located on its own private island, a 20 minute boat ride from Bora Bora Motu Mute Airport, and it is hard to overemphasize the extraordinary setting, with the craggy peak of Mount Otemanu towering above and the most beautifully clear turquoise waters you could ever imagine swaying gently all around. It also has consistently high levels of service, great facilities and a laudable commitment to eco-friendly and sustainability principles, all of which make it stand out somewhat from the rest and lend the place an extra exclusive feel. It is very much a once in a lifetime vacation venue, and smoothly manages to be both family friendly and ideal for honeymoons. THE ACCOMMODATION: The overwater bungalows and villas are in a choice position to enjoy the setting with their boardwalk jutting out right in the middle of the bay. They are also all exceptionally spacious; the smallest cover a minimum of 1020 ft² while the largest, the ‘Marlon Brando Suite’, comes in at a whopping 3465 ft². As you will see there is a great range of accommodation to choose from, most, but not all, of which are overwater. Of those that are overwater they come with glass floor coffee tables from where you can peer down into the coral reef and see all manner of exotic creatures. Many also have their own private, on deck, infinity swimming pools. The design and interior decoration are a pleasing mix of modern and traditional Polynesian and they have all the modern facilities and comforts you would expect from a luxury hotel: air-con, WiFi, cable TV, music system, refrigerator, coffee maker, mini bar, some lovely bathrooms with bathtubs and rainfall showers, as well as plenty of lounging and dining furniture both inside and out. Room service is 24 hours and you can expect the absolute best in service throughout the resort which also has a concierge team. As mentioned above InterContinental Thalasso makes great READ MORE
- The very lovely, and very intimate, strictly adults only, Sofitel Bora Bora has its own private island with crystal clear waters and coral gardens just two minutes boat ride from the southern end of the main Island, or a 30 minutes boat shuttle ride direct from Bora Bora Airport. The Sofitel has just 30 bungalows & villas and so is very much a boutique resort, and most certainly a place for peace, quiet and indulgent calm and contentment. Especially given that the entire island is child free – the only adults only overwater resort in Bora Bora. THE ACCOMMODATION: This intimate oasis is particularly geared towards couples and honeymooners and so all its accommodation choices are doubles. There are two types of villa on offer; twenty classic overwater bungalows out on the lagoon and ten more private jungle lodges surrounded by trees and overlooking the water. Both are roughly the same size, and at around 370 ft² are relatively small. They all come with king size bed as standard though, as well as a living space, an outdoor terrace/sun lounge and private access to the water. Expect all standard luxury hotel mod cons here, and excellent room service. Concierge services are available too, and happy to oblige all sorts of requests. PRICES: Check out all the details – prices, reviews & more photos, on the booking page here. FACILITIES & THINGS TO DO: You can enjoy gourmet Polynesian and French food, as well as quality French wines (it has an extensive wine cellar), at the Manu Tuki Restaurant. It has a very lovely setting, with views over the peaceful lagoon, and of the towering Mount Otemanu away in the distance. Moving on from there you can enjoy some beautifully crafted cocktails, and other drinks at the cosy Mako Bar, which has similarly beautiful views from its wooden terrace and also serves food and snacks throughout the day. If you want to make any day or evening extra special all sorts of romantic extras are available, such as gourmet dining on the beach or sunset champagne evenings with traditional Polynesian dance shows. Private, bespoke arrangements can also be made, for the READ MORE
- Address: St Regis Bora Bora Resort
FranceThe 5 Star, St Regis Bora Bora was the setting for the 2009 comedy ‘Couple’s Retreat,’ starring Vince Vaughan, an extra publicity boost that such a confident, sophisticated resort really had very little need for. THE ACCOMMODATION: The resort is spread out over 44 acres which includes a private lagoon and various beach areas. The accommodation is a mixture of overwater bungalows and beach villas, all of which are extremely spacious; the largest overwater bungalows and villas in Bora Bora in fact. The very smallest on offer at the St Regis are 1550 ft² for example, with the very largest being a quite magnificent 3960 ft². The design and decor are mostly traditional Polynesian; airy and with lots of wood. You will have a large bedroom(s) with a super comfortable King size bed, seating, closet space and a giant flat screen TV. The lounge areas have comfy sofas, another TV and a mini bar, and outside there is lots of deck space with lounging, seating and dining furniture, outdoor showers and, in the case of the overwater bungalows, private access to the water. The bathrooms are suitably luxurious, and large, too. There you have a rainfall shower, a deep bath to sink into and a choice of exotic bath salts and other pampering products. Another very nice feature is that all the overwater bungalows are equipped with glass floor panels in the hallway, living room and bathroom which allows some gorgeous glimpses into life under the water below. The overwaters come in various levels and prices as you will see on the booking page with the top of the range being their Royal Villas which are really quite magnificent and, surprisingly enough, are the only ones which have private pools on the deck. You have a private butler service at your disposal at the St Regis and one of the best concierge teams around. They are particularly adept at arranging grand romantic gestures, for honeymoons or otherwise, via their ‘Romantic Concierge’ service, and they organize weddings too with a bridal boutique also on the premises where you can rent wedding dresses, groom suits etc. PRICES: Check out all the details READ MORE
- The tropical gardens of the InterContinental Tahiti Resort & Spa lie just five minutes from Tahiti Airport and not much more than ten from downtown Papeete. The super convenient location means it’s a place where many people get their very first experience of a classic Polynesian resort, and an overwater bungalow stay. It is a large, fairly busy resort and you’ll find it more lively, both day and night (it’s got a 24 hour bar for example), than any similar resort on the likes of Bora Bora and Moorea. The overwater bungalows section though is more quiet and peaceful, relatively speaking, and so you in some ways you can have a romantic getaway or honeymoon while still being able to enjoy the buzz of a lively resort. You’ll find lots to do here with shops, fine restaurants, fun bars, a fabulous spa and plenty of water sports and other activities to pass the time with. That plus the fact that you’re so close to the capital city of Pape’ete means it’s almost impossible to get bored. THE ACCOMMODATION: The have a range of accommodation at the Intercontinental, mainly rooms at the main hotel building which come in various sizes and which have balconies with garden and sea views, but also overwater bungalows with outdoor terraces and lovely views of Moorea Island just across the water. These overwater bungalows are in two sections. Eight 400 square feet/37 square meter units surround the resort’s motu (islet) where the lagoonarium and the main pool are situated, while the others are down a coast with a wooden walkway placing them a little farther out on the ocean. The latter are referred to as Overwater Motu Bungalows on the booking page and come with 400 square feet/37 square meters of internal space and an impressive 344 square feet/ 32 square meter terrace. The Lagoon Bungalows come in two sizes – the standard models are larger internally than the Motu Bungalows but smaller externally – 414 square feet/39 square meters indoors with a 129 square feet/12 square meter terrace. The Superior Bungalows, the pick of the bunch at this resort, are a similar size indoors but READ MORE
- The low key, 5 star resort of Le Méridien offers perhaps the best value around in terms of luxury overwater bungalows and villas in Bora Bora. It does not have the same show-stopping sense of opulence as some other nearby resorts; the St. Regis or The Four Seasons for example, which feature some really quite enormous accommodation, but though the largest overwater bungalows at the Le Méridien cover not much more than 540 ft², they are just as luxurious, stylish and well equipped. So if you feel having acres of extra space is not worth the extra premium price then Le Méridien is for you. One popular feature of most Bora Bora overwater bungalows are glass floor viewing panels which allow you to gaze directly at the colorful sea life in the waters below. Le Méridien gets extra points in this regard, boasting the largest glass floors of any resort in the whole of French Polynesia. Le Méridien is family friendly but has a relaxed, intimate atmosphere that is more suited to couples. You will also find it noticeably quieter than many of the other resorts, especially in the evenings, something which adds to the sense of a secret, romantic hideaway. THE ACCOMMODATION: Le Méridien doesn’t have the same breath of accommodation choices as some other resorts but what it has are classic overwater bungalows that are cosy and intimate, and blend traditional Polynesian design and decor with modern facilities and features, including the above mentioned large glass floor panels which cover most of the lounge areas. The resort also offers similarly pleasant beach villas and suites, all of which are, including the overwater bungalows, one double bedroom but most of which also have a sofa bed in the lounge area for extra guests if required. The outside spaces have seating and lounging furniture, as well as, in the case of the overwater bungalows, direct access to the water. King size beds are standard at Le Méridien and all of the accommodation is kitted out with modern necessities; AC, WiFi, mini bar, flat screen satellite TVs etc. Room service is 24 hours, there are also concierge and business services available, READ MORE
- The 5 Star celebrity haunt that is the Conrad Bora Bora Nui sits neatly in a private cove on Motu To’opua, a little islet southwest of the main island. The setting is beautiful – secluded and thoroughly romantic, and the resort really has an extra touch of class, even by Bora Bora’s high standards. It also boasts what are surely Bora Bora’s, and one of the world’s, finest overwater bungalows – their incredibly opulent Presidential Overwater Villa. Their hilltop Hina Spa has soothing treatments and tremendous panoramic views, there are four excellent dining options, a large infinity pool and pool bar, and some some lovely stretches of the purest of white sands. The Conrad is family friendly; it has its own Kid’s Club, but overall the atmosphere is one of romance and relaxed, indulgent tranquility. THE ACCOMMODATION: They have a total of 114 accommodation units at the Conrad, with a choice between overwater, beach and garden. The Conrad, in its previous incarnation as a Hilton, was the first resort in Bora Bora to offer the now ubiquitous overwater bungalows and these are of course as plush and opulent as you may imagine. They all offer lots of space too, with the smallest on offer covering around 1200 ft². They have sleek and stylish interiors, king size beds and wall to wall sliding doors opening out to a large deck where you have direct access to the sea, lounging and dining furniture and an outdoor shower. Some, the ‘Pool Villas’, also come with an infinity plunge pool and overwater catamaran style hammock nets to sink into. The crème de la crème of their overwater bungalows are the two Presidential Overwater Villas. They are absolutely stunning two story overwater palaces, probably the finest in Bora Bora. These are where celebs, the likes of the Kardashians, stay when in town. Feast your eyes here. The Conrad’s Beach Villas though are also quite special and compare well to the overwaters. Sitting on the beach, just feet from the water, they boast the same luxurious qualities and come with infinity style plunge pools as standard, overlooking the sand and the sea. Then there are the READ MORE
- The 5 Star Le Taha’a Resort sits on a tremendously beautiful, secluded private islet between Bora Bora and the famous vanilla island of Taha’a from where it gets its name. It offers a delectable form of tranquil, laid back luxury and at slightly cheaper prices than on Bora Bora. Cheaper prices or not, for many Le Taha’a is preferable to resorts on Bora Bora’s main island anyway in that it has an even more remote, paradise island feel. And it is a small, intimate resort which feels more personable and less corporate than many others. This is reflected too in its architecture and interior design – the accommodation, and the resort in general, feels more traditionally Polynesian than most. ACCOMMODATION: Le Taha’a has 45 romantic, old style wood and thatch overwater bungalows above the islet’s crystal clear, bountiful waters, and a range of cosy beach villas with private gardens and plunge pools steps away from the beach. This is 5 Star luxury accommodation with all the conveniences you might come to expect but the decor is traditional Polynesian – displaying native woodcraft and some lovely examples of Tapa barkcloth – and so has a more exotic feel than many other resorts in the region. The overwater bungalows are all 969 square feet/90 square meters, in size and broadly similar but priced slightly differently according to the view they offer, with a view of Bora Bora and its iconic Mount Otemanu being the most expensive. There is also a small extra premium for the extra privacy of an End of Pontoon Overwater Bungalow which we feel is relatively good value. The beach villas are similarly priced to the overwaters but they are at least twice the size and so are worth a look. Their Royal Pool Villa is the most expensive accommodation in the whole resort but it is really quite special with roughly 2,800 square feet/260 square meters of space surrounded by its own private walled garden. PRICES: Check out all the details – prices, reviews and more photos, on their Booking.com page here and on their Expedia.com page here. FACILITIES & THINGS TO DO: Le Taha’a Island Resort has READ MORE
- The 5 Star, Sofitel Moorea Kia Ora Resort is a private enclave surrounded by crystal clear waters and pure white sands near to both Moorea Airport, and to the island’s main ferry dock which has regular ferries running the hour long journey to and from Tahiti. It is a beautiful place, and if you’re coming, as most people are, straight from Tahiti both it and the island of Moorea will really offer the wow factor. The setting ticks all the boxes for a classic Polynesian island stay; balmy turquoise waters, powdery white sands (the beach alongside is consistently rated one of the best in Polynesia) and lush green tropical foliage, while the resort itself is small, intimate and oozes romantic indulgence. Sofitel is family friendly but it doesn’t have much in the way of specific facilities for kids. In general though they will be well looked after by the helpful, cheerful staff. Babysitting/child minding services are also available. THE ACCOMMODATION: They have a range of bungalows and villas, mainly overwater but with a few beach and garden villas too, ranging in size from 450 to 800 square feet. All are sleek and modern in style with lots of polished wood, soft lighting and pastel colored fabrics, though also with that classic, traditional Polynesian look externally. The overwater bungalows at the Sofitel Moorea feel the most traditional in style internally and as such are cosy and romantic. They all come with outside terraces with lounging furniture and direct access to the water, though they are a little on the small side. They are, not surprisingly, the most popular accommodation choice and, though almost double the price of the cheapest, garden based bungalows, are worth the extra. You’ll find all the usual 5 Star hotel facilities at the Sofitel, there is a concierge service here and in general throughout the resort the service is outstanding. PRICES: Check out all the details -prices, reviews & more photos, on the booking page here. FACILITIES & THINGS TO DO: The resort has two acclaimed restaurants; Pure, which offers quality international and local dishes, both buffet and a la carte and has live entertainment on some READ MORE
- The family friendly Four Seasons Resort forms an exclusive enclave by the coral reefs to the north east of Bora Bora and offers overwater bungalows, and beach villas, that are spacious, sleek and very well equipped. Their style is more modernist than most and they have the feel of luxury design apartments where everything feels crisp, clean and new. All come with tremendous views over Mount Otemanu and the lagoon, the overwater bungalows particularly, and the resort itself is a pleasure to stroll around with plenty to do and see, and a cosy, friendly, atmosphere throughout. Though the vibe is, this being Bora Bora, generally one of romantic indulgence, The Four Seasons takes care of children better than most with a kid’s club and plenty of organized activities for both youngsters and teens. THE ACCOMMODATION: Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora has one hundred over-water bungalows and seven beachfront villas to choose from, ranging in size from 1070 ft² to over 3200 ft², with a maximum occupancy of 6 for the larger units. All are extremely comfortable, spacious and beautifully styled with teak woods and pastel shaded soft furnishings. The outside spaces are expansive and well kitted out, with the overwater bungalows having private access to the water as well as outdoor showers, chaises lounges, circular daybeds and dining tables. All the overwaters have internal glass floor panels to watch the sea life in the lagoon below too and some also have plunge pools on the deck. You can expect king size beds as standard in all of the units as well as plasma screen satellite TVs, DVD players, coffee machines, mini fridges, music stations etc. in the lounge areas. All the bathrooms come with nice, large and deep, baths and with some opening out to the sea via sliding doors. Room service is 24 hours and the service throughout the resort, which also provides concierge and business services, is of the highest quality. PRICES: Check out all the details – prices, reviews & more photos, on the booking page here. FACILITIES & THINGS TO DO: You can enjoy some tremendous food at the Four Seasons, where you have a choice READ MORE