We chose the Hilton Bora Bora Nui to celebrate our 10th year anniversary. We also chose it because of the trusted Hilton brand.
When we arrived in Bora Bora, we arrived at the Hilton desk in the airport. We were greeted by a nice lady and given a flower necklace. It was really a nice touch (all resorts seem to do this). She told us to go get our luggage and put on the Hilton tag (check the tag as you will know your room allocation right away!!) We were then escorted to the boat which was the biggest hotel boat in the water. We did have to take our own luggage which was a bit difficult. When we boarded we just wanted to go upstairs in the boat and look at the view. Instead we were asked to fill in paperwork and received complimentary water bottle. We finished quickly and walked up to the top. The view was really nice. We were ready to go but were informed that another plane was about to land and they wanted to wait (this was a disappointment as we were excited). Once we got going, we were seeing the amazing views. The boat was a bit run down and smelled like exhaust but we were in paradise. From a distance, the presidential suite was hard to miss and it was exciting getting close to the resort.
Once we arrived at reception, we were serenaded with live music. They have seats and they provide you with a drink and hot towel. It was a nice touch. Then they started taking a few people to their rooms in golf carts. One of the ladies came up to us and said she would be back for us in 10 minutes. 10 minutes turned into forever. I was anxious as I had requested a certain set of bungalows and wanted to know where we ended up (didn’t realise when I put my luggage tag on that it had the OWB number on it). I knew it could take some time to get checked in but it seemed like forever. Plus, she said 10 minutes so we didn't want to go swimming in case she came back. She should have told us about the complimentary "hhonours " wifi in the reception area but she did tell us to go make dinner reservations. Eventually, we were taken to our room by golf cart. She arrived back at reception and we made our presence known. We ended up staying in OWB 113 instead of the requested 300's. They reviewed the room with us but we were ready to check it out by ourselves. I was disappointed that we weren't even remotely close to where we requested and there were so many regular OWB options to choose from in that area.
Once they left and after the wait, it was about time for the sunset. They have left some bubbly in the room that had a note to the effect of "Thanks for choosing the Hilton." We had a toast on the balcony and it was an exceptional sunset that night. We were grateful to be in Bora Bora. The OWB was amazing. The bathrooms are massive and they are so spacious. I was very aware of what the amenities were like and was so pleased. Make sure you have an open air feel and open up the doors and windows. There really isn't a bad bungalow either. I was going to request a room change and came to realise how great our location was. We really loved where we stayed. You can’t go wrong with the OWB.
We had a half board (brekkie +lunch) and ate at the restaurants the whole time. Our favourite restaurant at the Hilton was the French restaurant Iraitai. It was the best food on the resort and had nice decor. If you’re a foodie then you will be disappointed. But for the South Pacific it was really good. Brekkie was wonderful and we ate outside most mornings. If you sit near the bar area, you can get free wifi. We loved catching up on the world and eating a great breakfast. Don’t forget to order personally made omelettes, eggs waffles etc… Restaurant reservations were really easy as well. You can also do last minute bookings so there is no fuss. We ended up eating later and later as time went by so there was no rush to get to dinner.
We did eat at the Tamure Grill one night. We weren't extremely hungry and the portions were very sizable. The food seemed really delayed and we were there for 2 hours. We were relaxed and okay with it but later in the week it took around 2 hours to order and then finish. Additionally, there were 2 nights when we had to go up and request the cheque. From what we read, in French culture you need to ask for the bill but in previous nights they brought it over. There were minor consistencies like this at the resort but it never bothered us.
We attended the Polynesian Night and the buffet at Iraitai with live music. The Polynesian night was fine. The musicians were really good. The dancers seemed a bit unsure of themselves. We were also surprised that there was no fire included in their routine. They got the audience involved and people really loved it. The buffet at the Polynesian Night was vast and had many options.
We enjoyed the live music at the Iraitai restaurant. However, we were disappointed that during peak customer hours they went and had a break. We only enjoyed a few songs even though the restaurant was packed. Additionally, they didn't play French Polynesian music which was a bit of a disappointment.
The resort is large but it never felt overrun with people. You could always find a hammock, lounger or a quite place. We enjoyed how vast it was and loved taking walks.
The beach was extremely nice (seemed like raked sand) especially since FP isn’t known for its beaches (mostly coral + shells). The snorkelling is really good at the resort. We were so shocked that we saw rays, heaps of diverse fish and varied coral colour. You should still go on excursions (check with the concierge) but for resort snorkelling it was not bad at all. Good on the resort for trying to improve its coral and for advising guests not to step on coral in their room book. We only used the pool once since we had OWB. But it was nice. Additionally, the pool boys were great and helped us borrow equipment. It’s really nice that you can borrow paddle boards (although we almost died ), kayaks, snorkels etc…
We walked up to the “million dollar view.” It was stunning. We couldn’t believe our eyes at the water colour. It was also extremely warm that day so we went swimming right after walking up the hill. When we come back, we would really like a hillside villa. I don’t think they can be undervalued from the looks of it.
We really enjoyed the complimentary wifi. You have to be patient at times but it’s not a big deal. I would suggest to management to offer different types of packages. What they currently provided convinced us to just use the free option. But if they had better options we would have purchased it.
The grounds are super clean and well kept. They have beautiful landscaping and was very creative with their landscape designs.
The music was really annoying. My husband and I found ourselves really upset about the selection. It felt like someone in a corporate office somewhere had never been to FP and didn’t get the culture. Many songs mentioned “Hawaii” and we weren't there! We stayed at other resorts on this trip and they had a much better selection. Additionally, it seemed like they were only paying for copy write on 5 songs. We heard the same songs over and over and over. It was really eye rolling.
The resort was a bit too commercial for me. It really has catered to its main customers – Americans. No one spoke French to you because I believe they assume you don’t want that. Whilst I appreciated the staff’s ability to speak English well, it was missing a bit of the authentic Polynesian feel.
I was shocked with how good the service was at the Hilton. In the South Pacific things tend to be slower. Whilst they had a few moments where they struggled, the service was really good. They clearly are trained well as a staff. However, I will say for a 5 star resort, they are probably understaffed in the restaurants. Many staff were “hustling” just to help everyone. Housekeeping was really good and came twice a day. Additionally, we loved “La Orana” by all staff. They were so welcoming and this seemed in keeping with their culture (Vaitape we were randomly greeted on the streets by a local).
Whilst I realise that mostly everyone is in Bora Bora for a special occasion, the Hilton didn’t do anything special for our anniversary. We stayed at other resorts that brought us a special something. Perhaps with the bubbly they provided they could provide a personalised letter. They wouldn't even have to give something extra but just go the extra mile with what they are already providing.
Overall, this was the best holiday we ever had. Bora Bora is fantastic! The Hilton is wonderful! We would definitely go back and from what we can tell, has the facilities to compete with higher end resorts. It sets itself apart with amazing coral right on the grounds, amazing lagoon views and having multi-coloured water (which we preferred). You won't regret doing this trip of a lifetime.