This is an island getaway worth flying to the South Pacific for.


I’m on a boat, but not just any boat. It’s a private water taxi that’s more kitted-out mini yacht. It whisked me from the jetty positioned just near the airstrip, and it’s slicing its way through turquoise surf to my destination, the private island of Motu To’opua. The captain steers us in, sidling up to a stylish dock, white-clad hosts waiting for me to alight.

the conrad bora bora boat

Courtesy of the Conrad Bora Bora Nui

A welcome drink in hand, I saunter up to where I want to be: The Conrad Bora Bora. Sound dreamy? It is, and the eye candy of the resort’s overwater bungalows reaching outward to the sea like flowers pulling away from their stems with swaying palms and sandy beaches in the background come into focus before we even weigh anchor. But we’ve had many dreamy moments on this trip. I’ve been island-hopping and blue- lagoon swimming (with sharks!) around Tahiti and French Polynesia, from the main island, Tahiti, and its capital Papeete, to Rangiroa and now Bora Bora. Our last luxe stop is one night only; best make the most of it.

view of the conrad bora bora nui

Courtesy of the Conrad Bora Bora Nui

conrad bora bora fish in a coconut-infused ceviche

Coconut-infused ceviche. Photo: @safransdumonde⁠ ⁠

While at check in, I’m distracted by live music that’s been captured by the breeze and carried upward from Upa Upa Lounge Bar, a few metres away. It’s open to the sea, with rainbow-brite Roche Bobois Mah Jong couches and let’s-be-lazy wicker chairs that beg someone to curl up in them, while sipping a cocktail and noshing on sushi and taking in the sunset. There’s live entertainment or DJ sets, depending on the night; not too late, as they tend to wrap the tunes at 8 pm, just in time for dinner. And yes, I’ve booked said dinner at Iriatai, the resort’s French restaurant, so must join the desk manager waiting to take me in the golf cart to my overwater bungalow. My overwater bungalow! I’m trying to contain my excitement, a modicum of decorum that’s more difficult than I thought. What a rush, opening the door to a room seemingly floating, a generous bed facing the water, a terrace with slats in it for peeking through at the sea life below. Can I contain myself ?

I want to strip naked right there, hit a sprint and take a half gainer off the end of the terrace. Of course, I do a more dignified climb down the pool ladder, dipping a toe before making a commitment. The water’s warm soothing almost. Salty enough to keep me afloat without making much effort. Docile black-tipped reef sharks and rays and all manner of neon sea life swim underneath, unperturbed by my shadow. I’m just another fish in the sea.

What to do tomorrow? Take a ride and explore on one of the vintage-look bikes outside my door? Hike the path to the lookout to see Mount Otemanu across the bay? Sit in the shade of the ancient Banyan Tree, said to be the offshoot of a goddess? Snorkel off my private terrace? Or maybe a ukulele lesson? Yes, to all of it.

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