REVIEW: Conrad Bora Bora Nui – Overwater Villa & King Tropical Beach Villa with Pool

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Updated: Feb 6, 2024

Previously on Daddy Travels

Well, in case you missed it, we booked a trip to Bora Bora valued over $10,000. Our flights, after using points, was only $10.10 in fees per person when we flew from LA to Tahiti. Our hotel stays at the very popular Conrad Bora Bora Nui Resort was also covered all in points.

[Read: How we booked our trip to Bora Bora for nearly FREE (valued over $10,000)]

In this post:

  • How we got to Bora Bora from Los Angeles
    • Flying from Tahiti to Bora Bora
  • The optional boat rides to get to Conrad Bora Bora
  • Our villas
    • Tropical Beach Villa with Pool
    • Overwater Villa
  • The spa
  • Getting around the resort
  • FREE options to visit outside the resort
    • Vaitape Island
    • Bora Bora Beach Club
  • Dining costs
  • How we only spent $500 at the resort
  • Bora Bora vs Maldives

…and so much more

To get to Bora Bora

In order to get to Bora Bora, you must first fly in to Tahiti. We took a Delta Airlines direct flight from Los Angeles. Our other options were Air France and Air Tahiti Nui.
Arriving in Tahiti Papeete (PPT)
Before we flew to Bora Bora, since we arrived past 7pm, it made more sense for us to stay one night in Tahiti. We stayed in a budget property, Tahiti Airport Motel, located directly across the airport. By doing so, we didn’t have to waste using our precious hotel points by arriving very late at the Conrad. Instead, we were able to use our $50 annual hotel statement credit by booking this motel. Others have stayed at Hilton Tahiti Resort and Intercontinental Tahiti – both are a quick cab ride of no more than 10 minutes to/from the airport.
Tahiti Airport Motel
From PPT aka Tahiti International Airport, we took a short flight with Air Tahiti, a 50-minute flight to Bora Bora Airport. We booked this directly with Air Tahiti. Expect to pay around $400 round trip per person for this flight. For both of us, we spent roughly $800 total.
It was sunny and clear that morning, and perfect time to fly to Bora Bora and admire the beauty below us.
For those staying in Bora Bora, expect to land at Bora Bora Airport and then be whisked to your resort via a boat ride.

Here’s a short Instagram reel showing our flight as we approached Bora Bora

Approaching high above Bora Bora @daddytravelsmiles) • Instagram photos and videos

 

Optional boat rides to Vaitape

Option A: Air Tahiti Boat Shuttle

According to Bora Bora Photos,
For those that want to reach the main island of Bora Bora, there is a free shuttle service run by Air Tahiti from the airport to the main dock in Vaitape. The boats leave for Vaitape village about 20 minutes after your flight arrives, and it takes about 20 minutes to reach the marina in Vaitape.
Pros: FREE (no doubt)
Cons: When your boat arrives in Vaitape (the main island in Bora Bora) you will still have to wait for your boat to your hotel. And in our case, the Conrad boat shuttle leaves Vaitape to go to Conrad at 4:30pm.

We didn’t use this option. Here’s why.

While boat ride to Vaitape Island was free, the trouble is – these boat rides, while free, are on a schedule. We arrived around 11:30am in Bora Bora, and the free boat shuttle could take us to Vaitape Island, and but we were advised that the next FREE boat ride from Vaitape to Conrad Bora Bora was scheduled at 4:30pm (a 5-hour wait). I didn’t want to wait at Vaitape Island, with our luggage and backpacks, and not have to do anything for 5 hours. But if you are staying somewhere on Vaitape Island, it’s good to have these optional FREE rides however, and you just have to be cognizant of the schedule.

Option B: Conrad Bora Bora direct boat ride shuttle from the airport

Pros: It’s a direct boat ride shuttle straight to Conrad Bora Bora, nonstop
Cons:  There is a cost tied to this which is roughly $90 per person each way ($180 round trip per person). We opted to take this boat ride which took us directly to the resort within 20 minutes. Time is gold, and we didn’t feel like waiting at Vaitape island for 5 hours. Those 5 hours could be well spent enjoying our first few hours at the resort.

Finally, Conrad Bora Bora Nui

We passed by many of the overwater villas as we made our way to the resort.
We were greeted by island hosts who led us to the reception area. Anne was our island hostess, and she welcomed us, gave us towels to freshen up, and two refreshing island drinks. She indicated that she would be giving us a resort tour using a buggy or golf cart.
She also shared with us that my Hilton Gold account status received a two-level upgrade from the standard King Lagoon View Suite to a King Tropical Beach Villa with Pool.
King Tropical Lagoon View Suite

The above photo is what we originally booked, that’s the standard room, or the entry level suite – King Tropical Lagoon View Suite. Not overwater, no pool. I’m sure it’s beautiful inside for an entry-level booking. This is why I was very thankful for the upgrade to a beach villa with a pool. I love having a private pool. But of course, we shared with Anne that we were open to another room , an overwater villa to be exact, if something opened up. She said she’d do her best.

Anne, our gracious island hostess

King Tropical Beach Villa with Pool

Finally, we made it to our villa. We’ve been awake all morning, we flew to Bora Bora from Tahiti, and we took a boat ride to the resort. We were tired.
Beach Tropical Villa 402 at Conrad Bora Bora
The moment we entered the villa, it was just a little piece of paradise. It was everything I pictured it would be.
 
 
I immediately saw the pool from the living room and the bedroom. The whole villa was filled with great attention to details. There was a welcome gift, a bottle of wine and snacks. Our bed was decorated with two swans and showered with flower petals. Our bathroom was simply opulent. We loved every bit of it. It was a very warm sunny, humid day, and I couldn’t wait to jump in the pool.
 

How we booked using points

Before we got the upgrade, we had to book a standard room using points. We took advantage of Hilton’s 5th Night Free perk when you book with points. The way it works – you book 5 nights and Hilton basically does not charge you for the 5th night. It won’t work if you only booked 4 nights and expect to get the 5th night free. You have to book 5 nights to trigger the offer. For a complete write up, here’s how we booked our stay at Conrad Bora Bora.

We earned these points from our the following credit cards:
  • Hilton Honors American Express Card
  • Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
  • The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
For the card that gives you Automatic Hilton Diamond Status, it’s a good thing that Nancy applied for the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card.

Dining options at Conrad Bora Bora

Iriatai

This is where we ate our daily complimentary breakfast buffet. Hilton Gold and Hilton Diamond status members get complimentary breakfast for having this status. The standouts to me were the freshly made crepes, delicious and fresh local fruits, and the asian/polynesian food selections.

Crepes and fried eggs stand

All the other choices were your typical breakfast buffet choices (lots of pastries, salad, cereal, eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, soup, etc.) – you get the picture. For drinks, coffee and tea were included and served to you. Water and juices were also available as self-service.

The serving staff was always around making sure our needs were cared for. They made sure to check with us and cleared anything that could be removed from the table.

Iriatai turns into a french restaurant at night. It’s by reservations only. We opted not to go there for dinner.

Upa Upa Lounge

This is a very relaxed lounge that’s above water. When you arrive at the Conrad, you are actually taken to the Upa Upa Lounge seating area. I happen to like this area a lot. There were lots of places to lounge, to relax, and just sit and watch the passing boats, and overwater villas. It’s a great place to also watch the sunset.
In the evening, this is where we dined mostly. There’s a sushi bar, and other Japanese items on the menu. This type of dining was more up our alley. We were able to order a bunch of little appetizers, sushi, and rice and that easily became our dinner. Make sure to check the resort for the Sunset Dinner Show. It doesn’t happen every night. During our stay, the dinner show was on a Sunday night. The entertainment was included. There was a 4-man group that sang and played music, and polynesian dancers and fire dancers. It was a great evening.

Tarava Pool Bar

Tarava is a swim-up pool bar that also serves food. For those of you looking for a deal on drinks, there’s a small window between 3pm and 4pm, they have their sunset specials. For our visit that afternoon, we ordered Club Sandwich with fries was around $30 USD.

Tamure Beach Grill

On our last night, we had dinner with our new friends from Australia, Rene and Maricel. It was a sit-down dinner at Tamure Beach Grill, and we treated ourselves with the fish of the day: Grilled Tuna and spinach gratin. Plus, an order of Tagliatta Steak and Salad.

Tagliatta Steak and Salad – around $40 USD
Fish of the Day – Grilled Red Tuna, salad, and spinach gratin – around $40 USD
Dinner with our new friends from Austalia – Maricel and Rene

Why we didn’t go to the Polynesian Dinner Show

We opted not to go the actual Polynesian dinner show. Please do not let this deter you. But here are my reasons why we didn’t go to the Polynesian dinner show.
  • Tired and weary – the only show during our stay happened on a Friday night (our first night). We were tired from traveling the night before, and we also had a long day with flying from Tahiti to Bora Bora, and toured the resort. I wanted to rest and enjoy the pool villa
  • Headache – with all the travels and touring around, I developed a bad headache and decided to go to bed so I could nap.
  • It’s another luau – again, do not let this deter you. But in our case, we’ve been to many luau’s in our lives. We are regular visitors to Hawaii, and honestly, we have not gone to a luau in nearly 20 years. But we’ve been to more than a dozen luaus in our lives. I’m certain the food and experience were all great had we gone to the Polynesia dinner show.
  • The cost = $140 per person – the $280 for me and Nancy plus tip. We decided to just use that money for something else.
This was the reason I was glad when I learned that the Sunset Dinner show offered somewhat of a mini-polynesian show. And that was good enough for us.

Getting around the resort

There are three ways to get around the resort.
  • Walk – Nancy and I walked a lot, and we also went on a short hike up to the spa area, where bicycles would have a difficulty with the uphill ride.
  • Golf cart/buggy – operated by hotel staff members only, if you need a ride, just call the hotel staff
  • Bicycles – honor system – if you see a bicycle, and it’s not being used, you could take it and use it.

Boat ride schedule to/from Conrad and Vaitape

As mentioned earlier, the Conrad offers free shuttle rides to/from Vaitape Island (a 10-minute boat ride from the Conrad). You will need to advise guest services of your intent to ride the shuttle. For us, we availed of the free shuttle ride to Vaitape and got on the 1:15pm scheduled ride. We were in Vaitape within 10 minutes – a very short, quick, easy ride. We also returned back to Conrad on the 4:30 pm shuttle. Make a note that if you opt for evening shuttle rides, there are associated costs with doing so. See below.

Conrad/Vaitape Shuttle

Another upgrade – Overwater Villa

I forgot to mention that shortly after finishing our resort tour with Anne during our first hours on the island, she sent me a text informing me that we were upgrade to an overwater villa on our last day. We were booked for 6 days/5 nights. This was such great news. “But, Jason! You’re rejoicing over a one night of upgrade?” Yes. I am! Because I am a content creator, and this would give me a chance to check out another villa.

Not one but two nights

On the morning of our third day at the resort, Anne texted and I missed the text messages. We were out kayaking. She found me by the pool and told me that we can now move to an Overwater Villa for two nights (instead of just one). HA!!!! I was thrilled. Why? Well, I’m only a Hilton Gold status. Typically, these great upgrades are given to Hilton Diamond status members. So again, I was very grateful for the upgrade.

Our overwater villa

We had scheduled an afternoon to visit Vaitape Island, and before we left the Conrad, we packed our stuff, and a Conrad staff member came by to pick up belongings and moved them to our new villa, Room #302. This was on the other side of the resort. We got back to around 5pm, and

Is Conrad Bora Bora kid-friendly?

Judging by this photo, you’ll see many of these bicycles with a child carrier. For our visit, I thought I only saw 2-3 kids under 10 years old. That was on our first day. The rest of the time, no kids were around, at least to my knowledge. There is also a Kids Club, I’m not exactly sure what services they provide.
How do the accommodations work?
The Villas can host 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 children under 13 years old. They’ll provide a rollaway bed and turn the sofa in to another bed as well.
If you are Hilton Gold or Diamond, the breakfast is extended to the member and up to one additional guest registered to the same room. Meaning, the 3rd or 4th guest will not get complimentary breakfast.

Things to do at the Conrad Bora Bora

For this visit, we availed of the FREE activities:

Hina Spa

All guests at the Conrad can avail of the relaxation room (sauna and steam room) for FREE. 4 guests maximum are allowed. You can book for an hour. No one else booked but me and Nancy. Hina Spa is perched on top of a hill overlooking the property. These are our views on this very warm and sunny afternoon. We have the whole space to ourselves. There are drinks and dried fruits for snacking. We also used the sauna and steam room. This was so relaxing. I actually brought my book and relaxed at the spa. It was just me and Nancy. No one else shared the entire space with us. We enjoyed it so much, we booked the relaxation room twice. To get to/from the spa will require a bit of a hike. It’s doable. But you could also request for ride to take you up to the  spa.

The pool at Conrad Bora Bora

There was only one pool, a two-layered infinity pool at the Conrad. This area was NEVER packed. At many points during our stay, we found ourselves being the only ones at the pool. Other times, we must have shared them with no more than 8-10 other guests. It was pure peace and quiet.
There were 4 cabanas near the pool. They were FREE to use as long as they were unoccupied. The pool attendants kept the area clean. We met Oliver, Rama, and Upa (in charge of the water activities).  You could also use the free sunblock lotion and cold water located near the pool.
And for those who want to stay fit, there’s a fitness center as well available for you to use.
 

Should you go to the Maldives or Bora Bora?

This was a very popular question from many of the group members from Daddy Travels Miles and Points on Facebook.
Why not both? That’s the beauty of this credit card miles and points hobby. We have now been able to visit both Maldives and Bora Bora by taking advantage of the points that we earned from our credit cards.
Travels
To get to the Maldives – I had to catch a flight from LA to San Francisco, and then flew Qatar QSuites from SFO to Doha, Qatar. I had a nearly 9-10 hrs of layover, and then flew another 4 hours to Male, Maldives. For many Maldivian resorts, a seaplane transfer is needed to fly you to your resort (avg cost is $400 RT). Some resorts that are close enough to Male may only require a short boat transfer.
To get to Bora Bora – I flew a direct flight from LAX to PPT (Tahiti). Stayed one night in Tahiti. Flew to Bora Bora Airport the next day (around $400 RT pp). Once you get to Bora Bora airport, you have a choice to ride a private boat transfer provided by your resort ($90 pp each way), or a free boat ride shuttle to Vaitape – think of it as the main island in Bora Bora. If you opt for this free shuttle, you’d still have to wait for the FREE boat ride from your resort (so doing this could be a hassle).
From experience, flying to the Maldives took more of our time, over 24 hours which also required a 10-hr layover in Qatar. Getting to Bora Bora felt so much easier for us coming from the West Coast.
Time change
From Los Angeles to Maldives – we are talking a 13 hour time difference. That could take a toll in your body clock. I remember feeling sleepy mid-morning and mid-day during our first few days in the Maldives. Meanwhile, Bora Bora and Los Angeles, to my surprise was only a 2-hour time difference (we went in January). Bora Bora and Hawaii shared the same time difference, which was no big deal for us.
Natural vs man-made
I learned this during our trip to the Maldives, while there were natural islands there were also lots of man made islands in the Maldives. The Maldivian resorts tend to occupy the entire island, meaning you’re not really sharing the island with other hotels. And because many of them were man made, they’re mainly flat, no real elevation. So you can’t really say that you want to go hiking, or climb the nearest volcano.
Bora Bora on the other hand was more “natural” – lots of tropical trees, flowers, fruits. There were points of interest around the property. It was surrounded by nature.

When you leave your hotel – Maldives vs. Bora Bora

With the Maldives, you don’t really have the option to simply go to another island unless you take a boat or a seaplane. And those can get very pricey. Or, you could book an excursion for a price, and you could be taken to different islands around the Maldives.
Over in Bora Bora, and I was surprised by this, you have an option to take a free boat shuttle from the resort to Vaitape. We opted to do this twice. I’m not gonna lie to you. There wasn’t a whole lot of oohs and aahs of things to do in Vaitape. On our first visit to the island, we just walked around near the port and grabbed a quick bite to eat at popular Aloe Restaurant, and visited the local supermarket and souvenir shops.
Chicken Tacos and Margherita Pizza Lunch at Aloe Restaurant – Vaitape
On our second visit, the Conrad arranged a cab ride for us to go to Bora Bora Beach Club (a beachfront restaurant). We shared a ride with a beautiful couple from Australia who became our travel pals during our entire trip. We had lunch at the Beach Club, and went for a quick swim at the beach. We also used their free shower/changing room facility.

Dining costs

Not sure I’ll provide a great comparison here. But during our visit to the Maldives when we stayed at You & Me Cocoon Resort, our breakfast meals and dinners were all part of our package, including one underwater lunch experience. In Bora Bora, the only thing that was covered at no cost to us were our daily complimentary breakfast (for being Hilton Gold and Hilton Diamond members). The rest was up to us. Nancy and I opted to dine at Upa Upa Lounge for their sushi and other Japanese food, and one sit-down dinner at Tamure Beach Grill on our last night. Our other meals were spent in Vaitape (two late lunches or very early dinners). We also brought cup o’noodles, crackers, canned sardines – that kept us from being hungry in between breakfast and dinner.

How much did we spend at Conrad Bora Bora

How in the world did we only spend $500 at the Conrad? Well, we got creative. This is what we spent on-site.
I do not think that Conrad Bora Bora was outrageously pricey. There were menu items in the $20-$30 range. I think the most expensive thing I had my eyes on was for Tomahawk Steak (good for 2) for around $140. We do not drink alcohol so I’m sure that helped with our savings. As far as using the spa, we did not get any massages or spa treatments. We availed of using their free spa facilities for two days – and that was so relaxing. Our boat rides to Vaitape were free.
Again for transparency, you also need to factor in the $400 per

How did we get the $200 credit?

Thanks to our Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. As of this writing, this card gives “up to $200 in statement credits semi-annually for eligible purchases made directly with participating Hilton Resorts on your Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. That’s up to $400 back annually.” So we charged our entire stay using that card. Our total bill came to 78,200 XPF or $704 USD. American Express will issue a $200 credit.
Here’s a picture of me enjoying my Cup O Noodles I bought in Japan.

Our 8 day itinerary (including travel days)

  • Thursday
    • 11am – we left Los Angeles and flew to Tahiti
    • 6pm – arrived in Tahiti and stayed near the airport overnight
    • READ Tahiti Airport Motel
  • Friday
    • 10:45am – flew from Tahiti to Bora Bora
    • 11:45 am – arrived in Bora Bora Airport
    • 12pm – shuttle boat ride to Conrad Bora Bora
    • 12:30pm – arrived at Conrad Bora Bora
    • 2:00pm – Checked in to our Tropical Beach Villa with Pool
    • Enjoyed the private pool most of the afternoon
    • Dinner at Upa Upa Lounge
  • Saturday
    • Visited Vaitape Island
    • Early dinner at Aloe Restaurant in Vaitape
    • Shopped for snacks at Chin Lee market in Vaitape
    • Enjoyed the private pool most of the afternoon/evening
  • Sunday
    • Stayed at the resort
    • Kayak/snorkel/pool time
    • Hina Spa (relaxation room reservation at 4pm)
    • Sunset Dinner Show at Upa Upa Lounge
  • Monday
    • Kayak/snorkel/pool time
    • Moved from the Beach Villa to Overwater Villa
    • Visited Vaitape Island – Bora Bora Beach Club
    • Dinner
  • Tuesday
    • Stayed at the resort
    • Kayak/snorkel/pool time
    • Hina Spa (relaxation room reservation at 4pm)
    • Dinner at Tamure Beach Grill (at the Conrad)
  •  Wednesday
    • Kayak/snorkel/pool time
    • stayed at the resort thru check out time at 4:20pm
    • 4:30pm shuttle boat ride to Bora Bora Airport
    • 6pm – flight back to Tahiti Airport
    • 7pm – arrived in Tahiti
    • 7:20pm – cab ride to Hilton Tahiti Resort
    • 7:30-9:30pm – spent time with friends from Australia at the Hilton Tahiti Resort
    • 9:30pm – cab ride to Tahiti Airport
    • 9:45pm – checked in with Air Tahiti Nui for our direct flight to Los Angeles
    • 11:59pm – flight departed Tahiti
  • Thursday
    • 9:45am – flight arrived in Los Angeles
    • 11:30am – HOME

So what’s the takeaway

Overwater villa vs Beach villa with pool

Surprisingly, I’ll start with this. I wasn’t confident that we’d be upgraded to an overwater villa. When we were told during check-in that we’d be staying in a Tropical Beach Villa with Pool, I kid you not, I was thrilled. To this day, I keep thinking about that beach pool villa. We were surrounded by nature, lots of flowers, fruit trees, birds, dragon flies.
There was enough privacy to hide the pool from those passing by. You could see the beach from a short distance. It was home. It was bliss. The pool? Did I tell you how much I loved having a private pool? I spent so much time in that private pool. It wasn’t heated but the weather was so war, that it kept it refreshingly warm, easy to jump in there even at night.
This does not mean that the overwater villa was not special. I did not say that. And perhaps, I’m looking at this from this perspective. I’ve already had an overwater pool villa experience in the Maldives, so I already had that experience under my belt.

If you had to pick one – Maldives or Bora Bora

For me, ask yourself these questions:
  • What’s your budget (points mostly, points and cash, or cash only)
  • Do you have bucket list aircraft dreams to cross off your list?
  • Do you want some more similar to a tropical or Hawaii-like culture?
  • Or, do you want something other than Polynesian culture?
  • How much travel time do you have?

I’ll go back to my original statement – why not both? If you have the means to go to both locations, I say do both. Do not restrict yourself to just choosing one. If you do not have a lot of time to be away on vacation, I think going to Bora Bora coming from the US is easier to get to. It was a quick 8-hour flight from Los Angeles to Tahiti, and a short 50 minute flight to Bora Bora Airport and another 20 minute boat ride to the resort. Going to Maldives, in my experience, required more travel time, including lengthy layovers in Qatar, or perhaps Dubai.

I also think that you have more opportunities to fly the dreamy airlines by flying to the Maldives. In our case, we flew Etihad First Class and Qatar Airlines Qsuites. For Bora Bora, since it was just a short 8+ hour flight from Los Angeles, we didn’t mind flying coach – and had no trouble with Delta Airlines and Air Tahiti Nui. So for me, as someone who lives on the West Coast, I could easily think of the ease of flying to French Polynesia and wouldn’t mind going for a few days without having to lose too much time.

Will we go back to Bora Bora or Tahiti?

Absolutely. I do, however, want try another island. I’ve heard so much about Hilton Moorea, and if I’m not mistaken, that’s even easier to get to than Bora Bora. From Tahiti, it’s only a 30-minute boat ride, and cheaper to get to as well. No need to fly to Moorea as shared by our new friends, Rene and Maricel. They were able to spend the day in Moorea while they stayed in Tahiiti. As of this writing, it was 8,100 XPF = approximately $73 USD for two people and that’s round trip. So that’s on my list the next time I visit that part of the world.

That’s all folks

I hope you enjoyed reading the details I shared. I invite you to come and follow me follow me on my travel page on Daddy Travels on Facebook Group or Instagram or YouTube.

Editorial Disclosure – The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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