The Best Resorts in the South Pacific
Swaying coconut palms. Warm, crystalline waters. Powdery beaches. The South Pacific looms large in the collective imagination as a true paradise — and the French Polynesian island of Bora-Bora is the ultimate realization of this Edenic ideal. Here, at the destination’s manicured resorts, thatched-roof overwater bungalows appear to float above aquamarine lagoons, and the iconic peak of Mount Otemanu towers in the distance.
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as city or resort based on their locations and amenities.
Related: The 2018 World's Best Awards
In third place is the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora, a perennial reader favorite, not only for its postcard-perfect overwater bungalows but also for its dreamy spa, where Polynesian ingredients (monoï oil, tamanu, vanilla, and honey) are incorporated into signature massages and facials. Other highlights include a vast infinity pool that appears to drop off into the ocean and the Arii Moana restaurant, one of four on the property, which serves up both French and Polynesian cuisine.
Runner-up InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa impresses with an educational “lagoonarium”— a protected marine habitat home to a coral nursery and a colorful array of fish. It’s the ideal place to learn about Polynesian ocean life from the hotel’s marine biologists. Other guests learned about the island’s aquatic life by diving right in (literally). Wrote one reader, “We could step off the sundeck of our bungalow and into the lagoon to snorkel.”
Curious what property took the No. 1 slot? Keep reading to find out.
3. Four Seasons Resort, Bora-Bora, French Polynesia
2. InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa, French Polynesia
1. St. Regis Bora Bora Resort, French Polynesia
It’s hard to beat the sheer romance of this year’s winner, the paradisiacal St. Regis Bora Bora Resort, which is spread across three pristine, palm-dotted motus. The thatched-roof overwater villas have direct access to the crystal-clear water, while the pool and garden villas have their own swimming pools and are just steps from the beach. A daily shuttle boat whisks guests to Bora-Bora’s main village, Vaitape, where you can get a glimpse of local life while shopping for the area’s famous black pearls. Back at the hotel, make reservations at Lagoon, the Jean-Georges Vongerichten eatery, which draws guests from nearby resorts for dinner.
See all of our readers' favorite hotels, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2018.