Greetings from French Polynesia!
As I write this, I discover myself a good distance from wherever, on a tiny island in the midst of the South Pacific Ocean. This a part of the world has been a vacation spot that I’ve lengthy aspired to go to, and I have to say it’s fairly surreal to lastly be right here.
Whereas my return journey remains to be open-ended, I’ve managed to attain some nice aspirational flights and stays on this very particular journey, and right here’s the way it all got here collectively.
As a few of chances are you’ll know, 2023 is ready to mark a significant milestone in my life. I’ll be getting married this summer time, and my accomplice Jessy and I’ve been busy making all the required preparations and getting ready for the momentous event.
The months main as much as the marriage shall be very busy, and we’ve opted to front-load our travels to earlier on within the 12 months, particularly to among the extra far-flung locations on our checklist.
Certainly, the distinctive pure fantastic thing about Bora Bora makes it a poster youngster for aspirational journey, and a spot that has lengthy intrigued each of us.
With azure-blue water, coral reefs, and the ever-present Mount Otemanu towering within the background, there are a lot of the explanation why this place is called a world-class romantic vacation spot.
After getting engaged within the Maldives three years in the past, it additionally appeared becoming that we’d come right here to Bora Bora for a “pre-honeymoon” as we get set to embark on an even bigger journey collectively afterward this 12 months.
As we spend time high quality time collectively in the midst of the South Pacific Ocean, it’s one other stark reminder of the present of journey, in addition to the ability of Miles & Factors in unlocking some really unforgettable journey experiences.
As you’ll be able to think about, there isn’t quite a lot of alternative in the case of direct flights from North America to French Polynesia. To additional complicate issues, discovering a number of seats in a premium cabin on factors makes it much more troublesome, however not unimaginable.
To get right here, we redeemed 80,000 American Airways AAdvantage miles per particular person to fly from Los Angeles to Papeete with Air Tahiti Nui in enterprise class. Availability on this specific route may be laborious to return by, however I booked this journey virtually a 12 months out and managed to lock within the seats.
For Jessy’s return journey to Vancouver, I booked her on an excellent, although maybe lesser-known, Aeroplan candy spot that leverages the distance-based pricing of the “Between North America and Pacific zones” chart.
For her flights from Papeete to Vancouver through San Francisco, I redeemed simply 53,400 Aeroplan factors, with the primary leg in United Polaris enterprise class and the second in Air Canada’s regional enterprise class.
The flights measure 4,989 miles in distance flown, which is available in a really satisfying 11 miles wanting crossing over into the subsequent distance band at 5,000 miles.
Once more, enterprise class flights on this route are comparatively troublesome to return by, however fortunately on this case, United dropped quite a lot of house on the Papeete–San Francisco route comparatively last-minute.
Whereas I had initially secured seats on the Air Tahiti Nui’s new Papeete–Seattle route for 80,000 American miles, I swapped it for the United routing utilizing a decrease quantity of Aeroplan factors as quickly because it grew to become accessible.
Whereas Jessy is flying residence to North America, I’ve booked myself in Air Tahiti Nui premium economic system from Papeete to Auckland for 25,000 American miles.
At simply 5 and a half hours lengthy, it’s actually not crucial to have a lie-flat seat on this flight, and I figured this can be a helpful overview for anybody headed to Bora Bora in premium economic system.
I’ll be persevering with my journey onwards from New Zealand, with flights, motels, and journey plans to be shared in a separate replace.
As I discussed earlier, that is very a lot a “pre-honeymoon”, because it’s a giant aspirational journey upfront of our wedding ceremony in the summertime.
(Did I simply make up the time period “pre-honeymoon”? Perhaps, but it surely appears to have gone down nicely among the many motels the place we’ll be celebrating. 😉)
Previous to catching our flight to French Polynesia, we’d spend an evening on the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, one in every of Los Angeles’s most aspirational motels and one of many best-possible makes use of of a Hilton Free Night time Award.
Then, we’ll be spending a complete of two weeks in Bora Bora, divided up as follows.
We took benefit of the Fifth Night time Free profit, and the keep totalled 356,000 factors, permitting me to lastly redeem a giant chunk of the Hilton Honors factors I had been saving up for years.
(These days, the resort prices 120,000 factors per night time, which is a major enhance. Nonetheless, the Fifth Night time Free profit may be very useful in scoring the most effective worth when redeeming Hilton Honors factors right here.)
Factors redemptions ebook into the base-level Lagoon View Suite, however I used to be upgraded to a King Seashore Pool Villa previous to arrival due to my Hilton Diamond standing from my Amex US Hilton Aspire Card.
On this journey, we’re eager to check out some seaside villas after experiencing a handful of overwater villas within the Maldives on earlier journeys. Nonetheless, I’d inquire a few additional improve to an overwater villa right here on the Conrad for one or two of the ultimate nights for some balanced reporting. 😉
After the Conrad, we’ll spend three days and two nights on the St. Regis Bora Bora. For this keep, I did a Money & Factors reserving for 120,000 Marriott Bonvoy factors + 40,000 XPF ($480 CAD) per night time for the St. Regis’s Beachside Villa.
Sadly, the resort’s base-level Backyard View Villa wasn’t accessible on factors; nonetheless, this redemption additionally locks in our most popular room kind with none want for “suite-talking“. In truth, the Beachside Villa truly seems to be a bit higher than the Overwater Villas at this resort, so I’m fairly happy with the result.
We determined to spend simply two days on the St. Regis as a result of, to be frank, the property seems to be somewhat bit outdated. As a fan of the model, I nonetheless wished to see what it was like, and I hope that it exceeds our expectations.
Each the Conrad and St. Regis include extra boat switch charges of about 7,500 XPF ($90 CAD) per particular person per route, which is fortunately a good bit lower than the Maldives’ seaplanes.
Our stays on the Conrad and St. Regis enable me to take a look at the most effective of Bora Bora’s resorts which can be bookable on factors. Nonetheless, for the rest of the journey, I’ve splurged on a number of world-class properties which can be solely bookable with money.
For our closing 5 nights, we booked two properties with money. We’ll spend three nights on the 4 Seasons Bora Bora, broadly thought-about to be the most effective property on the island, in addition to two nights at The Brando, a luxurious resort by itself personal island of Tetiaroa that’s typically heralded as among the best and most unique resorts on the planet.
To offer you a way of the worth vary, public charges on the 4 Seasons Bora Bora begin at $2,500 (USD) per night time. In the meantime, The Brando’s charges may be present in their brochure, beginning at €2,900 per night time for the “Villa & Breakfast” charge, or €3,900 per night time for the all-inclusive charge.
Now, regardless that I managed to attain some journey trade charges for these aspirational resorts in assist of our journey company, I wouldn’t precisely name them low cost. In truth, these are simply the best quantities I’ve ever spent per night time for lodging in my life to this point.
Little question, I’m undoubtedly very lucky to be ready to pursue these experiences in service of each private and enterprise objectives, and I’m very a lot wanting ahead to totally indulging within the expertise.
On the 4 Seasons, we’re very eager to totally immerse ourselves in true five-star luxurious. The resort’s overwater bungalows and beachfront villas have just lately been renovated, which can give us a way of the trendy route the idyllic resort is headed.
We’ll remember to marvel on the island’s pure magnificence from the beautiful consolation of our One-Bed room Mountain View Overwater Bungalow, gazing out at Mount Otemanu in the course of the day and shedding ourselves within the unspoiled Tahitian sky at night time.
Our keep at The Brando would be the second we’ve had on a non-public luxurious island, following Calala Island in Nicaragua. Calling this resort upscale is certainly an understatement, because it’s truly an atoll composed of a dozen small islands surrounding a marvellous lagoon.
To additional add to its attract, the island could solely be accessed by personal aircraft, which is bound to supply us with a way of seclusion and exclusivity in one of many world’s most stunning locales. As soon as extra, we plan to totally immerse ourselves within the expertise as we calm down on white-sand seashores and soak within the resort’s distinctive wildlife.
To entry all of those experiences, I’ve wanted to ebook inter-island transportation between Tahiti and Bora Bora, which might solely be booked with one in every of two airways (Air Tahiti or a brand new startup airline Air Moana), or through a ferry service that sadly didn’t line up with my dates.
Flights with Air Tahiti price about $400 (USD) per particular person round-trip, which isn’t fully unreasonable, although is actually one other layer of price to contemplate in the case of planning a visit to French Polynesia.
I’ll be sharing a future article concerning the logistics and prices concerned in a Bora Bora journey, in addition to evaluating our expertise right here towards what’s provided on the planet’s different premier vacation spot for aspirational overwater villas, the Maldives.
Upfront of getting married this summer time, my accomplice Jessy and I’ve launched into an aspirational “pre-honeymoon” journey to French Polynesia, the place we’ll reside within the lap of luxurious over the course of the subsequent two weeks.
As one of many world’s most iconic locations, Bora Bora is on the highest of many bucket lists, together with our personal. Presently, I really feel significantly grateful to be ready to mix a private and a enterprise journey out to this a part of the world, whereas spending some high quality time with Jessy forward of our wedding ceremony.
Reserving flights to this a part of the world and accessing a few of its extra luxurious properties undoubtedly got here with some additional legwork, together with planning this journey virtually a 12 months forward of time, which is bound to be definitely worth the worth of admission.
Along with the customary flight and resort critiques (of which I anticipate the phrase counts to be fairly intensive), I stay up for providing some additional insights concerning the logistics, pricing, and total planning course of for a visit to Bora Bora as a part of this journey assortment, to assist these of you who’re serious about the same once-in-a-lifetime journey make it a actuality.