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Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach & Private Island, Bora Bora

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Ponte Matira
Bora Bora
French Polynesia
Tel: 689 605 500's insider take:

It's not exactly budget-friendly, but this property, newly renovated in summer of 2006, has the most reasonably priced over-water bungalows on Bora Bora (high-season prices start at about $680 per night). Thirteen of the 64 units here are OWBs with all the same bells and whistles you'll find at other resorts—peek-a-boo glass floor panels, enclosed patios, outdoor showers, swim-off decks—only they cost about half what the almost-identical ones at nearby five-star resorts do. The other, landlocked units, which face either the lagoon or the tropical garden, are also very pleasant; all have mod-Indonesian decor, with cane ceilings, wood or tiled floors, and neutral-colored fabrics offset by bright-colored cushions and native flowering plants. The common areas are a bit playful, and acknowledge the hotel's rather tacky beginnings: It was built as a film set for the 1979 Dino de Laurentiis–produced film Hurricane (which was something of a box-office turkey). Black-and-white stills from the film decorate the lobby walls, and the hotel's safety orange-colored bar (also called Hurricane) serves tropical drinks with names like "Black Pearl" and "The Bounty." The fact that it was one of the first chain hotels in Bora explains the primo location, on a private beach in Matira Bay.

From the readers of Condé Nast Traveler:
Overall Score: 88.6
  • Activities: 100.0
  • Design: 100.0
  • Food: 50.0
  • Location: 100.0
  • Rooms: 100.0
  • Service: 85.7
Originally built as a film set for the 1979 film Hurricane, this resort split between Marara Beach and a private isle garners multiple perfect scores. Black-and-white movie stills decorate the lobby, while the wood and pandanus bungalows have modern Indonesian decor with cane ceilings and bright cushions ("they're a slice of paradise"). Latitude 16's international and Polynesian cuisine "is a letdown." Snorkeling with manta rays and feeding sharks are two of the perfect-scoring activities.

(95 rooms)
—2011 Gold List

Amenities: Beach, Pool, Spa, Tennis, Water sports

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.