Stern's Guide to the Greatest Resorts of the World, Stern's Guide to the Cruise Vacation, Stern's Guide to European Riverboats and Hotel Barges, and The Indispensable Guide to Foreign Words and Phrases--by Steven B. Stern (Sponsored by Stern's Travel Guides, Ltd.)
Over the past 35 years, I have traveled to 5-star
resorts around the globe researching "Stern's
Guide to the Greatest Resorts of the World". Over this period I had
the pleasure of visiting the world's most lavish, unique and romantic
Frequently, my readers ask me which is the best of all the
resorts, or which is my favorite. Certainly any response would be a matter of opinion, and
influenced by what aspect of a resort is most important to the party responding,
i.e., the beauty of the grounds and structures, the comfort of the
accommodations, the dining experiences, the sport and other facilities, the
service or the overall uniqueness of the property.
For this observer, the resort that has it all has to be
Four Seasons Bora Bora in French
Polynesia. Here one finds a
gorgeous tropical paradise with every inch adorned with the most colorful
vegetation, expansive, exotic accommodations, lovely white sand beaches and
tropical lagoons. This resort can boast
having every desirable facility, attentive service, a variety of dining
options, an outstanding spa, equipment for all water sports, a professional
tennis facility, and activities for children,
all in a serene, pleasing environment.
Set on its own motu (small island) in Bora Bora's surrounding coral atoll, this 54 acre property is a vast tropical
grove replete with coconut palms, pandanus trees and meandering channels of
pure turquoise streams. One hundred over-water bungalow suites, seven
beachfront villa estates, four restaurants and the full service spa are all
designed with thatched roofs and decorated with indigenous art work to capture
the beauty and culture of the island. Although the structures have Polynesian exteriors, the interiors are
upscale, modern and conform to Four Seasons' high standards.
Each of the 100 air-conditioned, over-water bungalow
suites, located on branching piers extending into the lagoon, measures over
1,100 square feet (twice the size of the other resorts in Bora Bora) and features unobstructed sunrise views of the Pacific and sunset
vistas over the lagoon and the towering iconic MountOtemanu. These luxury accommodations include a very large,
spacious living room with a flat screen TV and video on demand, a DVD/CD player, a stocked refrigerator, a writing desk and large sitting
area; a bedroom with a king-size bed, a
second flat screen TV, several dressers, ceiling fans made of coconut palms and a walk-in closet/storage area; a bathroom
with a soaking tub overlooking panoramic views of the lagoon, his and her sink
vanities, separate shower and toilet
compartments and a hairdryer; and a large sundeck with chaise lounges, a
covered dining area, and a lower dock with a ladder extending to the water
below with a rinsing shower. Pull-out sofas in the living areas can accommodate
There also are 2,228 square-foot, 2 bedroom over-water
bungalow suites, some with plunge pools.
The seven ultra-luxury beach villa estates range in size
from 2,772 square feet for a one bedroom, 3,228 square feet for a two bedroom
to 5,380 square feet for a three bedroom.
Each of these villa estates has its own private pool, access to a
private beach, and too many amenities to list.
Transportation throughout the property is available at all
times by staff-driven carts.
Lunch and dinner are available at the Fare Hoa Beach Bar
and Grill by the pool, dinner on the porch or inside the fine dining Arii Moana
Restaurant, and a large buffet breakfast at the semi open air Fare Terre Nui.
Drinks and an Asian/sushi menu are featured at the Sunset Restaurant and Bar.
Guests can also opt for a romantic beachfront dinner, as well as a special
breakfast brought by canoe to the outdoor porch of their bungalow.
There is a well-equipped fitness center, and the
outstanding spa features seven air-conditioned treatment rooms with open-air
decks. Available free of charge are a water therapy pool, a steam room, a sensory
shower and a relaxation room. Yoga and pilates classes are offered daily.
At the resort's 131 square-foot infinity swimming pool
embedded with a large heated whirlpool, attendants provide ice water, chilled
towels and Evian spritz. Thatched roof cabanas line the pool area. Next to the pool is the sprawling white sand beach. A wide range of water
sports is available such as snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaks, standing
paddleboats, Hobie Cats, windsurfing, fishing charters, guided tours in wave runners and motorized canoes for diving, ray and shark
feeding. A professional tennis program is available, as well as beach
volleyball and beach badminton.
"Kids for all Seasons" supervised program
designed for children ages 5-12 makes the resort a good choice for families.
All of this luxury does not come cheap, however, for those
that can afford it , there is nothing better at any price.
Steven B. Stern
Author of "Stern's Guide to the Greatest Resorts of the World", "Stern's Guide
to the Cruise Vacation", Stern's Guide to European Riverboats and Hotel
Barges", and "The Indispensable Guide toForeign Words and Phrases". All can
be seen on his web site at www.stevensterntravel.com or on Amazon and Barnes