Motu Toopua, Nunue
689 603 300
What a phenomenal trip! My husband and I receive several monthly travel magazines. Whenever a year-end "Gold List" comes out, we are always so disappointed when we see that the Nui was again forgotten. I’d like to think it’s because of the remote destination and that not enough people have been. This is one of the most incredible resorts we have ever been to and definitely in the top three (if not number one) on Bora Bora. This resort, only 2 years old, has every amenity and luxury feature you could want, and although room sizes and views vary, they all include the same thing.
From the beginning at the airport, you are met by a few of the hotel’s staff, who welcome you with shell necklaces and take care of all of your luggage. They offer a free water taxi from the airport (on their incredible boat, which dwarfed the other hotel’s boats). Once onboard, there is about a 20-minute ride to the Motu, during which you will see tons of incredible photo opportunities and begin to relax, knowing what you are about to experience. You are greeted at the dock by different staff members, who take you to your own couch (within the over water lobby), where there is a glass of fresh local juice, a muffin, and your hotel check-in information waiting for you. You do not check in at a front desk, and you do not wait in line. Our boat was filled with guests, and we were all greeted by our own staff member. The lobby had two computers with internet access that were free of charge and a two-person concierge desk that was always staffed. There were also areas to feed the fish below (they looked like baby sharks, though I know that wasn’t the case), and they had bread out for the guests to use.
Our over-the-water bungalow was the VERY last one in the 300 section, so we opted for the golf-cart lift that was offered to us. What an incredible resort! The lobby is located over the water and about 200 yards from the rest of the resort (you walk along a very long boardwalk). At the end is the restaurant (on a "mountain" almost above you) with some shops and the pools and pool grill. This resort offers several different types of accommodations: over-the-water bungalows with no obstructed view (called Horizon over Water bungalows – there are 82 of them that are over 1,000 square feet each, as well as two royal suites that are almost 1,500 square feet), Beach Bungalows that are behind other bungalows and close to the water (about 900 square feet and offer decent views), Hillside Lagoon View bungalows and royal suites (which are nowhere near the water but offer incredible bird’s eye views of the lagoon), and the Lagoon View suites (which are more like a regular hotel room). All rooms include everything you would expect: air-conditioning, two TVs with cable (despite the fact that we only found two English-speaking channels), minibars, hairdryers, etc. We had a Horizon over Water bungalow. We paid up for it ($850-plus a night), but boy was it worth it (I know you think that we are insane).
First of all, we were the very last bungalow, so the only thing we saw was the lagoon, fish, boats, and the most incredible sunsets. The lagoon was crystal clear. I mean incredible, something I think you could only really experience on Motu rather than the actual island of Bora Bora. I have attached a picture of Frank standing on our dock (the bungalows are equipped with your own lanai deck and dock with outdoor furniture and a shower), and I am taking the picture from our deck above. Look at the coral in the water behind him; it looks like it is at the water’s surface. Meanwhile, it was at least 20 feet deep. This is one of the reasons this hotel is so incredible – the water is unbelievable. We had an octopus on one of the corals below our bungalow!!
The inside of the bungalow was spacious, extremely clean, had lots of Tahitian decorations, and just absolutely beautiful. The bathroom was all marble and had a shower that could fit five people, a Jacuzzi tub (with glass areas that lifted so you could feed the fish below from your tub), a separate toilet area, two double-sink counters, and all Aveda products. The bedroom was dream-like, with a canopy bed, TV, desk, and dark wood. There was a separate living room/den area with a TV, couch, chair, etc., and this area could be closed off by sliding doors so that someone could take a nap and someone else could watch TV or go in and out to the lanai deck. The bungalow offered several pieces of furniture that allowed us to feed the fish without going outside. (Through our coffee table – can you imagine?) Room service and housekeeping were quick and excellent, and the turn-down service was a real treat. We were given fresh flowers, clean robes, and palm-esque sandal/slippers every night, and they left rose-petal designs on our bed. All rooms were equipped with snorkel gear and beach towels in case you didn’t want to leave your bungalow.
The pool was another treat. There were complimentary bottled water and Evian spritzes all day long, plus fresh fruit in the morning and fresh-baked cookies at 2pm everyday served by the pool staff. Infinity pools, waterfalls, and palm trees abound. The hotel also offered free kayaks and paddle boats that you could pick up at the pool desk.
Due to the fact that you are on a Motu, the beach is very private, and we often found that most people stayed in or near their bungalows, so the beach was generally very empty, as was the pool. Nonetheless, the beach was gorgeous, pure white, and was cleaned/raked everyday by the staff.
The main restaurant is located on one of the "mountains" at the Bora Bora Nui. This restaurant is opened every day for breakfast and dinner only. If offers panoramic views of the hotel and the surrounding lagoon (thus explaining the name Iriatai Panoramic Restaurant). The service is incredible, as is the international (leaning towards Italian) cuisine. Their executive chef is a famous Italian chef from Rome who makes a pasta carbonara dish so good that you think you are eating it in a piazza in Rome. (We had it as an appetizer at dinner, but a full serving is available at the pool grill for lunch). The menu is pricey, though, as is most of the island as well. Their chocolate cake is ridiculous – make a mental note.
The pool grill is on the beach, off the side of the pool area. It is a nice place to relax in the shade on the beach or just to sit and have a drink. It has average prices for a resort lunch.
The spa is at the top of the highest point of the resort and quite a walk (get a ride if you’re not in shape). We found the spa to be very pretty, with incredible 360-degree views, but our couples massage was not what we received in Moorea and not what we were expecting here. My masseur was sick and stopped every 2 minutes to blow her nose – real relaxing. We also opted for an outdoor sunset massage, which I think, in retrospect, was a mistake because it was a bit buggy (the spa is surrounded by trees, plants, flowers, etc.). When all was said and done, I would have passed considering it was over $300 and I couldn’t relax at all.
Next to the spa was the gym and the wedding chapel – trust me, walking to this gym is enough of a workout.
The hotel offers a free water taxi to the island of Bora Bora that takes about 15 minutes or so. Many of the other hotels charged a small fee. The taxi had a schedule that you received before leaving; it basically left every 30 minutes or so. It was very convenient and allowed us to go out every night and leave the resort.
Check out the breakfast situation when you arrive. We were never told that breakfast was included in all of the rates, but apparently it was! This is not the kind of place to pass up on a free meal.
We did not see one child or group of friends at this resort. I am guessing it’s due to the steep prices and/or the long flight to get there. That was fine by me – no offense, but after spending this kind of money, who wants to hear kids playing.