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Four Seasons Resort, Bora Bora Earns Highest "Golden Tan" Rating

by Mike Garfinkel

As a writer, traveler, and sun worshipper, I wanted to utilize my "professional tanning" talents and put into place a system that rates hotels, airlines, and resorts on a sliding "Sun Tan Scale".  The three tier scale starts with the lowest or "Pale" rating, moves up to "Dark Tan," and peaks at "Golden Tan." The first resort to be reviewed using our new "Sun Tan Scale" is the Four Seasons Bora Bora, which not only won my heart, but received our highest rating right out of the gate.


Offering more than 100 overwater bungalows and on-land villas, the Four Seasons Bora Bora is simply a magnificent resort.  My wife and I were fortunate to have grandma watch our children so we could visit this oasis "kid-free," but that's not to say that the resort isn't kid friendly.  It is, but if you can get away without the little ones, this place becomes even more enchanting.

After our lengthy journey from Los Angeles, we were picked up at the airport by the Four Seasons' yacht and brought to the resort.  A quick check-in ensued and we were given the keys to our private overwater bungalow which rested on stilts above the blue lagoon only two bungalows from the end of the pier.

The jaw-dropping beauty astounded me as we walked out onto the pier towards our floating oasis.  Even though I had only been at the resort for a half hour, I realized that I may never see anything as beautiful on earth as this place.  I began thinking that it was going to be difficult to translate into words how incredible the resort looked and what I was feeling.

My wife and I entered our perfectly manicured 1,500 square-foot bungalow and the race was on to see who could grab his/her cell phone quicker to start snapping pictures of the window on the floor that provided a perfect view of the water under our bungalow, the ultra plush king bed that looked out into our private balcony, the Jacuzzi tub in the center of the bathroom, the his and hers tile sinks, the rain shower, or the private dock where we could take a plunge into our own private section of the ocean.

Lounge chairs, ideal for tanning, and a dining set adorned the patio, making dining during breakfast a sensory experience.  The food and service was spectacular and every plate, cup, and piece of silverware was polished and clean.

During our trip, we discovered four impressive ocean-view dining venues, ranging from informal to fine dining, each gratifying the appetite and engaging the senses. We sampled  the delicious breakfast buffet at the Tere Nui restaurant overlooking the pool, beach and the amazing Mount Otemanu. The buffet included personalized omelet stations, fresh fruits, and baked goods. This tropical, open-air restaurant also offered themed dinners and BBQ’s throughout the week.

Most of our dinners took place at the Sunset Restaurant and bar where we enjoyed the magnificent colors of the setting sun over the lagoon while sipping on mojitos.  There was a nice selection of entrees, and if you're a fish-eater, you'll definitely like dining at this restaurant.  One night, we ventured into town for dinner at the world famous Bloody Marys Restaurant.  This was the only part of the trip that scored a "Pale" rating for us.  The food was average.  The atmosphere was average, and it was a bit overrated.  You get to pick your fresh entree from a "cart" filled with meat and fish, and even though that was a little unique, the food was not great.

No matter where you dine at the resort at night, you will have a leisurely stroll back to your bungalow or villa, and unlike Los Angeles where walking is a rarity and sometimes a chore, the walk back "home" was peaceful and quiet.

The Four Seasons Resort has a main pool, a child's pool, and its own private stretch of lagoon where plush chaise lounges, love seats and umbrellas are set for daily use.  We always dragged our lounges down toward the lagoon and placed 1-2 feet of the lounge chair into the water.  It gets very hot in Bora Bora and even a sun worshipper like me perspired and needed the coolness of the water and the slight breeze to withstand 5-6 hours of tanning.  For those that need a break from the sun or opt to be under cover during the day, there are complimentary cabanas and some shade trees that can keep your lounge chair out of the sun for a few hours.

Though I play sports, I didn't expect my trip to Bora Bora to be very activity driven.  But even I get tired of laying in the sun for seven days.  My wife and I used the resort's kayaks and rowed all around the "fingers" (the bungalows that protrude from the piers) of the resort.  Even though the resort offers snorkeling equipment, we dragged along our own snorkels and fins and swam in the lagoon day after day.  We went on a 2-3 hour shark and bat ray feeding, and the photo of my wife with a small shark within inches of her ankle impressed every friend and relative who saw the pictures I took as I stood safely away from her and her 2 1/2 foot version of Jaws.

One late afternoon, my wife had a 60 minute spa treatment and massage, while I utilized the gym.  She gave the spa a "Golden" rating, while I gave the gym a "Dark" rating, even though I was looking forward to taking a break from my four day a week work out regiment.  The staff at the spa was extraordinarily nice, and the front desk personnel, assistant managers, and general manager were all courteous, friendly, and eager to please.

Overall, the Four Seasons Bora Bora is the best resort I've stepped foot in.  If you're looking for the getaway of all getaways, this is it.  The resort is constantly offering specials, so if you can find a deal when you're looking to travel, it just may be a "Golden" opportunity to start making plans for the vacation of a lifetime.