The Australian - Wish Magazine - - HOTELS -

Ah, Bora Bora. The name it­self spells a kind of ex­otic mys­ti­cism. The con­tours of the land­scape are so per­fect as to ap­pear sculpted. Think: jagged vol­canic peaks, la­goon shim­mer­ing with the oc­ca­sional rip­ple, palm trees a per­fect ham­mock’shoist apart. You get the feel­ing that the Tahiti tourism of­fi­cials never have to look far to find pro­mo­tional por­tals of the kind that en­tice you to take a deep breath and step in­side, briefly paus­ing, per­haps, to tie tight a sarong and plant a hi­bis­cus be­hind your ear.

And nowhere in French Polynesia is the con­flu­ence of poster-pretty views more dra­mat­i­cally re­alised than Bora Bora, a hop by sched­uled flights from the is­land na­tion’s gate­way isle of Tahiti. This is the nat­u­ral home of the over­wa­ter bun­ga­low and glimpses from the air show myr­iad con­gre­ga­tions of these stilted abodes reach­ing into la­goons like elon­gated wad­ing birds. A quick dip is never more than a few hops down a lad­der and top-tar­iff op­tions fea­ture swim­ming op­tions on decks, which gives new mean­ing to that touted term of hori­zon pool.

Among the top of such of­fer­ings is Four Sea­sons Re­sort Bora Bora where 100 pan­danus-thatched bun­ga­low suites are ar­rayed along run­ways into the la­goon, the is­land’s 727m Mount Ote­manu loom­ing beyond, some­times swirled in mist, but al­ways look­ing freshly pre­pared as if the cast of South Pa­cific is about to pop out and break into song.

But what this pop­u­lar prop­erty also of­fers is an es­tate of seven beach­front vil­las, from one to three bed­rooms, with in­clu­sions such as daily meal plan, cus­tomised mini-bar and ser­vices of a per­sonal as­sis­tant. Sud­denly there is the sense of stay­ing in a hol­i­day home, not un­like a rental in, say, Bali’s fash­ion­able Seminyak or Canggu. With a beach on your doorstep, pool and al fresco din­ing pavil­ions, plus pri­vate gar­dens threaded with flow­er­ing vines in en­liven­ing colours, there is an in­stant pro­pri­eto­rial sense that, in my case, al­most makes me for­get the re­sort beyond.

My beach­front villa has two en­suite bed­rooms in op­po­site wings, a mas­ter and a twin, sep­a­rated by a mas­sive liv­ing and din­ing area. I could host a din­ner party here but it’s much more fun to loll in the tub, wooden shut­ters folded back to re­veal those lush plant­ings, or idly dip off the scoop of pro­tected beach where the water is, well, just about as warm as a bath.

The re­sort is large, flat and spread out, even with a ded­i­cated Chill Is­land for teens, and such acreage en­cour­ages ex­er­cise along sandy paths, with staff tootling past in golf bug­gies, al­ways with a cheery “Bon­jour!” or “Ia Orana!” On such prom­e­nades, walk­ers can feel all but en­closed by ba­nana trees and fan-tailed palms, bright green and rich with chloro­phyll this Jan­uary rainy sea­son. The pan­danus, with their strid­ing roots, al­ways look shifty to me, as if about to run away. There’s white bougainvil­lea and star-shaped tiare flow­ers, that great fra­grant con­stant of French Polynesia. Their heady gar­de­nia-like scent is in­tox­i­cat­ing. Time for an­other swoon and an af­ter­noon lie-down. Su­san Kuro­sawa is The Aus­tralian’s travel edi­tor.

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