Our 2nd Honeymoon in Paradise – Hilton Bora Bora Nui

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Hilton Bora Bora Nui

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

Emily:  After spending three wonderful days relaxing at the beautiful and modern InterContinental Thalasso, we were sad to leave, but excited to experience the Hilton in Bora Bora!

Daraius:  We arranged for a private boat from the InterContinental Thalasso to the Hilton in Bora Bora.  The boat cost ~$250 for the 40 minute ride.  The hotel had initially proposed paying $50 per person to ride the shuttle back to the airport and then paying $50 per person to the Hilton to ride their shuttle boat from the airport to the hotel.

So I decided to pay the extra $50 and get a private boat and save time.  The cheaper option (which I learned about later) would have been to pay $50 per person from the InterContinental Thalasso to the airport.  And from the airport take the free Air Tahiti shuttle to the main port Viatape and then pay ~$8 round-trip for the Hilton shuttle to the hotel.

This would have taken longer, but we would have saved ~$150!  We did do this on our way back and saved ~$90 instead of taking the hotel’s shuttle boat directly to the airport.

Here are the Hilton shuttle boat timings to and from Viatape.

HIlton Shuttle Boat TImings

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

En Route to the Hilton Bora Bora Nui

Emily:   In about 30 minutes we saw our first view of the Hilton Bora Bora Nui.

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

When we arrived at the Hilton, we were greeted with serenaders…

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

Hilton Bora Bora Nui Welcome

..and were each given a flower garland.

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

Flower Garlands at the Hilton Bora Bora Nui

We also got a small glass of tropical juice and a cold towel.

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

Juice & Small Towel

The reception was right where we got off from the boat.

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

Hilton Bora Bora Nui Reception

The reception area is connected to the beach and resort by a walkway.

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

Walkway to the Reception

The hotel is nicely landscaped, but not as meticulous as the InterContinental Thalasso in Bora Bora.  It also has a much more rustic feel compared to the modern and smartly designed Thalasso.

Hilton Bora Bora Nui


There were hammocks between the trees,

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

and paved pathways throughout the resort.

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

Paved Pathways

The hotel had free paddle boats, but the water was too choppy to use them when we visited.  It was very windy on the days we visited, and some of the free activities like kayaking and paddle boats were closed due to the wind.

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

Paddle Boats

It was a gorgeous sunny day when we arrived and the views were great!

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

Nice Sunny Day

The pool area is large.

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

And there were beach chairs on the beach and by the pool area.

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

Beach Chairs

The pool area is very well designed.

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

Hilton Bora Bora Nui Pool

And has some great views.

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

Hilton Bora Bora Nui Pool

Emily couldn’t wait to get in the pool!

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

Emily by the Pool

There was a small pond with lotus leaves which didn’t look like it was cleaned often.

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

Dirty Water and Lotus Leaves


Daraius:  I booked 2 nights at the Hilton Bora Bora for 50,000 Hilton points.  I then emailed the hotel to ask about an upgrade from the standard garden room to an overwater bungalow.  I emailed info “at” hilton-borabora.pf &  gs.mgr “at” hilton-borabora.pf

The hotel acknowledged my Gold elite benefits of free breakfast, free internet, 2 free bottles of water on arrival and a complimentary upgrade from the regular garden bungalow to an overwater bungalow (subject to availability).  They offered the following upgrades, per night:

  • Overwater bungalow – Complimentary as a gold elite member at check-in subject to availability
  • King Deluxe Overwater – 8,000 XPF or ~$87
  • Royal Overwater – 20,000 XPF or ~ $216
  • Presidential Suite – 100,000 XPF or ~$1,082

This FlyerTalk thread suggests that the upgrade rate could be double what I was offered, though some folks were offered the same rates which I paid.

Here’s a map of the Hilton Bora Bora.  If you are paying for an upgrade, it doesn’t hurt to specify a room preference.  The hotel will do their best to get you the room, but there are no guarantees.

Hilton Bora Bora Nui Map (Click for Large Image)

Garden View Villa

The standard award reservation for 50,000 points is a Garden View room.

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

Garden View Villa

The views are, well, of the garden!

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

View of the Garden

There was a little balcony to sit out and soak up the sun.

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

Garden View Balcony

You can see the Villas next door, but they aren’t that close to each other.

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

Can See The Next Villa

Hillside Villa

Above the garden villas are the hillside villas, which are, on a hill!

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

Hilton Bora Bora Nui Hillside Villas

You can take the stairs up, walk around the curved paths or ask for a golf cart to pick you up!

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

Stairs up to the Hillside Villa

But the views were gorgeous.  If I wasn’t staying in an overwater bungalow, I’d want to stay in a hillside villa.

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

View Outside Room #409

I walked around the hillside villas and the views were really good!

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

View from the Hillside Villas

The villas appeared to have the same layout as the garden view villas.

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

Garden View Villa With Balcony

Did I tell you how good the views were from top?

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

Hillside Villa View

Lagoon View

Even though these are 1 category above the entry level Garden View villas, I thought these were the worst of the lot.  They looked more cramped together than my apartment complex!

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

Lagoon View Villas

The entrance didn’t seem particularly nice either.

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

Lagoon View Villa Entrance

There were stairs leading up to the entrance of the villas.

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

Entrance to Lagoon View Villas

The view from lagoon view was nice, but didn’t seem as nice as the views from the hillside villas.

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

Lagoon Villa View

Overwater Villa

These are the villas which are not circled in the map. On the east side, I’d choose #110 and on the west side, room #341 & #342 appear off to themselves.

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

View from Room 341

The bungalows in the #300 east wing seemed to have coconut trees and appeared quieter…

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

More Coconut Trees

..though there are more villas on the east wing than on the west wing.

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

East Wing Overwater Villas

Deluxe Overwater Villa

I’d choose #109 followed by #108 as the best deluxe overwater villas on the east side of the resort.

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

View from room #109

Room #101 is kind of off by itself and has a relatively private view as well.

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

View from Room #101

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

View from Room #102

Rooms #105 & #106 look east and you may be able to see Mt. Otamanu if it is a clear day.

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

View From Room #105

The next set of deluxe over-water villas are in the center – #201 to #212.  And the last set of deluxe overwater villas are in the 300s on the west side of the resort.

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

Hilton Bora Bora Nui Deluxe Overwater Villas

Royal Overwater Villa

There are two Royal Overwater Villas – #107 & #126.  We asked for #107, but were assigned #126.

The villa was very large and had a huge deck with a jacuzzi, but it was overlooking the resort’s dock and we could see (and hear) the boats going to and from the resort.  Royal Overwater Villa #107 is definitely more private!  But we were still delighted with our room.

We will share our pictures and video review in tomorrow’s post!

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

Royal Overwater Villa (#126) Deck

Presidential Overwater

These are the most expensive villas at the Hilton.  The retail rate for these are a ridiculous ~$3,800, though you would pay “only” ~$1,000 to upgrade from an award stay.

But these are HUGE!  There are 2 presidential villas – #1001 & #1002

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

Presidential Overwater Villa

These 2-storeyed villas have 2 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2 dressing rooms, a  living room, swimming pool, sun deck, and an outdoor living area with a jacuzzi, sun deck, and gazebo.

Hilton Bora Bora Nui

Side View of Presidential Overwater Villa

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63 responses to “Our 2nd Honeymoon in Paradise – Hilton Bora Bora Nui

  1. Very nice! Hilton should be letting you stay for free with this enticing trip report. Was it difficult to find 2 nights at 50k points? Did you consider one of the axon/glon redemptions? Thanks

  2. Ok, I just wanted to say that Emily looks so stylish all the time in the photos and seems to have a large wardrobe. My question is: does she have a secret for dressing so nice, for example- does she shop thrift stores or does she have a secret we need to know about or is it the fact that since you guys save so much money and travel for free that she pays full price for her nice clothes?

  3. Darius,
    I was wondering, if you post pictures of yourself/Emily on vacation for your blog, do you take clothing as a business expense?

    • @Francisco C – We stayed for only 2 nights, so didn’t have an opportunity to use the AXON awards. I booked 1 night at first and kept checking back until the 2nd night opened up. You can always cancel awards up to a few weeks before departure, so it doesn’t hurt to make a speculative booking and then cancel.

      – Many of the clothes are from Target, and the romper in this trip report (I think that’s what it is called!) was from a shop online.

      @Jamal J – We do not currently deduct clothes as an expense when we travel.

      @Chris M. – You should. I know you’ve got the miles! 🙂 See you in the air sometime soon!

  4. Oh Man! You’re making me want to fly halfway around the world and go to Bora Bora.

    And I still want to do a double-date with you and Emily in BA First some day!

  5. D –

    So you would have received a complimentary upgrade to the Overwater Bungalow just for being a Gold member? Sounds like a pretty sweet deal. Let’s say you reserved the Garden Villas and hoped to receive the Overwater Bungalow but they had no availability, would you then be able to pay for an upgrade to the Royal Bungalow? Assuming they had availability.

  6. Oh and this looked great by the way!

  7. I would do axon rewards at both hilton moorea and Bora bora. 290k hilton points for 8 nights FTW!

  8. Man you must be raking in the referral money so that Emily can buy new clothes all the time. $300 bucks a pop from each ink bold card approved from your affiliate links sure does buy a lot of clothes.

  9. do tell which OW Bungalow did you get ? thanks

  10. Nice Pictures..hope you guys had a great time!!

  11. @ Chris- Thanks for the compliments! The green tank top and cream skirt are from Express, and I’ve actually had those since high school! The flowered romper was a gift from a friend, and I think she got it at Marshall’s.

    I do get my clothes at Target, and also shop the sales at Nordstrom and Banana Republic. I actually don’t shop that often, I just keep what I’ve had since high school and recycle it. Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any more questions. 🙂

    • @Chris – I’m not sure if that was an error or not, because usually the upgrade is only to the next category villa. I’m not sure what would happen if I declined an upgrade and they had no overwater villas. I’d guess I’d probably be in the garden villas then!

      @Romsdeals – That sounds like fun!

      @My Two Cents – The last time who accused me of being a cheapskate for splitting a meal, so I guess you had a change of mind?

      @choi – See tomorrow’s post!

      @vram – Thanks! We had a great time.

  12. Thanks Emily! Now I see EVERYONE is talking about your clothes, lol

  13. When did you find out you were GUARANTEED an over water bungalow? I hope it isn’t when you get there? If the next category of rooms were free to upgrade b/c of your status, if you were to pay the difference for the next, next category- are you guaranteed those rooms?

    • @Kalia – If we hadn’t paid the upgrade fee, we may not have got the over-water bungalow since it is only if space is available. If you pay the upgrade fee for the other rooms (above the free upgrade) you are guaranteed that room.

  14. This place is really heaven on earth. It is a fantastic place to go on vacation but I think I cannot live in such a place. I will be bored and restless. Thanks for the trip report. Cheers my friend.

  15. Awesome post! Thanks for the info. Could you please share which rooms have view to the open ocean or better for snorkel?

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  17. Hey Chris and the rest of you out there discussing Emily’s clothes,
    I don’t mean to be offensive but in my opinion I don’t think that you guys are really impressed by Emily’s clothes rather I would say what impresses everyone is her really nice body and to test if I’m right you can see if the picture you like best is the one that is titled (The pool area is large.)my point being the less clothes she is wearing the better she looks. I’m sorry but I couldn’t help myself from saying the truth.

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  19. Darius,
    I love your blog. I think it one of the best if not the best travel related blog. I am considering going to New Zealand using AA miles and would like to stop in Bora Bora for three days. Any suggestions on how to go about booking mileage ticket with the stopover? Thanks in advance!

    • @Charlie – Thanks for reading! You can’t have a stopover outside of the North American gateway city with AA. So you’d have to use AA miles to get to Tahiti and then a separate award from Tahiti to Australia/New Zealand.

  20. Awesome tip!
    If traveling from PPT-LAX (via Air Tahiti Nui), can I add a stopover for LAX-HNL, or some other vacation spot (CUN, etc.)?

    On the way out, we are doing LAX-HNL-PPT (free stopover in HNL!).

  21. Daraius, I have a bunch of Hilton points but cant go until June/July next year (’14). How far out can I book before the deval?

  22. Daraius,
    I planned my honeymoon based on your very detailed posts about your honeymoon. I finally achieved all the points needed but am unable to find standard room availability for all nights of my trip, which also prevents me from redeeming points using an AXON reward. The Hilton rep I spoke to said there was nothing she could do even though I was going to pay for an upgrade to an overwater bungalow. I already booked my flight months ago in order to get business class tickets, but I have no place to stay yet. Are there any tips for redeeming my Hilton points and paying for upgrades even though standard room awards are not available?
    Do any of the award booking services you previously blogged about help with hotel bookings?


    • @HSinAz – With some hotels it is 12 months, but you could book until 2015 with certain Conrad hotels.

      @TJ – I suspect that the recent Hilton devaluation has lots of folks making bookings. You could search for award every day, and I’d search 1 day at a time to see what is available. You could either lock in whatever is available at the standard rate (which increase at the end of March) or book a stay at the Hilton in Moorea instead, or see if Priority Club has availability at their hotels. I don’t believe the other services help with hotel bookings, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

  23. I emailed a couple services and AwardTravel did look for me, but didn’t have any better luck. They recommended checking IC hotels as well.

    Unfortunately the Hilton Moorea does not have a single day available at the standard rate until October! So I shifted my plan to stay 3 days at the IC in Moorea, found 2 days at standard rate at the Hilton Bora Bora, and then 3 more days at the IC Thalasso. Now I just need to negotiate a paid upgrade to overwater bungalows at all 3 resorts as you did. I don’t think I’ll be disappointed with the IC resorts, but I was really hoping to take advantage of my HH gold with free breakfast and internet to save some money while staying connected with family members back home. My fiance is not thrilled with having to stay at 3 different hotels since it adds some hassle, but she understands.

    Thanks for the very detailed trip report. It was a huge help for my planning.

  24. That was great advice. I’ve been checking every day and a few days opened up tonight, just before the points become worthless. It took a bit of work on the phone but I managed to snag an AXON award combined with one reward night from my Reserve card.

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  26. When you traveled from the IC Thalasso to the Hilton Bora Bora could you have taken the free boat ride to the IC La Moana, then paid the $25 taxi charge to Viatape? After that take the $8 Hilton boat ride? It seems like that would be the less expensive and possibly quicker option. I’m curious because I’m planning a similar trip in November and I want to make sure there are no problems.

    Also I read on Flyer Talk that the Intercontinental Thalasso has a mandatory transportation fee. Did you hear anything like that? It doesn’t sound like that would be right of them to do.

    • @TJ – Glad you were able to get the rooms!

      @Ben E – Yes, we could have done that. But Emily wasn’t happy about the move (I wanted to review 2 hotels instead of 1!), so I didn’t want to bother her more. I’m not sure if the fee is mandatory or not, but there is no mention of it when you make your booking, so you should be able to get out of not paying it.

  27. Hi! Love your blog! Question- which hotel would you recommend (staying with points)- Hilton Bora Bora Nui or Intercontinental Thalasso? We are Hilton Gold, & IHG Platinum. We booked before the Hilton devaluation – doing 4 nights using the AXON for 145k points, but also have enough points to do 4 nights free at the Thalasso. Which would you recommend? Thanks for your help & suggestions. 🙂

    • @Michele – If you already booked using the AXON rate, it will be hard to get a better value elsewhere. Perhaps 4 nights at the Thalasso as well?:) The Thalasso is the newer and nicer hotel, but it depends on what you’re looking for. Thanks for reading!

  28. Can you please email me. I have some questions for Hilton Nui. I will be there in August for my anniversary

  29. We just became Hilton Members. We have 13, 000 bonus points. How many points did you need to use to go to Bora Bora? How far in advance did you book your trip?

    I understand that points can be turned into Hilton Points. I want to go to Bora Bora as a dream
    trip. I am going to use these points if possible to plan for Bora Bora.

    What is the best time to go to Bora Bora. Where there other things to do or visit.

    • @Debbie – The number of points needed have changed and it is ~95,000 points per night. You can get 2 free weekend nights with the Hilton Reserve card and 100K Hilton points with the Virgin Atlantic card b/c you can transfer Virgin Atlantic points to Hilton.

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  31. 1) what is best way to redeem rewards to stay at this place in a water front/on the water room?

    2) which program would be useful for staying here/traveling to this place etc?

    3) I have around 1.25 Million Chase UR points, would that be useful in any way?

    Please reply personally on my email address rather than posting your reply here.


    • @Rahul – Chase UR won’t help much in Bora Bora, but they could get you stays at the Hyatt in the Maldives. For Bora Bora, you’re better off with Hilton or Priority Club. You could buy Priority Club points using the cash and points trick and then get a statement credit with your UR points.

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  33. Hey Daraius,

    I write to you from an Andaz Maui Suite (free), part of a 12 free nights at resorts across the island. I’ve only been following your blog/doing points/miles for a year now, and this is a pretty good vacation to start!

    I’m busy planning the next one – looking at the Hilton Bora Bora summer 2014. I do not yet have enough points for an AXON award redemption. Should I go ahead and reserve the dates at the HBB with a cc, request an upgrade to overwater bungalow, then pay with points when I’ve got them?

    In your experience, is that possible? Is this tricky? There are regular rooms available for reward redemption but no overwaters for redemption (of course), so do I lose that redempt-ability by reserving with a cc and then requesting the upgrade to the overwater before paying for the initial regular room booking with points?

    Thanks for all that you do! Next AoR coming up soon – I’ll be sure to use your links.

    • @Chris Jones – The AXON awards have changed and are no longer a good deal. It is unclear if the hotel will allow you to convert a regular redemption to an award redemption. So I wouldn’t do that b/c it will remove 1 from from the award availability when you want to book the room. Hope you’re having a great tim win Maui!

  34. Thanks Darius. I will adjust my plan accordingly.

    Also, I read in another post that you recently moved to Austin. Welcome to Texas! If I run into you at the local CVS, first Vanilla Reload is on me!

  35. I’m here now, so I can answer a few questions.

    1) It’s low season, but I don’t have a sense of how full the resort is.
    2) I booked an award in garden villa. They upgraded me (I’m a Diamond) to to the hillside villa — but I’m mobility impaired and couldn’t handle the stairs. So: back to the garden villa, which was more awesome than I was expecting. I didn’t press, so I don’t know what they would have done if I hadn’t been able to handle (with my husband’s help) the three stairs into the garden villa. Trying a mock booking, it does appear that overwater was available for my stay, though.
    3) I booked a revenue night in an overwater villa, which is the category I got.
    4) Next three nights were booked in garden villa, and that’s what I got.

    So it’s by no means certain that you’ll get an upgrade into overwater even if you’re a diamond and they have availability.

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  37. when you visited did you notice any difference between the 400 and 500 level hillside bungalows. Everyone seems to take pictures of and refer to the eight bungalows in the 500 room numbers. I am trying to decide if it matters to request one side over the over?
    Thanks for the great report. Helpful in planning my trip.

  38. Hi. Wouldn’t it be cheaper to go from Thalasso back to Le Moana and then pay a taxi to Vaitape and then from Vaitape take the shuttle to the Hilton? Can this be done? Do I need reservations? I will be leaving to Bora Bora and will be statying in the Thalasso first and then the Hilton Bora Bora like you did. Thank you very much.

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  42. My husband and I have been to both Bora Bora and Moorea before but fell in love with Hilton Moorea. Planning on booking our next trip tomorrow! So a quick response would be much appreciated! We are thinking of purchasing the AMEX Hilton Visa card for $95 does this give us free breakfasts in the mornings then with being a gold member? We plan on staying a week so getting this credit card would be worth it for us.


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  44. Hi Darius, thanks for your amazing tips. My husband and I used the HHonor card and book 2 free nights for the standard room in Hilton Nui Bora Bora. It’ll be our official honeymoon! Although the hotel emailed us with the upgrade costs and just upgrading to the Deluxe Overwater Bungalow is 50,000 xpf per night. That equals to around $500/ night for upgrading. That’s almost the price you pay for those rooms. Did they up their prices? Or is there some kind of special upgrade price for HHonor gold members? Thanks so much! Happy Holidays to you and Emily!

  45. Hi– what a great blog! My fiancé and I are planning our honeymoon and are debating between the Hilton and Intercontinental for 4 nights while in Bora Bora. Which do you recommend? They both look beautiful!

  46. Hi, We are going to the Hilton Bora bora in a couple of weeks. We did the plan where breakfast and dinner are included. She said you did not have to dress up for dinner. Can you tell me for sure that we don’t have to dress up for dinner but can wear nice shorts?