Destinations

Under the Spell of Bora Bora

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 Four Seasons Bora Bora.
I was the lucky resident of this bungalow at the Four Seasons Bora Bora. Plans to construct a replica in my backyard in Atlanta have been thwarted by the lack of a water source and objections from the neighborhood.

It felt like God was winking at me. “You think this is the most beautiful place on earth? Watch this,” He seemed to be saying. It was barely after sunrise and I was sitting on the sun deck of my overwater bungalow at the Four Seasons Bora Bora, watching the mist rise over the gently lapping clear turquoise water, with the jagged peaks of Mount Otemanu and Mount Pahia in the background, when a perfect double rainbow appeared.

I just laughed. There really was no need to impress me further —I was firmly under Bora Bora’s spell. Although I’ve lived my entire life in the landlocked city of Atlanta, I’ve always been drawn to the water. And there’s no better way to feel connected to the water than having your own tree house on stilts, complete with a glass panel in the bathroom where you can peer down at schools of colorful tropical fish.

I spent plenty of time in the water as well, paddle boarding and kayaking around the lagoon, swimming right off the back of my sun deck and on a day-long snorkeling tour. Although our guide, Rainui, had been leading tours for 14 years, his enthusiasm for sharing the beauty of his island was undiminished. He entertained and educated us at three magnificent spots, swimming with sharks and holding up a gigantic stingray, laughing as he used the tail like a microphone. He even dove deep to bring out an eel for us to view, smirking as he showed us where he got bit. “Rainui, you even shed blood for us!” I said.

After the snorkeling he brought us to his family’s private island where he cooked lunch for us, served on plates of woven coconut fronds. We dined in the island sunshine on grilled chicken, beef, rice with coconut milk, and coconut bread.

We enjoyed plenty of meals courtesy of the sea as well. For lunch on the beach one I day, I relished the poisson cru — red tuna with lime and coconut served in half of a coconut with a mound of rice. We shared a giant platter of fresh sushi with ginger sauce at Sunset Bar and savored the mahi mahi in coconut curry sauce at Arii Moana, the resort’s fine dining restaurant.

The divine setting is incorporated into the soaring thatched roof spa as well: One treatment room has windows on the floor for an ocean view while you undergo the Kahaia Haven Ritual, a skin smoothing treatment with Tahitian black pearl powder and vanilla, followed by a hot stone massage.

Tahitian black pearls are the rarest in the world, only available in the South Pacific. What better item to take home with me as a souvenir than a unique gift from the sea? Although I passed over the impressive and flawless pearl valued at $40,000, I did manage to bring home a beautiful necklace with one single lovely pearl, a wearable reminder of the gorgeousness of nature in Bora Bora.

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