The Maldives vs The French Polynesia…a battle of the luxury beach destination

Okay, a nice problem to have. But how do you decide between two of the most fabulous and romantic destinations in the world? Well if you are anything like me you don’t choose…you visit both. That said, I hope this compare/contrast of the two destinations will at least help you pick which one to visit first!

The Journey:

Bora Bora- Well from the UK the journey is bloody long, we took 3 planes and a boat to get to paradise. The first from London Heathrow to LA, then LAX to Tahiti, Tahiti to Bora Bora and then a luxury yacht to the hotel courtesy of the Hilton. The journey took some 36 hrs, my husband and I were barely talking by the time we arrived- nothing tests a marriage like long haul travel (except long haul travel with twins I hear-and am soon to find out). But, fast forward four mai-tais on “that beach” with “that view” and we were best friends again.

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Luxury Yacht Pick-up, courtesy of The Hilton

Maldives- Much easier, direct flight with British Airways to Male. Perfect. Perfect that is until the sea plane. They sound like sewing machines working at speed! They look equally as solid. A truly terrifying experience. But, they do offer superb views of the Atolls and when you arrive, you are so elated to be alive that become almost euphoric. (Some hotels are closer to the mainland and thus will pick up via boat)

Bora Bora: 0 Maldives: 1

 

The Beach:

Bora Bora- Newsflash guys, it’s Bora Bora, the beach is fantastic. With views of the mainland I really felt like I was an extra from “Lost” only in a good way, as in a million miles away from reality and surrounded by lush beauty. Not being chased by polar bears and black smoke after a plane crash. (And yes I know Lost was filmed in Hawaii).

Maldives- Another shock, it’s the Maldives and the beach is also bloody epic. The whitest sand I have ever seen. Views of palm trees and ocean. Not the same distinctive scenery as Bora Bora.

Bora Bora: 0 Maldives: 1 (a close call but Maldives just pips it)

 

The Hotel/Accomodation:

Bora Bora:

We stayed at the Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort and Spa via Turquoise Holidays (turquoise holidays) in a Duluxe Overwater Villa . The room was breathtaking, with our own private sun deck and outdoor shower. The bathtub had a glass surround, so you could admire the fish as you bathed. The coffee table could be opened to allow views straight into the water. The water beneath the villa was  much deeper than expected (approx 10metres) and we regularly saw reef sharks swimming about beneath the villa- prompting my husband to stay firmly put on the deck (bar one occasion when I harassed him until he joined me for a swim). Staff were decent and friendly enough but tended to keep their distance- the hotel was pretty quiet and all guests were couples celebrating honeymoons or an anniversary.

Maldives- We stayed at the Centara Grand Island Resort and Spa (Centara grand) in a beachfront pool villa. The accomadation was duplex style and had its own private swimming pool, direct access to the beach (and that very white sand) and an outdoor waterfall shower and stone bath. Though Overwater Villas may seem the ultimate indulgence, this beachfront villa was my dream…everything I could want or need I had. The staff here were exceptional and so incredibly kind and helpful. I don’t often return to the same resorts, but I would go back here in a heartbeat.

Bora Bora: 0 (the villa was stunning) Maldives: 1 (the staff stole the point)

The Activities:

Bora Bora- All things water (diving, snorkelling, stand-up paddle board, Kayaking etc), Spa and relaxation (see below) and pearl shopping on the mainland. Tahitian pearls are really beautiful- though they are also fairly beautifully priced!

Maldives- All things water again- but specifically Whale Shark excursions- I fulfilled a lifelong dream and got to swim alongside one of these creatures for a good 20minutes, I was awestruck (what’s that sound? Me ticking off part of my bucket list!).

Bora Bora: 0 Maldives: 1

The food:

Bora Bora: Two words- Mahi Mahi, cooked to perfection in vanilla sauce. Luckily I’m pescetarian and so I ate seafood every day. My husband (a vegetarian) really struggled to find variety in his options, so pizza or pasta it was. We stayed on a half board basis, we found lunch to be extortionately expensive due to everything being imported- £6 for a can of Coke anyone??

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Another delicious seafood offering from The Hilton

Maldives: Our little Atoll was totally self sufficient, bottling their own water and even making their own ice cream. Almost all food was grown and made on the island. Having upgraded our stay to “club” we were able to eat at the club lounge- complete fine dining with the option to order off menu if you are a tad fussy.

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The best place to enjoy a cocktail (or five)

Bora Bora: 0 Maldives:1

The Spa:

Bora Bora- The hotels spa is set at the highest point in the hotel and the views are outstanding…treatments can even be performed outdoors enabling you to really take in the backdrop. Also the scent of Tahiti- the monoi flower is everywhere and is encorporated into the treatments, making really unique and lasting memories that mean when I step into the body shop I’m transported back to Bora Bora (The Body Shop is All Grown-Up).

Maldives- The spa is set around a beautiful banyan tree. With the club option we had a 30 minute treatment included each day. I have never felt so zen in my life. Treatments are completed with a cup of ginger tea which certainly “wakes you up”.

Bora Bora: 1 (because of the view) Maldives: 0

So based on these comparisons, the Maldives takes it. Though not by the narrowest of margins… It’s worth saying that both destinations blow other places out of the water.

Total Score: Bora Bora: 1 Maldives: 4

For more travel reviews head over to my tripadvisor page: Centara Grand Island Tripadvisor Review

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