“I would have to say my favourite place on Earth is Bora Bora” ~ Robert Ballard.
Time for the million dollar question: Where to stay in Bora Bora? It can be hard to decide if you haven’t got the seemingly unlimited budget of a celebrity. After all, this tropical island getaway is home to sparkling turquoise waters, postcard-worthy sandy beaches, emerald-green volcanic craters and secluded overwater bungalows. Ahhh, the stuff that dreams are made of.
It’s no surprise this sort of luxury comes with a hefty price tag. Until now! I can assure you there’s no need to live indefinitely on two-minute noodles and skimp on things you love in order to save money for an overwater bungalow in Bora Bora. All you need is a little ace card up your sleeve to save you a tonne of cash, which I’m about to reveal to you.
I’m no celebrity, nor do I have the budget of one. Because I love obsessing over my upcoming trips and researching them to death, I discovered a little trick to use in this slice of paradise that allowed me to enjoy an overwater bungalow for less than half the price I initially thought. This awesome news meant I could stay longer for my money. Yes, it’s possible!
If you want to learn where to stay in Bora Bora on budget AND in an overwater bungalow, read on for more!
This guide to where to stay in Bora Bora will cover:
This post contains affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. I may receive a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Where to stay in Bora Bora with a mid-range budget
Guests who frequent the overwater bungalows are mainly celebrities who use them as picture-perfect backdrops for their Instagram photos or to feature on their reality TV shows. It’s also a dream destination for couples on their honeymoon because there are plenty of things to do in Bora Bora beyond the beaches.
Sure, you’ve probably heard of the ultra-luxurious five star resorts most of us dream about. But did you know in some cases, a single night at one of these properties will set you back what I spent for almost ONE WEEK in an overwater bungalow elsewhere on the island?
Surely by now you’re thinking this all sounds way too good to be true. I promise I’m not pulling your leg. Still don’t believe me? This was the view from my bungalow at the Sofitel Marara Beach Resort:
There’s something so seductive about Bora Bora’s position – you feel miles away from your day-to-day life back home because, well, you actually are.
I was fortunate enough to enjoy this overwater bungalow for 7 nights on my Bora Bora honeymoon. It really is such a wonderfully unique experience that I’d recommend everyone do at least once in their lifetime. Being our honeymoon we expected to have to splash out a little more on accommodation.
But when researching overwater bungalows I was delighted to find one was only about 25% of the cost of St Regis at the time. Great location, 4 star luxury…
Was this for real? What was the catch??
The secret to an affordable overwater bungalow in Bora Bora
Sofitel Marara Beach Resort is one of the very few resort chains in Bora Bora that boast a unique feature: A small handful of bungalows were built ¾ over the water with the rear of the bungalow partially on the land but the room itself and deck are over the water. No, they haven’t paid me to write this article, I just wanted to share my trick so more people can experience this island paradise!
If you have celebrity taste but a non-celebrity budget, Sofitel Marara Beach Resort is where to stay in Bora Bora. The bungalow I booked is called the “Superior Bungalow with King Bed – Over Water” and I was so thrilled with my decision. It felt like I was completely over the water anyway as I heard the water softly lapping beneath the floor whilst gazing outside at the incredible lagoon.
Feel free to dive right off your deck and enjoy the same perks your neighbouring over-water guests enjoy here, but you’re paying 25% less than them because the rear of your bungalow (where the bathroom is) has been built on a small stretch of land. Doing it this way also means you’ve saved around 75% of what guests pay for their overwater bungalows at the St Regis Resort so you can stay for longer! Talk about getting the most bang-for-your-buck.
Bora Bora overwater bungalow comparisons
I’ve done a little research to compare the different prices of overwater bungalows in Bora Bora to demonstrate the savings to be had. To put things into perspective and compare apples to apples, I’m strictly talking bungalows that are over the water so you can literally jump off your balcony into the crystal blue waters below.
Of course, many resorts in French Polynesia offer bungalows in gardens or on the beach for a cheaper cost. For now, let’s narrow in on the cost of staying in an overwater bungalow for a Bora Bora honeymoon. I’ve compared prices for the top 4 resorts and where I stayed (priced highest to lowest) and including room sizes:
- St Regis Bora Bora Resort (144 sqm)
- Four Seasons Bora Bora (100 sqm)
- Le Meridien Bora Bora (50 sqm)
- InterContinental Le Moana Resort Bora Bora (52 sqm)
- Sofitel Marara Beach Resort Bora Bora (33 sqm)
Unlike the popular top 3 resorts that are located on the eastern motu (sand bars), Sofitel Marara Beach Resort and InterContinental Le Moana Beach Resorts are located to the south of the main island. There are great benefits to this if you want to get out of the resort to do activities such as quad biking, boat and car hire.
Overwater bungalow costs for a Bora Bora honeymoon
During my stay, I noticed most guests who booked the overwater bungalows only stayed for around 3 days. I felt bad for them because 3 days is only a small taste of this little piece of heaven — if only they knew about my little trick they could have extended their stay!
I’ve put together the below graph to show you the average differences in cost for the five resorts mentioned earlier. I haven’t included exact prices in the graph because they do regularly fluctuate depending on demand and seasonality, but it will give you an idea.
NOTE: the cost of the lowest cost overwater bungalow starts from about USD 430 per night, and the most expensive being around USD 2,000 per night.
But generally speaking, you can expect the cost of a stay at the Sofitel Marara to be approximately 25% of the price of St Regis Resort. The InterContinental is around 50% of the cost of a stay at St Regis, and so on:
There is something to note about why my overwater bungalow at the Sofitel Marara Beach Resort was significantly cheaper than Four Seasons or St Regis. The bungalow itself is large enough for a king size bed, a bathroom and a balcony. That’s pretty much what you get for 33 sqm, whereas St Regis and Four Seasons offer a huge bungalow for the price (each over 100 sqm), so you do get what you pay for in that sense. Their bungalows are the size of a small flat or unit!
Map of Bora Bora overwater bungalows with current prices to compare
Not all the resorts are showing on this map so you may need to click through to see them all.
Bonus tip: In previous years, guests of the Sofitel Marara Beach Resort also had the privilege to use the facilities at the Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island – a short boat trip across the lagoon. Be sure to enquire when you book.
After reading a few recent reviews on Booking.com, some people did mention that the resort is starting to look a little tired. I don’t know about you but who needs more than 100 sqm of space and is going to stare at the walls when they have water like that just outside their door? You won’t want to spend long inside the bungalow, that’s for sure!
Fun fact: Did you know there’s no “B” in the Tahitian language? Before European settlers arrived the island was named Pora Pora by the native Polynesians, which translates to “first born”. The Europeans misheard this as Bora Bora, and the name actually stuck.
How to book your overwater bungalow stay in Bora Bora
Just so you know, this article has not been sponsored by Sofitel in any way. I just wanted to share my little tip because so many people believe they can’t afford to visit this amazing destination. With a little research and knowledge up your sleeve, where to stay in Bora Bora just became a whole lot easier on your pocket! Don’t take my word for it though:
Book your overwater bungalow in Bora Bora
Do you dream of visiting this slice of paradise someday? Yes, the water really is that colour! If you liked this tip, please let me know in the comments if you plan on using it! I have more tips and tricks for destinations in Oceania and around the world where that came from. Don’t forget to share this tip on Facebook or follow me on TikTok and Instagram. If you’re not ready to book your Bora Bora trip just yet, be sure to save this article to Pinterest for easy reference later!
Until next time,
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This guide to where to stay in Bora Bora contains some affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. I may earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase and if you do, thanks for your support! This helps with the costs of running my blog so I can keep my content free for you. As always, I only recommend a product or service that I genuinely love and use myself!