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BORA-BORA

Pampering and its prices

June 03, 2007

WHERE TO STAY

Here's a sampling of other Bora-Bora hotels, ranging from high-end to low-end. Most have beautiful views and over-water bungalows; all are well-maintained. Travelers to French Polynesia usually can save money by buying resort-and-airfare packages.

BORA BORA NUI RESORT AND SPA

P.O. Box 502, Vaitape; (866) 716-8140, www.boraboranui.com. The 120 suites and bungalows have a lovely location, are surrounded by lush vegetation and overlook a private cove. Facilities include the hillside Mandara spa and two restaurants. The hotel is part of the Starwood Luxury Collection. Summer rates begin at $549 a night.

BORA BORA LAGOON RESORT & SPA

Motu Toopua, BP 175 Vaitape; (800) 237-1236, www.boraboralagoon.com. The beautifully landscaped resort is on a motu overlooking the village of Vaitape and the main island, which makes it convenient for shopping or dining. Its Maru Spa is high in the branches of two giant banyan trees. The Orient-Express hotel has a restaurant and poolside cafe. Summer rates from $632 a night.

MAITAI POLYNESIA BORA BORA

BP 505, 011-689 603-000, www.hotelmatai.com. The small hotel on Matira Beach, one of the most scenic in Bora-Bora, offers the least expensive over-water bungalows on the island. Restaurant and bar. Rates begin at about $400 a night for an over-water bungalow, $300 for a garden view.

NOVOTEL BORA BORA BEACH RESORT

BP 174 Vaitape, 011-689-605-950, www.novotel.com. The resort, above, has clean, efficient units near beautiful Matira Beach. Restaurant and bar. About $200 a night.

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ACTIVITIES

Looking for nightlife? You won't find much here. But you will find spas to slow you down and lots of water sports to ramp you up.

SPORTFISHING OR

SAILING

Out to sea: Explore Bora-Bora's lagoon and the waters of French Polynesia aboard the 50-foot catamaran Taravana or the 34-foot sport fisher Luna Sea. Half-day charters start at $1,200. Richard Postma, 011-689-72-30-99; e-mail taravana@mail.pf.

LAGOON PICNICS, SNORKELING

Back to nature: Bora-Bora native Patrick Tairua leads nature tours and also offers small-boat tours for snorkeling, shark and ray feeding (below) and motu picnics. Half-day marine tour for two to four people $360; motu lunch with Tahitian foods $750. 011-689-791911; e-mail patrick.bora@mail.pf.

JEEP TOURS

In the wilds: Take a break from the water to tour the backcountry on a Land Rover tour with Bora-Bora native Heirama Fearon. See stone temples and World War II guns that once guarded the island. Three-hour tour is $80 per person. Vavau Adventures, 011-689-720121; e-mail temana689@mail.pf.

SPAS

Good life: At the InterContinental's Thalasso spa, guests can view marine life through the glass panels in the over-water bungalows during a massage session (above). At the new Manea Spa at the Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort, a Tahitian-owned property on Motu Tevairoa, two pavilions offer couples treatments, and two spa suites are available. Individual 50-minute treatments start at $145. 011-689-50-84-52, www.maneaspa.com.

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