Spot Cool Stuff recently published a review comparison of the best Bora Bora luxury resorts. As we mentioned in that review, each of the nine resorts would looked at was spectacular in its own way. Each featured amazing views and impeccable service. Each also had nightly rates somewhere between expensive and exorbitant. So what’s a budget traveler to do?
Contrary to image of Bora Bora as a destination only for the well healed, the tropical Pacific island can definitely be enjoyed on the cheap. There are a handful of B&Bs and small family-run pensions where couples can stay for under €100 (or even under €50). Among those, Spot Cool Stuff’s favorite is the wonderful little Sunset Hill Lodge.
To be clear, a stay at the Sunset Hill is definitely not akin what you’d experience in one of Bora Bora’s honeymoon resorts. The lodge does not have any over-water bungalows. (In fact, it isn’t even on the beach). There’s no room service, no spa, no fine linens, no restaurant serving lobster dinners.
What the Sunset Hill Lodge has going for it, above all else, is as affable and accommodating a host as you could ask for. Gerard, a Frenchman, seemingly knows every nook on the island and will bend over backwards help you arrange activities and make your stay comfortable. He’ll even lend you his personal bicycle for trips into town!
In addition, the property has some charm. Not so much the surrounding area, which is a residential area populated by both people and chickens, but the hillside location offers nice views of the water and the decor and ambiance around the place is Polynesian-tinged. You’ll feel closer to the local culture staying here than you would at one of the big expensive resorts.
Best of all, the Sunset Hill Lodge is a good value by Western European standards, and an excellent one by Bora Bora’s. Nightly rates for a couple range between €49 and €79, depending on the room. For that you’ll not only receive a spacious and comfortable place to stay, you’ll get use of a kitchen†, transfers both to and from the airport, and complimentary use of the wifi internet and laundry facilities.
As for rooms, there are four to choose from. In our order of preference:
• The Silts Bungalow is our favorite of the options and also, not coincidentally, has the best views.
• The Studio is the most modern of the Sunset Hill’s room options. But the best part is the private covered terrace—you’ll probably spend more waking hours there than in the room itself.
• The Garden Bungalow 2 is a bit of a fun and quirky space, with an outdoor (private) shower and a loft bed reached via a ladder. At only €49 per night, it might be the best room deal in the whole of Bora Bora.
• The Garden Bungalow 1 is a two-story suite. It’s nestled in next to a waterfall and is large enough to accommodate an entire family (or even two couples).
Of course, staying at the Sunset Hill Lodge doesn’t mean you can’t embark on a stealthy trip to one of Bora Bora’s luxury resorts and act like you are a guest there for an afternoon. If you make such a visit, you might wish you were staying at a place that nice. But you’ll be very thankful you’re not when it comes time to pay the bill.
† This is in itself a huge money saver, as locally-sourced groceries are reasonably priced on Bora Bora but eating out can quickly get pricey.
Some other budget Bora Bora accommodations options
Maitai Bora Bora — We included the Maitai in our review of Bora Bora luxury resorts. It is significantly nicer than any of the other accommodations mentioned on this page (including the Sunset Hill Lodge) without being significantly more expensive. In the low season, rooms can be as low as €130. That’s cheap for what you get but far too expensive to be considered “budget.”
Chez Robert et Tina — A white, modern 12-room guesthouse on the beach. It’s a good value, with rates from €65 to €76 per night, though, unlike the Sunset Hill, that rate doesn’t include extras like tax and airport transfers.
Pension Lagoonarium — This comfortable pension run by a Tahitian family has 3 private rooms, a dormitory and a campground.
Chez Nono — A beach-side pension with some of the nicest views of any budget hotel. However, the rooms are only so-so and the beach isn’t the best for swimming.