We really worked the system to get 4 nights in a villa on the beach at the Hilton for free – and it was worth it! We have been thinking about this for over a year, when we both got American Express cards to collect points which were then converted to Hilton points, along with some of our AA miles So the 75GBP annual fee bought us $2400 worth of hotel. The Hilton owns the motu opposite the main town of Vaitape – it’s home to some beautiful coral and some very friendly fish. We met my friend Chelsea who flew in from St Paul to relax in her overwater bungalow for a few days and catch up.
John in front of the main island on the ferry from the airport to Vaitape:
Chelsea and me in her over-water bungalow where we spent a lot of time:
Our time in Bora Bora was spent doing 3 things: swimming, consuming food & wine & catching up with Chelsea. Oh- and enjoying the crazy nice accomodation and grounds of the Hilton. Our room was so big and comfortable I just wanted to hang out in there all day, however, we did manage to pull ourselves away from the motu on two occassions and take the ferry to Vaitape for some village exploration and a fabulous lunch at the famous “Bloody Mary’s”.
Chelsea also brought a MUCH appreciated care package from my family which included my favorite brownies ready to eat, post cards from Mom, Dad, Lisa, Tom, A Anne, Grandma, AK, Sarah, Samm and loads of beautiful art from Annie, Lucy and Sophie. I read everything 3 times and we ate brownies for breakfast all 4 days. I also got a seamstress tape measure which Chelsea used to measure me for my wedding dress so I can finally order it- thanks guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Muma- you must have spent loads of time collecting all the notes- thank you so much:)
Me with coffee, brownie and all our notes, I’m feeling a little closer to home:
Us with our art work from the girls (BTW, this is our balcony):
The snorkeling was surprisingly good here, just under the bungalow we saw loads of colorful fish, octopus X2, a sting ray, sea urchins, sea clams- purple, green & blue, and pretty good coral. I’m sure Hilton crew remove a lot of urchins so people don’t step on them, and people regularly feed the animals here so their behaviour is quite different but it’s fun that they followed us around waiting to be fed!
A little octopus that we found right under Chelsea’s bungalow:
Me and Chelsea entertained ourselves for quite awhile feeding these and several other fish with Triscuit crackers and bread rolls:
We ended up eating at the beach restaurant at the Hilton which had pretty good food for a price that, whilst 5-6X what we are used to paying, was still within reason. But the service was astoundingly BAD. I couldn’t believe how inept the staff in the restaurant was which, when spending that amount of money for a room, is really surprising. Anyway, we did enjoy some poisson cru and fancy cocktails. Oh- and you’ll notice for the first time in 8 months, I’m wearing new clothes!!! Chelsea brought me some new items which were much appreciated!
The three of us at the Beach Restaurant Bar at the Hilton splurging on fancy cocktails- $17 each!!
John and I really thought a fancy break at the Hilton would do us good- but actually, it had the opposite effect! We both were reminded what it feels like to have the comforts of home, friends and family, and the loads of other things we generally take for granted- and instead of motivating us to continue travel, we really want to go home! Earlier in the trip, we had a really nice break staying on the gorgeous luxury sailing boat in Raja Ampat for our 12 day dive trip- and that did give us motivation and excitement to continue the adventure. This time, I think we are just getting a bit tired- still loving the travels and blessed to have the chance to do it, but generally, spend more time thinking about friends and family and weddings and work…
Mom and Dad at Washington Square in WBL, MN having leaving drinks:
Our room in Bora Bora:
View from the main entrance:
Our villa is the one in the middle:
View from our balcony:
Standing near the office:
Guest services & infiniti pool: