“I see you’ve booked a garden bungalow.”

Amanda and I looked at each other with panic as the concierge reviewed our reservation on his computer. We thought for sure we had booked an over the water bungalow. If you’re going to splurge on a trip to Bora Bora, why not go all the way, right? But when he said “garden bungalow” I thought I might spit out my fruity welcome drink and start crying at the same time.

And so it rained…

Two days earlier, Amanda landed in Tahiti, and I met her there a day later from Auckland. An insanity of rain was bucketing down since before I arrived, which made venturing out for dinner (without umbrellas) an adventure all on its own. We had painstakingly booked round trip flights to Bora Bora nine months earlier, so we weren’t staying on the island of Tahiti very long. Unfortunately that did not mean we would escape the rain.

Our flight was actually three hops from Tahiti to Moorea to some other island I don’t remember the name of and finally to Bora Bora. These islands are so close, it took less than two hours from start to finish. But flying through the storm was painful on the tiny airplane. Although we were sitting just a few seats away from Alex Borstein from MadTV and the voice of Lois on Family Guy, which was kind of cool.

I promise we’re not lesbians

We were staying at the Sofitel, which has two locations. Like I said, we decided to go all out, so we booked a bungalow at the private island location. The guests who got dropped off at the main location first were definitely giving us odd looks the whole time they were on the boat with us. I’m not sure if it was because we seemed too young to be on such a trip and splurging on the more expensive of the hotel’s two properties (we certainly got those stares, and comments, when we went to Antarctica) or if they thought we were lesbians.

(Just a side note: Bora Bora is definitely a couples destination, so much so that the hotel staff couldn’t even wrap their heads around the idea of Amanda and I vacationing there. Everything they had listed us as Mr. and Mrs. with Amanda’s last name since we booked our room with her credit card. Though due to Amanda’s penchant for using the word “girlfriend” when referring to a female friend, this wasn’t the first time we were possibly mistaken as a lesbian couple.)

Bad weather to the rescue

Upon arrival, a burly Polynesian man insisted on carrying our backpacks. I travel light, and Amanda travels even lighter, so we felt silly handing over a combined weight of about 35 pounds (16 kilos) but he insisted. And then, after sitting down in reception, we heard the frightening words from the concierge as we sipped pink fruity drinks.

“I see you’ve booked a garden bungalow.” LONG PAUSE. “But because of the weather, we’re not putting anyone in the garden bungalows, so you’re being upgraded to an over the water bungalow.”

I’m not sure why the bad weather meant it was better to be in a hut above the water instead of in one firmly planted on the ground, but this was the only perk of the storm. We’re pretty sure the person Amanda spoke with on the phone when booking misunderstood and booked us the wrong room, which at least means we paid less for it. Not that US$750 for two nights was cheap. But I guess it could’ve been worse.

As we settled into our bungalow, we just had to wonder, what do we do in Bora Bora when it’s pouring?

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22 comments on “Bora Bora Bungalow Madness

  1. Jaime

    OMG so what did you do if it rained & rained? That is crazy about the weather… you are in BORA BORA of all places. You would think in places as beautiful as that it would never rain, damn you mother nature. I love that people though yall were lesbians… jaja that just makes me giggle. I do like that they upgraded you thats a nice perk for already paying so much…lol!!!

    1. Ali Post author

      I know, it’s not supposed to rain in paradise! You’re just going to have to wait until the next post to find out what we did there for two days!

  2. Jennifer

    You left us with a cliffhanger! The weather sounda like a horra, horra! ;) Glad to hear the bungalow situation got worked out though. Can’t wait to hear more about Bora Bora!

    1. Ali Post author

      Ha! Sorry about the cliffhanger! Check back on Monday for the post about what we did while we were there!

  3. jan

    The funny thing about all that tropical greenery is that it thrives on rain – but you think it would have the decency to rain at night, especially at $750. Hope you find some guys to cuddle up to. lol

    1. Ali Post author

      HA! Somehow I don’t think our husbands would’ve appreciated us cuddling up with other guys! And yes, why couldn’t it have rained at night instead of almost 24 hours straight?!

  4. Arianwen

    It looks absolutely stunning regardless of the weather. I know the feeling of being misunderstood in a destination popular with honeymooners. I went to the Maldives with my family when I was about 17. One night, my mum and sister wanted a very spicy meal and my dad and I decided to get pizza instead. As we sat in the restaurant, the waiter came over and lit a romantic candle. I’m sure everyone thought he was my sugar daddy! Eyw!

    1. Ali Post author

      Wow, that’s hilarious! I’m sure it wasn’t at the time, but hopefully it makes for a good laugh now. And yes, it really was gorgeous even in the bad weather. Check out Monday’s follow-up post for what we did! Thanks Arianwen!

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  6. Caanan @ No Vacation Required

    Kent and I often remind ourselves that the only thing that makes most tropical destinations “paradise” is money. Otherwise, they can be pretty hostile environments.

    About that rain. On the plus side, you’re less likely to get a sunburn. Kent and I visited Morrea (and have visited Bora Bora as well) and got THE WORST SUNBURNS OF OUR LIVES. So it was sunny, but we were in excruciating pain. :/

    I look forward to hearing more about your bungalow – they look absolutely stunning.

    1. Ali Post author

      Very true, good point. And yes, I’m very happy I didn’t get sunburn those few days. We did end up on Moorea about a week later, just as gorgeous, but much cheaper. But more about Bora Bora on Monday!

  7. Andrea

    That water is gorgeous – shame about the rain! It usually rains for us when we visit an island =(

    1. Ali Post author

      It was still gorgeous, even with the bad weather. I actually love how my photos look with those storm clouds, even if I was wishing for the sky to clear while I was there.

  8. Zeljko

    Wondering what is the best time of year to go to Bora Bora and is there anything special to watch for like poisonous insects or tropical diseases…
    Are there lot of tourist around bungalows and beaches?

    1. Ali Post author

      The dry season is April to October, when it can also be a little cooler. The wet season is November to March and is hot and humid and can definitely bring more rain than the dry season. As far as I know there aren’t any tropical diseases to worry about in French Polynesia, but you might want to verify that. I didn’t read anything about poisonous insects, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t any. Overall it’s a fairly safe place to be. The hotels on Bora Bora are much more isolated than other islands so we really only saw a few other people who were staying at the same hotel as us, not crowded at all. This might be a bit different during the dry season (we were there in January) but even still, you can’t get into most hotels without being a guest there. I hope that helps!

  9. Andrew

    Despite being about a somewhat miserable experience, I really like how this post is written. One of my top 5 that you have done. And of course the pics are great.

  10. Christy

    That has always been one of my dreams! I guess bad weather CAN be a good thing sometimes.

    1. Ali Post author

      If definitely helped us get the better bungalow! And really, rain or shine, it’s a gorgeous place.

  11. Callie

    This looks absolutely gorgeous, despite the rain…and how funny that they put you out above the water to keep you safer in the storm!

    1. Ali Post author

      Yeah, I didn’t really understand it either, but it worked out pretty well for us! It really was gorgeous, just hard to do anything when it was raining. I’m glad it cleared up the last day so we could at least see it in its full beauty for a few hours.

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