Abandoned hotels in Bora Bora

Operating a resort in the paradise is not easy. Even the big chains seem to fail. On our boat trip around the Bora Bora lagoon we noticed the abandoned Club Med hotel, and got interested what has happened to it. The locals told us that there are also other hotels that have been closed recently.

We were told that the business had been bad for years, and the main reason Club Med had been kept open was that it made the chain look good in their brochures. Making the chain and their other locations look better also. Final nail to the coffin seemed to have been the economic downturn and the cyclone that hit the archipelago few years ago. Now Club Med just sits rotting empty on a prime beach location. Most of the bungalows had been relieved from everything removable. Even the windows had been taken and some bungalows had been burned down.

The second victim of the competition and the economic situation was Hotel Bora Bora, the first hotel on the island. It was built in the seventies and has also closed it doors recently. Hotel Bora Bora was located at the southern tip of the main island, on a beautiful location. Now there are just roofless bungalows and a haunting grand entrance, that must have looked nice sill few years ago. There had been rumors that it was closed only for remodeling, and was supposed to open again in 2011. So far nothing has happened and it looks like the hotel is just waiting for a buyer.

The third victim seems to have been the Bora Bora Lagoon Resort & Spa hotel located on the To’opua island. We were told that the last cyclone destroyed a few bungalows, and they never reopened after that. From the mountain you could clearly see the sorry state the bungalows are getting in to when left unattended for just a few years.

Bora Bora Lagoon Resort & Spa

Bora Bora Lagoon Resort & Spa

It may also be that the time for the large hotels on the main island has come to an end. Most of the westerners coming to Bora Bora want the typical overwater bungalow experience seen in the brochure and movies. They want the most stunning view from the terrace of their private luxury bungalow. That is offered only by the big name chain hotels located on the motu. In total the Four Seasons, Intercontinental, St. Regis and Le Meridien have about 400 rooms. That is just too much for an island as expensive, exclusive and hard to get to as Bora Bora. Hotels located on the main island and on other motus are losing the competition, and seem to be struggling just to stay open.


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  1. Honeymooned at the BBL 20 some years ago… Sad to see it’s closed. It was so far beyond amazing that it’s impossible to describe…

    • clare says:

      me too! 1993 Bora Bora Lagoon Resort. I am now visiting Bora Bora again and its said that my honeymoon spot is closed..

  2. Parry Laird says:

    Societe Hoteliere de Bora Bora beckoned me in 1967. I worked there. Life was simple. A drive around the island revealed that the heavy hand of western civilization had only come down once to show itself in the form of a Chevron gas station neon sign standing tall next to the only gas pump on the island. My bubble was burst! Other than that cancer, the entire island was pristine…..no phones, TV, cars (we had the only one, a land rover) and of course, no computers, cell phones and the like! The owner at the time, noticed that when the little children smiled, many teeth were missing…..too much sugar cane. He had a state of the art dental clinic built and invited his dentist friends for a free vacation. Smiles were no longer toothless.Memories like that are just that….memories. I have the best!

    • Visited Bora Bora & Hotel Bora Bora in 1972. Airfield was gravel from WWII….no airport building. Matira point was a primitive jungle. Found the military canon guarding the harbor entrance covered in vines. Other military relics from WW II.
      Hotel Bora Bora bar and dining room was on magnificent point. Snorkeling off of hotel was deep water w/ great tropical fish. Female tops were sparse to non-existant. I had always believed that the missing teeth were a result of too much Fanta Orange??
      Yes Western Civilization ruined this Paradise…..I went back many times and stopped going in the ’90’s
      to find sewage in the lagoon….coral gone or dead. Big hotels on motu where over water bungalos stood in 12 ” of water…..what a joke.

  3. M montague says:

    I honeymooned at the Bora-Bora hotel in 1978, and at that time there were only two hotels on the island, that one and the Club Med. Only two flights a week! My husband’s clothes got lost but no problem, he had his bathing suit and the clothes on his back. So beautiful . No restaurants except at the hotel not even a fruitstand, no TV no phones. No town no shopping. Remember seeing the actress RhondaFleming on the six seater plane out!

  4. Donald Duncalf says:

    In 1991 and again in 1992 was sent to Bora Bora to survey the abandoned Hyatt Hotel there. It is one of the most beautiful places on earth. The Pritzker family of Chicago had spent about 20 million on the building of about 100 units over the water and up the side of the mountain. The project got tied up in a dispute with the local governing body on the island. Neither side would budge. It was on leased land and eventually nature took it over. It was about 2 million USD from finish in 1991, perhaps 4 million in 1992. The buyer I represented walked away and everyone lost out…

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