You might need more than a carry-on for this trip, but it will be worth it. As Bora Bora and Japan reopen for travel, there’s no time like the present to take in these dream destinations, which are surprisingly easy to experience in a single trip—especially when you leave it to the Four Seasons. Head from LAX to PPT (Papeete Tahiti) on an eight-hour flight on Air Tahiti Nui, then allow the Four Seasons Bora Bora to transport you directly to the hotel via helicopter or luxury yacht. Next, head to NRT (Narita) on Air Tahiti Nui for an 11-hour, nonstop flight, which restarts in November. There is no shortage of return options home from Tokyo, but consider Zipair, the new wallet-conscious subsidiary of Japan Airlines, which recently launched daily direct flights from Tokyo Narita to LAX. Follow our guide below for some of the best ways to experience these bucket-list locales.
Bora Bora Bliss
Covering over 2 million square miles with more than 118 islands to choose from, the Society Islands of Tahiti have been dubbed the “romantic center of the universe,” and at the epicenter of that world is the Four Seasons Bora Bora.
Arrive at the resort by yacht for a dramatic entry, cruising past mossy green mountains and dormant volcanoes shrouded in clouds until you spot the iconic overwater bungalows on stilts amid the clear-pale turquoise lagoon.
If you are traveling with family and prefer a more residential setup, the property has recently completed a renovation, which includes two- and three-bedroom beachfront villa estates that offer privacy and views of towering Mount Otemanu. Another perk of the indoor-outdoor living areas: large infinity-edge pools and wooden decks with alfresco kitchens for private chef dinners—just ask your dedicated villa host to arrange it.
If you are lucky enough to stay in one of the refreshed overwater bungalows with plunge pools, the “floor windows” peering down to the lagoon below will become your own private aquarium, filled with colorful, exotic fish. It’s so mesmerizing and therapeutic, you might not want to leave your room.
If that pastime seems a little tame, the hotel concierge can arrange for you to swim with sharks, with a marine biologist along for the ride. For private snorkeling, environmentally friendly WiseOceans now has an exclusive partnership with the hotel, or you can book scuba experiences with Diveasy. Or stay on dry land with a tennis pro from Peter Burwash International.
Be sure to save some time for black pearl shopping, poe rava as the locals call them, the crowning jewels of the islands, which you find right on property at the newly added MoeMoea shopping experience, which also sells luxe resort wear, swimsuits, and hand-painted Polynesian pareos (wraparound skirts).
After a day of water sports or shopping, tuck into Asian cuisine and cocktails at Vaimiti, which is perched overwater with sunset views. Fish House at Faré Hoa offers Tahitian fish with a South Pacific catch of the day. For fine dining, head to Arii Moana, which offers nightly French tasting menus by the property’s new Executive Chef Eric Desbordes, who hails from the renowned Hotel George V in Paris. Don’t overlook the 150-label international wine list. For casual grab and go, try La Roulotte, a food truck for snacks, homemade ice cream, sorbet, and cold drinks.
Tokyo Two Ways
Balancing out your relaxing island getaway, head to the world’s largest city to indulge and invigorate all your senses. Located in a prime central location, the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi, opened in September 2020, lies in the heart of a bustling business district near the Imperial Palace.
With nearly 200 modern and stylish guest rooms and suites, you can certainly find the perfect configuration and view to fit your desires.
To get your bearings, head to The Lounge on the 39th floor for tea service, or if you suffer from jet lag, the spa is nearby. Perhaps a swim in the 66-foot pool with city views will help you acclimate? When it’s time for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, the Michelin-starred PIGNETO awaits with a signature T-bone steak Fiorentina in a Chianti wine sauce. Fun fact: Tokyo is actually the Michelin capital of the world, not Paris.
Some unique experiences arranged by the property will immediately submerge you into this fascinating and friendly culture—from the art of ink washing to Kabuki theater or behind-the-scenes sumo wrestling. For the truly adventurous, treat yourself to an after-hours helicopter cruise over the entire city to take in the brightly lit skyscrapers.
For a more boutique environment with just 57 rooms, yet no less plush or modern, with a few chic French dining options, plan a visit to the sister property Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi, which opened in 2002.
Located closer to the train station and mass transit, on this leg of your Japanese experience, highlights include a sake brewery visit and interactive Japanese BBQ, where you will learn the centuries-old art of robatayaki and mochi pounding. You can also kick back and let someone else do the heavy lifting on a dinner-cruise from the Sumida River to the Tokyo Bay in a traditional wooden boat with a kaiseki-style meal.