Travel Like an Editor: Special Projects Editor Stephanie Samson’s Honeymoon Escape to Bora Bora
My husband (still weird to say!), Kevin, and I love to travel, and we try to take one big trip a year. In the last few years we have been to Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, Zimbabwe, and South Africa (which included an unforgettable safari experience). So when it came to planning our honeymoon, we had to stop and think … where to next?
After 11 months of stressful wedding planning, we knew we needed a relaxing getaway. I was set on a tropical destination that wasn’t too far, so after much discussion, we settled on the beautiful remote island of Bora Bora.
Protected by an amazing coral reef, Bora Bora is a watersports lover’s dream. We Jet Skied, paddleboarded, snorkeled, and Kevin even took a kite-boarding lesson during our stay at The Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora. (Hey, if it’s good enough for Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux’s honeymoon, it’s good enough for ours). Between the two of us, he’s more of an adventure seeker, so I made sure to balance out the trip with a little relaxation, including a couple’s massage, romantic dinners and cocktails on the beach.
I loved packing for the honeymoon because it gave me the chance to use many of the gifts I received throughout my engagement. Let’s just say I brought a lot of white!
No island vacation is complete without a bikini. I brought a few to get me through the trip but my favorite was this white Marysia two-piece. The fit is equally feminine and sexy—my husband loved it! Before I hit the sand, I paired the bikini with all my beach must-haves: sunscreen, sunglasses, a beach tote, and flip-flops.
A Night Out on the Island
A beach honeymoon requires a great sundress as well. I chose this beautiful printed maxi dress by Parker to celebrate the first night of our honeymoon, which happened to be my husband’s birthday as well. We celebrated with an amazing dinner at La Villa Mahana on the main island of Bora Bora. With dim lighting, romantic music, delicious food and only seven tables in the whole restaurant, it’s a tough, but worthwhile, reservation to get.
Parker ‘Verona’ Dress, $308; revolve.com.
The sun in Bora Bora can be very intense, so I brought along my favorite hat for extra protection alongside my sunscreen. This Janessa Leone hat is a stylish choice any day of the week, but the wide brim perfectly shielded me from the harmful UV rays at the beach resort.
Janessa Leone ‘Gloria’ Hat, $188; janessaleone.com.
I love chic, neutral cover-ups and this gorgeous white Tory Burch caftan perfectly paired with my bikinis. The lightweight, gauzy fabric allowed my skin to breath in the humid weather, and the guipure lace trim detail added an element of elegance to my beach attire.
Tory Burch ‘Treville' Caftan, $295; toryburch.com.
Afternoon at the Spa
We spent a perfect afternoon of relaxation and pampering at the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora Spa—a tranquil oasis nestled between the ocean and the lagoon. This comfortable romper was a great piece to throw on over my swimsuit, and the bold floral print made it cute enough for an easy transition to happy hour afterwards.
Casual Night Out
As with many tropical destinations, the attire in Bora Bora is casual. For our next dinner on the main island, I wanted my look to be a combination of cute and casual, so I decided on these floral high-waisted shorts by Zimmermann. The gorgeous detailing and on-trend style made them a standout piece. Paired with a simple white camisole, sandals, and a clutch, I was ready for a fun night out on the island.
Zimmermann 'Alchemy' Shorts, $315; net-a-porter.com. Topshop Double Strap V-Back Camisole, $30; nordstrom.com. Tory Burch ‘Terra’ Thong Sandal, $125; toryburch.com. Clare V. Foldover Clutch, $209; clarev.com.
Bringing lingerie on my honeymoon was a no-brainer, especially after receiving so many great pieces at my bridal shower and bachelorette party. For the days we cozied up in our hotel room (yes, we had some tropical rain, plus it was a honeymoon after all!), a two-piece camisole and shorts combo worked perfectly. The material was soft and comfortable for lounging around, yet still looked sexy. As for the other lingerie I brought—we’ll keep that private!
Eberjey ‘Baxter' T-Back Cami & Shorts, $95; eberjey.com.
Hair Care Essentials
I’ll admit that I have a complex about my hair. Childhood hair trauma has resulted in me over packing products when I travel now. Luckily so many of my favorite styling tools are also found in travel size! These seven products were my weapons of choice to ensure my hair was untangled, shiny, frizz-free and styled to perfection in the island humidity.
Moroccan Oil Curl Defining Cream, $13; moroccanoil.com. Elnett Satin Hairspray, $7; walgreens.com. Klorane Dry Shampoo, $10; sephora.com. Bumble and Bumble Straight Blow Dry, $15; bumbleandbumble.com. Bumble and Bumble Surf Infusion Spray, $16; bumbleandbumble.com. It’s A 10 Miracle Leave-In Product, $12; ulta.com. Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray, $22; neimanmarcus.com.
Skin Care Essentials
There are two skincare products that I won’t travel without: a great moisturizer and facial sunscreen. For moisturizers, I gravitate towards formulas that are both incredibly hydrating and lightweight, so the La Mer moisturizer has become my go-to. When it comes to sun protection, I’m all about mineral sunscreen and this Tizo3 version has a silky matte finish that also acts as a perfect primer for my makeup. Both are lightweight and non-greasy formulas that feel amazing on my skin.
A friend recommended that we bring floats with us to Bora Bora and we’re so glad we did! After arriving we blew them up right away, jumped off our bungalow’s deck, and floated in the turquoise lagoon. Add in a cocktail and you have ultimate relaxation! Yes, that is my husband floating underneath our bungalow—there are glass panels in the floor. Warning: This will likely add some extra weight to your suitcase, so plan accordingly.