Bom Bom Resort, Príncipe Island

On the remote island of PríncipeBom Bom is one of the most beautifully situated hotels I've ever visited.  There's a deep resonance to this place. If you haven't seen my other posts on São Tomé and Príncipe suffice it to say we were wowed by the stunning wild places and syncretic culture of this extraordinary, diverse island nation. The resort is perched between two crescent beaches that meet in a small rocky promontory  and just to make it all the more fabulous they've built a wooden walk way out to the eponymous Bom Bom Island, see the small island above with the crescent beaches below.
It really is an idyllic situation and while  it isn't the "best" hotel on Príncipe (that accolade has to go to the newly built luxurious sister property Sundy Praia) Bom Bom has the most beautiful placement one could wish for. Sun, sea, surf, turtles and sunsets were more than enough to keep me amused for a couple of days. 
When you want more, there's the glory of the island  beyond the resort and what an astonishing place Príncipe it is. The entire island is designated a UN Biosphere and if that sound pretty special it gives you an idea of the ecological significance of this landscape. The biodiversity in the marine and land ecosystems here is staggering with  many unique species. We loved our trip out by boat to explore the island coastline while others went diving or hiking.
The views from the water in the Bay of Needles was breathtaking and you do feel you've stumbled upon a lost world bypassed by time and modernity. Surreal peaks known as phonolite towers puncture the lush rainforest canopy and visitors who describes Príncipe all remark on the 'Jurassic Park' landscape.
The resort is in a stunning location but it isn't glitzy, you're not going to find infinity pools, a kids club or an enormous spa complex here, but honestly for me the simplicity was  part of the charm. This is a low key destination for people who appreciate a remote, pristine natural landscape. The limited size and scale of the place is a big part of how it fits into the island ecosystem. The quiet crowds is predominantly European, with everyone from Portuguese honeymooners  to an elderly couple of  British birders. You may see more families around the holiday season.
There are quite a number of repeat visitors too and you can see why this is a place that would draw people back over and over. One couple told us it was their eighth visit to Príncipe. Expect  tasteful comfort and stunning views - which you're not sharing with too many others. The beauty of the place shines through and there's a relaxed, easeful shipwrecked in paradise vibe. Well, I guess ship wrecks may not be quite so easeful if you  don't find yourself on the steps on a resort but you get the meaning!
Which Room?
There are several categories of rooms all decorated in a similar style; pool view, garden view and beachfront. The differences are less their size and more where they are located. The beachfront chalets are indeed right on the beach and you'll hear the surf crashing at night. You can see the chalets  discreetly tucked under the palms on the left above and the view from our room below.
We loved waking up to both the sound and the sight of the ocean. I really can't emphasis enough how pristine this island is and how few tourists there are. We felt so lucky to be there.
It's worth noting that some of the the sea view chalets are quite high up and have a beach view too, in terms of the interior they're the same layout and more affordable. I'd recommend the beachfront but I think I'd be happy with the sea view or garden cottages too. I wouldn't recommend the pool view rooms, because while they are spacious they are set further back from the water. There's no privacy on the front decks and the bathrooms need updating. However if the bathrooms are redone these rooms could be a good option for families - as they have connecting doors and can accommodate a larger group. 
This is a hotel where they are extremely concerned about environmental impact, indeed the HBD hotel group is integrally involved in  conservation plans for the island, including the Príncipe Trust. At the resort they may be moving some cottages back from the beach in order to make additional space for nesting turtles. Having come upon a turtle laying it's eggs right in front of our cabin when we came back from dinner (so exciting!) I can understand their concerns. 
The restaurant  and bar are on Bom Bom island so you'll do a good deal of walking back and forth on the wooden walkway. 
We liked the walking back and forwards, and the views were stunning, but as you can see it isn't a good option for anyone with mobility issues.
I really loved Príncipe and Bom Bom but our stay was not without problems. We arrived during a management transition at the hotel and the absence of senior staff was evident. However, they worked hard to make things right, so my advice is (as always) to speak up if anything isn't up to par. Hopefully they've worked out the issues but an honest assessment of the property would note that given the price point the pool and the cottage interiors are relatively modest. I believe that the hotel would benefit from a "refresh" and having seen the incredible nearby Sundy Praia I look forward to seeing the changes they make at Bom Bom. It's a resort I'd love to revisit and Principe remains  one of the most extraordinary locations I've seen.
Stay tuned for my rave review of the luxurious resort at Sundy Praia. I've also written about the plantation hotel options on Príncipe  and an introduction to São Tomé and Príncipe, including a discussion on the main island and itineraries. I think you can tell that staying on Príncipe we felt we had stumbled upon an earthly paradise.

Partial Gift: We paid for our accommodation, food and excursions but  received a modest discount and an upgrade. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) states that bloggers should disclose anything that "materially affects" their experience including gifts. I paid for my stay and I hope you know I'll always give you my unvarnished opinion. But transparency matters and it's fair  to say that a discount, or upgrade could favorably impact  our impressions. I only  wish some of my fellow bloggers who are receiving fully comped trips would begin to disclose them.

Comments

E said…
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Todd at Visit50 said…
Bom Bom looks lovely! 😊 🌴 🌴 🌴
Yes, it's a really gorgeous spot. One of the most unspoiled places I've ever been...

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