Real Life Locations Behind ‘Couples Retreat’: From Buffalo Grove to Bora Bora

Tropical Paradise Meets Comedy

The 2009 rom-com, ‘Couples Retreat,’ offered audiences a blend of laughter, marital struggles, and a dreamy backdrop of stunning landscapes. As four couples embark on a therapeutic journey to a tropical island, we’re offered cinematic splendor woven together with the relatable troubles of modern relationships.

Journeying From American Suburbia to Tropical Euphoria

Buffalo Grove, Illinois: As our introductory location, this quaint Illinois town serves as the backdrop for Dave and Ronnie’s conversation on door handles, setting the tone for the domestic challenges to come. The scene, which sees the duo ferrying their kid to hockey practice, showcases the small town’s perfectly manicured, snow-covered yards – an embodiment of the American dream. With over 40,000 residents and a range of parks and schools, Buffalo Grove easily doubles as the quintessential suburban setting for the characters.


Universal Studios Lot, Universal City, California: Dave’s phone conversation at a home improvement store, immersed in choosing furniture, swiftly transports us to the Universal Studios lot. By leveraging this versatile space, the makers achieved a generic, relatable ambiance, allowing viewers to further connect with the protagonists.

Island Dreams – The Heart of ‘Couples Retreat’

St. Regis Bora Bora Resort, Bora Bora, Leeward Islands: Transitioning to the Eden Resort – the primary setting of the movie – the storyline unfolds amidst the luxurious confines of the St. Regis Bora Bora Resort. With its crystal-clear waters and pristine beaches, the St. Regis is nothing short of paradise. Its sprawling landscapes offer panoramic views of Bora Bora, making Eden Resort’s depiction more authentic and mesmerizing.

Bora Bora, Leeward Islands, French Polynesia: As the characters navigate counseling sessions at Eden, the spectacular excursions seen throughout their journey epitomize the beauty of Bora Bora. These scenes aren’t just visually entrancing but are symbolic, revealing that picturesque surroundings can’t mask underlying issues.

Downey Studios – Crafting a Fictional Utopia

Downey Studios, Downey, California: While the St. Regis Bora Bora Resort delivered in terms of daylight scenes and breathtaking landscapes, the film needed a more controlled environment for its nighttime scenes and specific lagoon shots. Enter Downey Studios. Here, artificial lagoons and waterfalls came to life, seamlessly extending the narrative’s tropical paradise illusion.

In essence, ‘Couples Retreat’ masterfully marries its plot with a medley of diverse and captivating locations. From American suburban streets to the paradisiacal Bora Bora, each location adds depth and vibrancy, making it a visual treat for the audience.