Located on one of the bluest sections of Bora Bora's famed lagoon (an area considered sacred in ancient times), the Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa was more than ready for its close-up when Hollywood came knocking. The setting for the finale (and final rose ceremony) of the 2010 season of "The Bachelorette" with Ali Fedotowsky, the resort offers spacious accommodations, a stunning beach and a hilltop spa and wedding chapel with dreamy views.
Keep Fit Without Going to the Gym
Spread out along one side of Motu Toopua, the Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa is blessed with a lengthy white-sand beach, a brilliant yet calm lagoon and a verdant hillside dotted with villas and crisscrossed by pathways.
Its sheer size - it is set on 16 acres, not including the long wooden pontoons leading to the majority of its overwater villas - means it's a great choice for couples or families who want to be able to walk or run to keep fit. On the other hand, those who do not enjoy having to walk or call for an electric cart every time they leave their villa may want to consider a more compact property.
There is, of course, also a state-of-the-art fitness center and plenty of water sports - from kayaks to Hobby cats - plus daily volleyball matches on the beach and a 10,764 square-foot pool.
The Villa Lowdown
The resort, which opened in 2002 as a Starwood Luxury Collection property and transitioned to a Hilton in 2009 after a refurbishment, has 122 villas in seven categories.
There are two basic categories of Overwater Villas, each spacious and luxurious with a separate living room and bedroom, and equipped with two 37-inch plasma TVs and DVD players, as well as a massive bathroom with a soaking tub: 38 Overwater Villas measure 1,022 square feet and feature island or lagoon views, while the 44 Overwater Deluxe Villas are the same size but are further out over the lagoon.
The resort also has two Royal Overwater Villas, measuring 1,453 square feet and featuring a Jacuzzi on the deck, and two Presidential Overwater Villas (Tahiti's only two-story overwater villas) measuring 3,229 square feet and featuring two bedrooms, three bathrooms, a living room a "well-being room" and outside decks with a pool and Jacuzzi.
On land, the offerings include 16 Lagoon View Suites, which at 1,076 square feet and the lowest nightly rate are a good option for families; 11 Hillside Villas, which at 969 square feet offer a lofty perch with great views; and 9 Garden Villas, which are the same size but are located closer to the beach.
The one downside of the Hilton Bora Bora Nui's location, compared to competitors on the inward facing sides of the motus that line Bora Bora's lagoon, is that it lacks a view of Mt. Otemanu from most areas of the resort. You can see the iconic peak from the Hina Spa (there's a 360-degree view), and from just one Premium Overwater Villa, #107.
The Local Environment
Hilton's recent renovation of the villas included the addition of solar panels to each of the villa's rooftops, which has cut down significantly on energy usage. In addition, the resort has undertaken the first funded "BioRock" Project in Polynesia, which has placed special designed turtle-shaped receptors to help foster coral growth that was stressed by structures in the water and culture future coral colonies in the years to come. The project is partially funded by a tariff added on to all room nights at the resort (you'll see it on your bill at checkout).
Another unique feature of the Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa is Motu Tapu, an idyllic private motu with stellar lagoon views used exclusively by the property for private picnics for its guests, complete with snorkeling, kayaking and a traditional Polynesian feast.
In addition, there are two restaurants. The main one is the casual, barefoot-in-the-sand Tamure Beach Fare Grill, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner (the menu is varied - from Asian-inspired pad thai and curried pastas to pizzas and burgers - but the dishes were not exceptionally executed). Open for breakfast and dinner, the more formal Iriatai offers lagoon views with a fusion menu that includes Pacific Rim, Mediterranean and Polynesian dishes.
Snacks and cocktails are available at two bars, the more elegant Upa Upa Panoramic Bar, set up on the hillside, and the Ta Ie Ie Beach Bar, a more casual, Polynesian-inspired space adjacent to the pool.
A Massage With a View
Perhaps the most majestic setting at the resort is the hilltop Hina Spa, where the serene treatment rooms are nestled amid lush vegetation and dramatic black basalt boulders (it's where "Bachelorette" Ali gave the final rose to Roberto).
The view is priceless, although the resort has put a value on it, offering the "Million Dollar View" Experience - a two hour, open-air treatment (foot bath, body polish, massage and post-treatment snack) in a secluded pavilion that overlooks scenic boulders and the hillside as it tumbles down to the brilliant blue lagoon.
A new focus on locally sourced, all-natural products has been rolled out, giving Hina Spa a stronger sense of place. After all, the resort is located on land and water thought sacred to ancient Polynesians, so nature's inspiration is only fitting.
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