The Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa is secluded all by itself on Toopua Atoll, part of the rim of islands encircling Bora’s mythical Mt. Otemanu volcano. Arriving by boat, you feel like you’ve reached the end of the earth as the water turns deep cobalt blue on the other side of the reef.
For what it's worth, Kim Kardashian honeymooned here.
The 86 overwater villas stretch along the longest beach in French Polynesia while 36 land villas slope up the palm-swathed hillside. Those higher elevation villas are unique among the island's other resorts, all of which are situated at sea level.
Perched at the crest of the hill, the small Hina Spa includes three spa cabins (above) and a thatch roof couples massage hut at the edge of the precipice. I sat with spa director Anthony Nayeli, who has a passionate concern for protecting the fragile environment.
“I want us to be doing so much in terms of sustainability that the rest of the hotels are shamed by our example,” he says. “So a visit here is not just an incredibly luxurious escape, but it’s also not exploitive in any way.”
Toward that goal, all of the signature treatments include a donation to local environmental agencies.
For example, the “Be the Difference” treatment includes a sea salt and ylang ylang body scrub, a marine algae body wrap and a 50-minute massage. A portion of funds from that are given to the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, which promotes anti-pollution initiatives throughout the islands.