Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa
Bora Bora, French Polynesia
It was four decades ago that hotel developers in French Polynesia first hit on the revolutionary idea of placing their accommodations on concrete pylons in the lagoon. Over the years, these overwater bungalows have grown in size and sophistication. The 122-suite Bora Bora Nui represents the current state of the art. The interiors—each 1,000 to 1,500 square feet—are appropriately extravagant, with rare Indonesian hardwoods, hand-carved kahia wood, and three glass floor panels so that jet-lagged clients can unwind by watching colorful lagoon fish. A unique feature is the resort’s reception area, which is also on pylons like a giant overwater bungalow. A navette (motor launch) delivers guests from the airport directly to the hotel in high style. While the lagoon is the prime attraction, the beachside part of the resort has not been neglected: Stretching up the volcanic hillside behind the overwater installations are 36 villas and the fully equipped Mandara Spa, with treatments featuring vanilla, the major local crop.