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Only five minutes by boat from the airport lies the newly refurbished, indeed substantially rebuilt Hotel Kia Ora Resort & Spa; a hotel of a quality to rival the top resorts in better known islands of French Polynesia such as Bora Bora. It is located on the atoll’s northern portion in a vast coconut plantation and is the only hotel on the island making it very private.
The Hotel Kia Ora has kept its traditional Polynesian style in the rooms and all the public spaces. Facilities include a spa, an overwater bar, a gastronomic restaurant, a dive centre, and a swimming pool.
For the more Robinson Crusoe minded, there is the even more remote Kia Ora Sauvage where electricity gives way to candlelight and life is stripped back to the bare luxuries. This is a tiny private island about an hour away from the main hotel so a complete getaway. The only downside is you cannot dive here, but for a few days, what better.
When it comes to eating, options are limited but good - the Te Rairoa restaurant serves French and Polynesian cuisine whereas Te Poe Rava serves a more international menu. And there is a bar built on stilts over the lagoon so you can sip cocktails at sunset after a full day diving with sharks (or lying on the beach doing nothing depending on what you prefer!).
There are 63 rooms in total ranging from the beach bungalows which all have their own jacuzzi on the front deck, up to villas with private pools - and it wouldn't be French Polynesia without some lovely overwater bungalows thrown into the mix. There is a good range of different options to suit all tastes.
Why we love it
As well as Hotel Kia Ora, the main hotel there is a private island, Kia Ora Sauvage, you can stay too if you really want to get away from it all.