The islands of French Polynesia are legendary. Tahiti evokes images of a seductive lush island paradise with swaying palm trees, stunning turquoise seas, and overwater bungalows. The 118 islands of this achingly beautiful span of the South Pacific are spread over an area almost twice the size of Australia and offer a tremendous amount of diversity.
You’ll find it hard to choose where to spend the majority of your time as you consider the luxurious Society Islands with lush vanilla plantations and Bora Bora’s romantic turquoise lagoons, the vibrant marine life and untouched coral reefs in the Tuamotu atolls, the Marquesas with their rugged cliffs and soaring mountain peaks, and the traditional lifestyle of the Gambier Islands. As you explore this paradise, make time to become acquainted with the products, experiences and accommodations that give Tahiti its captivating charm.
Overwater Bungalow: This accommodation concept originated in Tahiti on the island of Raiatea. Was it marketing genius? Actually, it was an innovative solution to a problem. Three American expats, “The Bali Hai Boys”, created this solution because their hotel had no beach.
Tattoo: The word tattoo comes from the Tahitian word ‘tatau’. Polynesians find tattoos attractive and they are ceremoniously applied when reaching adolescence.
Tiare Flower: The tiare flower has a small white blossom and is Tahiti’s national emblem. It is worn regularly by local women. If tucked behind the left ear (heart side of the body), the lady is taken, if behind the right ear she is available.
Tahitian Vanilla: Tahitian vanilla from Taha’a is revered by master chefs. It has a lower vanillin content than Mexican and Madagascar beans and has greater level of coumarin which gives it a fruitier flavor.
Tahitian Pearls: Beautiful Tahitian pearls from the Tuamotu and Gambier Islands and come in round, baroque and circle shapes. The pearls have dark body colors, yet could be blue, purple, green, brown, or silver. The most sought after and expensive Tahitian pearls will have a dark green body color and peacock overtones.
Tivaeae Quilts: Handmade Tivaevae quilt-making plays an important role in the daily life of Cook Island women as this is a communal activity with several women typically working together. The two principal techniques are piecework and applique. These extremely rare and treasured handmade quilts are given on important family and social occasions such as weddings and the traditional hair cutting ceremony for boys when they come of age.
Monoi Oil: This fragrant infusion is made from steeping the petals of the tiare flower in pure coconut oil. This lightweight liquid is used in religious ceremonies, as a medicinal remedy, and to moisturize the skin and hair.
Diving and Snorkeling: More than 1,000 species of fish call the crystal clear waters of French Polynesia home. The combination of open sea, canyons, coral beds, lagoons and reef complexes provide habitat to observe both small and large species. Swim with sharks and rays, watch the humpback whales migrate from the southern icy waters of the Antarctic to feed in the warm waters of Tahiti, and enjoy the colorful smaller fish in the shallow waters.
Golf: With the beautiful landscape as your backdrop, you can spend a leisurely day on land navigating the courses in Moorea and Tahiti.
The Great Outdoors: With activities that engage all your senses, you may not have the time to fit it all in. Hiking, horseback riding, and cycling are popular ways to enjoy nature and explore. Adventure seekers can explore the mountains in off-road vehicles and zip line through the trees. Water based activities such as surfing, paddle boarding, kitesurfing, windsurfing, outrigger canoeing and sailing are enjoyable and popular.
Land or Sea Based Adventure
With so much to see and so much ground to cover, should you narrow your focus with a land based adventure or broaden your reach on a cruise ship? You can’t go wrong with either choice.
Paul Gauguin Cruises small ship “The Gauguin” is designed to glide through the shallow seas of the South Pacific. With 332 guests, she calls on ports larger ships can’t and boasts an onboard watersports marina, PADI SCUBA, three dining venues, spa, and included RT air from Los Angeles.
Private yachts are perfect for traveling with your ‘bubble’ and limiting exposure to others.
From overwater bungalows to private islands, there is a resort for every type of traveler. Here are a few to consider.
Intercontinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa
From the thalasso therapy spa to decadent dining, and dreamy chic overwater bungalows, this is a perfect spot for romance. Step from the luxury of your deck to the warm embrace of the tranquil lagoon and enjoy the complimentary activities from snorkeling to kayaking to paddle boarding and more. The 43,000+ square foot thalasso spa is the centerpiece of the resort – guests can enjoy a plethora of treatments and salon services, including a massage on the beach or in the overwater massage bungalows.
Virtuoso amenities include:
- Complimentary Full Breakfast for two per bedroom daily, served in restaurant
- One dinner for two during the stay (3 courses, drinks excluded, Le Corail Restaurant excluded) with a minimum value of $100
- One beach bag with hotel logo
The gorgeous Four Seasons Bora Bora offers a full experience, including a private luxury boat transfer through clear turquoise waters to kick-off your stay. Enjoy the view of Mount Otemanu from its incredible overwater bungalows. The signature fragrance of vanilla in the spa and the texture of black pearls provide a clear sense of place.
Preferred partner amenities include:
- Daily full American breakfast for two people per bedroom, served through In-Room Dining or in the hotel restaurant (including buffets)
- $100 spa credit
- $100 food and beverage credit on all over-water suites and villas for reservations of five nights or more
The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort
It’s easy to see why A-List celebrities come to the St. Regis in search of peace and privacy. Justin Bieber, Alyssa Milano, Nicole Kidman and Eva Longoria have honeymooned or stayed for a romantic retreat. Couples can luxuriate in the romantic adults-only Oasis Pool with secluded private cabanas and enjoy a sundowner at Aparima, the beach side bar. Children from 5 -12 years of age are sure to enjoy the full array of fun-filled activities in the Kids Creativity Club.
Virtuoso amenities include:
- Daily buffet breakfast at Te Pahu Restaurant for two guests per bedroom
- Complimentary round-trip boat transfers (to/from airport) for two guests
- 20% Discount on spa services , excluding spa packages, yoga classes and beauty products
Travel by private plane to The Brando on beautiful private island Tetiaroa. Marlon Brando’s former home is a true all-inclusive luxury resort and sits on one of the motus that surround a magnificent lagoon. Boasting 36 secluded villas with private pools on beautiful white sand beaches visited by sea turtles, this environmentally sustainable resort is committed to protecting its natural environment and supporting Polynesian culture and traditions.
Virtuoso amenities include:
- Daily Buffet breakfast
- 100 EURO Resort/Hotel credit per villa
Travelers must present a negative RT-PCR test within 3 days of departure, ETIS (completed online,) and a rapid self-test 4 days after arrival.
From the world class luxury of the Society Islands to the vast lagoons of the Tuamotu atolls to the rich culture and other-worldly diving in the Marquesas to “off the beaten path” Gambier Islands, Tahiti is a universe where dreams meet reality. When you’re ready to turn your Tahiti dreams into reality, I’m here for you and excited to VIP your stay in beautiful French Polynesia. Simply email me at [email protected] or call 602-692-9379. PS – If you’re so excited that you want to book on your own, click here for Bora Bora and click here for The Brando to book your amazing French Polynesian resort with Virtuoso amenities — and I’ll VIP you!