26 Jan Finding the Best Resorts in French Polynesia
During our trip to Tahiti, Bora Bora and Taha’a last month, we toured several resorts on each island. Here’s a quick rundown of everything we loved.
Following a brief stop in Huahine, we landed in Raiatea where we were met at the airport with a boat to take us to the private island resort of Vahine for lunch and a resort visit. With only 9 bungalows, this tiny resort is perfect for unplugging and unwinding. Then it was time to head to our home for the next two nights, the stunning 5-star Le Taha’a Resort and Spa.
Our Favorite Resort on Taha’a
Le Taha’a Resort and Spa is a Relais and Chateaux property located on a motu off Taha’a. With only 57 suites and villas, it had the intimacy that one seeks in a boutique resort without sacrificing any luxury. The beach villas are casitas with plunge pools surrounded by stone walls and foliage for the ultimate in privacy. The overwater bungalows have a ladder that leads to the serene lagoon below and in the rooms themselves are glass tables that open which allow you to feed the fish swimming below. After so much travel, this was a great place to rest our heads for a few nights. With views of Taha’a on one side and Bora Bora on the other, the location was perfect!
The next morning, we indulged in a wonderful buffet breakfast consisting of European and Asian foods. Then it was time to explore Taha’a. Our first stop was at a pearl farm where we learned the intricate process that makes a Tahitian pearl. Next it was time to visit an award-winning rum factory and partake in some tastings. Then we visited a vanilla plantation and learned the reason why Tahitian vanilla is so expensive (hand-pollination is necessary before a lengthy curing and drying process).
The adventure really kicked into high gear when we embarked on a speedboat for a quick snorkeling stop with black-tipped sharks before the captain commenced feeding them. Only a couple of brave souls from our group took the plunge. The rest of us stayed on the boat and happily took photos. After the literal feeding frenzy, it was time for our group to enjoy one of our own on a private motu that was set up for a beach picnic and some beach time. After the picnic, the captain stopped on another motu for snorkeling, but the current was too strong, so we didn’t stay for very long. Upon returning to the beautiful Le Taha’a Resort, some of us enjoyed spending time in the beautiful lagoon below our overwater bungalows before dinner.
It was time to leave our lagoon paradise and return to Papeete, Tahiti for a couple of nights so we could attend the 2019 Tahiti Travel Exchange onboard the Aranui 5. Our coworker, Joanne Weber, was even interviewed on the local news about the travel conference.
Our Favorite Resorts on Bora Bora
Finally, it was time to head to Bora Bora, the crown jewel of the Society Islands. Rumor has it there are over 40 shades of blue in the waters surrounding each motu in Bora Bora and I believe it. The color of the water was stunning. Upon landing at the airport, we boarded a boat where it was time to visit 6 different resorts. We toured the Intercontinental Bora Bora Le Moana, Intercontinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa, Le Méridien Bora Bora, St. Regis Resort Bora Bora, Four Seasons Bora Bora Resort, and The Conrad where we spent the night in overwater bungalows again.
Each resort had remarkable accommodations, landscaping, and public areas. I loved the cozy family feel of the Intercontinental Le Moana.
Le Meridien has a huge beach, villas, and turtle sanctuary. The work that the team at the turtle sanctuary does make a lasting impression on me.
The spa and multi-level overwater Brando Suites with private pools at the Intercontinental Thalasso Spa were incredible.
The St. Regis was everything I thought it would be and more. I now understand why the producers of “Couples Retreat” chose to film at that resort. It was simply stunning and the service we had at lunch was impeccable.
With beautiful turquoise canals meandering through the property, the cathedral-like spa, and multi-room beachfront villas, it is no mystery why the Four Seasons Bora Bora is rated the number one resort in Bora Bora.
The recently renovated Conrad has a hilltop spa overlooking Mount Otemanu on one side and the lush landscaping of the resort and impressive accommodations dotting the lagoon below. We toured the massive 3,300 square foot Presidential Overwater Villa (*where the Kardashians stayed on their TV show several years ago) before having dinner served family-style in the Bayan Chinese Restaurant. After dinner, we went to the Upa Upa Lounge Bar and enjoyed our drinks while watching the fish and sharks swimming below us through the glass floor. Inclement weather the following morning caused our excursion to be canceled, so we had a few hours at leisure at the Conrad before our afternoon flight back to Papeete. Some of us went swimming, paddleboarding, kayaking, and bicycling.
Before our flight back to the U.S., we toured the Intercontinental Tahiti Resort and Spa and celebrated at our final group dinner. The Intercontinental has views of Moorea and, despite being off the main road, it is surprisingly quiet because it is surrounded by acres of lush gardens.
I have to say, each resort that we toured was impressive in their own right. Whether you’re looking for family-friendly fun or a quiet romantic getaway, there’s something for everyone with this selection of resorts.
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