Secretly sitting in the shadows of Bora Bora’s famed great Otemanu mountain, lies a secluded private island in French Polynesia where the 5 star Le Taha’a Resort calls home. Luxury travelers often flock to the neighboring Bora Bora isle; however, those searching for a rare paradise can take a short 10-minute flight from Bora Bora to the island of Raiatea where you are escorted by a boat transfer to the private island of Le Taha’a. The 40-minute boat transfer skirts past crystal clear Tahitian water where every scene is like a postcard.
As you approach Le Taha’a, you can see a greeting party on the dock waiting for you as if you were arriving on “Fantasy Island” itself. As you arrive, you are given a flower lei, fruity coconut filled drink, and you are brought directly to your villa. At Le Taha’a, over the water Bungalows flank the coastline and luxurious beach bungalows are scattered under the palm trees. This resort’s privacy affords guests like Carrie Underwood, Goldie Hawn, and Tom Cruise the ability to relax and still experience all aspects and amenities that a top resort can offer.
Crowned as a Relais Chateaux resort, Le Taha’a follows the strict criteria needed to be dubbed by this elite brand. Relais Chateaux hotels must adhere to their 5 “C” principals – charm, culture (or character), cuisine, courtesy, and calm.
In order to brand themselves Relais Chateaux, the architects took great pride in making sure all the fixtures, furniture, and structures were constructed using only materials found in the French Polynesian chain so that they could fulfill the Culture/Character guideline. Even the toiletries feature Manoy oil and vanilla (a product of Tahiti).
The open-air lobby is designed to replicate the Tahitian Outrigger canoe, and the curves of the sails billow in the wind. Beyond the lobby is what can only be described as a (modern) Swiss Family Robinson-like tree house, where the steps lead to a fabulous bar in which the 18-foot bar counter top is carved from wood and high among the tree tops are two of Le Taha’a’s three restaurants.
Maintaining the criteria for exceptional dining and cuisine, the chefs have created award winning dishes that can delight even the pickiest palate. Le Taha’a consistently wins cooking competitions held annually in Tahiti and signature meals are highlighted by the menu and friendly wait staff.
The resort manager, Christine Chevalaz, proudly describes how traditions of the islands intertwine with the daily event schedule. To bring the island’s culture to guests; canoes, snorkeling equipment and daily transfers to the main island are provided complimentary.
Every over the water bungalow includes sets of masks, and fins allowing guests to jump into the water and explore the lagoon right from their balcony. The Thatched roof styles of the bungalows may appear rustic but don’t let the local styling fool you. Inside every bungalow, guests are provided with plasma TVs, Bose stereos, Sense coffee makers, a mini bar, robes, slippers, Wi-Fi and priceless picture perfect views of the sunset. Several glass covered “peek-a-boo” windows can be found inside the bungalows which display the exotic fish below and can be opened so that feeding the fish becomes a daily highlight. The shower features rocks and shells along the walls to thoroughly embody nature even among these extravagant surroundings.
The “charm” of this resort is highlighted in all the little touches, such as shell shaped lights that illuminate the walking paths at night and the carved wood directional signs that blend in among the natural setting. Le Taha’a also has a signature spa which emphasizes “calm” and incorporates Tahitian stones, oils, and the surroundings. Le Taha’a’s spa menu even features a “welcome” massage, which provides weary travelers with 80 minutes of authentic Tahitian therapy and the opportunity to enjoy their unique open air facilities. Guests can also partake in the resorts facilities that include a sand volleyball court, use of their kayaks, canoes and grass tennis courts. Additional unique experiences include cooking classes, Tahitian dance classes, snorkeling tours and full PADI dive programs.
If you still have doubts that this resort is truly a luxury 5-star property, have a peak on the other side of the island where you will find a helipad that is perfect for the jet set crowd who want to bypass the 40-minute boat transfer. If disappearing in paradise means bringing along the whole family, Le Taha’a also has a top-notch Children’s program, and each room comes complete with children’s slippers and robes. Dining for children is discounted at 50% off of regular prices and beach toys, life jackets and children’s sized snorkeling gear come complimentary. Le Taha’a makes sure that restless adventurers do not get bored, so daily boat tours for snorkeling and fishing trips operate regularly.
However, I found a perfect hammock between two palm trees that was just the ticket to absorb the absolutely gorgeous landscape. As the sun set on the horizon and the sounds of the calm South Pacific waters became nature’s stereo, I took a deep breath and tried to make a mental snapshot so I wouldn’t dare forget this secret spot in paradise!