The exotic nature of French Polynesia is a calling card for intrepid yacht explorers seeking to indulge their finest castaway fantasies. Resplendent in sheer beauty, but still with that air of myth and mystery – the lands of Tahiti and Bora Bora pull at our imaginations. These are lands where color runs thick; from the heady intoxicating blues of the bright sea, to the wedding cake white of the sands, and the high definition hibiscus flowers make you feel as though you have fallen through the looking glass and into a postcard. With over 100 little islands making up the magic of the South Pacific, the best way to explore is by yacht – from a call in at Marlon Brando’s private island to the vanilla soaked shores of Tahaa, but the island we suggest staying put on for a while is the wonder of Bora Bora.
Where to Stay
The InterContinental Bora Bora Resort and Thalasso Spa is celebrated as being the pearl of the Pacific. An award-winning spa, magical overwater bungalows, and those killer views of Mount Otemanu set the scene for a saltwater centric stay. Everything is about the ocean here; from the luscious spa treatments to the glass coffee tables with removable tops for feeding the fish. The InterContinental gracefully manages to capture a cosmopolitan vibe without losing touch with the promise of experiencing an ancient Polynesian playground.
Bring the Four Seasons to these Polynesian Islands and you can be sure the brand will make a splash. Popular with American guests and the newest resort on the Bora Bora block, the grandeur of glitz is sewn into the seams at the Four Seasons. Even the spa treatments come with flecks of 24 karat gold in the oils, and the premier mountain view room gifts you a bathtub for two and your own snorkels to be put in use as soon as you step outdoors.
If your idea of paradise comes with a private butler, then St Regis Bora Bora may be the place for you. Even though the resort can be booked solid in season, 17 hectares of space ensures there is room for all. The beautiful overwater bungalows are enviable, especially when your butler is by your side to open your blinds and serve cocktails and canapes beside the pool at a whim. The Miri Miri spa by Clarins and the four restaurants ensure you never grow tired of island life.
Where to Dine
Celebrated as one of the finest places to dine in French Polynesia, La Villa Mahana only has a handful of tables – so concierge bookings are required. Ten minutes from the dock of Vaitape, you can lose yourself in the bliss of old world fine dining. The maestro of gastronomy is Damien Rinaldi Dovio, a man who can deliver fresh fish with an elegant twist and who perfectly understands the art of wine pairing. Place all this in a stunning hilltop villa with dim lighting, the clinging thickness of bougainvillea, and the hushed tones of piano music and you get a first-class dream experience.
La Matira Beach Restaurant is just the right setting for those super casual lunches that don’t compromise on taste. The terrace overlooking the beach prompts you into ordering a tall cool drink, and the pan-fried foie gras is akin to chocolate cake. The Japanese fusion of fun on the menu is also the perfect remedy for when you can’t take the riches of French cuisine.
Where to Play
Snorkel, snooze, repeat – this could be the mantra of a stay on the island of Bora Bora. Many activities are centered around the sea, but with the blooming coral gardens and marine biologists ever at hand – this is far from boring. Shark and ray tours are a highlight for anyone who dreams of drifting alongside angel like rays or skimming the surface with black tipped reef sharks.
Sailing the blue breath of Tahiti is another adventure worth exploring, although if you don’t fancy feeling the wind in your sails, you can always opt for a helicopter ride to see Bora Bora from above. Sipping champagne as you cast your eyes on the tapestry of blue and white makes for a memorable sight.
Jewelry lovers should head for the Tahiti Pearl Market. Tahitian pearls are highly revered and collected by five atolls in the Tuamotu Archipelago. The market is an amazing place for picking the pearl of your dreams and getting it set exactly how you want it.