Le Taha'a Island Resort & Spa
Luxury at this serene resort coexists harmoniously with the natural environment.
When Le Taha'a Private Island & Spa opened, it billed itself as the most luxurious in French Polynesia. Given the competition in the region, this was a bold claim. But Le Taha'a does a fine job of holding its own. The 60-acre refuge can be reached only by private boat or helicopter — the latter lands at the islet's own helipad.
While the resort exudes elegance, there is at the same time something wonderfully Gilligan-esque about it. This feeling has to do with the way it integrates its architecture into the surroundings. Interior spaces seem interwoven with the landscape. Of course, if Gilligan and his pals had been stranded here, they would have never tried to leave, since each beautiful bungalow measures in at over 1,000 square feet, and there's no need to forage for food with three excellent restaurants, including Ohiri, serving gourmet French-Polynesian fusion cuisine.
Accommodations on (and off) the islet include 12 beach villas and 45 overwater bungalows. The beach villas come with their own plunge pools, and the overwater bungalows don't need them, as their decks have direct access to the water. The latter are categorized according to their views: Taha'a, Sunset or Bora Bora. Although the beach bungalows would seem to be the less appealing choice, they are in fact equally desirable. Their living areas lead into dramatic bedrooms where centerpiece platform beds are set against backdrops of woven mats and natural wood. And because they are enveloped in trees and surrounded by stone walls, their bathrooms can open onto the great outdoors and still offer total privacy.
Inspired and discreet, furnishings rely on the integration of natural elements and Zen minimalism. The use of space is as much a part of the décor as are tangible pieces such as rope-entwined pedestals that support the bathroom sinks. The palette of wood tones ranges from honey to auburn. The overall effect is subtle, with attention concentrated on such unpretentious accents as a single bed pillow adorned with the simple watermark of a hibiscus. As for the potential hazards of remote island living, this is not one of those places that believes in requiring its guests to sacrifice technology. When it comes to tuning in or out, the choice is up to you.
On the recreation front, arrangements can be made for off-island excursions, such as outings to the vanilla plantations and black pearl farms of nearby Taha'a. But because the resort is its own destination, it also provides a full range of activities on-site. You can laze on the pool deck gazing over the freshwater swimming pool that looks as if it flows directly into the sea. Or you can take advantage of the complimentary use of kayaks, outrigger canoes, snorkeling equipment and tennis courts. And if you're torn between the lures of grand adventure and total relaxation, don't waste time choosing. Do both.
First, head for Taha'a Blue Nui, the resort's own PADI dive center. It offers lessons and excursions for beginning and certified divers. Reef sharks, shipwrecks and colorful Distichopora coral are among the underwater bounty you may encounter. Once you're back on land, the Le Spa by Le Taha'a awaits. It is nestled in the trees next to a small lake, and it focuses on treatments that incorporate local ingredients: fruit body masks, massages with vanilla oil and scrubs made from coconut, rea monoï oil and tiare flower. Treatments can be taken in the spa or in your room. Or if you want to take full advantage of this secluded location, book a massage on a special table that places you just inches above the cool, clear waters of the lagoon.