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Le Taha'a Private Island & Spa


French Polynesia - Hotel Review

No Airport, No Problem

by Kim Fay

Life on the water — literally — at Le Taha'a Private Island & Spa
Life on the water — literally — at Le Taha'a Private Island & Spa

Those who believe in miracles now have the opportunity to put their faith to the test. Le Taha'a Private Island & Spa offers its guests the opportunity to walk on water ... well, almost. At this slice of paradise on a coral islet between the islands of Taha'a and Bora Bora, elevated walkways drift above the sea from one "overwater" suite to the next.

When the resort opened to the tune of $14 million, 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, especially given its exclusive location. The 60-acre refuge can be reached only by private boat or helicopter — the latter lands at the islet's own helipad.

Paradise from above
Paradise from above

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 acclaimed chef Véronique Melloul at the helm of three excellent restaurants.

From the bedroom to the sundeck
From the bedroom to the sundeck

Accommodations on (and off) the islet include 12 beach villas and 45 overwater bungalows. The beach bungalows 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 (gaze up at the peaked ceilings) 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 one of subtlety, 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, as all bungalows are equipped with IDD phones, TVs and CD and DVD players.

Fine dining at Ohiri
Fine dining at Ohiri

Regarding the three excellent restaurants, they include the pool and beachside La Plage, and Vanille and Ohiri, tucked cozily into the trees. Ohiri is the fine dining choice, striving to rouse all the senses. Texture plays a significant role in both the décor and the food, the latter of which unites traditional Continental flavors with distinctive island influences. As well, guests can enjoy beach barbecues, Polynesian buffets and private picnics on outlying islets.

Le Spa by Le Taha'a
Le Spa by Le Taha'a

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, savor a massage on a special table that places you just inches above the cool, clear waters of the lagoon.

Le Taha'a Private Island & Spa
Tahaa Road
Patio 98733
Society Island Archipelago
French Polynesia
689-60-84-00
www.letahaa.com

 

 
(Updated: 08/12/13 CT)


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