Perfect Honeymoon: A Polynesian Dream
Seal your love with a French kiss: the breathtaking islands of Huahine, Bora Bora, and Tahaa.
You found your soul mate—and you didn’t have to go on a television show to do it. Still, you deserve a few nights in a fantasy suite. It’s a long way to French Polynesia. From Dallas you first have to fly to L.A. From there, it’s eight and a half hours over the Pacific to the island of Tahiti. Then you can spend the next week to 10 days island hopping from rustic-rural to lap of luxury.
The little island of Huahine is home to only about 6,000 people and a single full-service hotel. Te Tiare Beach Resort has 41 bungalows and is accessible only by boat. Before boarding, duck into the grocery across from the dock for a six-pack of Hinano, the local beer. Watch for flying fish on the ride out, and plant yourself on the deck of your bungalow to watch the sunset. When you get hungry, hit Le Ari’i restaurant for a dinner of poisson cru (the national dish of tuna marinated in lime juice and tossed with crunchy vegetables and coconut milk). Afterward, there’s nothing to do but go back to your room and watch the fan spin—or something like that. Rain on the thatched roof of your bungalow is a sweet lullaby.
Wake with the rooster’s crow, and get ready for a jeep tour, complete with a glimpse of giant sacred eels and stops at a vanilla plantation and pearl farm. Or book a Jet Ski safari and cruise the lagoon in search of whales, rays, dolphins, and sharks. Do it all over again the next day—or just lie by the pool and practice saying, “Je voudrais un martini, s’il vous plait.”
A couple of days of rustic solitude and you’ll be ready to ratchet it up a notch in Bora Bora. Captain James Cook discovered the quintessential Tahitian island in the late 1700s. His eyes must have fallen out of his head when he first sailed the brilliant turquoise waters near what is now Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa.
The island is surrounded by a barrier reef, and scuba diving is legendary (it is believed that nearly 500 species of fish live in the waters of Tahiti). Don’t dive? Book a snorkeling excursion, where you can pet stingrays and swim with the sharks. Lunch on a motu (an islet) is homemade coconut bread and chicken, pork, and native veggies cooked in an underground fire pit. If you’re lucky, the cook will play the ukulele and serenade you while you nosh.
Body art is a big deal in French Polynesia, and the hotel’s Manea Spa has a resident tattoo artist (now’s as good a time as any). But if you’re looking for something almost as memorable but significantly less permanent, try the traditional Polynesian massage incorporating monoi oil or the avae massage, during which a masseuse hangs from a wooden contraption and performs some fancy footwork. The spa, which is surrounded by a lush tropical garden, also has a suite overlooking a lily pond and several massage packages especially for couples.
If you think it doesn’t get any better than Bora Bora, you’re in for a surprise. Le Taha’a is the only Relais & Châteaux property in Tahiti. Everything here, from the flower leis presented upon your arrival to the bedtime story left on your pillow at the nightly turndown, is top notch. It’s also trés romantic.
Stay in one of the 48 over-water bungalows or 12 beach villas. Wake up with a view of the lagoon and wait on your breakfast. A hot pot of coffee, fluffy omelet, and basket of fresh-baked croissants will be delivered to your room via outrigger canoe. A side of sunshine and indigo water completes the meal. Or have a lunch of grilled fish, lobster, and sun-ripened fruits on the beach under the palm trees, then nap in a hammock. At dinner, snag a roll to take back to your room and feed the fish through the glass-top table at the end of your bed.
Days here can be as lazy or as active as you wish. For something low-key, find the bocce ball court or grab a mask and head out to the coral reef. And if you’re still up for adventure, ask the concierge to arrange a sunset cruise or a visit to the island of Raiatea.