Tripping in Tahiti: Paradise Revealed

Rebekah Doran from TravelStore on her Tahiti trip
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There really is nothing like your first trip to French Polynesia. Flying in over the crystal clear water and touching down on a small sliver of land is both breathtaking and awe inspiring. 
 
On my recent trip to French Polynesia, I was able to experience the Intercontinental properties, (including The Brando!) on the islands of Bora Bora, Tahiti and Tetiaroa. 
 
After an easy overnight flight from Los Angeles, we arrived to make our short connection to Bora Bora. I took a colleague's good advice and sat on the left side of the plane, which gave me the perfect view of the atoll as we landed. 
 
As I stepped off the plane, it quickly became obvious Bora Bora was more beautiful than I ever imagined.  Mount Otemanu towers over the landscape making for a dramatic backdrop and setting the stage for an unbelievable experience. The water is so clear and beautiful that it almost hurts your eyes to look directly at it!
 
Our group quickly gathered our bags and made our way to the boat for a quick transfer to our first stop, The Intercontinental Thalasso. 
 
We were welcomed by the wonderful staff and whisked away to our over water bungalows. This particular property is known for their large, modern-styled bungalows, with prime views of Mount Otemanu, and it did not disappoint! The feeling of jumping off of my private dock into the stunning water was almost surreal. It was somehow both romantic and other worldly all in the same moment. It was hard to believe that just several hours earlier, I had been in Los Angeles!
 
Of course, Bora Bora is beautiful on the surface, but the true magic is below the water line. While on the island, I had the opportunity to take part in a few aquatic activities, including swimming with the sharks and feeding the sting rays. I am certainly not a fan of sharks, but even the aquatic life is friendly in Tahiti! My favorite experience was floating on top off the water and watching the large lemon sharks swim across the sand several feet below. Because of the clarity of the water, it felt like we were truly engaging with the aquatic life instead of just observing. 
 
After only a few short days, I was quite taken with Bora Bora and sad to leave it behind, but our next stop was certainly unforgettable. From Bora Bora we made a quick stop in Tahiti to make our private connection to The Brando Resort on Tetiaroa. The experience at The Brando starts from the moment you enter the private departure lounge at the airport in Papeete, Tahiti. From there, this new paradise is only a short 20-minute flight away. We were again greeted with a  wonderful Island song, and escorted to our private check-in at each of our villas. 
 
The Brando is in a league all it's own in terms of villa accommodations, service and culinary experience. The property has rightfully earned all of the awards and accolades it has received since its recent opening.  The Brando has a reputation for privacy, relaxation  and serenity. This is exactly what I felt no matter where I was or what I was doing. 
 
My perfect day at The Brando started out with custom-ordered room service from the iPad provided in my villa. Breakfast was delivered, without a sound, in my living room, which overlooked the private plunge pool and beautiful water. After breakfast, I utilized the pre-loaded app on the iPad, which led me through a yoga practice on the privacy of my deck. 
 
Well fed and refreshed, I was ready to start my day of exploring the atoll. Guests at The Brando have access to hundreds of included activities as a part of their stay. My group chose to spend the morning swimming in the Billionaires Pool (a natural pool in the ocean not far from the hotel), and the afternoon exploring nature on Bird Island. Our guides educated us not only on the natural species that inhabit the island, but also on the many processes used by the resort to remain eco friendly. For example, instead of  using bug spray, the resort catches the male mosquitos, sterilizes them, and releases them in an effort to inhibit the growth of the mosquito population. Marlon Brando was passionate about preserving nature and that is evident in The Brando's approach to conservation. 
 
After a full day of activities, it was time for dinner at Les Mutinés. This particular week, a Michelin-starred guest chef from Bordeaux was in charge of the kitchen. We were treated to an 8-course tasting menu, complete with exceptional wine pairings. If you close your eyes at The Brando, you might forget that you are on a remote tropical island, as you could be at the best restaurant in France. My favorite course was the Fois Gras with local honey which was harvested from the island. 
 
The Brando is not only all-inclusive, but truly all consuming. You feel as though the world and all of it's problems are light years away. My time there left me with a feeling of peace and new-found respect for the pristine ecology of the island. 
 
From the up-close encounters with marine life in Bora Bora, to the serenity on Tetiaroa, a trip to these beautiful islands deserves a place on travelers must visit list!