Posted by on 01 Nov 2019 , in Islands
It was in 1962 that Marlon Brando first fell in love with the breathtaking atoll of Tetiaroa. And so did we! That’s right, Tahiti Travel Connection have (sadly) just returned having tried and tested the super luxurious resort that is The Brando. What was once the Hollywood star’s private island closed to the public is now home to an eco-friendly hotel and spa. Here is the low-down on why we love it so much and why we recommend it for your next trip to paradise!
Set 45km north of Papeete, the capital of French Polynesia, Tetiaroa is a necklace of 12 islets surrounded by a striking turquoise lagoon. To protect the reef, the only way to reach the island is via The Brando’s 8-seater private plane operated by Air Tetiaroa which departs from its dedicated terminal at Faa’a International Airport. We were checked-in by a lovely lady in traditional Tahitian dress and the relaxing started in the waiting lounge where a selection of drinks and small snacks were laid out for our consumption.
A short 20-minute flight later, we had arrived at our destination, all three of us having skipped a couple of heartbeats as we landed. Apart from the actual resort, Tetiaroa is completed untouched and a place of stunning beauty. It comes to no surprise that it used to be the exclusive and preferred retreat of Tahitian royalty and was later Marlon Brando’s private playground.
Peace & quiet
One thing that stands out from our stay at The Brando is the sheer privacy of the villas. After being greeted off the plane by the director of the hotel, 2 Tahitian dancers and a ukulele player, a couple of drivers in golf buggies escorted us to our beachfront villas. With only 35 on the resort, each villa has its own private plunge pool and secluded beach area. They are so spaced out that you could easily spend your entire stay without seeing your neighbours! Treats include a bottle of Ruinart champagne on arrival, one bicycle per person, an outdoor bath (don’t worry, we guarantee that no one can see!) and a well-stocked minibar with unlimited wine. Note that if you choose The Brando’s all-inclusive option, drinks are free-flowing, all meals are included, and 1, 2 or 3 lucky people get to indulge in a 50-minute massage per day depending on whether they are staying in a 1, 2 or 3-bedroom villa. Bliss!
It was never Marlon Brando’s intention to interfere in the island’s environment. In fact, he was known to nurture the biodiversity of Tetiaroa and did not build until he could create a sustainable kind of luxury. His wish was granted in 2014 when The Brando opened its doors with a goal to maintain the surrounding natural habitat. And this we really did feel during our time there. With aims to become 100% energy independent, the resort boasts a sea water Air Conditioning system, a huge number of solar panels, a coconut oil power station, low-energy water independence and an innovative wastewater management system for irrigation. Knowing all this did not make us feel so guilty about sipping vintage wine as we paddled in our private pool looking onto the palm trees and blue lagoon! If you are keen to learn about the eco-system, the on-site team of ecologists will teach you all about their job to preserve the atoll.
Despite what you might think, the ambiance of The Brando is definitely secluded luxury, but with nature providing the extravagance. On top of the treats we mentioned above, the all-inclusive option also includes a free daily excursion per person (based on a shared basis). We decided on a tour of the lagoon which we couldn’t rate higher. The giant coconut crabs, exotic plants and beehives producing the sweetest honey had us in heaven! Interiors are of course in keeping with the natural feel and coupled with a simple contemporary decor. Like the original huts, you’ll see that villas are made of local timber and palm fronds. Slick extras include big fluffy pillowed beds, a media room and a spacious his/ hers bathroom. It’s no doubt to us that The Brando was voted Best Overseas Resort by Luxury Travel Magazine readers in 2015.
Another reason we loved the peaceful haven that is The Brando was the food! If you are familiar with Tahiti Travel Connection, you will know that we consider food highly important, and The Brando left us more than satisfied.
Choose from two restaurants on-site which have done a superb job at blending classic French and Polynesian cuisine. Fine-dining restaurant Les Mutinés, run by Michelin-star chef Guy Martin, has an impressive glass wine cellar right next to tables for guests to gaze up at million-dollar wines. Our favourite dishes? Foie gras, fresh tuna sashimi and the lamb cutlets!
Breakfast is table-served in the Beachcomber Café (either indoor or on the beach) with an abundance of tropical fruits, fresh bread and pastries to start and anything you desire to follow. One of us even braved fresh sashimi first thing in the morning! Both restaurants are à la carte to avoid food wastage and maintain The Brando’s eco stance and don’t forget that if you want your own space, all meals can be served in the privacy of your ‘quarters’.
The Brando’s all-inclusive option offers guests a wide variety of activities for singles, couples and family members of every age. You can snorkel in the coral gardens, dive in the crystal-clear waters full of exotic marine life or explore the lagoon by kayak or canoe.
If you prefer to unwind on solid ground, the Cultural Lounge is a perfect spot to read your favourite book or hear about local Polynesian culture. With 200 employees on site, they are always happy to entertain as and when it pleases you. We put the team to the test who taught us to tie a pareo and dance Polynesian-style!
And whilst we are sure you’ll find disconnecting from every-day life as easy as anything, you’ll find that The Brando has one of the fastest Internet connections in French Polynesia if you need to stay connected.
So make your holiday at The Brando whatever you choose it to be. Eat, sleep, play within your own private space. Discover the environment, the wildlife and local culture. And above all, indulge and unwind in a luxurious eco-friendly setting.