Polynesian Paradise Tahitian Islands

Polynesian Paradise Tahitian Islands
Polynesian Paradise Tahitian Islands
Pause for a luxurious break in the Tahitian Islands.
  I had just taken off my sandals, stepping onto the  white-sand beach for a late-morning walk to a secluded spot  I heard about from a front desk clerk, when I glanced down  and saw the time on my phone. It had just turned 11 a.m.,  which meant it was only 7 a.m. back home, the perfect time  to call and say good morning to my husband before he left  for work. Not quite ready to head back to my room, I decided  I’d test the WiFi signal and made the call as I continued  walking toward the shoreline.
  “Good morning from Bora Bora,” I said, half guiltily, as  I heard the line connect after just two rings. “Wish you were  here!”
   The conversation continued as I trudged farther and  farther away from the canopied loungers and sun beds  sunken in the sand. I gripped my phone a little harder as  I took my first step into the crystal-clear water, letting the  salty, still liquid cool my toes and rise higher up my legs as I  stepped deeper and deeper into the shallow Pacific Ocean  lagoon. Up to my waist in seawater, I ended the call as I  finally reached the aim of my morning journey.
  With one last, “Miss you,” I hung up the phone, placed it  in a waterproof bag and collapsed into a private overwater  hammock that hung loosely between two poles so the netting  barely kissed the water’s surface as I swung slowly. All alone.  Not another living soul in sight.
  Often regarded as a honeymoon destination due to its  romantic scenery and private overwater bungalows, Bora  Bora’s recent connectivity and increased flight schedules from many U.S. hubs make this Polynesian paradise  more accessible for solo travelers and business  men and women looking to kick back and escape  the grueling 9 to 5. The island sits within the  French overseas territory of French Polynesia,  a country divided into five groups of islands:  the Society Islands, the Tuamotu Islands, the  Marquesas Islands, the Austral Islands and the  Gambier Islands. 
  Only 67 of the country’s 118 islands and  atolls are inhabited, with the majority of Tahitians residing within the Society Islands, home  to French Polynesia’s most famous islands of  Tahiti, Moorea, Tetiaroa and Bora Bora. With  a larger-than-life reputation as the Pearl of the  Pacific, Bora Bora consists of a series of smaller  islands (motus) and a main island encompassing  less than 15 square miles in total. Most of the  resorts in Bora Bora reside on their own private  motu, a short boat or helicopter ride from Bora  Bora’s main port of Vaitape. The main island  centers around a dormant volcano that rises  dramatically above the lush jungle floor into  two peaks, Mount Pahia and the showstopping  Mount Otemanu.
  The most sought-after accommodations  within Bora Bora feature views of Mount  Otemanu, Bora Bora’s unofficial icon, and no  resort offers a better view than Le Méridien Bora  Bora. This Marriott-owned resort features 98  bungalows; the overwater offerings feature unobstructed views of Mount Otemanu and direct  access to the water from each private outdoor  deck. The resort’s casual restaurant, Le Te Ava,  allows guests to dine in the sand in the shade of  a traditional Polynesian thatched roof as they  sample one of the most beautiful renditions of  Tahiti’s national dish, poisson cru, a ceviche-like  item prepared with raw tuna marinated in lime  juice and coconut milk.
The resort also hosts French Polynesia’s only  turtle sanctuary within the on-site Ecological  Center. Le Méridien offers free tours of the  center to educate guests on the protection and preservation work biologists undertake, and for a small fee, visitors can participate in a  Live My Life session, in which they interact with these amazing creatures and participate in the care and healing of the sea turtles alongside the team of biologists.
  All of the resorts along Bora Bora’s motu lie just a short boat ride from each other,  making it easy to hop around with a pre-arranged water taxi or boat transfer to other  resorts or even back to Vaitape to explore the small markets that come to life in the  early afternoon or go celebrity-spotting at the sandy-floored seafood joint, Bloody  Mary’s. The often-crowded restaurant’s low-key vibe attracts famous names like Pierce  Brosnan, Jimmy Buffet, Kurt Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and others.
Visitors looking for fine dining won’t find it at Bloody Mary’s, but they will at the island’s best establishment, Lagoon Restaurant by Jean-Georges. The restaurant sits over  the water at The St. Regis Bora Bora, where this 3-star Michelin chef created a menu worthy of his many accolades. The restaurant is the only place  in the world to find uravena on the menu, as this local fish presents a formidable challenge  to most chefs in its preparation. As if this highly rare  dish weren’t enough to  create a memorable dining  experience, the restaurant  itself sits on a dock where  glass-paneled flooring alone  stands between diners and  the black-tipped sharks that  lurk in the water beneath  the restaurant.
  The St. Regis Bora  Bora also features the  largest overwater bungalows in the South Pacific,  where rooms include features like private gazebos,  glass-paneled floors, private  plunge pools and direct  access to the water below  via private ladders. The  resort’s 90 accommodations  range from garden villas with  a private beach to overwater  villas and royal overwater  villas, as well as the jaw-dropping royal estate with three  bedrooms spread throughout  13,000 square feet, plus a  private chef available upon  request.
  Guests of the resort split their days between  relaxing just off the beach in the resort’s private  offshore hammock and sipping drinks at the  swim-up pool bar or heading off the motu  for some Tahitian adventures. The resort can  arrange everything from full-day scuba diving  excursions to jet ski tours of the islands, putting  guests behind the controls of a state-of-the-art  water craft as they zip in and out of the motu  and lagoons. True adventure seekers can book a  half- or full-day shark and ray tour with Lagoon  Service Bora Bora. The trip begins with an  introductory snorkel through the coral gardens  followed by a stop in the shallows to wade  through a sea floor of giant manta rays before  heading out to the deeper, open waters to swim  with black-tipped reef sharks. The tour wraps up  with a locally prepared lunch on a private island where locals  demonstrate how to find, crack and enjoy a fresh coconut.
  gastronomy to health remedies, but no coconut creation is  more representative of Tahitian culture than monoi oil. The  oils are delicately scented with the petals of a tiare flower and  can be found on all pages of the spa menu at Miri Miri Spa by  Clarins at The St. Regis Bora Bora. The oils have a softening  effect on both skin and hair and make for a great souvenir to  recall a time spent taking in the beauty, relaxation and little  luxuries of the Tahitian Islands.

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