When I was surprised with a “pack for 10 days, four hotels, 20 hours of travel (one way), and temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees”…hmmm where are we going? Yay! I love surprises… except I packed two 70 pound suitcases; a girl needs options, right?
At the airport I found out we were heading to the French Polynesia! Yay, I could use my second language, French!!! Tahiti, Bora Bora and Moorea were on the list, but little did I know that the surprise dream vaca concluded with three nights at the Brando. If you were like me, I have never heard of it until I googled it… ummmmm wow… just wow.
Let me tell you a little bit about the Brando before I dive into the divine. You can only arrive to the private island named Tetiaroa by the Brando’s own fleet of small aircrafts. You take off from a small private hanger near Tahiti’s international terminal. When you arrive, you sign an NDA and a “no phone” restriction that is in place for the restaurants, bars, the spa, and the main areas of the resort. Of course, you can take photos of your villa, private infinity pool, or your secluded beach along with any kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkeling or boat tours you take with your group, but no photos or video in the more “public” areas. This luxury escape was former President Obama’s home for a month while he wrote his memoirs, and a honeymoon destination for the likes of royalty, Leonardo DiCaprio and many other celebrities. This resort’s strict “no pic policy” is enforced and as the former President was quoted, “If Leo has been able to come here on several different occasions with different girls and not a single photo has come out, that’s where I need to go”. – Barack Obama
The island was bought by Marlon Brando in 1967. Brando fell in love with the Polynesian culture while filming Munity on the Bounty and its leading lady, Tarika. He had a vision and passion for the atoll and the 6 mini surrounding islands, and his vision is upheld today by its new owner, Richard Bailey. Its focus is on sustainability and the preservation of rare tropical birds, wildlife, the reef, ocean life and scientific environmental research. The staff still grows all their own fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. The innovation and research holds today under the Blue Climate Control.
Meaningful logistics and relevant history aside, “BAM!,” you land and have no idea what to expect. Well let me share that you will be blown away with a paradise like no other. The photos or the website do not do it justice (sorry, not sorry). It almost didn’t look real from the tiny 8 seat twin prop airplane, but when we landed and were greeted by the warmest most beautiful cultural dancers and music and inhaled the pristine fresh air and exotic flowers. After a 30 minute golf cart “lay of the land tour”, we walked in the pure white sand, swam in the crystal clear waters with tropical fish all around, tasted the exquisite cuisine from world renown chefs, and were blessed with the kindest people. The GM, Silvio Bion, and his team knew what you needed before you knew you needed it. It’s that good.
Talk about a slice of heaven that only a few have ever experienced, but it is one of the most secluded, magical islands I have ever been! The private atoll houses the staff, who work 21 days in a row and get a 5-7 days off, environmental scientists and preservationists, the GM and then the Brando main luxury resort composed of 35 lavish villas surrounded by a sparkling turquoise lagoon. It is beyond any dream vacation destination one could imagine.
With 24-hour butler services, you never really have to leave your bungalow unless you want to. You have your own infinity pool with a view of your beach and magical crystal-clear waters, and whatever you desire it brought to you in 10 or 20 minutes. No wonder you can remain unseen for days.
The resort does have a main large pool but it usually goes unused as every villa has its own, and the resort hosts three top notch restaurants, Bob’s Tiki Bar on the beach and a chic rooftop bar, Te Manu, with lagoon and sunset views and private palm canopy seating areas for those who wish to remain unseen. During the day you can reserve paddle boards, kayak, snorkel, go on a guided excursion, get a massage, bike along the resort trials amongst the jungle, walk the shoreline, or simply stare out of your patio pool to the most stunning views and watch the waves roll in and out…sounds dreamy right? If I could, I would never leave this oasis but reality sinks in and I truly hope to visit the Brando again.