French Polynesia is a dream destination, especially for honeymooners – stunning over-the-water bungalows, turquoise pristine lagoons, breathtaking landscapes and perfect weather. What else one would need? Although I love Bora Bora – the most famous of all islands in French Polynesia -, I have to admit that Taha’a is my favorite: a slice of paradise not yet fully discovered, just as beautiful but feels much more exclusive than its famous neighboring island.

Taha’a is a small, sweet and seductive island right next to Bora Bora (only a 10 minute flight). The island is a perfect escape for those seeking tranquility and has only one 5 star hotel: Le Taha’a Resort and Spa. The hotel is located on a secluded private motu, a small islet off the main island, and is the only property in French Polynesia to be part of the world renowned Relais and Chateaux hotel collection. I absolutely loved our experience there since the very first minute!

Also known as the Vanilla Island, Taha’a is an immense natural greenhouse for Tahitian vanilla orchid. You will wake up for pristine waters and a scent of vanilla. Pretty cool, huh? You can even book a private tour to visit the vanilla plantations and see how they are grown and dried, which we did and loved! We brought home lots of natural vanilla beans to cook desserts with and naturally made vanilla powder — it’s amazing to add it to your coffee!

Hotel grounds & facilities

The resort’s facilities feature 3 restaurants and 2 bars, spa, tennis court, fitness center, pool, and helipad and a scuba diving shop — all built in traditional Polynesian style and with minimal environmental impact.

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Lounge chairs and hammocks on the beach and next to the pool make for a perfect place to relax and unwind. With only 60 suites and the entire islet to enjoy, you can find your own little piece of paradise on the hotel grounds. At the end of the afternoon, take a stroll to the northwest coast if your room is on the other side to watch the sun set behind the iconic Bora Bora silhouette on the horizon.

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The Food

We enjoyed the food very much — from a late afternoon lunch in our villa, to breakfast and dinner on the treetop Vanilla restaurant overlooking the lagoon, to a laid back poolside lunch and a refined dinner at the exclusive Ohini Restaurant with limited spots, every meal was delicious. Of course we had to try their Creme Brule, made with fresh vanilla beans grown locally, and it lived up to my expectations!

Once a week guests have the opportunity to enjoy a true Polynesian evening: amazing buffet dinner with traditional Polynesian dance, music and fire performance!

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Another experience worth having is their incredible private dinner at the beach. It was by far the best night we had on the entire trip. Not only the food was exceptional, but we had a duo playing and singing traditional Polynesian music all to ourselves (I still remember how soft and warm their voices were!), with the sound of the waves in the background – a romantic memory we cherish so much. Worth mentioning that you pay much cheaper than what the resorts in Bora Bora charge and get a lot more – way more intimate and private, romantic live music just for the two of you, and one of the best food and drinks we had in our lives.

The Room

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The hotel has both over-the-water bungalows and beach villas for families. Our bungalow had a great size and it was absolutely stunning! With a glass panel of the floor and huge floor to ceiling windows in front of the bed, you can see the turquoise waters from anywhere, including from the bathtub. Each villa is positioned to look out to the lagoon in a way that you don’t see other rooms from inside your room and have a lot of privacy!

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But the best part of the room is outside: the beautiful balcony. Oh, those breathtaking views of the azure lagoon and the cool breeze. You can lounge on the sunbeds, jump right at the water for a quick refreshing swim and order room service to enjoy a meal on the table outside under a small gazebo. Not bad!

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Amazing Coral Garden & other activities

My favorite thing about Tahaa is its coral gardens – I’ve never seen anything like it! And the best thing is that the most beautiful coral garden on the island is located right in front of the hotel, no need to arrange tours or transportation. You basically walk with water on your knees to the right location — the hotel staff will point you there — and drift snorkel amidst an insane amount of (very) colorful fish of all kinds and corals. It’s pretty shallow and you can stand up if you need, but don’t touch any of the corals so you don’t hurt it. We had such a great time taking pictures with the fish – a truly unforgettable experience!

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Other activities include hiking, diving, jeep tours on the main island to visit pearl farms and vanilla plantations, and water activities like kayak, stand up paddle and jet ski on the lagoon! The hotel also arranges a private catamaran boat tour around the island.

Conclusion

I highly recommend visiting the Taha’a island and staying at Le Taha’a Resort and Spa! It’s the perfect island to pair with Bora Bora – it’s right next to it – and you will be able to enjoy a true paradise escape without the crowds. This dream island still feels like a well-kept secret and breathes authenticity. You will not regret spending your vacation here!

The hotel exceeded my (already very high) expectations in every way and I cannot wait to go back!