The largest island in French Polynesia, Tahiti has a well-deserved reputation for exclusivity. This tropical destination in the South Pacific is ideal for a romantic getaway or luxury family holiday. You can relax on the beach, or go island-hopping to explore the lush landscape around you. And we’ve rounded up the best places for you to stay.
Most people who come to Tahiti, which sits in the middle of the South Pacific midway between Fiji and Hawaii, land here after an eight-hour plane journey from Los Angeles. The remote location offers seclusion and escapism as a reward for the long journey. This once-in-a-lifetime holiday requires a fair amount of planning, so it’s worth exploring all the options when it comes to figuring out itineraries and picking places to stay.
You’ll find French influences across the island: the Tahitians are French citizens, although both French and Tahitian dialects are spoken. The capital, Papeete, is a great place to start your trip, and not just because the international airport is close by. The marina is lively, blending modern and historic architecture to great effect. And to explore the surrounding areas, you will find Papeete a convenient base.
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Ultimately, Tahiti is one of those dream honeymoon trips that will appeal to anyone who took a more achievable minimoon in 2020. With travel routes set to open up in the coming months, we think Tahiti could work well as an extravagant trip towards the latter half of 2021.
When you think about where you might stay, you’ll probably imagine thatched beach huts on white-sand beach crystal-clear blue waters. And there’s plenty of these idyllic dwellings to choose from – often with more mod cons than they might traditionally have done. But you might also want to think further afield.
Tahiti is part of the Society Islands, which includes other idyllic places such as Bora Bora and Moorea, so if you have time, take a trip to see them too. That’s not to say Tahiti itself is short of adventures, with three waterfalls in the rainforest particularly worth the hike.
As we’ve already mentioned, island-hopping around Tahiti is one of the best ways to appreciate the beauty of this remote destination. Here are four of the best properties to consider when looking for places to stay in French Polynesia.
The ultimate local experience is on offer at Green Lodge, an inviting property in a quiet corner on the east coast of Moorea with several small beachfront bungalows that make the most of the location. You can easily reach Tahiti’s main points of interest by ferry from here, but you can enjoy a complete break from it all, too.
Let’s venture a little further afield and take in the stunning beauty of Tikehau, an atoll that proved irresistible to French explorer and conservationist Jacques Cousteau. Ninamu Resort is aimed at travellers looking for luxury in the middle of nowhere. The exclusive bungalows are handcrafted from locally sourced materials and can accommodate everyone from solo holidaymakers to large family groups.
This collection of overwater bungalow suites is perfectly designed to make the most of the seafront location on Bora Bora. Rooms have plunge pools, glass windows built into the floors and wooden walkways over the sea. Private concierge services can help you make the most of your visit, and if you plan a trip here in July, you will also be able to take part in the annual Heiva festival.
Overwater bungalow luxury isn’t always break-the-bank expensive. Manava Beach Resort may not be as exclusive as some of our other choices, but it is an affordable option, especially if you’re also interested in getting out to explore Tahiti. The style of these thatched French Polynesian huts is a practical adaptation to their environment, but it just so happens they’re also fantastic for social media.
The Culture Trip list features places with a feel-good factor that we can’t wait to visit in 2021 and beyond (and once we can travel again). It celebrates travel that’s good and makes you feel good. The destinations are dedicated to sustainability; they offer something new and exciting, or an unforgettable moment that will make us fall in love all over again with the world we’ve missed in 2020.
Culture Trip compiled the list based on insights and recommendations from its global community of travel experts and local insiders, combined with search data from millions of users from around the world to understand interest in those destinations.