This trip was sponsored, in part, by Le Taha’a Private Island Resort + Spa, a Relais & Chateaux property, but all opinions, photos + copy are my own.
It’s kind of hard to put into words how excited I was for our trip to Tahiti. When I found out we were going, I created a countdown in my phone, on my iCal and at my desk. Tahiti had been on my bucket list for so long that getting to hop on a plane for a work trip seemed surreal and I knew it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. But as soon as my suitcase was packed and we were on the plane – I was pinching myself…we were finally en route!
We flew Hawaiian Airlines since they have direct flights to Papeete and it’s only 5ish hours. Sometimes you hear horror stories about how long the flights are, time change, etc., but since Tahiti is in the same time zone as Hawaii, we lucked out there! I will pause to say that we don’t typically fly Hawaiian Airlines, so we didn’t realize that in-flight entertainment costs money on their flights, which was kind of a bummer. We had planned to watch movies, but we weren’t going to pay the kind of expensive charge for ones that we only felt lukewarm about. Instead, we both finished our books we had packed in that single flight, LOL! Our flight was delayed getting into the islands of Tahiti by just 30 minutes past when there was a connecting flight to Raiatea (and our hotel), so we were kind of stranded on mainland Tahiti for the night. Let’s just say that the place we booked looked a hell of a lot better on the internet. To ease our minds for the night, we pulled the bed in front of the door and slept in our clothes on top of the comforter. I cried twice and every time I heard a noise, I sprang out of bed. It probably sounds dramatic and I’m laughing a little thinking back on it, but at 11PM at night in the pitch dark of a foreign country, we both felt pretty uneasy. Some phone snaps so we can forever remember this insane “hotel” experience.
I struggle to even call it a hotel, because the owner’s underwear was hanging on a line right outside our door. In any case, before the sun even rose the next morning we took two flights and boat and arrived at the beautiful and pristine Le Taha’a. Now let me just preface the rest of this post and all that follow that this place is paradise in every sense of the word. It needs no filters or special lenses or anything, because just as it exists is perfectly wonderful. Arriving and seeing the turquoise waters, overwater bungalows and friendly, smiling faces was enough to make me forget about the night before and all my stresses slipped away when we stepped off the boat ferry and were immediately greeted with fresh flower leis. Taha’a is everything you picture in your mind when you think about Tahiti, Bora Bora, etc.
We had a Taha’a Overwater Suite booked for our trip, so after we checked in (and were given refreshment towels and juice), we were escorted directly to our home for the next week! I immediately decided I never wanted to take off my flower crown and proceeded snap many selfies wearing it. I just felt so pretty and it smelled amazing! Almost as soon as we were checked in, we both had our swimsuits on, Dane jumped in the water, I made myself a cocktail and we launched our drone to see if we could get some clear bungalow shots since it was kind of overcast and the light wasn’t too harsh.
We spent the rest of the day (like the following seven) really just relaxing. This was a trip where we both felt like we didn’t have anything to do or anywhere to be and could just sort of…breathe. The resort is a secluded with very few people (though there were some children staying in the bungalow next to ours very briefly mid-week) and a lot of honeymooners, so no one is really there to be super chatty or all up in your business which is a breath of fresh air for travelers who just want to relax and enjoy every bit of solitude. After a day of relaxing mostly in our bungalow and the surrounding waters, we strolled down the beach a little bit to see if we could see a sunset. Mother Nature did not disappoint on night one! I’m so glad we did this, because it was the only truly colorful sunset of the whole trip. I guess a day of sporadic rain shower will do this – it was like everywhere we looked a new color popped up!
The next day we woke up to catch the sunrise and to get in the water early enough to catch some good sea life snaps. We had heard that you can get really good photos of the rays that surround the resort the earlier you go out, so I’m pretty sure we were up, out and in the water by 6AM. The sun rises at around 5:15, so we were able to make the most out of each and every day by getting up with the sun!
The resort is surrounded by beautiful Coral Gardens that are full of beautiful coral, fish, rays, sharks and other fun sea life. We saw an octopus on our last day, but as soon as he saw us, he ducked back into his hiding spot and after a 45 minute wait without him re-emerging, I decided I was done waiting. So, it’s a memory for me to have only in my mind 😉
And of course a few videos! I just couldn’t get over how clear the water was, so we took a TON of underwater footage of fish, rays, coral and us just goofing off.
After our first bought of snorkeling, we headed to Le Vanille (the main restaurant) for breakfast. Breakfast every morning was included with our stay and it was a huge buffet of literally any breakfast/brunch food you can think of – pastries, eggs, breakfast meat, cheese bar, fresh fruit, fresh juices, baguettes, made-to-order egg station, potatoes and more. I’m salivating thinking back on it, because breakfast was my favorite part of our days. We would sit at the table closest to the water and watch the boats and waves while indulging in any and everything. Their chocolate croissants and fresh pineapple juice are literally what dreams are made of! GAH! Take me back!
After breakfast we wasted no time in exploring more of the hotel grounds, more snorkeling, enjoying happy hour, laying by the pool and enjoying our overwater bungalow. I had been wanting to stay in a bungalow like that for years, so honestly just sitting on the deck, or watching the fish through the see-through coffee table inside or using my favorite raft that we packed to float outside our deck was enough to make me relaxed and happy for probably the next 20 years. LOL!
You can see all the different shades of blue in the water around the resort, which was so beautiful to me. In the dark blue areas, we found that was the best snorkeling – the deeper we went, the better fish and sea life we saw. That said, it was SO AWESOME to be able to walk to various little motus (islands) off our main resort area. The sandy one pictured below is where the restaurant hosts private dinners under the stars. We never booked it, but you can see the tables at-the-ready in the shot below.
Food options at the resort were Le Vanille (the main restaurant where we also ate breakfast), The Ohiri (a fancier restaurant that required reservations and had a dress code), La Plage (the pool bar area that was mostly open for lunch, but a few nights for dinner) or you could get room service. We ate at Le Vanille every single night (except for one night we got room service) and the food was delicious! I’m a bit of a picky eater, so I sometimes wished there were more options to the menu, but we enjoy a lot of seafood, risotto and these delectable truffle mashed potatoes that I’m still freaking salivating over. Honestly – if I could have just ordered a big vat of those potatoes each night with another side of the fresh mahi mahi and pineapple/coconut rice — I might have done it.
If you haven’t gathered by now, there wasn’t a single bad area to look at on our trip. It seemed like every single time I turned around there was something else I wanted to take a photo of to remember forever. Between my phone, GoPro, camera + drone, Dane and I took over 6,000 photos. UN-REAL, but I’m so happy I have so many to look through and remember every detail. I’ll be back tomorrow with the second half of our trip (I’ll warn you – it looks a lot like the first half) and more beautiful pictures to look at 🙂