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With tourism booming and the burden on the environment rising with it, more and more travellers are seeing the need to choose resorts and hotels that put nature first. Here are four luxurious Tahitian resorts taking steps to ensure French Polynesia’s unbeatable white beaches, gorgeous scenery and thriving ecosystem stay that way.
InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa
With one of the most spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and Mount Otemanu on offer, InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa on Motu Piti Aau of the Bora Bora island group, will fulfil your overwater bungalow fantasies faster than the resort’s staff can say “welcome to paradise”.
The warm, clear lagoons the South Pacific is known for are just a step away from your bungalow’s deck, and a pristine beach and an award-winning spa invite you to relax in serene surrounds. When you feel like doing something more active, there are plenty of activities on offer from scuba diving to sunset cruises on the surrounding reefs, or romantic candlelit dinners set up beneath swaying palm trees.
The Intercontinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa also pioneered the world’s first private Sea Water Air Conditioning (SWAC). This is one of the most sustainable air conditioning technologies, by using cold deep-sea salt water to cool the resort, it means the resort can offer the facility without the use of fossil fuels and CO2 emissions.
Located 48 kilometres northeast of Tahiti on the unimaginably beautiful private island of Tetiaroa, lies The Brando. Long considered a jewel in the South Pacific, The Brando is accessible only by a 20-minute private aircraft flight from Papeete, arranged by the resort’s reservation agents, so an unforgettable holiday at this resort begins before you even arrive at the island.
The untouched paradise is inhabited by sea turtles, manta rays and exotic birds and fringed by white-sand beaches, on which are dotted just 35 villas designed in the Polynesian style. The resort is also a leader in conservation. With LEED Platinum Certification thanks to its innovative eco programmes and technologies, The Brando not only uses SWAC, like InterContinental, reducing energy demands by almost 70%, the resort is also fully biofuel capable and has a coconut oil-powered electric plant, organic garden, bee hives, and solar panels.
Along with an onsite conservation society, which manages sanctuaries and conducts scientific research, all of the resort’s buildings are created using materials that are either recycled, local or of certified origins. Through its dedication to the environment, The Brando, like sustainability-focused Soneva Resorts, is very close to reaching its goal of being self-sustainable and carbon neutral.
Located on Tikehau Atoll, a 55 minute flight north-by-northeast of Tahiti, Ninamu Resort is hidden on a private island on the southwest side of the island and is surrounded by pristine white (and pink) sand, palm trees and a tropical lagoon.
The resort prides itself as a luxury-minded, outdoor enthusiasts’ retreat, with accommodation that has been hand-crafted with only natural, locally sourced materials, with the intention to offer luxury with minimal impact on the environment.
Most of the bungalows were purposely built in a position to take advantage of the trade winds to keep them naturally ventilated as much as possible. The water Ninamu Resort uses is mostly collected rainwater, and when needed it uses its own desalination equipment to make up for any shortage. The resort’s electricity is also partly provided through solar power.
Each of the resort’s eight bungalows has its own unique design and is full of character, accommodating all types of guests including couples, solo travellers and groups of friends or families.
Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora
Another private island beauty, Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora boasts some of the most luxurious accommodation in French Polynesia, which includes a three-bedroom beachfront villa estate that accommodates six adults and one child.
The Ruahatu Lagoon Sanctuary, which is exclusively accessible to Resort guests, protects some of the fragile coral colonies that are crucial to the ecosystem, and the resort has introduced various initiatives to raise awareness of the importance of its preservation.
You and your partner can even head out with the resort’s expert marine biologist, Denis Schneider, on a two-hour excursion where you’ll snorkel amongst unicorn fish, spotted pufferfish, clownfish and more than 100 other species of marine life, before learning to graft bits of coral. When these corals grow large enough for planting they can become a permanent part of the lagoon’s delicate ecosystem, so you can swim away content in the knowledge that you’ve played a part in helping the environment. You’ll even get a toes-in-the-water Champagne toast afterwards, along with a framed photograph of them swimming amid some of the lagoon’s most extraordinary residents.