Le Taha'a Private Island Resort; Gobsmackingly Good...Jim's Deals of the Day
TAHA'A, Tahiti - It doesn't get any better than this.
They finished the second leg of the Hawaiki Nui Va'a (Tahitian for "really powerful guys paddling canoes
over ridiculous lengths in the ocean under a full sun," or something like that) around 11 a.m. local time.
A couple hours later, they dropped off the small contingent of out-of-town media here at Le Taha'a Private Island Resort and Spa - Relais Chateaux," and I'm truly gobsmacked. I've stayed in some pretty remarkable hotel rooms in the last year, and a few prior to that. But nothing like this.
I'm in overwater bungalow, sitting at a polished wooden desk with two rugged looking lamps bound by small pieces of rope next to me. I'm looking straight out a huge picture window onto a crystal green lagoon, with the mountains of Taha'a maybe a half mile away. Sailboats are crossing the bay; likely fans who spent the morning watching the second leg of the big race, which took athletes from Raiatea, considered the home of Polynesian culture, here to Taha'a.
The photo here shows Bora Bora in the background, not Taha'a. Just to be geographically correct. Bora Bora is the final destination for
canoe racers on Friday.
"It's funny," said native Gina Brunton of Tahiti Turisme. "I tell people I'm from Tahiti and they don't know where it is. But if I say Bora, Bora, they say, 'Oh, wow, Bora Bora!"
The islands are called Tahiti and her islands. This one is my fifth, which makes me remarkably lucky. (Actually, Le Taha'a is on a motu or small island offshore). Previously I've spent nights on Tahiti itself, then Moorea, Huahine and Raiatea.
I'd like to see Taha'a and check out the vanilla plantations. But I'm pretty happy in this room. As I said, it's an overwater bungalow so I can walk outside onto my enormous deck, hang a right and walk down to a small deck that sits a foot over the crystal-clear water.
They had placed a dozen tiny, perfect white flowers on my bed for my arrival, and more are scattered on the desk, in the bathroom and elsewhere. The beach towels are tied with natural twine and, yes, more flowers.
One of the really cool things, beside the thatched roof and the deck and the natural woods and nautical-looking door handles and the tub and the rock shower is that there's a panel at the end of the bed that's about six feet long and clear, allowing you to look down into the lagoon. They have those at a lot of spots, but this is basically a box with a lid, which means you can lift up the top and gaze not through glass but directly down at the water.
It's amazing what people think of; it really is.
Finally, the lobby has a replica of a Polynesian sail boat and appears to be fashioned around a huge tree, giving the impression of Swiss Family Robinson or some such. It's all a bit much. But I'm trying to enjoy it.
As wonderful as this place, I can't wait to get closer to Bora Bora and enter her lagoon. It's said to be
the most beautiful lagoon in the world; surrounding a pair of giant basalt mountains that thrust into the South Pacific sky. I'll have more on Friday, Internet willing, including results of the race.
JIM'S DEALS OF THE DAY
Missed a couple of these due to bad connections, so my apologies. Here are my final deals of the day for this week. Happy hunting.
Savvy Marriott and Renaissance are capitalizing on the dark and depressing days of November with a travel promotion that promises savings in the new year. With this deal, book any Marriott or Renaissance resort in the Caribbean, Mexico or Costa Rica by Nov. 30, 2009 for travel Jan. 1 – April 30, 2010 and you’ll get a 40 per cent discount off regular room rates. Participating properties include the St. Kitts Marriott, Aruba Renaissance and Aruba Marriott, Grand Cayman Marriott, JW Marriott Cancun and the Puerto Vallarta Casa Magna Marriott. For groups, the maximum booking is nine rooms. Black out dates may apply. See www.marriott.com.
Linekin Bay Resort is closing out its 100th year celebrations with a special offer: book your 2010 vacation before the end of 2009, with a 30 per cent deposit, and you’ll lock in the 2009 rates. Linekin Bay Resort overlooks on Boothbay Harbor in Maine, with 35 cabins and five lodges, a fleet of 19 sailboats and sports and activities including kayaking and canoeing. There’s also a Kids’ Camp and 18-hole golf at Boothbay Country Club. For dining, you can choose from an all-inclusive plan offering three, 3-course meals a day (available in peak season) or a breakfast plan in spring and fall. See www.linekinbayresort.com.
Windstar Cruises’ ’80 Degrees of Sunshine, 180 Degrees from Ordinary’ sale offers savings on 2010 Caribbean sailings booked by Nov. 11, 2009. Promotional rates (with the savings) start at $1,799 per person, double occupancy on select seven-day itineraries. Windstar operates three masted sailing ships – the 148-passenger Wind Spirit and Wind Star and the 312-passenger Wind Surf. New this year on Wind Spirit, the cruise line is offering a St. Martin round trip cruise, with ports of call including St. Kitts, Tortola, Jost Van Dyke, Virgin Gorda and St. Barts. See www.windstarcruises.com.