A Guide to a Romantic Getaway in French Polynesia
French Polynesia is a beautiful overseas French territory, made up of 118 islands, of which only 67 are inhabited.
Occupying an area larger than Europe, French Polynesia is perfect for honeymoons. Known for exquisite beaches and luxury accommodation, all of French Polynesia’s islands lend themselves to couples escapes.
From private diving in Taha’a to sunset cruises on Bora Bora, here is our guide to a romantic getaway in French Polynesia.
Most romantic hotels in French Polynesia
The Brando, Tetiaroa
The Brando is located on Marlon Brando’s private island Tetiaroa. This tranquil reef north of Tahiti consists of 12 motus, or islets, and is the idyllic island for a secluded escape. With a dozen small islands ringing a deep turquoise lagoon, Tetiaroa was once the Tahitian royal family’s favourite retreat. Access to The Brando is by private plane from Tahiti, and there are just 35 luxury villas scattered along both Turtle Beach and Mermaid Bay.
The timbered villas are hidden amongst the island’s tropical vegetation, so as not to detract from the surrounding natural beauty. At The Brando, guests can enjoy dining on French Polynesian and classic French cuisine, saveur cocktails at the Te Manu treetop bar or unwind at the luxurious spa suite, which is six metres above ground.
Conrad Bora Bora Nui
Set on a private cove, there are few places more romantic than the Conrad Bora Bora Nui. With Mount Otemanu as a backdrop, the resort offers panoramic lagoon views, cultural activities and plenty of opportunities for relaxation. Guests here can relax in seafront villas before taking in the pristine underwater world on a snorkel through the neighbouring lagoon. There’s something for every kind of couple at the Conrad Bora Bora Nui; guests are able to relax with a treatment in the hilltop spa, enjoy sundowners in one of two bars or get their sweat on in the pool and fitness centre. There are also six different restaurant and bars here, so cuisine from around the world means you’re spoiled for choice.
Hotel Kia Ora, Rangiroa
Rangiroa is a must-visit destination for any diving and snorkelling enthusiasts. Over 200 islets make up Rangiroa, the world’s second largest coral atoll, so its surrounding waters are some of French Polynesia’s richest. The Hotel Kia Ora is located on a coconut plantation on the northwest part of the island, which is a utopian part of French Polynesia. Overwater villas are designed in traditional Polynesian style, and the surrounding views of the open ocean are wonderful. Couples can spend time here sipping sundowners in the overwater Miki Miki Bar, relaxing in the infinity pool or snorkelling and diving in Rangiroa’s lively waters.
InterContinental Resort Tahiti
The largest and most populated island in French Polynesia, Tahiti, does not disappoint. The vibrant capital city Papeete provides an insight into local Polynesian life, while the island’s black and white sandy beaches provide an idyllic escape. Travellers can turn a stopover on Tahiti into a relaxing couple of days at the InterContinental Resort. Close to Papeete’s airport, this resort is surrounded by plush gardens and a glistening turquoise lagoon. There are many ways to spend a mellowing romantic getaway here, with two infinity pools, a private beach, traditional dance shows and two excellent restaurants on offer for guests.
Top romantic things to do in French Polynesia
Private diving in Taha’a
Located south east of Bora Bora, miniscule Taha’a is filled with fertile valleys tumbling over gently sloping hills. A small and quiet island, the sleepy forests in Taha’a make for excellent hiking and jeep safaris. Taha’a shares a crystal clear lagoon with neighbouring Raiatea, so it’s also a great place to snorkel, swim and kayak. This is an island surrounded by white sandy beaches and an abundance of marine life, making its the perfect place to switch off and discover why French Polynesia is one of the best places in the world to escape the hustle and bustle of modern life.
For underwater enthusiasts, the diving opportunities in Taha’a are unrivalled. With nine passages in the surrounding lagoon, there are a myriad of dive sites for everyone from beginners to advanced divers to explore. In the Ceran pass, water becomes up to 27 metres deep and is filled with a rich and diverse fauna. Magical caves at Trou de la Pieuvre and the rocky depths of Tapu Tapu are punctuated with a kaleidoscopic range of coral. A luxurious private diving excursion in Taha’a is a brilliant way to discover French Polynesia’s underwater world.
Deep sea fishing and sunset cruise in Bora Bora
French Polynesia’s most famous island, Bora Bora, is everything you’d expect and more from this tropical part of the world. White sandy beaches, bright blue seas and overwater villas are backdropped by coconut palm trees swaying in the breeze. This volcanic island is truly mystical – set on a lagoon and surrounded by coral reefs, its otherworldly waters are awash with schools of tropical fish, turtles and rays. Lounging honeymooners can spend days relaxing in beachside resorts, while more active types can discover the lush green interior of the island on a jeep safari or guided hike.
A deep sea fishing boat trip is a great way to spend time with each other while getting acquainted with the inhabitants of the local waters. To maximise your chances of catching the biggest fish, your boat will take you out towards neighbouring islands, where the water depth exceeds 1000 metres. You’ll be accompanied by a captain with more than 25 years experience who will share his expertise with you.
After an active day fishing, travellers can board a deluxe 40-foot catamaran for a sunset cruise. This is arguably the perfect way to end any day on a romantic getaway in French Polynesia. Cosy up and get closer to each other as you sail through Bora Bora’s pristine waters, and watch the sky as it fades to shades of pink, orange and red.
4x4 safari in Moorea
Moorea is one of the lesser developed islands in French Polynesia, blanketed with emerald green forest. Like many other islands in the archipelago, Moorea is surrounded by waters that are home to stingrays, black reef tip sharks and turtles. From July to November, visitors can even marvel at humpback whales as they swim through the ocean. This remote island is a nature lover’s dream, and a great way to explore it is on a 4×4 safari.
You’ll be able to drive through Cook’s Bay and explore the plantation overlooking the beautiful Opunohu bay. You’ll also have the option to stop for a tasting of homemade jams and visit the juice factory of Moorea, where you’ll be able to discover high quality liqueurs, spirits and tropical fruit juice. Then, you can round off your day by learning about the plants, flowers and fruits that are native to French Polynesia at the Belvédère lookout, which has a stunning view over mount Rotui.
Private cruise in Raiatea
One of the best ways to navigate the 118 islands of French Polynesia is by boat. Slipping quietly through the archipelago’s waters on a private vessel is nothing short of magical. It is one of the only places where you’ll be able to get a 360 degree view of turquoise waters and blanketed verdant forest. Aboard a privately chartered yacht, travellers can experience all that French Polynesia has to offer in enviable style.
Rent a stylish yacht and spend your days cruising through Raiatea’s waters; most come with a living area harbouring panoramic views, an outdoor relaxation area, a two-member crew comprising of a hostess-chef and guide-captain and watersports equipment on board. You can line fish while sailing to Bora Bora before mooring at the idyllic Motu Topua for plentiful snorkelling, kayaking or swimming opportunities. Raiatea’s lagoon is also known as the Lagoonarium, a natural aquarium where you can watch sharks and manta rays being fed. Here, you can get up close to scores of colourful fish and the occasional turtle.