What is the no 1 bucketlist hotel in your list? For me it has always been the world’s most luxurious eco resort – The Brando in French Polynesia! And I can’t believe we actually got to visit last month to celebrate our 17 years of togetherness. I couldn’t have dreamt of a more stunning location to celebrate our special day.
About The Brando and Tetiaroa
Tetiaroa atoll ( PC : The Brando )
The Brando is a unique luxury resort on French Polynesia’s breathtakingly beautiful private island of Tetiaroa – an atoll composed of a dozen small islands surrounding a sparkling lagoon 30 miles northeast of Tahiti.
Named after actor Marlon Brando who purchased the private island of Tetiaroa, after filming ‘Mutiny on the Bounty” he described the island as “a pinch of land peeking out of the immensity of the Pacific Ocean.” After Brando passed away, The Brando was built in 2014, as an eco-resort and spa which is now one of the most exclusive and luxurious private island resorts in the world and a favorite among many celebrities including Obama, Kim Kardashian, Beyonce, Ellen DeGeneres and more!
With its white sand beaches, swaying coconut palms, colorful birds, and sparkling lagoon, Tetiaroa is a dreamy paradise. Its truly one of the most gorgeous places I have ever been to in my life. Beyond its breathtaking beauty, Tetiaroa is a place of rare biodiversity and a natural sanctuary for birds and marine life. Preserving and protecting this rare habitat and its plant and animal life is something The Brando takes very seriously. Along with non-profit organization Tetiaroa Society they are working on several programs not just to preserve this sanctuary, but to help restore it and help it flourish.
Tetiaroa also has a special place in Polynesian history and culture. It was the exclusive and favored retreat of Tahitian royalty for centuries. Ancient marae (temples) built on the atoll by early Polynesians can still be found there today. With its rich history and ethereal beauty it will always have a special place in the heart of Polynesians.
So what drew me to the Brando ? Aside from being one of the most luxurious private island resorts in one of the most beautiful untouched atolls in the world , the fact that they are so committed to sustainability and conservation really spoke to me. They are deeply committed in preserving and protecting the natural splendor and precious biodiversity of Tetiaroa. We had a chance to learn about some of their sustainable efforts and it is no doubt one of the most outstanding sustainable resorts I have ever been to. It is also the first hotel to ever earn LEED platinum certification! ( Leader in Energy and Environmental design)
Setting a new world standard, the resort is also close to reach its goal of being carbon neutral and self-sustainable too! Some of their environmental-sustainability measures include :
- solar panels, which provide two-thirds of the resort’s power
- deep seawater air-conditioning plant, which cools the property with seawater
- filtration system, which uses taro plants to cleanse wastewater.
- The Brando and all the villas have been designed without beach obstructions to blend harmoniously into the trees. They have used local materials extensively in the design and construction.
- It also acts as a nature preserve and scientific lab. A portion of the revenue underwrites the Tetiaroa Society, a nonprofit on Onetahi that hosts scientists and students who come to learn about French Polynesia’s fragile ecosystems. Almost all of Tetiaroa is being protected and preserved forever in its natural state.
Epic Views flying in to Tetiaroa via Air Tetiaroa
After arriving at Tahiti International Airport in Papeete you will have to take another short domestic flight. From Tahiti it’s a short but spectacular 20-minute flight to Tetiaroa onboard Air Tetiaroa, the flight from Bora Bora takes one hour. When you book a stay with the Brando their reservation agents will arrange this portion of your trip for you. This was hands down one of the most beautiful flights I have ever taken! The views are just unreal, here are a few photos from our flight to paradise.
The Brando offers carefree luxury in the midst of pristine nature. The resort features 35 villas on white-sand beaches frequented by sea turtles, manta rays and exotic birds. The resort was designed to reflect Polynesian lifestyles and culture. They have one, two and three bedroom villas, as well as the Teremoana Residence. The level or privacy and seclusion you get here is seriously unmatched! Each villa has been carefully designed to blend into and enhance the serenity of the surroundings, so you’ll feel as though the indoor and outdoor have merged together.
Teremoana Residence pool (above and below)
We got to stay in a one of their luxurious two bedroom villas. This spacious villa would be perfect for a family or even couples vacationing together. Upon entering there was a cozy sitting room furnished with soft and comfortable chairs and sofas on one side and a kitchen + dining area on the other side. The living space also opens onto the terrace, with a stunning deck with lounge chairs, your own private plunge pool, outdoor dining area and the beach located just a few steps away.
The two bedrooms are one on top of the other with a very similar layout. Both bedrooms have a large king size bed and a private deck or balcony with lagoon views. They both also feature a walkthrough dressing area, spacious bathroom with double vanities, bathroom and shower area and an outdoor Al-fresco bathtub, set behind a wooden screen. Wifi connectivity is available inside and around the villa, and in all the resort public spaces.
In and around the Two Bedroom Villa
Outdoor bath goals
Private Pool or Private Beach?! How to choose when they are both so perfect!
Sunset at our own private beach
All inclusive plan
Its no surprise that staying at this celeb fave luxurious private island resort dosen’t come cheap. But the Brando always has amazing offers to help with discounts as well as the BEST all inclusive plan there ever was. If you are spending for a luxury getaway at the Brando, I highly recommend the All Inclusive Plan to get the most out of your vacation in paradise.
When you stay at The Brando and opt for the all inclusive plan, not only are food and drinks covered, but you also get an activity per person everyday and a spa session per villa everyday ! With food, activities and wellness covered this is one of the best all inclusive plans we have ever come across. Check out more details as well as the 2022-23 rates here.
The resort has 3 restaurants and 3 bars on property. Two restaurants showcase Polynesian-inspired dishes, East/West fusion and classic French cuisine, while the third restaurant is a teppanyaki Japanese restaurant.
Breakfast (above) and Lunch (below) at Beachcomber Cafe
Unbeatable lagoon and ocean views, whether you decide to dine indoors or on the beach. We absolutely loved having our daily breakfasts here. Dishes include a varied menu of Polynesian-inspired dishes alongside classic French cuisine.
Intimate dining experience at Les Mutinés
This intimate venue features elegant décor in beautiful tones of tropical light and sand and a moat that surrounds the restaurant provides the sensation of floating on a lagoon. The restaurant also includes a world-class wine cellar in a carefully climate-controlled glass enclosure. Our dinner here was one of my absolute favorite meals from our entire trip! Every dish was truly exceptional and they also surprised us with a delicious anniversary dessert!
With two menus designed around specialties of the land and sea, the meals are prepared in front of guests and cooked on a teppanyaki iron griddle. A must do during your stay!
Te Manu Bar
Talk about a bar with a view! Located on the second floor, this open-air bar features spectacular views of the lagoon, distant motus and sunsets. In addition to the main lounge, there are several private tree-top seating areas that can be reached on walkways through the palm canopy. Don’t forget to try their signature “Dirty Bob”, I got one every single day we were here!
A must try – the Dirty Bob’s cocktail!
A relaxed and casual beach bar where you can also enjoy a toes-in-the-sand kinda lunch post pool or beach time. Loved the delicious poke bowls and burgers here.
Whether you want just relaxation and unwinding on your schedule or an activity filled vacation, you can choose your pace at The Brando. Each villa also comes with its own bikes so you can explore around the beautiful property. At The Brando, you will find an abundance of activities from bicycling, snorkeling and bird watching to diving and paddle boarding, here are a couple :
Sunrise at Turtle Bay (above)
Sunset at Mermaid Bay (below)
The resort has 2 beaches on property – Turtle Bay and Mermaid Bay. Turtle Bay is perfect for snorkeling with its spectacular house reef, while mermaid bay as its name suggests is an idyllic bay perfect for swimming or getting some sun. All guests also have complimentary access to beach equipment such as kayaks, stand up paddleboards, outrigger canoe and snorkeling gear.
All villas have their own pool but guests can also choose to use the main pool located near the restaurants and bars. The main is absolutely gorgeous boating views of the lagoon from all around.
Depending on which villa you choose, if you are part of the all inclusive as I mentioned you also get to choose from an incredible arrays of tours and excursions in and around the property. These include a Green Tour ( tour of all their sustainable practices), Bird Island tour, Lagoon tour and so much more.
We opted to do the “Ultimate Lagoon Experience” which is their most popular excursion and an absolute must do on your visit. Along with 2 naturalist guides from Tetiaroa Society we set out to explore the beautiful Tetiaroa lagoon beyond Onetahi (the islet on which the resort sits). Our views while cruising down the unspoiled lagoon were just beyond breathtaking! We got to visit Bird Island, another island where we saw some unique flora and fauna (including rare bird species and coconut crabs!) and the iconic Queen’s Bath.
A bucketlist experience – swimming in Queen’s Bath, Tetiaroa
Queen’s Bath was one of my favorite spots we visited on the lagoon tour. As the name suggests – Tahitian royalty used to bathe here due to its mineral rich sands and pure waters! The water here is like a swimming pool – shallow, calm and warm. I have dreamt of swimming in this particular spot in this lagoon for years and it was truly so special, a dream come true! The energy and vibe of this place is indescribable and so hard to put in a few words, its something that truly needs to be experienced.
Spa and Wellness
Varua Te Ora Polynesian Spa is a unique haven of tranquillity nestled on a restful pond in the heart of the atoll of Tetiaroa. Varua, meaning “the Soul”, perpetuates the tradition established by the Royal family who used to retreat here to relax and indulge in beauty rituals. This is one of the most unique and serene spa locations I have ever been to!
In and around the beautiful Varua Te Ora Spa
Blending into the lush vegetation, it is a hidden oasis at the end of a path through the tropical undergrowth. The Spa offers unrivalled holistic treatments inspired by international and ancestral Polynesian techniques in a truly exceptional setting.The Spa also has quiet spaces for relaxation including a steam bath, a waterfall, a tea lounge and the Fare Mana, an area set aside for gentle energies. There is also a well equipped gym and tennis court on property.
Staying at private island paradise The Brando was like living our wildest daydream in one of the most romantic places we have ever been to. This place would be such an incredible destination for a honeymoon, special occasion or even a bespoke island getaway. We are so beyond grateful we had the chance to experience it. It’s safe to say it completely exceeded our expectations as every part of our stay was absolute perfection – from the luxurious villas, heavenly location, amazing hospitality and of course their commitment to protecting this precious gem of an atoll – Tetiaroa. We can’t wait to be back another time.
Thanks for stopping by! xoxo
For more travel tips on other islands in French Polynesia, check out my guide below :
Thank you to The Brando Resort for hosting us on our recent trip to French Polynesia. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.