Best Private Islands: Tahiti's Tautau

If you don't want to be seen here, you won't be. The staff of Le Taha'a Island Resort & Spa on this motu facing the "Vanilla Island" of Taha'a is used to the paparazzi-shy, so you can land in a private helicopter and get private meals prepared in your private villa, on a private motu or in a private canoe. But when you're ready to interact with Polynesian experiences, the executive chef will discuss how he cooked that day's fish in the local spices; the dance instructor will teach you the fast Ori Tahiti or slow Aparima dances; and the masseuse will work "black gold," locally grown vanilla, into your skin. All of this is in an iconic private-island setting -- 48 over-water suites and 12 beach villas with a backdrop that's Tahiti at its most picturesque. You choose when, or if, you return to the real world. See photos. Here is further insight from the Le Taha'a managers: What do U.S. travelers seem to enjoy most about Le Taha'a? U.S. travelers (especially celebrities) love the resort for its privacy. Affluent A-listers can go unseen during their entire stay at the resort. View Larger Map
Couples can arrive by private helicopter from Bora Bora and have all meals prepared in their room, on an isolated motu, or in a canoe for the ultimate romantic experience. This aspect of privacy also works well during the recession, as many people are trying to appear less ostentatious...therefore one can sip champagne, wear strands of black pearls, and sample delicacies without anyone witnessing. Which of the resort's offerings do you think best celebrates the authentic island culture? The resort (along with all of the other South Pacific Management properties) offers a variety of Polynesian Experience packages, which celebrate the authentic island culture and feature indigenous elements. * In the Skin of Our Chef - Gourmands can sample Polynesia's indigenous spices, coconuts, fruit, and fish with guidance from Executive Chef Eric Brunel. The chef will take guests from preparation to degustation, while incorporating flavors and knowledge. * Dance Lessons with Ramona - Guests can learn two traditional Polynesian dance forms from instructor Ramona. The Toere (drums) and ukulele will set the tone for guests to learn the Ori Tahiti (rapid, rhythmic dance) and the Aparima (slow dance). * A Polynesian Day on the Motu - On this seven-hour excursion, Gilles will demonstrate the art of wood sculpting by showing guests how to sculpt "floating" roots to make an Umete. Guests will then enjoy a traditional Polynesian lunch of raw fish and salads, relax on the beach, watch as Ramona dances to the sounds of a guitar, learn how to wear and tie a Pareo, and receive two pareos as gifts. After lunch, Imelda will demonstrate how to create floral compositions and even crowns through the use of basket- and hat- weaving techniques. To conclude, Tavita will demonstrate Polynesian tattoo art and offer temporary tattoos to guests. * Monoi Vanira/ A perfumed Massage - The property's Manea Spa uses "black gold" (vanilla), which is grown on Taha'a and its sister island Raiatea, to perform its signature ancestral couple's massage. * Floral Art with Imelda - On the beach of the property's private motu, Imelda showcases the Tahitian art of making floral crowns, floral arrangements, and leaf baskets and hats. Tahitian Tiare flowers are used as well as birds of paradise and bougainvilleas. * Discover our Black Gold - A journalist, who has inhabited the island for over 20 years introduces guests to the tropical vegetation, the market stalls of Uturoa and the economic capital the Leeward Islands. After- ward, Jeanne will be meet up and to explore the uses and beauty of vanilla.What makes Le Taha'a unique among all the world's private-island resorts? Le Taha'a is unique among all of the world's private-island resorts because of its devoted Polynesian staff. The group of devoted members, which have all worked there for several years, makes it impossible for regulars to turn down a visit. Some guests even come back a couple of times a year and wish to stay for up to three weeks just because of the attention, warmth they receive and the familiarity they feel. There is also so much more that can trickle into this category. Are there any new amenities, accommodations, travel specials or other features planned for 2009? In regard to new features, the property's newest addition is its two Royal Beach Villas, which were completed in 2007. The villas are perfect for couples traveling together and families accompanied by nannies. The room type offers two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a third bed in the common living area and a large outdoor patio with a plunge pool. And in regard to specials that the property is offering, please see the following: * Through May 31, 2009, and from November 1, 2009-March 31, 2010: Daily free American breakfast for two (no minimum stay required). * Through April 30, 2009: Stay 4 nights, and Pay for 3 (valid for all room categories).To find out more information and book your stay, visit letahaa.com. For more private islands, click here.