Life doesn’t get any better than spending 14 glorious days in French Polynesia, it truly was a trip of a lifetime. Check this one off the bucket list, but I’m not crossing it off the list completely, I can’t wait to go back.
After landing in Papeete, Tahiti, it was time to store a bag before heading to Rangiroa. I can tell you that this was a breeze. The airport has a bag storage area that is quite secure and the cost is minimal for a few days storage for one large bag. Just not in the mood to schlep the big bag for the cruise to Rangiroa for a few days.
Down to one small bag it is off to Rangiroa, just a hop, skip and a jump from Papeete with a stop in Tikehau. Landing safely on a small strip of land, I am instantly in love with this atoll. Several staff members from the Hotel Kia Ora were on hand at the tiny little airport to greet the guests with a tiare flower lei, the sweet scent from these delicate flowers fills my soul.
Arriving at Hotel Kia Ora, I can tell you I will never want to leave. The open air lobby is everything you dream French Polynesia to be. The staff could not be more helpful. We were greeted with cool towels and pineapple juice to enjoy while completing the check in process. We are whisked off to our villa by golf cart, and promptly delivered to our pool villa. As soon as the door is opened, Wow! The villa is beautiful, plenty of closet and storage space, a nice desk area with flat screen TV, open bedroom with a lounge next to the window, spacious bath and a wall of glass to the backyard. Yes, you read that correctly, backyard. There is a large plunge pool, chaise lounges, dining table, sofa, outdoor shower and soaking tub. A soaking tub, to lose yourself under the stars, it’s pure heaven.
Would you ever want to leave?
The property is incredible. Lush grounds, a turquoise lagoon with water so clear you can see every grain of pure white sand on the bottom. The hotel has overwater bungalows with endless views of the lagoon, glass floors and direct access to the water for snorkeling.
The hotel is one place on this earth you can truly get away from it all. The activities desk is willing to help you plan several adventures. You can check out the church on the island, head to the Blue Lagoon for water unlike any other. A great spot for scuba diving or snorkeling. The resort will also take you for drift snorkeling. There is a dive center on property and you can pick up snorkel gear, dive gear or take out a kayak. They have bicycles, scooters and cars you can rent right at the resort to explore on your own.
The overwater bar is one spot you will want to just hang out. With glass in the floors for fish watching, it is the perfect spot to watch the sunset. The restaurant at the hotel serves exquisite food, perfectly prepared, presented and served. The fish is local and so fresh, steak perfectly cooked and full of flavor. The restaurant has a nice wine list and with the bar close by, you have a full cocktail menu at your disposal.
If you are looking to really escape it all and would like your own private island. Hotel Kia Ora has La Sauvage, recently visited by Anthony Bourdain. A tiny little atoll about 20 miles from the resort, this piece of paradise will accommodate 10 guests, electricity is limited and the island will feel like you are the only one in the world.
There is so much more to share with you, but I will sign off for now. I will hope to see you back on Wednesday where I will talk a little about the only French Polynesian winery. For now, here is to French Polynesia.