The Islands of Tahiti are seeing the strongest air arrivals numbers since 2001, according to Kristin Carlson, managing director of Tahiti Tourisme United States. In addition, the destination is home to a new private island resort, more sustainable lodging options and millions of dollars in resort renovations.

Here’s the latest from Tahiti:

New Private Island Resort 

The highly anticipated Nukutepipi is now accepting bookings. The private island resort in the Tuamotu Archipelago is only accessible by private jet and available for exclusive rental for groups of up to 52 people. Part of the Sunset Luxury Villas collection by Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté, the retreat offers beaches, a protected lagoon and natural coral reef, in addition to full-service luxury accommodations of one Master Residence, two Junior Villas and 13 bungalows.

Hotel Renovations

The first of four new luxe residences have opened at The Brando. The new three-bed residence spans more than one acre on the property’s main motu (islet) of Onetahi, one of 12 that ring the Tetiaroa atoll. The design uses local tropical wood, coral walls and pandanus thatch roofing. The residence has large terrace and decks, a swimming pool and a private stretch of beach. Three other residence-style accommodations will be opened over the next four years at the sustainable luxury property.

Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa will close December 1 for property-wide renovations, including the addition of 27 new overwater bungalows, some with a plunge pool, plus a new two-bedroom beach villa. The property will reopen on April 27, 2020 as a four-star member of Relais & Châteaux.

The St. Regis Bora Bora is updating its range of villa products: The Royal Overwater Villas and Premier Overwater Villas have been refreshed with new parquet floors, furniture and pandanus roofs, while The Overwater Deluxe Suite Villas will become available for stay in December 2019, following a refurbishment.

InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa debuted its new Brando Suite Bora Bora, providing views of Mount Otemanu from the 3,400-square foot bungalow. Features include two master bedrooms, two bathrooms, a large living and dining area, plus a 1,162-square-feet terrace with, what InterContinental touts as, the largest private infinity pool of any overwater suite in French Polynesia.

The Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora is also taking its resort to a new level with enhancements throughout, including eight new Overwater Bungalow Suites and a complete refresh to all Overwater Bungalow Suites. A number of these Overwater Bungalow Suites will also receive plunge pools. A refresh of the Beachfront Villa Estates and addition of Trattoria at Tere Nui will be completed by 2020.

On the island of Tahiti, multimillion-dollar enhancements have recently been completed at Tahiti la Ora Beach Resort - Managed by Sofitel, the only hotel in Tahiti on a natural white sandy beach with direct access to the turquoise lagoon. Each of the 12 bungalows were re- stylized and includes glass floor paneling. 

On Rangiroa’s northeastern coast between the two passes of Avatoru and Tiputa, the four-star, 60-bungalow Hotel Kia Ora Resort & Spa will undergo four weeks of renovations from February to March 2020. The renovation will include enhancements to the pool deck, restaurants, bars and Top Dive Center.

Sustainability New

The Coral Gardeners is offering a new interactive EcoTour in Moorea. Visitors can now help replant healthy coral fragments during a coral cutting workshop and visit to the underwater nursery. Those who wish to join the movement and make a difference from afar can join the group’s Adopt a Coral program.

Pearl Resorts of Tahiti has gotten rid of plastic straws, cups and bags. In addition, Le Taha’a Island Resort & Spa and Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa have both installed solar panels which will produce 25 – 30 percent of their energy. 

The Conrad Bora Bora Nui has developed 17 different underwater coral structures using the Biorock technique. The structures were created to promote the regrowth and natural repopulation of coral. Other sustainability initiatives at the property include banning plastic straws with bamboo straws used as a replacement, adding solar panels to all villas and using a sorting center to more sustainably dispose of waste. 

Air Tahiti Nui, which entirely renewed its fleet in 2019 of Boeing 787-9s, "Tahitian Dreamliners,” has minimized its carbon dioxide emissions through the modernization of its aircraft, reduction of aircraft weight and optimization of operational procedures.

Cruise Updates

Paul Gauguin Cruises has been purchased by luxury small ship operator Ponant, with plans to expand that Tahiti/South Pacific luxury line's fleet. Paul Gauguin Cruises also plans to open up new South Pacific destinations. (Note: Ponant and Paul Gauguin will continue to operate as separate brands.)

Culinary Updates

The Islands of Tahiti’s culinary scene continues to expand with the addition of Moorea’s first rum bar, Matiehani, at Manava Beach Resort & Spa. The new hotspot offers 18 different rums for tastings and more than 15 rum-based cocktails.

Lilikoi Food Tours, run by the owners of Moorea’s Lilikoi Garden Cafe, now offers a tour of the island, where visitors meet local producers at a Tahitian vanilla plantation, fish market and pineapple plantation, before participating in a hands-on cooking class using products gathered during the day’s journey.

On Nuku Hiva, visitors are now able to participate in full-day wild pig and goat hunts, which are followed by traditionally slow- cooking the meat in an umu, an underground oven. 

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