Don your sundress and flip-flops, leave the stress of your wedding behind, and head to French Polynesia for a dream honeymoon. This idyllic retreat can be yours on the intimate island of Moorea.
The best way to travel to Tahiti from Houston is to catch the 7 pm Continental flight to Los Angeles and connect with Air Tahiti Nui. The Hilton Hotel Tahiti is in an industrial area nestled between the town of Papette and the international airport. Reserve a room for the night prior to your arrival, as the arduous journey and time change will leave you fatigued. Get straight to your room, pull the shades and take a long nap—the beds at the resort are amazing. The view from the fourth floor overlooks Tahiti Harbor bustling with boats—it’s not all that romantic, but the best is yet to come.
Papeete, the capital of Tahiti is a condense, bustling little town full of narrow streets snarled with traffic. The Public Market, a large two-story structure near the town’s center, is where locals sell arts, crafts, clothing, gifts, and fresh fruit. Some vendors have fresh whole fish on ice or hanging from large hooks. Locally produced jewelry prominently features Tahitian black pearls; shops specializing in the regional gem are everywhere. Evenings can be spent enjoying food and music with locals near the ship docks.
Moorea is a 30-minute Catamaran ride from Papette. From the large ferry, it’s clear the island is lush, green, and welcoming—the resort is even better. Individual huts serving as rooms spill down the mountain slope to the ocean and continue over the water. There are about 100 huts, half of which are built over the water in a reef- protected lagoon.
Each thatched-roof hut is rich in natural woods, has a high vaulted ceiling, a big beautiful bathroom, and lounge-esque patio area. Huts over the lagoon have glass panels in the floors to watch fish swim by and private steps for snorkeling in the crystal clear waters off the patio. If that’s not enough, breakfast is delivered by canoe at your request.
The path to the main restaurant and bar is an elevated, polished-ironwood walkway over a large koi pond. The gleaming natural wood theme is consistent throughout the pitched roof facility. Dining at the Moorea hotel is an indulgence. Try the elaborate seafood bar complete with grilled langoustine lobsters and oysters on the half shell. The meal is complimented with white wine, live music, and Polynesian dancers.
Moorea is known for growing vanilla beans, pineapples, and papayas. An island tour from Moorea Transport brings you up close and personal to these native crops.
There are few restaurants in town, but one of them, Te Hono Iti, is featured in the book “1000 Places to See Before You Die.” The tables are situated over shallow bay waters. Stingrays and petite sharks race to eat meat scraps waiters toss over the railing. The food is fabulously French—foie gras, seafood bisque, and Mahi Mahi mousse with rich lobster sauce.
Moorea, rumored to be the most beautiful island on earth, is the perfect place to honeymoon and start your new life as one.
Hilton Hotel Tahiti
Ph: (689) 86 48 48
Fax: (689) 86 48 40
Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa
Ph: (689) 55 11 11
Fax: (689) 55 11 55
Ph: (689) 56 12 86
– Laurette Veres
photo: Tom Flynn