Relaxing in Luxury at Pearl Resorts

Le Tahiti by Pearl Resorts
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By Gerry Barker
Photos/Video by Gerry Barker

Our magical time in French Polynesia was coming to a close. After a week-long, Windstar cruise and three days on Moorea, there was one day left before we would board French bee for the flight home.

We wanted to stay not-too-far from the airport, since our plane had an early-morning departure, but at the same time, experience more of what Tahiti has to offer. Our choice of Le Tahiti by Pearl Resorts accomplished both.

Located on Tahiti’s north shore along Lafayette beach, with its black, volcanic sands, and facing historic Matavai Bay, it offers the ultimate in luxury accommodations that blend seamlessly into the island’s natural ecology.

Matavai Bay has played a significant role in the island’s history. It’s where the first European explorers landed, including James Cook in 1769 on a voyage to study the Transit of Venus, when that planet tracks across the sun. For the purpose, Cook established an observatory at nearby Point Venus, which today is the site of a recreational area and lighthouse, built in 1867.

Another visitor was William Bligh, of “Mutiny on the Bounty” fame. He arrived here in 1788 on a mission to transport breadfruit from Polynesia to the Caribbean. Bounty departed with over a thousand plants some five months later, and soon thereafter, the mutiny took place. History buffs can visit the home of author James Norman Hall, who wrote the three-volume Bounty Trilogy, just over a mile from the resort, which houses his typewriter and 3,000-volume library.

One last note: Missionaries from the London Missionary Society came in 1797 to establish a mission at Point Venus. It is claimed that is why the 118 islands that comprise French Polynesia are called the Society Islands, although that’s in dispute.

Pearl’s 91 suites and rooms are all ocean-facing, and ours was more akin to a small apartment than a suite, starting with the whirlpool tub located adjacent to our balcony, where you could watch the waves wash over the black sand just below. It had everything you could possibly want in a room: Large living room, opulent bath, closet and dressing area, bedroom with a king bed and even a half-bath for extra measure.

The contemporary decor reflects the Polynesian lifestyle, with warm woods, soft hues and books about Polynesian culture and art. The word “welcome” was spelled out in wood pieces across the bed. Open the interlocking sliding, balcony doors and it was almost like sitting on the beach as the sound of waves crashing to the shore filled the room.

Since time was limited, we wanted to see what else the resort offered. Walking a winding path along the ocean, we saw a hammock under a palm tree that had our name on it, then arrived at the restaurant/outdoor bar. Across from it was a large, infinity pool, where I already had my eye on a lounge chair.

Upstairs was the main registration desk and a small marketplace of shops. Everything was built to blend with the resort’s natural setting. Another nice feature is how the resort highlights the history of the area and the island along the walkways. We learned there’s a free shuttle to downtown Papeete twice daily, with all its shops and restaurants. But for me, it was about relaxing and enjoying the resort.

In the early evening, the bar was hosting happy hour, where we had tropical drinks while watching guests engage in salsa dancing. Afterwards, it was dinner by candlelight in the resort’s outdoor restaurant.

Like the rest of our time here, the day passed too fast, and after dinner we retreated to pack our bags for a 3 am wakeup call. Looking around one last time, it made me think: If Bligh’s sailors could have stayed here, they would never gotten back on the Bounty at all.

(Our thanks to Le Tahiti by Pearl Resorts for hosting our stay)


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