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Recommendations for Upscale South Pacific Private Island Resorts

Recommendations for Upscale South Pacific Private Island Resorts

Aug 20th, 2004, 09:00 AM
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Recommendations for Upscale South Pacific Private Island Resorts

My wife and I have spent over 20 years traveling the Caribbean (I'm an active contributor on the Caribbean Forum) and are in the early stages of planning a trip to the South Pacific. We are looking for an upscale resort (preferably a small to mid-size private island resort as we are not into large hotels) offering full amenities - cost is not a main consideration for us. We been to just every upscale resort in the Caribbean and have been repeat guests at resorts such as Four Seasons Nevis, Cap Julca, Little Dix Bay, Peter Island, Sandy Lane, Caneel Bay, Cayo Esparanto, K-Club to name a few. In the Pacific, I've researched Lizzard Island, Haymen Island, Turtle Island and one or two others who's names escape me (obviously I wasn't too impressed with those) but am at a bit of a disadvantage as I'm very unfamiliar with the South Pacific. At this stage of our planning we are not looking for anyone to tell us where to go but rather we are hoping many of you "Pacific Fodorites" can give us the names of your favorite upscale resorts which we will then research on our own to narrow down our choices. A couple of brief comments about the resorts you name would be helpful but not necessary at this point in our investigation. Of course, thanks in advance for any information you might give.
Aug 20th, 2004, 09:46 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,044
If you are considering any of the islands of Polynesia (French Polynesia, Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga) I feel compelled to warn you that these South Pacific destinations are not really known for their level of service, and that even in very nice, expensive resorts service can be rather slow and the levels somewhat spotty. The end result is that 5-star accomodations really are a bit more like 4-star and 4-star more like 3-star. Having said that, I do think that the area has much to offer. For one thing, these are some of them most beautiful locations on earth and for another, the Polynesians themselves are some of the warmest, most friendly folks you are likely to meet. In addition, French Polynesia is well known for the wonderful overwater bungalows found there - some of the most romantic settings you can imagine. In my opinion, just being in one of the OW units adds a whole star just by itself.

In French Polynesia the resorts usually considered to be among the best are:

Hotel Bora Bora (Bora Bora) - The Grand Dame of South Pacific resorts, and the place that is most likely to offer the highest levels of service. Located on Bora Bora itself.

Sofitel Motu (Bora Bora) - Usually gets very nigh marks from visitors. Featured in the closing scene of the spy movie "XXX". Located on a small motu (islet) just off Bora Bora.

Bora Bora Nui Resort and Spa - Known for having some of the grandest overwater units on the island. Located on the same motu as the Bora Bora Lagoon Resort. Major drawback to me is that the units all look out to sea instead of back towards the main island of Bora Bora.

Tahaa Pearl Beach Resort - Newest (and possibly most upscale) resort in French Polynesia, this place was an immediate hit. People seem to love this place.

Good place to "talk" to other visitors to FP is the Tahiti-Explorer message board (http://tahiti-explorer.com/). Lots of upscale travelers frequent that board.

Note that none of the resorts in that part of the world are very large (even the biggest ones would be considered to be merely mid-sized in most places).

Personally, I love the Cooks more than French Polynesia, but in general, the Cooks are not an upscale place (though there are a few exceptions - notably the Aitutaki Pacific Resort).


LordBalfor is offline  
Aug 20th, 2004, 10:17 AM
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Also should point out that the most well-regarded place in Samoa is Coconuts Beach Club (featured once in Conde Naste magazine), a place which I've not been to (yet) but which has long interested me (especially the "treetop units"). I beleive this place is "somewhat upscale" - though again, not necessarily to the level you are used to. Still you may want to look into it. In general however Samoa is not considered to be an upscale destination (even less so than its' neighbors), but rather one more suited to "adventure" (or culture-seeking travelers looking for "off the beaten track" and "unspoiled" type places.

Of all the areas in question, Fiji and FP are probably your best bets for finding high-end places.

LordBalfor is offline  
Aug 20th, 2004, 10:38 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
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You might want to consider the Yasawa Island Resort in Fiji if you are looking for a more remote and small intimate accommodation with funds not being a major consideration. This lovely destination is a 25 min. small plane ride from Nadi ( main island ). We had a fabulous time there and were pleased were all aspects of our stay. Have a look at their website www.yasawa.com. I have also been to FP a number of times and there is no question about the beauty of this region, but if a quiet and relaxing spot is what you are looking for checkout Yasawa.
DJE is offline  
Aug 20th, 2004, 10:43 AM
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Thank you LordBalfor. You've ginen me some very useful information. I'll check out the places you mentioned. I appreciate your resopnse.
Aug 20th, 2004, 10:46 AM
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Thank you DJE. I'll look into Yasawa.
Aug 20th, 2004, 11:01 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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You're welcome. You might consider taking a look at Epinions.com & tripadvisor.com - useful sites that contain reviews of other visitors to some of these places.

LordBalfor is offline  
Aug 20th, 2004, 11:09 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I've been to most the places you mentioned, including Cayo Espanto. And through the Cooks & FP several times and Samoa & Fiji including Turtle, Namale & Vatulele. Based on my personal preference, I'd say Hotel Bora Bora or Vatulele, with Vatulele being on top for it's remoteness & lack of people compared to BB. I hear Yasawa is similiar. If Katafunga was open yet, there may be a new leader. Good luck!
PeggyE is offline  
Aug 31st, 2004, 05:28 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
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I just spent my honeymoon in Bora Bora and in Tahaa, and I definally recommend Le Tahaa, it's a beutiful resort and has a fine gourmet restaurant. I love travelling and did a lot of research for this special trip and it has been a success!!
My sister went to lizard island last year and she was also very happy, let me know if you want more information on either resort
carlota is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2004, 05:36 AM
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Have heard good things about Turtle Island in Fiji - privately owned, small and expensive. In Australia, you could look into Orpheus Island or Bedarra Island - both small and upmarket.

If you come to Australia and have the time, you might enjoy El Questro near Kununurra in northern Western Australia. The Homestead is expensive, luxurious and remote - looks fabulous but way out of my price bracket!
KayF is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2004, 06:30 AM
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Thanks again to all who offered some suggestions. We have started researching the places mentioned.

Note to KayF - we heard people mention Bederra Island when we were in Australia last year so I'll check it out. By the way if you are an Auzzie you might like to know we thoroughly enjoyed touring that country and the neighboring New Zealand. Stayed 3 1/2 weeks but it wasn't long enough. Hoping to go back soon.
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