Tahiti for honeymoon?

Aug 13th, 2002, 11:21 AM
  #1  
Mike
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Tahiti for honeymoon?

I've begun looking for a honeymoon destination for July 2003. We live in the northeast US and will be married in Las Vegas so I was thinking that a westerly trip might be too our advantage since we'll be out there already and can pretty easily leave from LAX. I was hoping for something relaxing and tropical rather than metropolitan and somehow got steered toward Tahiti via websites. I've done some reasearch on tahiti-explorer and other websites and generally find a lot of complaints. The consensus seems to be the ambiance is unbelieveable but the service sucks, the food at the resortsis mediocre, everything is ridiculously priced, you'll be eaten alive by mosquitos, the maids might rob your safe,it's too hot, too windy, "but it's the greatest trip I ever had". I've done more research on Bora Bora and the reviews on all the resorts are really mixed. Is there somewhere else I should be looking like Fiji, Cook Islands, etc.? We would like something tropical and relaxing with great natural beauty but also like fine dining and great service resorts which seem to be the big complaints on Tahiti. I was thinking maybe Hawaii but I want some place where we won't have to plan everything out and be "on the go" all the time which is what I think will happen in Hawaii. I don't mean to be lazy and not do all this research myself but was hoping someone could point me in a direction I might not look on my own...

thanks,
Mike
 
Aug 13th, 2002, 04:23 PM
  #2  
LordBalfor
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You don't have to be "on the go" all the time in Hawaii. The north and windward shores of Oahu are beautiful, quiet places with very laid-back atmospheres. The windward shore of Oahu even has a substantial barrier reef giving water conditions (at Kaneohe Bay) and scenery a little like that found on the islands of French Polynesia. Kauai too, has a terrific stretch of water at Anini Beach (on the North Shore near Princeville) that is very much like that of French Polynesia - with a great reef and calm shallow water. In addition, Kauai is a very, very laid back kind of place. In fact most folks who have complaints about the island say it is too laid back. Personally, we loved it. The North Shore in particular is just lovely. It's the rainy side of the island, but July is the dry season in Hawaii and I believe (not sure) that the water is often calmest on the North Shore during the summer (NOT the winter though).

The Cooks too are terrific. Almost as beautiful as French Polynesia, they are much, much, much cheaper (they use the NZ dollar so Americans get a great exchange rate - 1 NZD is around 45 cents US). The only disadvantage is that there's not any true overwater bungalows (if you really want that experience). The people there are much, much friendlier than in French Polynesia, however keep in mind that service anywhere in Polynesia tends to be rather slowwwwwwww. It's part of the laid-back "life's a beach" lifestyle. Don't let it annoy you too much. The fact is, those people have it right. Americans are way too hurried. There's a reason that people in Hawaii live longer than those in any other state - they don't stress about the little things.

If you haven't done it yet, poke around on Webshots.com - they've got lots of terrific, high-resolution photos posted there. The best collection of Kauai pictures are (in my opinion) by Localpics2 (especially his Kauai North Shore #1 collection). Take a look:

http://community.webshots.com/user/localpics2

Morenobet has a great collection (perhaps the best) of Cook Islands Photos (along with awesome photos of Italy). See it here:

http://community.webshots.com/user/morenobet

And if you haven't seen them yet, you might take a look at my shots of all 3 places. You can see them here:

http://community.webshots.com/user/lordbalfor

In any event, they are all great places. I think French Polynesia is the most beautiful (especially Bora Bora), the Cooks are perhaps the best bargain, and Hawaii has the most options as far as where to stay and what to do.

Whereever you go, have a great time.

Ken



 
Aug 13th, 2002, 06:35 PM
  #3  
Peggy
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Having been to all the above several times, I would say Fiji. Look into some of the private island resorts if you have the budget. French Polynesia is "overexposed" in my book. Too many resorts have been built in the last ten years.
 
Aug 14th, 2002, 07:23 AM
  #4  
Mike
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Thanks for the responses. Ken, I've read some of your Epinions stuff and I'll read some more. I think I'm hooked on the South Pacific idea so I'll explore Fiji and the Cooks a bit more. The pics on webshots are beautiful.

Another question: what is usually the best way to book the vacation in terms of price and service? I've been looking mostly at websites (tahiti-explorer and pacificforless.com) and also noticed that Costco sells packages to these areas. Do most people book through the web for the best savings? I noticed one website had no phone contact, only e-mail so that's obviously off the list.

Thanks for your help, now I have a lot more research to do!

-Mike
 
Aug 14th, 2002, 07:59 AM
  #5  
Jane
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Mike,

I actually think I found the link to this website I'm going to share with you on fodors.com a while back, but now I can't remember. Regardless, I think you will find it really helpful in choosing a resort/hotel if you do in fact decide on tahiti, moorea, bora bora etc. This is a wonderfully informative site with pictures that just might convince you to go! The only drawback to Fiji/Cook area is there are in fact, no overwater bungalows...and of course the flying time/price etc. In the end, the cost will probably even out for you (flying to Fiji will probably be more expensive than to Tahiti, but Tahiti is obviously more expensive one you get there). Regardless, don't go to Hawaii. It's beautiful, don't get me wrong - but it's YOUR HONEYMOON! splurge! Hawaii is close enough for a vacation years down the road....it seems like you have all the time in the world for your honeymooon, and you're less likely to "splurge" for a mere vacation...

Anyway, check this out - it's "Mike & Tiffany's" webpage/trip report/reviews etc..... It's great! - http://www.tahiti.wunschl.com/

Congrats and i'm sure you'll enjoy wherever you end up! Let us know how it was when you return!
 
Aug 14th, 2002, 08:56 AM
  #6  
Sue
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If you decide on French Polynesia you might consider a cruise. We were there on the Paul Gauguin in June and the food and service on the ship were outstanding. There were lots of honeymooners on board and they held a separate reception for them. You get to visit all the islands from the luxury of the ship. Passengers have the use of a private beach off Bora Bora and there is an incredible day spent on a private motu off Ta'haa with an elaborate lunch, lots of tropical drinks in freshly cut coconut shells, outdoor massages, and kayaking and snorkeling. Heaven!
 
Aug 14th, 2002, 10:26 AM
  #7  
Holly
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Mike,
If you're going to travel to Fiji or Tahiti or the Cooks, try pricing Discover Wholesale Travel - their prices are so much lower than anywhere else I've checked. The only thing is you have to know exactly where you want to go and where you want to stay as they're not big on advice. My vote is Bora Bora for your honeymoon - you can't beat it!!! Good luck and happy planning.
 
Aug 14th, 2002, 05:20 PM
  #8  
Mike
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Jane,

I've seen that url you posted mentioned before but unfortunately, it is now defunct.

Thanks all, for the advice.
 
Aug 15th, 2002, 07:18 AM
  #9  
Jane
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Mike,

bummer - i'm sorry about the url. hadn't checked it out in awhile...IS MIKE OR TIFFANY AROUND THIS SITE AT [email protected]!?!?! if you're out there, has the url changed?!?! i hope they write in mike, as it's a really valuable tool! good luck deciding! and congrats again! (p.s. where in las vegas are your nuptials going to be held?!?!)
 
Aug 15th, 2002, 08:18 AM
  #10  
LordBalfor
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I just tried the URL for Tiffany's site & it seemed to work fine for me.

By the way - she is "twunschl" - one of the top travel writers on Epinions. If you haven't read her reviews, you might want to take a look:

http://www.epinions.com/user-twunschl

Ken
 
Aug 15th, 2002, 11:50 AM
  #11  
Mike
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Funny, I tried that site again and it failed (by compy and pasting the link), then I typed it in myself w/o the "www" and it worked fine. Weird! So now I have some more reading.

Jane, we will be getting married at Caesar's Palace in Vegas.
 
Aug 15th, 2002, 12:13 PM
  #12  
Jane
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mike,

yeah! i'm so glad the web page is up and running! good stuff. it took me a day to get all the way through that site but i am so thankful for it and as soon as my husband and i return from australia in october, we hope to plan a 2003 trip to tahit/moorea/rangiroa/bora bora etc. this site is particularly inspiring and helpful though!

- i live in southern california and frequent vegas a couple of times of year! caesars is awesome and i know you'll have a wonderful wedding! congrats again! let us know how it all goes!
 
Aug 15th, 2002, 02:29 PM
  #13  
greg
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We've been to various island in Hawaii four times and to Tahiti twice. The best way to describe the difference between the two is that Hawaii is a US resort while Tahiti is French-Polynesian resort.

If you want good American style service, you will not find it in Tahiti. If you are looking for American fine cuisine, you will not find them in Tahiti either. Everything at resorts are ridiculously priced at both places, except that in Hawaii you can find Cosco while in Tahiti, the alternative is limited.

For me, they are different destinations. If I want to ski, I would go to Alta, Whistler, etc. I would not go to Hawaii and complain that the snow is lousy there. I would not go to Hawaii looking for blue lagoons, French-Polynesian food or overwater bungalows. Nor would I go to Tahiti looking for American services and food and expect everyone to speak English.
 
Aug 16th, 2002, 05:00 AM
  #14  
Mike
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Thanks for all the insights. It's making my decision much easier. I am starting to get some confidence that I will not have any complaints about the service because I've been to Europe and after sitting in the first restaurant in France for about 45 minutes waiting for the check and finally hearing another party ask for "les additions s'il vous plait", I started to get a feel for the laid back nature of service when we're used to being hustled out of a restaurant ASAP to fill the table with another group. It drives me nuts sometimes to be travelling on business with first-timers to Europe and we go to restaurants and they get all flustered when they actually have to finish one course before the next one comes and actually have to ask for the check.

I speak a decent amount of French and have been to France and Belgium a couple times and Quebec so I kinda like the idea of going to a French territory and being able to practice up. One thing I noticed, if I speak French in Europe, they like it and will speak back in French and speak slowly so I can attempt to understand (it's much easier for me to speak, read, and write than understand what a native is saying). Even if they speak English they will help me get by in French.

Now in Quebec, they right away know that French is not my native language and insist on speaking English as if my sub-par French is painful to their ears. My family is from Quebec a few generations past and I have a tremendously popular surname in Quebec so they even know I am of French-canadian heritage when checking into a hotel but they still don't like me speaking French ;(

Will the locals in FP be flattered or offended if I attempt to converse in French with them? Has anyone tried or noticed others?
 
Aug 16th, 2002, 07:28 AM
  #15  
Jane
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Je ne sais pas Mike! Mais, j'espère qu'ils apprécieront l'effort!

But, seriously - that's a great question. I have a friend who took french with me in high school/college and she did try to dabble in the language a little during her visit to Tahiti, particularly while in the market and she said that she always said merci to the servers and other resort employees! I'm surprised your efforts didn't get you anywhere in Quebec. I know while in France, I have had good response at least TRYING to communicate in French and they are more accomodating when they see me put forth some effort rather than assuming they speak English. I'm interested to hear what the answer is!
 
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