Brando's Luxury Escape
If you’re a fan of the actor like I am, you’d have to investigate any eco-resort named after the iconic movie legend found on a tiny private island in the South Pacific. Reached by air, 20 minutes from Papeete, Tetiaroa is the location of a sustainable Tahitian hideaway on what was once Marlon Brando’s luxury escape.
The actor first discovered the island in 1960, after 5 Oscar nominations and the life changing movie, On The Waterfront. During filming of Mutiny on the Bounty, Tahiti captured Brando’s heart, and coincided with the long, downward spiral of his falling out with Hollywood. The 1200 acres of flora and fauna with endless coconut trees became the actors mission and escape. The lagoon, protected by outer coral reefs, looks to have some of the bluest water I have ever seen in these photographs by Tim McKenna.
Fast forward to the 90’s and extensive research to build a self-sufficient resort relying only on renewable energy that included air conditioning fueled by seawater. Richard Bailey, a long established resident of Tahiti and fellow environmentalist agreed to help the actor achieve his dream. The Brando , which will officially open July 1st, is a reflection of that initial legacy both men hoped to create.
The resort is designed to reflect the Polynesian lifestyle and culture. Management is committed to preserving and protecting the natural environment and biodiversity, while maintaining a negligible carbon footprint. 35 villas circle the white sand beaches which are often visited by sea turtles, manta rays and exotic birds.
Structures blend into the surroundings and invite the outdoors in. Care has been taken during construction to treat the area with the highest level of respect. All building materials used are of local or certified origin, renewable, or incorporated recycled components. Large windows provide views of the lagoon, miki miki and coconut trees. The private deck leads to a plunge pool.
The Varua Polynesian Spa is nestled on the shores of a pond where the Tahitian royal family relaxed and enjoyed many beauty rituals. Holistic treatments are combined with modern techniques. Yoga and a steam bath are options.
Diving, snorkeling, bike riding and relaxation are on the list of activities.
Two restaurants showcase all that is fresh, local and delicious from the immediate area. The award wining chef selects from the resorts organically grown fruits and vegetables in their gardens and orchards. An open air bar features spectacular views of the lagoon. Several private tree-top seating areas can be reached by walking through the palm canopy.
With an established research station on island, guests, as well as scientists, can learn about global warming and the protection of tropical atolls. A hotel with intentions to leave the community in a better place than when they arrived, should indeed meet their goal of being a model for the rest of the world to follow.