Smitten Spotlight

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The Brando

French Polynesia

Property: The Brando

Region: 30 miles north of Tahiti in Tetiaroa, a private atoll of 12 motus (islands) in the French Polynesia

Resort size: 35 private villas with their own beach area and plunge pool (30 1-bedroom villas, 4 2-bedrooms villas, and 1 3-bedroom villa)

Flight time: Getting to The Brando requires a 4-hour flight from Minneapolis or Chicago to Los Angeles, followed by 8.5 hours from Los Angles to Papeete in Tahiti. From there, The Brando is an additional 20-minute flight to the island’s exclusive airfield. (Upon arrival in Papeete, The Brando guests are directed to a private terminal for their inter-island flight to the resort, which is on an 8-passenger turboprop twin-engine plane.)

Why I’m smitten: Visiting The Brando may feel a bit like you’ve been whisked into another dimension: one filled with every luxury imaginable and saturated with unparalleled island beauty.

A world away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life makes The Brando a favorite among royalty, celebrities, and newlyweds more generally looking for the ultimate romantic retreat. (It’s where the Obamas vacationed last January after leaving the White House and where Pippa Middleton and her new hubby honeymooned in May following their semi-royal wedding).

Not only is the island itself private, but its neighboring 11 motus are as well. This means The Brando guests can paddle board, canoe, and kayak the entire atoll—exploring one of the most exclusive pieces of paradise in the French Polynesia and in the world.

Tetiaroa’s 12 Motus

Onetahi: The Brando Resort is located on the motu that was once the favored retreat of Tahitian royalty

Honuea: Venture the short distance by outrigger canoe to explore white-sand beaches and a shallow, crystalline lagoon

Tiaraunu: The largest of the motus with an abundance of coconut palms

Tauini, Tauroa and, Hiraanae: The northernmost cluster of motus, home to lemon shark nurseries and separated only by little hoa (breaks in the coral reef)

Oroatera: An island paradise with spectacular beaches and a lagoon, along with a seahorse-shaped pond that spawned an ancient legend

Aie: The smallest of the 12 motus

Tahuna Iti and Tahuna Rahi: A sanctuary for birds such as red-breasted black frigates, phaetons, brown gannets, and other petrels

Reiono: The only motu that has preserved its primitive, original rain forest. Reiono also serves as the wilderness home for Kaveu (coconut crabs)

Rimatuu: The first of these motus to be inhabited by Europeans, Rimatuu was once a coconut plantation islet with its own village and dock

(Atoll information and photos courtesy of The Brando)