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Sandie Wiesenthal

Beverly Hills, California Travel Agent

Marlon Brando’s French Polynesia

For carefree luxury amid pristine luxury, The Brando on Tetiaroa is one of my favorite spots. Once Marlon Brando’s personal sanctuary, this secluded 35-villa resort is only accessible by a 15-minute plane or helicopter ride from Papeete (which is about an eight-hour flight from Los Angeles). As you approach the island you see the multitude of colors of the water and you know that you are approaching a very special place.

You are escorted to your villa by a member of the staff who shows you around the bedroom, living room, media room and huge bathroom with an outdoor bathtub. Each of the one-, two- or three-bedroom villas is set along the beach. Despite contemporary touches, you can feel the Polynesian culture in every aspect of the five-star resort.

The resort takes environmental responsibility seriously. The tour of the "back of the house" was a surprising highlight because the resort is very creative in its efforts to be green and sustainable. For example, 70 percent of the air conditioning is fueled by recycled water from the atoll, and fruits and vegetables are grown on site.

You can walk around the property or use one of the bikes that come with each villa rental. Nothing is very far. There are two restaurants with cuisine designed by a two-star Michelin award-winning chef; and a new teppanyaki venue, plus Bob's Bar where I had lunch daily. The spa looks like it was transported from the Italian countryside with treatment huts set among the lush vegetation of the interior of the resort.

This is a pricey destination but the fact that everything is included in your all-inclusive rate adds to the sense of being in a fantasy paradise. All meals and drinks are included, and room service is available in your room, at the beach or by the pool. If you stay for a week, then the transfer to the island is also provided at no additional cost, as are daily spa treatments (one per day per villa) and many activities.

Going out on the boat to snorkel through the pristine water and see the colorful coral formations and then walking to a sandbar was spectacular. I have never seen water that clear or colors that sparkle and change as they do here.

I also took this opportunity to try paddle boarding; since the water was smooth as silk and warm as a tub I was successful. The resort also supports an onsite research center, and scientists and naturalists lead birding, reef and hiking expeditions, sharing fascinating information about the research and the diversity of bird, marine and plant life around the island.

I have traveled the world and seen many beautiful locations but I can truly say that this was one of the most wonderful resorts I have seen. Please call me if you would like more information on a trip to The Brando.

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