Location, welcome, authentic and traditional setting: the Vahine Private Island Resort has everything you might expect from a stay in Polynesia. Located on a private motu, it is just a few miles from the high island of Tahaa and the lagoon is crystal clear. As there are only a few bungalows, there is a limited number of guests. This makes for a very peaceful stay, with guests strolling around the motu or indulging in snorkelling sessions in the lagoon's coral gardens. Indeed, the natural surroundings are splendid and protected and that is what makes the establishment so luxurious. However, you shouldn't expect the level of comfort you would find in a standard international resort, but that doesn't matter, as the Vahine Island is a Polynesian hotel where everything happens outdoors. You will feel like Robinson Crusoe here!
This hotel review is a translation from the French published on our French site Easyvoyage.com.
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The hotel is located by the sea, on a private island, motu Tuvahine, opposite the north-eastern coast of Tahaa, at the same level as the village of Hipu. Patio, the main village of Tahaa, is a little over 3 mi away from the motu (a quarter of an hour by boat). There is no airport on the island of Tahaa: it is on the neighbouring island of Raiatea, 2 mi from Uturoa. It should take you about 35 minutes by boat to get from the airport to the hotel. The crossings are organised by Vahine Island (?135 for a return ticket).
To cut down on transfer costs, you can take a taxi from the airport to Uturoa harbour (it will cost you around ?13), and then take the Tamarii boat for Tahaa (on weekdays, departure times at 10:00 am and at 4:00 pm, 1 hour crossing to Patio, on Saturdays, one departure at 10:00 am, no crossings on Sundays, ?7 per person). From Patio, the hotel offers a boat service upon request (?17 per person). On the way back, the Tamarii boat leaves Patio at 5:15 am and 11:25 am on weekdays, and at 5:15 am on Saturdays (no boat service on Sundays). It will take you one hour to get back to Uturoa's harbour.
There are 9 accommodation units of several types; 3 bungalows built on stilts, 3 beach bungalows and 3 suites. The 'beach' and 'suite' bungalows are to be found along the coastline, behind the common buildings. These units are orientated to ensure the privacy of each terrace. This is not quite the case for the bungalows built on stilts though; these 3 bungalows lie parallel in a row and face the island of Tahaa. From your terrace you will therefore also have a view of the bungalow next to yours. In terms of surface area, the double bungalows are 580 sq ft and the suites around 1,240 sq ft. Traditional materials (parquet floor, walls covered with plaited niau) are the predominant elements and the roof's wooden structure is visible, which gives an added impression of height. There is a fan, but no air-conditioning and it is sorely missed in the hot season (from November to March). If the heat bothers you, you should ask for a bungalow on stilts, as these provide more fresh air at night. The other amenities are up to scratch and include 50 ml Molton Brown hospitality products in the bathroom and a DVD player (there is no television but you won't really miss it in these spectacular surroundings). A special mention should be made with regard to the coconut that is kindly prepared and placed in your room for your arrival. Tea and coffee-making facilities (with courtesy tea bags) are also available for you to prepare a hot drink. The other amenities on offer include a minibar, a telephone, a safe and an individual shower with dressing-gowns and a hair-dryer.
One of the assets of Vahine Island is the space it provides: the 9 accommodation units are spread through a 10-acre estate. Guests can easily find a secluded area, either in the coconut groves, on the beach, or on their bungalow's private terrace. Those who are in search of some company should set up camp at the bar facing the boat terminal and the pontoon that leads to the 3 bungalows built on stilts. This open building is built in the local architectural vein. It includes low seats with cushions, and it is both simple and chic. Guests who have just arrived are welcomed at the bar and the reception is housed in a building behind it. The restaurant occupies another building, next to the bar. This layout creates several common areas, where guests can mingle without getting in each other's way. This is not the only advantage of this altogether remarkable layout. The other benefits are to be found on land and in the sea. One walk you must definitely go on is the one that takes you around the motu (20 minutes). As there is no other form of habitation on the island, you won't cross paths with any stray dogs. You must follow the shoreline on the reef side; you'll sometimes have to make your way past huge coral stones or through a partially cut down coconut grove. You are sure to feel like a true explorer: in the distance, you will probably be able to make out the islands of Bora, Huahine and Raiatea. Another excursion will take you straight into the lagoon: you can cross with your snorkelling gear (the underwater scenery is extraordinary) to the small island some 900 ft away. It is totally uninhabited. There, you can live like Robinson Crusoe, although it would be more prudent to have some mosquito repellant as the nonos (Polynesian mosquitoes) congregate in huge numbers on desert islands.
Food and drink
All three meals are served at Vahine Island, so you won't have to go to the island of Tahaa to find food. Breakfast consists of yoghurt (flavoured with vanilla from Tahaa), pastries and cakes, fresh bread, tropical preserves, fruit juice and hot drinks. All the while, you can enjoy the view of the beach, the lagoon and the island of Tahaa. For lunch and dinner the setting remains the same, only the service changes. Lunch is served a la carte and your evening meal consists of a 3-course menu: starter, main course and dessert, with two choices for each (so you can either try the local specialties or go for the meat and foie gras). For lunch you can have a quick snack, such as a tomato and tuna sandwich (?8), some pasta (tagliatelle with carbonara or bolognaise sauce for ?12), a hamburger and fries (?14) or a filet of fish with lime (also ?14). As the evening meal often includes gourmet food and given the fact that everything here invites you to laze around in your lodgings, you might appreciate the 'terrace lunch' option: a tray is brought to the terrace of your bungalow - you can have a club sandwich, a salad and some fresh fruit for ?13! Water, beer and coffee are also reasonably priced; the local beer costs around ?5.
The beach is prepared for guests and extends on either side of a little jetty, some 210 ft in one direction and 300 ft in the other. It includes deck chairs made of fabric stretched across a wooden frame and relaxation armchairs made of cast plastic. The sand is fine and the coconut trees that run along the coastline make the beach look like something from a picture postcard. However, you will soon notice that the sand is carefully prepared and maintained. There is a massive base of coral under the fine sand; you will also find that morsels of coral are strewn across the seabed, which makes the use of rubber sandals necessary (these are made available free of charge). If you feel like a swim you will have to wade out a bit, as the water is too shallow close to the shore. However, the most exceptional characteristic of Vahine Island's coastline is the crystal clear water of its lagoon and its magnificent coral gardens. Multicoloured madrepors, bright blue fish, with red or yellow stripes; you can see all this next to the small island in front of the beach, or at the far end of the estate (on the coral reef side). You can even admire the second coral garden and still keep your feet dry: you can walk on the coral stones that form a natural dyke overlooking the ocean. It is L-shaped and the corner of the dyke is where there is a submerged coral garden. It's truly magnificent!
The Vahine Private Island Resort is part of the prestigious group Small Luxury Hotels of the World. There are, for the moment, only 9 accommodation units, in individual bungalows. A hotel extension is planned and includes a swimming pool, 5 additional 'apartment suite' bungalows and 2 'family' bungalows on stilts. Accommodation tip: Ask for a 'suite' bungalow if you are here on a family holiday or if you're travelling with friends. They are 1,240 sq ft and they are laid out in such a way as to accommodate 2 adults and 2 children, or 3 adults. If you are here for a romantic retreat, you should choose the 'beach' bungalows to be able to enjoy an unobstructed view. Their wooden deck offers a view of the shoreline and the furniture includes a hammock. Prices and reservations on www.vahine-island.com.
massage, keep fit, spa, beauty salon
canoe, sailing, volleyball, tennis, fitness
Located on a private motu
Limited number of bungalows
No air-conditioning in the accommodation units
The water by the shoreline is too shallow
Package deals in novembre 2006Posted on 2012-07-03En couple - 1 nuitée (Pavillon/Paillote/Maison)
Cadre merveilleux où on a l'impression d'être seuls au monde.
Le cadre est enchanteur, merveilleux, ilot minuscule; Bungalow peu nombreux tout confort. possibilité de faire des excursions.
Beaucoup d'attente entre les arrivées et départs : du temps de perdu.