Thursday, October 27, 2011

Eco-friendly dream hotel - Ninamu Resort, Tikehau

After countless trips to tropical islands all over the world, the island of Tikehau remains my top pick for a “castaway” feel without an insane amount of travel time. Located in French Polynesia’s Tuamotu archipelago, Tikehau only about an hour-long flight from Tahiti, but feels like a world away from even that paradisical isle.  A coral atoll, Tikehau (which means “peaceful landing” in the Tuamotuan language) consists of 2 main islands and numerous smaller islets, all circling a 16-mile wide lagoon.  
The lagoon itself is a natural aquarium  - a study by the Jacques Cousteau Institute found it to have the greatest number and variety of fish in all of French Polynesia (an area the size of Western Europe)! These findings came as no surprise to those who’ve spent time on Tikehau; spend 5 minutes peeking over the edge of a pier into the gin-clear water and you’ll feel as though half of the ocean has swum by. 
The islands and islets are also picture-perfect; flat, sandy (Tikehau is especially famous for its pink sand), and dusted with palm trees and lush foliage. Those who’ve always dreamed of the perfect untouched tropical paradise need not look any further!
Until recently, the only resort option here was the Tikehau Pearl Beach Resort (there are also a few very small family hotels, known as pensions). While the Pearl Beach is definitely a fabulous place to stay (and one of my all-time favorites), I’m very excited to hear that another resort has recently opened, offering  fewer accommodations, eco-friendly luxury, and an even more intimate feel.  Ninamu does not offer any overwater accommodations, but its 6 bungalows (3 located right along the beach and 3 set  back a bit in the gardens) are each completely unique and designed with classically tropical style.  
Rates begin at $700USD per couple per night, and include daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner – a rarity in French Polynesia. With round-trip transfers between the Tikehau airport and resort also included, along with unlimited use of all of the resort’s watercraft, Ninamu is an excellent value for those looking to get away from it all in a setting straight out of a dream! 

Photos courtesy of Ninamu Resort

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