My mind is always soothed when I imagine myself sitting on my south sea island.
— MARLON BRANDO
While shooting the 1962 film “Mutiny on the Bounty”, Hollywood legend Marlon Brando fell in love with his leading lady — and French Polynesia. By 1967 he realized his vision of transforming the paradisiacal atoll of Tetiaroa into a private eco-retreat that’s perfectly intertwined with its natural surrounds.
Today, that dream has emerged as The Brando, occupying its own private motu (islet) in a 12-island cluster surrounding a lagoon some 30 miles north of Tahiti, where discerning travelers seek a simpler, more secluded lifestyle. Leisurely days come naturally when you’re staying in one of the 35 solar- and biofuel-powered villas on a stretch of private beachfront.
Casual fare by day gives way to fine dining in the evening at Les Mutinés. Led by Michelin-starred chef Guy Martin, who elevates Polynesian-inspired cuisine to the sublime, the exotic ingredients that appear on your plates — papaya, breadfruit, squash, shellfish — are nurtured in the island’s orchards and gardens and harvested from its waters.
Outdoor activities unite you with Tetiaroa’s landscape: a naturalist-guided bird discovery tour explores some of Tahiti’s largest colonies of snowy white terns and baby brown boobies, while an exploratory lagoon outing in an outrigger canoe imparts a sense of Polynesian sport and tradition. Of course, if total relaxation is your aim, a holistic 50-minute treatment at Varua Polynesian Spa is a tempting option, our compliments to you.
Where will you find your paradise? Read on to find more of our favorite eco-retreats where you can relax and recharge. Seamlessly integrated into breathtaking surroundings, these properties preserve the natural resources that make them so magical.
HOTELS & RESORTS
Mexico’s Riviera Maya might be the last place you expect to find Asian-influenced hospitality, but Banyan Tree Mayakoba offers precisely that within its protected eco-habitat. Amidst its lagoons and mangrove forests are enormous guest villa accommodations with private pools, plus the Greg Norman-designed El Camaleón golf course where we’ll arrange for preferential green fees. Set out for a day of exploring the ruins at Chichén Itzá, or stay close and savor Thai flavors with a $100 credit toward the resort’s Saffron restaurant.
Sabi Sand Game Reserve in South Africa is one place where you don’t even need to safari to see the Big Five. At Singita’s Ebony & Boulders Lodges, simply setting foot in this 45,000-acre swath of land practically ensures a sighting of a lazy lion in midday repose. Even so, a game drive into adjacent Kruger National Park is no less thrilling, especially when you know that Singita is doing its part to protect the wildlife and savanna — down to sourcing indigenous fruits for your complimentary African body ritual at the spa.
Located 20 minutes from New Zealand’s Māori mecca of Rotorua, the rooms and villas of Treetops Lodge & Estate are tucked within an 800-year-old forest. Though the woods pave the way for horseback rides and hiking, it’s the local cuisine that lies in Treetops’ heart. Join the chef to forage the onsite fruit orchards and vegetable gardens, stroll through the bush to collect indigenous herbs and spices for your lesson at the Wild Food Cooking School, or let us treat you to a picnic on the estate, ensuring your basket is brimming with gourmet goodies and local wine.
You won’t find anything more magical than the misty cloud forests of Ecuador — except perhaps Mashpi Lodge, set inside this 3,200-acre utopia abuzz with biodiversity. Whether gazing through your surprisingly contemporary room’s floor-to-ceiling windows or sipping Chilean wine, you’re sure to spot some of the 32 hummingbird species that flit through the rustling rainforest around you. Let them entice you further on a bird-watching excursion, and you may discover representatives from some of the more than 400 other feathered residents.
Our Hotels & Resorts Collection includes over 900 of the world’s finest hotels, resorts, lodges, spas and unique places to stay. Reserve with us to discover the benefit of privileges that transform your story at these nature-entrenched sanctuaries from restful to rewarding. Benefit from our exclusive privileges such as daily breakfast, as well as upgrades, early check-in and late check-out when available. For more information, contact us or visit our website.
[Cover Photo: Aerial view of The Brando. Photo: The Brando / Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates]