In 1967 the actor Marlon Brando bought a private island in Tetiaroa, French Polynesia, for a mere $200,000; unbelievably less half the price of one South London garage which recently sold for £550,000. But economics aside, this was an investment that would give Brando peace and fulfillment in his later years and is now seen as the ultimate holiday destination for the world’s rich and famous.
Tetiaroa is a stunning atoll (for those not au fait with tropical island terminology, an atoll is a ring shaped coral reef or series of islands) located 30 miles north of Tahiti in the South Pacific. Tetiaroa has always been seen as a mystical place, with stars guiding people there from Southeast Asia 4,000 years ago. It was also a favored retreat for the Tahitian royalty who would take part in archery tournaments as their wives were fanned under nearby coconut trees. And then came Brando.
Having first visited Tetiaroa while filming Mutiny on the Bounty, the actor fell hard for its natural beauty, tranquility, cultural richness as well as for his Tahitian leading lady Tarita, with whom he later had children. It became his personal sanctuary and then his home when he bought Onetahi, one of the 12 smaller islands that make up Tetiaroa, and named it Brando.
Now, a decade after the actor’s death, this island in Tetiaroa is open for guests in the form of a luxury resort made up of thirty–five villas, each with its own private beach, a Michelin two star restaurant, Polynesian spa and organic garden. It still bears the Brando name, in tribute to the original owner.
The Brando consists a mixture of thirty-five one, two and three bedroom villas with luxurious amenities such as large dining rooms for private events, two-tiered decks, outdoor bathtubs and private plunge pools. There are four bars and restaurants which cater to any mood, from a beachfront café to the fine dining restaurant Les Mutines serving the award winning cuisine of Guy Martin. Throw in a tennis court, fitness centre, business lounge and youth centre and you get an idea of exactly how much The Brando offers.
Each of The Brando’s villas have been designed to reflect the Polynesian lifestyle and traditions which were so important to Brando himself. Every aspect of the luxury resort is sustainable, energy efficient and made locally. Even the air conditioning is run using the cold water from the sea drawn directly into pipes – a system designed by Brando and his partner Richard Bailey who now continues the legacy with the new The Brando resort.
But the most breath-taking of all is the immense beauty of the surroundings in which it is set, and the team at The Brando are passionate about their guests exploring it. There are a large range of activities and excursions available, from bicycling, bird watching to snorkeling and diving. The marine life around the islands is abundant (there is a lemon shark nursery, seriously) with Leonardo DiCaprio, one of many famous fans of the resort, reportedly dubbing the surrounding waters “The Billionaires Pool”.
To get to Tetiaroa is simple enough considering how remote it is – all it takes is a flight to Tahiti’s Faa’a International Airport and then a twenty minute journey in a chartered plane to the island. Guests will then be met by a Brando representative and taken to their chosen villa.
Whether you are celebrating a honeymoon, birthday, anniversary or you simply deserve a holiday, this is the place to go. Tetiaroa means “stands apart” in Polynesian and it certainly lives up to its name.