Best travel portal on the web featuring best travel sites, travel packages, travel guides, travel tips, weekly travel newsletter, travel webcams, and much more!
November 5, 2008

Home * Travel Deals * Website of the Week

Webcams * Travel News

WHERE'S JOHNNY JET?                                 Le Taha'a Private Island

HOUSE KEEPING: Remember when you click on the pictures in "Where's Johnny Jet," they will open up in another window. Just click the "x"(close) in each picture to get back to the newsletter. This should alleviate complaints about closing Johnny Jet. Thanks again for your support, and remember: If you book trips on the web, please go through (It will save you money).

Web Resources

Page 1 | 2

Whether you’re a Democrat, Republican or Independent (like me), our country has voted and the message was clear. It’s time for a change and as a frequent traveler, I believe that the mere fact that Obama has won, gives the U.S. an instant victory in the eyes of the world. I bet that traveling around the world will be far different now, than it has been for U.S. citizens in recent years. Only time will tell. God bless America!

Ia orana! We left off last week from one of the world's most beautiful (and most expensive) islands, Moorea! This week, we continue with our four-island trip to French Polynesia and take a 30-minute flight to Raiatea before transferring by boat to a secluded island called Taha'a! It's as close to Fantasy Island as you can get with five-star, luxury overwater bungalows and practically no one else around.

From the Moorea Pearl Beach Resort, Natalie and I took a 10-minute shuttle to the Temae Airport. The transfer was part of our package deal and it was operated by a small Moorea tour bus. They showed up on time as did the other passengers but a high maintenance Italian couple, with their five monster-sized suitcases and oversized painting, were 15 minutes late, holding us all up. The bus was hot since the doors were open and everyone (including myself) was perturbed that we didn't just leave their unapologetic a*ses behind. But the driver must have known our flight was delayed (by 30 minutes) and just kept his laidback island attitude (it must be instilled at birth!)

The Moorea airport has high ceilings, not much air conditioning, a few shops and a bar where they sell bottles of water for just 150 CFP ($1.60USD). Check-in felt like the old days of travel. There was just one agent. He ticked names off of a handwritten list, weighed the bags on an antique scale and there were no security questions or checkpoints. I actually loved the fact there was no security because it's such a hassle and is it really going to deter anyone? Even in the U.S., it's pretty much a joke and any terrorist could get around it. Heck, even I can get around it (and have). The one thing I didn't like about Air Tahiti is that they don't tell you what's going on. There was no announcement that the flight was delayed.

We flew an ATR 72 plane to Raiatea. Air Tahiti doesn't assign seats so when we boarded (from the back), I asked the flight attendant which side of the plane offered the best view. She said the left. Keep in mind, the plane's overhead space is very limited so if your carry-on won't fit under your seat, you will most certainly have to check it. Don't forget to take all your valuables out. Flight time is a short 30 minutes and it was smooth. The pretty flight attendants in their colorful uniforms went up and down the aisle serving pineapple punch. The rude, newly married Italian couple were sitting three rows behind us and they were still fighting. I forgot to mention that they argued the whole time on the bus and they weren't shy about it. On the flight, the woman was bawling so loud that the flight attendant went over to her and asked if she wanted to see the cockpit – while we were in the air. She shook her head “no” so when the flight attendant made her way up to me, I asked if I started crying, would I be able to visit the cockpit? She smiled and said she'd check with the pilot but she didn't come out again until landing. How did I know that was going to happen?

After a smooth touchdown, Natalie and I walked inside the airport and proceeded to the booth sporting our hotel's name. The young rep was there and gave us tags to identify our bags, which came out within five minutes. He carried as much as he could (there was another couple) and we walked 50 yards to the airport dock where the Le Taha'a X was waiting. The boat transfer is 30 minutes and it's not out in the open ocean so it doesn't get crazy rough. We pretty much hugged the coast of the island of Taha'a, which is the fourth largest of the Society Islands (Tahiti, Moorea and Raiatea are the others). The boat is brand new and has a teak floors and everyone sits down below on the comfortable white seats, stares out the open windows and daydreams.

Kids Fly Free on Air Tahiti Nui*

Surprisingly, for such a nice resort, they didn't offer a cold towel or anything to drink on the boat. However, the moment we arrived, there was a welcome delegation with cool fragrant towels, cold tropical drinks the color of the lagoon and flower leis. Le Taha'a Private Island & Spa opened in July 2002 and was designed to be the most exclusive resort in French Polynesia. The hotel has won numerous awards including making Conde Nast's Gold List. It's safe to say that they've accomplished their goal because the 60-room (48 overwater bungalows, 10 beach suites and two super beach suites) resort makes you feel like you are out in the middle of the South Pacific all by yourself. There's no boat traffic like in Bora Bora and the bungalows are reasonably spread out. The resort is isolated and it's not actually on the island of Taha'a. It's located on a motu (a small islet) on a coral reef on the lagoon side of the island of Taha'a with Bora Bora in the background. The resort is owned by the Pearl Hotel group but run by the swanky Relais Chataeux consortium.

Natalie and I were in one of the overwater bungalows. These things are so nice that they made the ones at their sister property (the Moorea Pearl Resort) look like Motel 6. Okay, that's an exaggeration but you get the point. The big differences were the space, the seclusion and the authentic Polynesian style. They are more than a hundred square meters (328 feet) in size. They all have a king size bed, a ship shaped desk and tub, a small flat screen TV with satellite, A/C, phone, high ceilings with a fan, plenty of closet space (one has snorkel gear), a luxurious bathroom that includes a separate stone shower and private toilet. There are also some really nice touches. For example, at the foot of the bed, a glass bottom table can be lifted up to feed or simply stare at the fish below in amazement. There's nothing like seeing eagle rays swim underneath in the thigh deep light green crystal water. There's also a similar hatch next to the tub so you're never far away from the action!

The bungalows also come with a private balcony, with two comfortable multi-position lounge chairs and a covered, outdoor dining table. There's plenty of space and that doesn't include the stairwell to a smaller lower deck with an outdoor shower and an algae covered ladder. I'm not sure why they don't go around and clean the slippery ladders every week but I think it might be a good idea unless it's not environmentally friendly (which might be the case). For sure, the windows could use a cleaning as they were a bit dirty for a five-star resort. I know: picky, picky, picky! But these things are a no-brainer and so easy to do. I also didn't like the fact that they don't give guests the option to use the same towels or sheets for more than one day, which would be more environmentally friendly. The maids are meticulous about cleaning the rooms twice a day however I did find a roach. I felt it crawling on me in the middle of the night so I had to feed him to the fish. That didn't bother me because when you are in the tropics, you expect to see lots of insects and bugs, even in five-star hotels. Except for Mr. Roach, our room was bug free. Another plus about French Polynesia is that there are no poisonous creatures to worry about ... unlike Australia. BTW: I was actually happy you-know-who woke me up in the middle of the night because I ended up going out on the back deck and lying out there for a good 30 minutes. It was so magical and peaceful. The sky was spectacular, dotted with so many brightly lit stars and the occasional one shooting through the infinite galaxy above.

The hotel's public areas are manicured perfectly and they have 150 staff for 120 guests. That's an unreal ratio. Only a few staff members (managers) are lucky enough to live on the island. The others all commute from Taha'a, which is an eight-minute boat ride away. The shuttle is continuously running back and forth (except in the middle of the night) and guests are welcome to go for the ride. The resort has three restaurants and two bars. With the exception of the pool bar and restaurant, they are built up in the trees that provide an exquisite view of the lagoon and Taha'a Island. Vanille is the main restaurant and Ohiri is for fine dining (you should wear pants and a button down shirt). The food is top-notch at both places and the fresh squeezed pineapple juice is amazing. Every Tuesday night, there's an elaborate Polynesian BBQ and show put on by the resort staff, which is quite entertaining. Also, in the main building but on the lower level next to the lobby, is the business center with wireless Internet (1500 CFP = $16USD ) for 24 hours, a shop and the concierge.

If you get bored, there are lots of free activities at the resort, which include use of the gym, kayaks, outrigger canoes, snorkeling equipment, tennis and wind surfing. There are also jet skis available for rent and a slew of excursions that can be arranged: shark feeding, day or sunset cruise, a jeep safari on the main island. Natalie and I booked a jeep safari (more below) but the coolest free thing we did was grabbing some snorkel gear and a kayak and paddling out in the shallow waters to a private motu, then wading through the water until we reached a coral garden. It was so cool. The only thing that could have made it better is if the hotel created a program (or assigned a worker) to pick up the garbage that the locals leave behind from picnics and bonfires. Don't forget to pack water shoes since the ground, at parts, is a bit sharp.

1 | Click to continue

*PLEASE tell us what you think of this week's newsletter!

Copyright 2008 JohnnyJet, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Pictures From

The Trip


Frankie D: Skiing In Switzerland Story (2)


Alan Hogenauer: Systematic Travel


Moorea Airport


Air Tahiti


Inside the ATR 72


Arriving In Raiatea


Le Taha'a Porter


Boat To Taha'a




Welcome Drinks


Hotel Worker


To Our Room


Inside The Room




Back Deck


Outdoor Shower


One of The Restaurants


Polynesia Night




Eagle Ray





This Newsletter is sent by permission only. If you wish to subscribe, unsubscribe or change your subscription at any time, please login HERE. If you have any questions or suggestions please send message addressed to

Join Our Mailing List
Johnny Jet

Natalie Bahadur
About JohnnyPublicityNewsletter ArchiveMy MomPhotogalleryContact Us
Johnny's BookBlogBookmark Us BannersSuggestions