Vahine Island Resort and Spa is a remote Polynesian hideaway on its own private island with just nine beachfront and overwater bungalows hidden among coconut trees and facing a pristine blue lagoon.
Promising warm, tropical seas, mouth-watering cuisine and carefree sun-filled days, Vahine Island, the only Small Luxury Hotel of the World in French Polynesia is truly paradise on earth.
Located in the heart of the Society Islands Archipelago, in close proximity to Tahaa, the Vanilla Island, lies Motu Tuvahine, an authentically Polynesian island which you will have the opportunity to discover.
Unlike most overrated tourist destinations, Tahaa has managed to stay refreshingly real, unspoilt and preserved: pearl farms, traditional vanilla plantations, copra farming and fishing constitute its principal activities and resources.
Tahaa is an island full of legends and secrets to reveal to the visitor who seeks to know more about the magic of Polynesia. Having 23 acres of blissful tropical island all to yourself, shared with a maximum of 18 guests, there’s no excuse not to unwind.
Watch wading birds while you read on your bungalow terrace or scope the too-blue lagoon from the breezy outdoor restaurant tables, sound tracked by chill-out tunes.
For more animation, a Vahine ‘beach boy’ is on hand after breakfast to organise two or three daily activities, such as snorkeling, windsurfing, sea-kayaking and outrigger canoeing (locally known as pirogues) offshore.
There are rich coral gardens to explore, and you’re likely to see Technicolor fish, rays, dolphins and small, unthreatening black-tip sharks. Complimentary activities on land include beach volleyball and badminton, as well as demonstrations of leaf weaving, sarong (pareo)-making and coconut chopping.
Strolling round the island is also fun, and there are nature tours if you want to find out more about the flora, fauna, shells and reef life.
Feel the need to shop? The Vahine boutique sells wonderful modern jewels made with local elements, shells and tahitian pearls but also typical ingredients from Tahaa such as its delicious vanilla. Did you know that Tahaa vanilla beans are famous to be the best in the world but almost not exported?
The Story of Vahine Island
Bernard Isautier, the founder of Vahine Island, originally comes from Réunion, a French Island in the Indian Ocean. He comes from a family of entrepreneurs engaged in various businesses including the Rhum Industry
At the age of 17, Bernard moved to Paris to attend University and after graduation started a very diversified and successful international business career.
In particular, he achieved a spectacular turnaround of the Canadian Company Polysar Energy & Chemical Corporation, which was sold after a protracted takeover battle in 1988. In 1989, Bernard then in his late forties visited French Polynesia for the first time in his life.
At that age, he had travelled extensively all around the world and had experienced virtually all types of travel accommodation. He fell at once in deep and intense love for French Polynesia which he felt was by far the most beautiful and attractive place in the World. He was also charmed by the character of the Polynesian people.
He then got the idea of creating a small hotel on a “Motu”, one of these small islands made of corals and sands on the edges of the Polynesian lagoons.
His vision was to build something completely different from the large hotels… which all look the same and accommodate too many people… Vahine Island had to be quiet, peaceful and exclusive, a place where “stressed CEOs” would be able to enjoy total relaxation.
The style had to be authentically Polynesian exclusively made of local natural materials, but Vahine Island would also offer all the comfort and features of top-class hotels including gastronomic cuisine and a wide range of activities.
The search for a suitable Motu available for sale proved to be very difficult! It took two years! Finally, Bernard was able to buy Motu Tuvahine in September 1991, immediately started to build Vahine Island and managed to open it in late 1992.
He then met Sandra, a young Polynesian lady, in Paris à “La Maison de Tahiti”. Sandra had her own Public Relations business and Bernard hired her for the promotion and marketing of Vahine Island.
Later, Sandra became his wife and has been an integral part of the development of Vahine Island on all possible fronts. After launching Vahine Island, Bernard continued his busy business career, his last adventure being running PetroKazahstan but has remained totally involved in the life of Vahine Island, his favorite hobby.
During all these years, Sandra and Bernard have put their heart and efforts in search for constant improvements in the breadth and quality of services at Vahine Island.
Choose between Vahine Island ‘s beachfront and overwater bungalows. To enjoy the lagoon’s abundant wildlife, there is an aquarium table in the overwater bungalows to watch and feed the tropical fish that swim below.
Beachfront bungalows have a direct access to a wonderful coral garden and all our bungalows have a hammock on their spacious decks with fabulous views of the lagoon and the sunset behind Bora Bora.
The French Chef Pierre trained mostly in the South of France, a region famously known worldwide for its fresh, Mediterranean, solar and gourmet French food and had the occasion to work with talented Michelin-starred Chefs.
He fell in love with French Polynesia when he first arrived 15 years ago and loved the idea of combining Polynesian and Mediterranean food.
He then spent his life experiencing various types of Cuisine from all his culinary trips around the world and has now added his personal touch to Vahine’s restaurant where his original style rhythms with refinement and elegance.
Dining is a real priority for our small structure and Pierre’s colorful Cuisine needs definitely to be tasted and enjoyed as much as he enjoys the preparation of every single dish.
Vahine’s Restaurant is simply styled, informal where you can eat in the shady, island-style interior or around tables overflowing onto the sand under the coconut palms.
The decor blends plain wood and woven-leaf walls, with sliding doors opening onto the beach and tropical flowers and shells. It offers marvellous views of the lagoon and the islands around it!
The type of cuisine is mostly Mediterranean French gourmet combined with as many local and organic products. Our fisherman arrives in the morning with fresh fish from the lagoon, lobsters are fished from the reef behind our island (sustainable fishing) and the fruits and vegetables come from the main island of Tahaa.
The Vahine Restaurant offers the most relaxing dining experience by the lagoon. A typical day starts with a breakfast in total serenity, watching the flow of the turquoise blue lagoon.
Breakfast is usually served indoors, starring local delicacies such as homemade yogurt with Tahaa vanilla, croissants, mango marmalade, omelets and tropical fruits. Lunch is very relaxing, served at the beach with the feet in the sand.
Enjoy airy outdoor lunches looking out over the lagoon, with “à la carte” dishes spanning from prawn and mango spring rolls with mint, rib eye or mahi mahi with papaya salad and “sauce vierge”, tuna tartare with pineapple, honey and soy (save some room for flambeed banana and caramel)
The authentic all-in-wood bar, open all day long, will welcome you in an exotic ambiance to enjoy a delicious local cocktail. The day will then end up with the most awaited gourmet dinner. Guests will savor a succulent three-course menu, offering modern and creative cuisine, in a refined atmosphere.
Gourmet candlelight dinners with daily changing menu according to the fresh ingredients received early morning will be part of your Vahine experience.
Due to Vahine’s remote location, half-board is compulsory and full-board optional. There is no room service as such, but your minibar comes stocked with a tempting mix of drinks and snacks (at extra cost)
Lunch On The Beach
Lunch is very relaxing, served with the feet in the sand. Enjoy airy outdoor lunches looking out over the lagoon, with a “à la carte” menu, starring our famous traditional “poisson cru” and red tuna tartare with pineapple but also a large selection of fresh salads, sandwiches, burgers, meat, pasta and delicious desserts.
In the evening, the restaurant offers refined and romantic candlelight dinners. The Art of combining savours and ingredients offers delicious and original dishes that will delight the most refined palates.
Topped by an excellent wine list, our “table” has earned its distinction and reputation. The Vahine Restaurant offers the most relaxing dining experience by the lagoon.
The day ends up with an eagerly awaited gourmet dinner. Every night offers a different freshly created menu and guests can savour the three-course dinner in a cosy and romantic atmosphere.
Menus can easily be personalized to any special dietary requirements (to be mentioned at time of booking to ensure better selection of products). Thanks to its extensive wine cellar with many references from France, Italy and California, the restaurant is certain to have the perfect pairing for your culinary choices.
Due to Vahine’s remote location, half-board is compulsory and full-board optional; the hotel is the island’s only occupant, so you’ll do most of your dining here. Guests will savor a succulent three-course menu, offering modern and creative cuisine, in a refined atmosphere.
Gourmet candlelight dinners with daily changing menus according to the fresh ingredients received early morning will be part of our Vahine experience.
Due to Vahine’s remote location, half-board is compulsory and full-board optional. There is no room service as such, but your minibar comes stocked with a tempting mix of drinks and snacks (at extra cost).
The bar – a unique example of Polynesian artistry: an assortment of exotic woods (the floor is a mosaic of Aito, or Ironwood; coconut trunks and bamboo) volcanic stones from Tahaa- is open all day for your pleasure.
Our barman will be delighted to suggest an original selection of cocktails, from Polynesian delights using local fresh fruit to more classic but essential spirits and liquors. The open-air Tane bar blends Polynesian style with local materials, from volcanic stone to a mix of bamboo, ironwood and coconut trunks.
You’re welcome to enjoy drinks before or after dinner, with tropical cocktails such as the signature of Vahine, blending rum with vanilla, pineapple, guava and grenadine. Our bar will become your living room during your stay so feel free to use our board games and make alive our book-crossing library!
Spa & Wellness
The new Fare Spa at Vahine Island is a real gem. Perfect place for relaxation and well-being located on motu Miki Miki, neighboring motu Tuvahine. It offers an open massage room with an enchanting view onto the next leafy isle, and borders a crystal-clear lagoon.
The Spa upholds the luxuriant nature that defines the Vahine Island Resort in the way it harmoniously blends into the authentic Polynesian environment, where vegetation, water and wood are in abundance.
In this exceptional setting, the Spa offers traditional Taurumi treatments with Monoi produced by traditional methods of Polynesian culture.
Our Polynesian massage therapists also incorporate other natural products such as coconut or mango pulp into a homemade mixture, making an ideal concoction for the most natural and delightful exfoliation.
The Fare Spa also has a relaxation area as well as an outdoor Jacuzzi with stunning views of the lagoon situated just a few meters from the beautiful coral reef. This area allows our guests to be rocked by the sound of the waves and the singing of the birds.
This time of restfulness may be followed by a swim in the Spa private lagoon. The Fare Spa is a magical place to rediscover deep relaxation and inner peace.
The traditional Polynesian wedding is a unique opportunity to celebrate love or renew vows in one of the most romantic place in the world. The experience is unforgettable… celebrated with local customs and the legendary “joie de vivre” of the Tahitian people. It offers a magical moment out of the time.
A wedding at Vahine Island is even more exceptional as it takes place in a setting of a rare natural beauty, which has preserved the authenticity of French Polynesia.
Vahine Island offers a “symbolical” ceremony on the white sand beach, facing the pristine lagoon, with views of Tahaa, and the magnificent island of Bora Bora. It is led by a Tahitian “celebrant” following the ancestor’s traditions of the Maohi population.
Before the ceremony, you are dressed with the traditional white wedding pareo (or their personal clothes at choice) as well as necklaces and crowns of flowers.
Then, you are escorted to the beach and will be greeted by the celebrant, and according to the package booked, by the musicians with their traditional loves songs and the sound of the Ukulele.
Then the celebrant invites you to take place on the wedding chairs to begin the ceremony with prayers and gods invocations. It carries on with the benediction and the inscription of the Tahitians names on the traditional wedding certificate of Tapa (vegetal fiber).
To end the ceremony you are wrapped into the “Tifaifai”, traditional embroidered quilt symbolizing the union. This day will be etched in memories and in Vahine’s Island History…
The traditional ceremony can be enhanced with services depending on the chosen package and lasts between 20 to 45 minutes. We are delighted to offer our ceremony options.
Tahaa, the Vanilla Island
While the name Tahiti is often synonymous with French Polynesia, the truth is there are more than 100 islands that make up this destination — each one of them having something special to offer.
Known as the Vanilla Island, Tahaa is one of French Polynesia’s most fertile islands, filled with sweet-smelling vanilla plants and an impressive variety of tropical fruits: bananas, mangoes, star fruit, coconut, grapefruit, limes, papaya and more.
Visiting a vanilla plantation is a must, as over 80 percent of Tahitian vanilla comes from this island. A few of the plantations run organic operations, such as Brian Henderson and his wife Morita Hioe of La Vallee de la Vanille, using rolling hillsides (instead of greenhouses) and coconut shells to fertilize their soil and feed the plants.
Interestingly, out of 25,000 varieties of orchids, vanilla is the only one to produce something edible. Don’t leave without browsing the onsite boutique, which offers an impressive array of vanilla-infused products, some of which include body oil, soap, shampoo, sea salt, olive oil, perfume, volcano rocks, coffee and sugar.
Tahaa is also known for its abundance of pearl farms, which one can visit to see how the precious beads are cultivated, examined and grafted, as well as learn about the process and the different types of pearls.
While pearls around the world are typically white, French Polynesia is known for its black and iridescent-coloured pearls of all shapes and sizes. Most pearl farms also have a boutique where you can shop your own pearl as well as compare the different grades of pearls.
Known as the “Sacred Island,” Raiatea was the first island to be settled. As it is one of French Polynesia’s less frequented islands, it has preserved its unique history and culture; the residents cater to tourists who want to experience something truly unique.
You won’t find giant tour buses filled with 30 people or enormous luxury resorts here; instead, you’ll need to have the desire to explore in order to experience Raiatea’s range of offers.
There is one main road that partially goes around the island, and those who want to see the interior will need to hike through the jungle or take a boat down French Polynesia’s only river, the Faaroa River. One main reason people visit Raiatea is to explore its unique history, which can be done by visiting Marae Taputapuatea.
The archaeological site was already established by 1000 CE, and was the first royal marae — a sacred place where ancient Polynesians believed priests could call on gods to come to Earth to give them strength — in French Polynesia.
This particular marae was very important; as a ceremonial hub, offerings were given and priests and navigators from all over French Polynesia came to have deep discussions about the origins of the universe.
It’s interesting to note Marae Taputapuatea was dedicated to Oro, the god of war who demanded human sacrifices. Because ancient Polynesians believed there was no greater gift for a god than human flesh, many of these were carried out there.
Today, visitors to the open-air temple can view seven marae sites beautifully constructed from coral and stone. As Raiatea remains largely untouched, it also provides an excellent place to explore nature.
A trek to the top of Mount Temehani will allow you to see the wild Tiare Apetahi flower, which looks like a white-gloved hand. The top of this mountain is the only place in the world where this flower can grow.
Moreover, their lagoon is home to colourful coral gardens, underwater caves and tropical fish, best explored by snorkelling, diving or kayaking to a nearby motu (a small reef island). In the area’s many passes, one can also go drift diving or scuba dive the Norby shipwreck which sank in 1900.