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French Poly­ne­sia is cel­e­brat­ing the 50th an­niver­sary of the world’s first over­wa­ter bun­ga­lows but while Moorea and Bora Bora claim the ma­jor­ity of these abodes on stilts, the cap­i­tal also has a few ex­am­ples. In­terCon­ti­nen­tal Tahiti Re­sort and Spa, 10 min­utes by road from Papeete in­ter­na­tional air­port, is a favourite tran­sit hub. The ho­tel, which sprawls across 12ha of flow­er­ing gar­dens, has had var­i­ous phases of ren­o­va­tion over the past few years, in­clud­ing the ad­di­tion of an en­clave of suite-style over­wa­ter thatched-roof ac­com­mo­da­tion (pic­tured). The feel is is­land-style with am­ple use of wo­ven tex­tiles, botan­i­cal mo­tifs and pol­ished tim­bers, a theme that con­tin­ues in all gue­strooms, each with bal­cony or gar­den ter­race. The sandy-bot­tom Le Lo­tus pool was un­der­go­ing main­te­nance dur­ing my re­cent stay but the main pool was in full swing, with even bet­ter swim­ming avail­able in the me­an­der­ing La­goonar­ium with its care­fully main­tained reef ecosys­tem where more than 200 species of ma­rine life crea­tures are in res­i­dence, in­clud­ing lu­mi­nous turquoise and pink par­rot fish. Te Tiare restau­rant fea­tures a mas­sive break­fast buf­fet and, if de­part­ing early for home or the outer is­lands, the 24-hour Lobby Bar Ter­race, with its groovy cane chairs and light fit­tings, serves su­pe­rior cof­fee. More: tahiti.in­tercon­ti­nen­tal.com; tahiti-tourisme.com.au.

SU­SAN KUROSAWA

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