After months of planning our elaborate New York City wedding, Elizabeth and I knew we'd need to unwind afterward. So we pulled out a world map and pointed at the most remote patch of blue we could find: French Polynesia. We booked a two-week honeymoon to Moorea and Bora Bora, worlds away from the commotion of the Big Apple.
Blinded by the Bling
We landed in Tahiti and realized we weren't the only couple who'd had this bright idea: The airport in Papeete was jammed with jet-lagged grooms and beaming brides sporting what looked like 1,000 carats of diamonds. It was like a living, breathing De Beers ad!
We still had one more flight, so we boarded a prop plane for the short hop to Moorea. When we finally arrived at the Sheraton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa, the staff met us with floral leis and cool cocktails, then whisked us off to our bungalow, adorned with fresh orchids and hibiscus. That little blue patch on the map had blossomed into our own delicious tropical paradise.
A View to a Thrill
On our first morning the sun was a no-show, so we opted to skip the beach and get the lay of the land in a rental car. A quick drive up a winding road led us to Belvedere Lookout high above Cook and Opunohu bays, where we took in the view of the twin aqua inlets (and our resort, between them).
Our Kind of Rush Hour
Over the next few days, our morning commute consisted of a short walk from our bungalow to the spa, where we enjoyed Tahitian massages that were as rigorous as they were relaxing. Afterward, we basked in the sun, taking breaks to snorkel in the lagoon. Evenings were spent sipping Champagne as we snuggled in a hammock, watching the sun dive into the ocean and stargazing in the quiet of the South Pacific night.
The Life Aquatic
Elizabeth and I couldn't leave Moorea without seeing its lagoon by boat. As our captain navigated waters that ranged from lullaby calm to hip-hop choppy, we tailed a pod of playful dolphins and rode teal-hued waves to a small satellite island, which Tahitians call a motu. Welcomed by its friendly residents, we joined a group of equally friendly stingrays for a lunch break. Then it was time for one last Moorea sunset.
We knew we were in for a treat when we were picked up from Bora Bora's airport by a yacht that sped across the translucent water to the Bora Bora Lagoon Resort. It sits on its own motu and its overwater bungalows face towering Mt. Otemanu. This would be our private oasis for a week.
Taking the Plunge
A visit to the resort's spa for more pampering lulled us into a calm that was the perfect prelude to one of Bora Bora's more, hmm, exciting adventures: shark-feeding. Guides invited us to jump right into a sea of fish, rays, and sharks. And we actually swam with them! Okay, so they weren't Jaws, just harmless three-foot black-tipped reef sharks that tugged playfully at bits of fish doled out by the wranglers.
There's Something About Bloody Mary's
That evening we were the ones with the appetite, and legendary Bloody Mary's, with its sand floor and thatched roof, quickly became our favorite restaurant as we dined on delicious tuna and wahoo.
A Few Slices of Island Life
The next morning we strapped ourselves in for a four-by-four tour and bounced our way up scary inclines and past fabulous views. Another day, we befriended the owners of Ben's pizza shack, and spent time swapping tales. Later we stumbled upon private Matira Point Beach, where we waded a half-mile out in waist-deep water. Then came the perfect end to the perfect day: an evening spent under the stars, watching a Tahitian dance show from the deck of our bungalow.
One Last Look
As we boarded the yacht back to the airport, we watched
the sun bounce off the waves and stared back at Bora Bora, thinking to ourselves, Simply amazing.
Where We Stayed
Bora Bora Lagoon Resort
Its serene Tahiti-of-old vibe and fabulous lagoon view made us want to hide out in our overwater bungalow forever. (Doubles from $540. 800-237-1236; boraboralagoon.com)
Sheraton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa
This five-year-old property is located on a sparkling ten-acre lagoon—perfect for leisurely snorkeling. The Mandara Spa is a heavenly way to escape the hot midday sun. (Doubles from $550. 800-325-3535; sheratonmoorea.com)