Room Check: Vanira Lodge, Teahupo'o, Tahiti

Elisabeth Easther stays at Vanira Lodge, Teahupo’o, Tahiti.
Photo / Tahiti Tourism
Photo / Tahiti Tourism

A taxi from the airport: Vanira is about 70km from the airport and costs about NZ$237 for a taxi using the standard night-time rates, or about NZ$280 for a transfer so ideally, you'll be hiring a car.

FYI: Vanira is Tahitian for vanilla, and it's true, everything about this lodge is sweet and fragrant.

Check-in experience: Admittedly, it was the middle of the night, so we were simply shown to our room, whereupon we fell heavily into our beds.

The lush gardens and sea views at Vanira Resort mean it is amazing value for money.
The lush gardens and sea views at Vanira Resort mean it is amazing value for money.


The room: We were in a "Spa Fare", a two-bedroom affair said to have been favoured by legendary surfer Kelly Slater. Featuring a generous deck surrounded by lush gardens and a view out to sea, the icing on this room's cake was the spa pool on the deck. It's comfortable for four people, but there are no cooking facilities so, if you fancy self-catering, you'd be better to choose one of the other lovely rooms.

What's so good about this place: Vanira is exactly how you imagine the jungley tropical seaside should be, and the two hectares of grounds really would take a lot of beating.

With the legendary wave Teahupo'o breaking just out front, many of the bungalows have gardens on their roofs, which blend the dwellings into nature: imagine a South Seas hobbit vibe.

And the bad: Here, you aren't near the hub of anything, which means, if you want restaurants and bars, the nearest shop is a decent walk away, ditto the nearest good swimming beach. Although for many people, being off the beaten track is a plus. So to make the most of Vanira, you will want your own car.

What's in the neighbourhood: A supermarket (with all sorts of staples and interesting oddities) and little else, so it's heaven for those who don't like malls. And there are heaps of cool walks and tours to be enjoyed in this neck of the woods.

The lush gardens and sea views at Vanira Resort mean it is amazing value for money.
The lush gardens and sea views at Vanira Resort mean it is amazing value for money.


Toiletries: Just little soaps, so bring your own gloopy stuff.

Food and drink: The restaurant served all manner of delectable food, from tropical breakfasts with fruit, cereal, pancakes or whatever you fancy, to the fab fish feasts we enjoyed at night. Great coffee and cake too, in case you were wondering.

The bed: Perfectly acceptable. We were in twin singles, which always feels slightly junior, but the pillows and sheets were crisp and white, so no complaints.

A room with a view: The gardens and views were sublime, I could have happily stayed on our deck for weeks. This is the perfect place for your morning yoga as you look out over green, green jungle and down to the sea.

Bathroom: Pretty and rustic, with loads of lovely little design features.

Noise: Bar the gentle bug noises and distant sea sounds, it was wonderfully serene.

Value for money: At $350 a night for four people, it's amazing value by Tahiti's sometimes-pricey standards. And there's free wi-fi in the restaurant.

The lush gardens and sea views at Vanira Resort mean it is amazing value for money.
The lush gardens and sea views at Vanira Resort mean it is amazing value for money.


Exercise facilities: There are bicycles to be borrowed, and walking up and down the steep driveway is quite a workout. There's also a modest pool in the gorgeous gardens but you'd have done a whole lap in two strokes, so don't be relying on pool swimming to keep you fit - use the sea for that.

Perfect for: Couples keen on romance, the better class of surfer seeking serious waves, groups of friends, and families too.

Would I return: Bien sur. Who ever says "non" to this question?

- NZ Herald

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