Priyanka Talwara finance lawyer, and her husband, businessman Gaurav Talwar---both in their late 20s ---honeymooned in Tahiti and Bora Bora in May last year. With Bollywood’s most famous couple, Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai, following in their footsteps, it’s only a matter of time before the French Polynesian islands tip the romantic getaway scales.
Did it take much research to zero in on your honeymoon destination?
We began planning our honeymoon from the moment we got engaged. As our wedding was to be a week-long affair, we wanted some time to chill. Both of us wanted an exotic, remote and beautiful island getaway, some place neither of us had visited. The only other destination that came close was Hawaii, but we felt it was a little clichéd.
Did you plan the trip yourself?
Oh yes. We flew Qantas from Mumbai to Sydney and took a nine-hour connecting flight to Tahiti three nights later on Air Tahiti Nui. The hotel took care of the transfers.
Where did you stay?
We were in Tahiti for five days and in Bora Bora for seven. In Tahiti, we stayed at the Intercontinental Tahiti, on the north coast. At Bora Bora, an hour’s flight away, we were garlanded and greeted by a traditional Polynesian band playing local songs. From the airport, we were taken to the hotel, the Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa, in a yacht. Both hotels were great, though we found Tahiti busy and a bit commercial. Bora Bora is very intimate and unspoiled.
What were the islands like?
The weather was warm and dry for most of our stay. The ambience was very laid-back. And the islands were beautiful. The lagoon surrounding the Motu Toopua island, in Bora Bora, was absolutely spectacular—the water was different shades of blue and emerald, and crystal clear. The contrast between the calm waters and the silhouette of the extinct volcano, Mt Otemanu, which sits in the middle of the island, was breathtaking. The islands are very densely vegetated, almost like a lush tropical jungle.
Was there much sightseeing? Or was the trip more about chilling out?
Both Gaurav and I are spa addicts, so we made frequent use of the Mandara spa, which had a 360° view of Mt Otemanu and a couple of islands. While in Tahiti, we visited Moorea, a short ferry ride away, and spent the day exploring the island. In Bora Bora, we didn’t stray too far away from the hotel, although we spent an afternoon at a pearl farm. That’s partly because the Bora Bora Nui is a stunning property. The main reception area is built on stilts sunk into the lagoon. You can actually see fish and marine life through glass panels on the floor. We had an over-water bungalow with similar floor tiles, and a terrace that allowed direct access to the lagoon. We would often wear our snorkels and paddle around outside our bungalow. We had a west view, and the sunsets were breathtaking.
Besides the hotel, any other high points of the holiday?
A shark-feeding expedition was definitely a highlight. A speedboat took us to a coral reef, where we put on snorkels and flippers and followed our guide into the water. Within minutes of the guide tossing tuna chunks into the water, we were surrounded by reef sharks. The experience was unbelievable—a mix of fear, awe and exhilaration—something neither of us will ever forget. We also did a jet-ski tour of the various small islands that make up Bora Bora.
The sharks got their tuna, but what did you eat?
Gaurav and I love experimenting with food, so a hotel boat took us to a different island every night. The cuisine has a strong French influence and mainly comprised seafood. The rum cocktails were another speciality. The moonlit boat rides back were very romantic. I have never seen as many shooting stars as I did in Bora Bora.
As told to Sumana Mukherjee. Share your last holiday with us at firstname.lastname@example.org