Tetiaroa, French Polynesia, to Be Home to 'The Brando'

Slated to open in 2008, and consisting of 30 deluxe fares (villas), it will be the only hotel on Tetiaroa, the French Polynesian atoll owned by the late Marlon Brando. The project is being overseen by Tahiti Beachcomber SA, whose CEO Richard Bailey, the owner of several luxury resorts in French Polynesia, had been in contact with the actor for a number of years and has continued meeting with the Brando Estate to fulfill Brando and Bailey's joint vision for an environmentally enlightened project.

This exclusive resort will enjoy a truly unique setting. The former playground of Tahitian Kings, Tetiaroa is now virtually uninhabited (population of one - Brando's son Teihotu) and just 26 miles north of Tahiti in French Polynesia's idyllic Society Islands. Its crystal clear lagoon is encircled by 13 motu, or islands, which offer a tranquil and unspoiled paradise of outstanding natural beauty and ecological importance. Marlon Brando bought Tetiaroa in 1965 after falling in love with it while filming 'Mutiny on the Bounty' in French Polynesia.

The plan for the resort is very much in keeping with the philosophy of Brando, who shared Bailey's wish to protect the environment. "There will be only one hotel on Tetiaroa, on Motu Onetahi, which is in keeping with Marlon's wishes, and the rest of the atoll will be set aside as a private natural preserve," says Bailey. "The Brando eco-hotel will be exactly what Marlon would have wanted: Energy-autonomous and built with natural materials, it will rest lightly on its environment and be nearly invisible from the water. It will showcase the latest in renewable energy technologies, including some we are already employing in our new hotel in Bora Bora, which Marlon had promised to inaugurate. We worked together on this project for three years before he died. I am privileged to have known him, and honored to play a part in his legacy by bringing one of his dreams to fruition."

Bailey's resorts employ a fulltime marine biologist and veterinarian, Dr. Cecile Gaspar, who has carried out extensive studies on Tetiaroa to ensure that such a project will not disturb the flora and fauna of this extraordinary ecosystem, which includes sea-turtle hatching grounds and the designated seabird sanctuary on Motu Tahuna Iti that provides a home to thousands of rare indigenous seabirds. The archeological department of Tahiti Museum was also called in to conduct research into the past use of the atoll by Tahitian royalty.

Richard Bailey owns the trio of InterContinental Resorts French Polynesia: InterContinental Resort Tahiti; InterContinental Le Moana Resort Bora Bora; and InterContinental Resort and Spa Moorea. Bailey and his company, Tahiti Beachcomber SA, which purchased two of the resorts in 1998 and then the third, in Bora Bora, in 1999, will open a fourth hotel, InterContinental Resort and Thalasso-Spa Bora Bora, in 2006. As Bailey and his team oversee work on the new five-star resort and its thalasso-spa, he also continues to work with the Ministry of Environment in Tahiti to develop programs relating to the environment, research and protection of endangered wildlife species in French Polynesia.

For more information visit www.tahiti.interconti.com.

Text/Photos: Tahiti Beachcomber SA

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