Huahine – Society Islands, French Polynesia

Old Polynesia and a Room with a View

Steeped in tradition and a standout for its varied scenery, splendid beaches, proliferation of ceremonial temples (maraes), picturesque main town, and tiny, charming villages, Huahine is one of the few Polynesian islands Captain James Cook might recognize if he were to return today.

Tourism has been late in arriving on this island, which is still largely agricultural and is often com­pared to Bora Bora before the luxury hotels arrived, so there’s not much going on – but that’s the point. Take advantage of the island’s South Seas charm while you can, since it seems to be going extinct elsewhere in Polynesia.

Settle into the Hotel Sofitel Heiva, whose most extravagant accommodations are the six thatched-roof bungalows built on stilts over the lagoon.

Glass-floor panels afford views of the lagoon’s colorful marine life, which has become rather spoiled by regular feedings of bread crumbs filched from the restaurant. You can slip in and join them or loll on either of the hotel’s two sandy beaches, the island’s prettiest.

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