Posts Tagged ‘Luxury Island Escapes’

BREAKING NEWS: ESCAPESEEKER “ECUADOR UNEQUALED” EPIC SEASON PROMO UNVEILED

Monday, May 1st, 2017

ESCAPESEEKER POST PRODUCTION  ~ They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Accordingly,  moving pictures must then be worth a thousand stories right? My amazing ESCAPESEEKER film team and I are thrilled  to share the following first look at our Ecuador Unequaled promo, which I am confident will help illustrate how we capture each destination’s unique stories. As the ESCAPESEEKER series’ writer and host, I’m a firm believer that the stories are best told by the actual inhabitants–joyful, kind-hearted, generous, engaging–we seek out those  who know best, and who proudly cherish their native land.

The Amazon grabs at your heart and never lets go. Our authentic Amazon experience during our stay at  La Selva Amazon Eco-Lodge & Spa is something we will always cherish.

The Amazon grabs at your heart and never lets go. Our authentic Amazon experience during our stay at La Selva Amazon Eco-Lodge & Spa is something we will always cherish.

#intheirownwords…

I continually strive to utilize my interviewing skills a seasoned global journalist to present the right questions and allow our featured native “stars” to speak straight from their heart. Combined with my passion-driven,  Emmy award-winning team’s photographic talents and artistry, I hope you’ll agree after viewing the promo that we achieved our lofty objective! We’ll keep you updated as to the exact broadcast dates and times of our brand new ESCAPESEEKER 2017 PBS Fall Season launch as soon as it becomes available.  In the meantime, dream…and we hope you too, will be inspired to explore and discover this enticing, unequaled country we call ECUADOR!  There’s no other place in the world that can compare.

We wish to express our gratitude to all of our many Ecuadorian newfound friends who opened your doors to us, welcomed us warmly, and granted us an honest and rare insider’s glimpse into your extraordinary, inspiring lives.

#musicistheuniversallanguage: We had the privilege of witnessing the most fabulous evening immersed in beautiful Ecuadorian folk music at MISQUILLA with its Founder, Juan Fernando Velasco, Latin Grammy Nominated artist, who also featured his gifted Ecuadorian talents. #ittakesavillagetoproduceESCAPESEEKER

#musicistheuniversallanguage: We had the privilege of witnessing the most fabulous evening immersed in beautiful Ecuadorian folk music at MISQUILLA with its Founder, Juan Fernando Velasco, Latin Grammy Nominated Artist, who also featured his gifted, fellow-Ecuadorian talents. #ittakesavillagetoproduceESCAPESEEKER

#envision. #explore. #embrace.

For a country its size, Ecuador offers an incredible list of #unequaledexperiences.  With its Andean peaks, Amazon rainforest, indigenous markets, colonial towns–not to mention one of the most famous chains of volcanic islands in the world, inhabited by fascinating wildlife, some of which are found only in the Galapagos!

The Fausto Llerena Tortoise Center, a long-term program run jointly by the Galapagos National Park Directorate and the Charles Darwin Foundation, began in 1965 to save the giant tortoise population on Pinzón. It was quickly expanded to include other populations, in particular that of Española where only 14 individuals remained. As of 2008, more than 4,000 young tortoises from eight different populations have been repatriated to their island of origin, with nearly 1,500 going back to Española.

The Fausto Llerena Tortoise Center, a long-term program run jointly by the Galapagos National Park Directorate and the Charles Darwin Foundation, began in 1965 to save the giant tortoise population on Pinzón. It was quickly expanded to include other populations, in particular that of Española where only 14 individuals remained. As of 2008, more than 4,000 young tortoises from eight different populations have been repatriated to their island of origin, with nearly 1,500 going back to Española.

 

 

Charles Darwin described them as "hideous-looking" and "most disgusting, clumsy lizards." It's true, they're not pretty, with their wide-set eyes, smashed-in faces, spiky dorsal scales, and knotty, salt-encrusted heads. But what these unusual creatures lack in looks they make up for with their amazing and unique ecological adaptations. Wait until you see the fascinating footage we captured! I personally think 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder'--do you agree?

Charles Darwin described them as “hideous-looking” and “most disgusting, clumsy lizards.”
It’s true, some may say decide they’re not pretty, with their wide-set eyes, smashed-in faces, spiky dorsal scales, and knotty, salt-encrusted heads. But what these unusual creatures lack in looks they make up for with their amazing and unique ecological adaptations. Wait until you see the fascinating footage we captured! I personally think ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’–do you agree?

We feel it an absolute privilege to share Ecuador’s unique character, soulful heart, and unequaled beauty with the rest of the world. We could not have done it without your invaluable and generous support. On behalf of my entire ESCAPESEEKER team, Muchas Gracias!

Our destinations featured:

Quito:  Casa Gangotena, [casagangotena.com] with music segment at Misquilla, [www.misquilla.com]

The High Andes’ Rainforest: Mashpi Lodge [www.mashpi.com]

The Ecuadorian Amazon: La Selva Amazon Eco-Lodge & Spa [www.laselvajunglelodge.com]

The Galapagos Islands: Haugan Cruises’ catamaran, “Petrel” [www.haugancruises.com]

Our heartfelt Thank you also to our brilliant, indefatigable ESCAPESEEKER Ecuador Unequaled “Guest Talents” who fuel our innate wanderlust and beautifully manifest their insatiable passion for travel:

#thewindbeneathmywings:  Evan Zissimopulos, Jacob Voelzke, Roy Henderson, John Hempellman, Mary McGill, Dawn Adams, J. Dann Adams, Marjorie MacArthur, Tom Whittier, Christine Hedges, [Not pictured: Mimmie Byrne, Byrne, Melody Clyde]

#thewindbeneathmywings: Evan Zissimopulos, Jacob Voelzke, Roy Henderson, John Hempellman, Mary McGill, Dawn Adams, J. Dann Adams, Marjorie MacArthur, Tom Whittier, Christine Hedges, [Not pictured: Mimmie Byrne, Byrne, Melody Clyde]

Interested in joining our amazing team? FYI…Our #1 Rule we require all to adhere–You must take off your [American] lenses and see, feel, taste, embrace the country respectfully through the eyes of the natives.

Would you like more details or have questions regarding our #ecuadorunequaled adventure?

 

Feel free to write me at:  escapeseeker@gmail.com or let’s chat via Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ESCAPESEEKER-367501815104/

I would love to hear from you!

Here’s to Blissful, Endless ESCAPES…

And, remember, no matter where you go, be the kindest person you know,

Mel aka ESCAPESEEKER

Saying Goodbye to Ecuador with a heart full of #gratitude #unequaled...

Saying Adios to Ecuador with a heart full of #gratitude #unequaled…

 

 

ESCAPESEEKER 2013: Our Unforgettable Year In Pictures

Friday, February 21st, 2014

Phoenix, Arizona ~ Here we are, already deep into the second month of 2014, and I have yet to complete our 2013 BEST DESTINATIONS LIST.  Well, I’ve decided to let these photographs tell our story for as they say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”  These images speak volumes about why we feel so blessed to be part of this incredible mind-expanding, soul-enriching, gratitude-instilling, friendship-building adventure!  Thank you all for helping turn our dreams into reality. The more we travel, the more we realize how much there is that we do not know.  I hope we never stop learning…never stop moving…never stop loving and savoring this gift we call LIFE!  On that note, I shall allow these images to speak for themselves.

 2013:  OH, WHAT A YEAR INDEED!

JANUARY…and FEBRUARY…

ESCAPESEEKER Return to “Heaven’s Heaven”

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PRISTINE with a capital P! Aitutaki, Cook Islands

PRISTINE with a capital P! Aitutaki, Cook Islands

 

We embark on an 11-night journey on board the m/s Paul Gauguin...

We embark on an 11-night journey on board the m/s Paul Gauguin…

The ms/ Paul Gauguin’s retractable, on board water sports marina brings guests down to sea level, where they can hop aboard a windsurfer, enjoy SUP—Stand Up Paddle Board, launch a kayak, or embark on a Zodiac® for optional diving adventures.

The ms/ Paul Gauguin’s retractable, on board water sports marina brings guests down to sea level, where we can hop aboard a windsurfer, enjoy SUP—Stand Up Paddle Board, launch a kayak, or embark on a Zodiac® for optional diving adventures.

Cruise "cast members" comprised of ESCAPESEEKER supporters...some of the kindest people I know.

Cruise “cast members” comprised of ESCAPESEEKER supporters…some of the kindest people

As ESCAPESEEKER VIP's we were invited to dine with the Captain.  Nothing like breaking bread together to bring out the most entertaining stories!

As ESCAPESEEKER VIP’s we were invited to dine with the Captain. Nothing like breaking bread together to bring out the most entertaining stories!

 

We were even granted some special time to visit the Captain's Bridge and learn more about how this especially designed vessel is perfect for navigating Tahiti's shallow channels.

We were even granted some special time to visit the Captain’s Bridge and learn more about how this especially designed vessel is perfect for navigating Tahiti’s shallow channels.

Our team totally engaged.

Our team totally engaged.
Mixing with the locals is always on our list, but when we were invited to their Day of Worship, you bet we jumped at the chance! If you've ever wanted to hear the harmonious voices of angels...we recommend you take in a Sunday on the island of Taha'a.

Mixing with the locals is always on our list, but when we were invited to their Day of Worship, you bet we jumped at the chance! If you’ve ever wanted to hear the harmonious voices of angels…we recommend you take in a Sunday Service on the island of Taha’a.

A heavenly end to our day on Taha'a...

A heavenly end to our day on Taha’a…

 

January was off to such a great start, and with my role as ESCAPESEEKER Guest Speaker on board the m/s Paul Gauguin, and with our TAHITI: OH HEAVEN’S HEAVEN film presentations so well-attended by our fellow passengers, my Executive Assistant, Melody Clyde and I decided to extend our cruise dates so I can continue in my role as Guest Speaker.  Frankly, it did not take much convincing to remain on board.  The hardest part was finally deciding to disembark at the end of February!  But not before I was afforded the opportunity to visit the highly awaited, most eco-friendly luxury resort on the island of Tetiaroa–yes, the private island of one of Hollywood’s most iconic actors, Marlon Brando–thus the name, THE BRANDO!

I was flown by Mr. Richard Bailey from Papeete to Tetiaroa in his private plane which he piloted.  How cool is that?  As we approached the island, I quietly took in this extraordinary moment.  There I was about to land on Marlon Brando’s slice of Tahitian paradise–a former retreat reserved for Tahitian Royals,  with Tahiti’s most respected hotelier, and the man Brando personally entrusted to transform his revered island into the ultimate earth-friendly hideaway.  Even though my recently injured right foot was well on its way to healing, I decided to keep it protected as Mr. Bailey showed me around the construction site,  explaining all the revolutionary, eco-friendly methods they were putting into application to adhere to all of Brando’s strict specifications.  I can’t wait to return when it officially opens this July, 2014.  I have a feeling the list of guests eager to set foot on THE BRANDO is getting longer by the day.  After being impressed with the “before” visit, I can only imagine what the “after” final version will be.  Look out world, get ready to add one more “must do” to your Bucket List!

On approach to Tetioroa...Marlon Brando's private island...

On approach to Tetiaroa…Marlon Brando’s private island…

Tahitian actress Tarita Teriipia, who played his love interest in Mutiny on the Bounty, became Brando's third wife on August 10, 1962.

Tahitian actress Tarita Teriipia, who played his love interest in Mutiny on the Bounty, became Brando’s third wife on August 10, 1962.

Although I was still recovering from a foot injury, I wasn't about to let that get in the way of seeing first hand what the "The Brando" buzz was all about!  I'm so glad I did. Let me give you advance notice:  This is one "island escape" you'll definitely want to experience in 2014!

Although I was still recovering from a foot injury, I wasn’t about to let that get in the way of seeing first hand what the “The Brando” buzz was all about! I’m so glad I did. Let me give you advance notice: This is one “island escape” you’ll definitely want to experience in 2014!

 

This is what I call, "Guilt-Free Luxury"  in the ultimate Tahitian Island PARADISE.

This is what I call, “Guilt-Free Luxury” in the ultimate Tahitian Island PARADISE.

 

 

 

 

Great care is continually taken to protect the island's natural habitat.  The Tetiaroa Society, a non-profit organization is dedicated to research, conversation, and education related to the delicate ecology of the atoll. The goal of this organization is to create a scientific and educational window into the biodiversity of Tetiaroa, with the possibility of developing controlled eco-tourism and raising public awareness regarding the fragility of our biodiversity.

Great care is continually taken to protect the island’s natural habitat. The Tetiaroa Society, a non-profit organization is dedicated to research, conversation, and education related to the delicate ecology of the atoll.
The goal of this organization is to create a scientific and educational window into the biodiversity of Tetiaroa, with the possibility of developing controlled eco-tourism and raising public awareness regarding the fragility of our biodiversity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013 definitely started on the right footing, even with one foot in a cast! I’m continually inspired by the tireless visionaries who go to great lengths to create meaningful travel experiences that are worthy of our hard-earned vacation currency. More than ever, I am driven to seek out those destinations that adhere to our ESCAPESEEKER mantra of being “the greatest luxury escapes in the world.”  Just when we thought it could not get any better, our 2013 itinerary turned into a series of dream experiences.  The best part, it wasn’t a dream at all, but a reality we cannot wait to capture on film and share with the rest of the world.  Thank you all so much for your unwavering support and continued enthusiasm for this insatiable passion for our majestic planet that we all share.  Take a peak at where our path led us for the remainder of 2013–from America’s iconic desert oasis of Arizona, to the “Roof of Peru”–Machu Picchu; to the glamour and glitz of the French Riviera; to the grand dame of Formula One racing–Monaco; to the Land of the Gods–Greece; to the only city in the world that spans two continents–Indescribable Istanbul; to the City of Lights–Paris and its historic River Seine; to the River Danube magically illuminated by Brilliant Budapest!  2013–is the year for our ESCAPESEEKER Record Books!

MARCH…a quick Family retreat to America’s Desert Oasis

DESERT SUNRISE...affirming life-giving source... even in the driest conditions on earth.

APRIL …On Top Of The World!

A joyous occasion indeed when my daughter, Gabrielle and I reached the mystical, towering land of the Incas:  MACHU PICCHU.

A joyous occasion indeed when my daughter, Gabrielle and I reached the mystical, towering land of the Incas: MACHU PICCHU to celebrate the completion of her voluntary 18-month mission in Peru for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

LIVING THE HIGH LIFE IN HONG KONG!

LIVING THE HIGH LIFE IN HONG KONG!

ESCAPESEEKER Perched high above Victoria Harbor...getting a Presidential Perspective from the Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, the highest hotel in the world!

ESCAPESEEKER Perched high above Victoria Harbor…getting a Presidential [Suite] Perspective from the Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, the highest hotel in the world!

MAY…Riviera Glam

Returning to my roots...The Cannes Film Festival where I spent 12 years covering the world's cinematic arts and the actors who starred in them!

Returning to my roots…The Cannes Film Festival where I spent 12 years covering the world’s cinematic arts and the actors and filmmakers who brought them to life!

1c570bfdfa639b8de0e08977be870185The unforgettable Cannes Premiere evening when we joined the cast and crew of  Behind the Candelabra

We’ll soon find out if Matt Damon’s leading man,  Michael Douglas will follow up his Golden Globe with an Oscar!

While exploring the richness of the French Riviera, we opted to stay in the one and only luxury hotel located within the walls of this art-inspiring medieval village of Saint Paul de Vence:  Hotel Le Saint Paul

While exploring the richness of the French Riviera, we opted to stay in the one and only luxury hotel located within the walls of this art-inspiring medieval village of Saint Paul de Vence: Hotel Le Saint Paul

Supporting our Program Supporter--INFINITI EUROPE at Monaco--Truly "Inspired Performance!"

Supporting our Program Supporter–INFINITI EUROPE at Monaco–Truly “Inspired Performance!”

What it takes to "live in the fast lane" at Monaco's Formula One!

What it takes to “live in the fast lane” at Monaco’s Formula One!

 

JUNE…Fun, Sun, Cookin’ and Soul

SANTORINI--POSTCARD PERFECT ARTISTS and VITNERS ENCLAVE...

SANTORINI–POSTCARD PERFECT ARTISTS and VINTNERS ENCLAVE…

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VOREINA GALLERY SUITES...our chosen home while discovering SANTORINI's Best Kept Secrets.

VOREINA GALLERY SUITES…our chosen artistic abode while discovering SANTORINI’s Best Kept Secrets.

We embark on another voyage, this time it's the m/v Tere Moana...it's as close as you'll come to knowing what it's like to have a private YACHT without buying one, or hiring an impeccable crew of your own! It navigates through ports mega ships cannot even attempt.

We embark on another voyage, this time it’s the m/v Tere Moana…it’s as close as you’ll come to knowing what it’s like to have your own private YACHT without buying one, or hiring an impeccable crew of your own! It navigates through ports mega ships cannot even attempt.

1098156_10153152118180105_1040107060_n 1008520_10152954714105105_1123968215_o 556477_10153262564675105_1405265411_n From a sunset Barbeque on the top deck…to secret hideaway coves usually reserved for Royals…to spotless docks that lead to quaint, quiet villages…You’ll have the option to do as much or as little as your heart desires when you cruise with the m/v Tere Moana.

We disembark the m/v Tere Moana to travel to the countrysides of Rome to begin our Culinary School at CASA GREGORIO where we engage in 7 nights of extensive authentic, delectable Italian cooking!

We disembark the m/v Tere Moana to travel to the countrysides of Rome to begin our Culinary School at CASA GREGORIO where we engage in 7 nights of extensive authentic, delectable Italian cooking!

Meet Gregory Aulensi, an Italian-American designer/entrepreneur and the founder of Casa Gregorio, and his Executive Chef, Giustino.

Meet Gregory Aulensi, an Italian-American designer/entrepreneur and the founder of Casa Gregorio, and his Executive Chef, Giustino with ESCAPESEEKER & Co.

 

Castro dei Volsci, the medieval hilltop Roman village which is home to Casa Gregorio.

Castro dei Volsci, the medieval hilltop Roman village which is home to Casa Gregorio.

885787_284864841644698_1329031609_oOur Italian  laboratory of learning aka Cooking Party Headquarters!

It's amazing how much Italian culinary skills one can acquire in 7 short days when you're totally immersed in the culture.

It’s amazing how much Italian culinary skills one can acquire in 7 short days when you’re totally immersed in their Roman culture!

We take a reprieve from our cooking classes to participate in Pope Francis Wednesday's audience at Piazza San Pietro...who knew I would find myself standing before The Holy Father...and gazing into those gentle, caring eyes?

We take a reprieve from our cooking classes to participate in Pope Francis’ Wednesday’s Audience at Piazza San Pietro…who knew I would find myself standing before The Holy Father…and gazing into those gentle, caring eyes?

June 26, 2013 will be immortalized in my mind...the day I snapped this photo of Pope Francis I, and discovered he was standing right before my eyes.

June 26, 2013 will be immortalized in my mind…the day I snapped this photo of Pope Francis I, and discovered he was standing right before me.

 

 

JULY…Birthday Wish Come True

Returning to the most famous "floating city" in the world...the land of Serenissima -- VENEZIA!

Returning to the most famous “floating city” in the world…The Land of SerenissimaVENEZIA!

We rejoin the m/v TERE MOANA...this time it's the "Chairman's Cruise" and we're bound for the Dalmatian Coast of CROATIA!

We rejoin the m/v TERE MOANA…this time it’s the “Chairman’s Cruise” and we’re bound for the Dalmatian Coast of CROATIA!

We visit port after port that look more like movie sets...but they're all very real...beautifully REAL!

We visit port after port that look more like movie sets…but they’re all very real…beautiful, authentic and REAL!

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After covering several continents in three months, I decided I'm due for a birthday celebration...a birthday rest is more like it...but a true ESCAPESEEKER does not rest from travel.  Rather, we find a way to escape to our favorite place where we are guaranteed to feel rejuvenated after all is said and done.  That for me is cruising the Tahitian Islands via the m/s Paul Gauguin.  HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME...I'm off once again to the dramatically beautiful islands of TAHITI!

After criss-crossing continents in three months, I decided I’m definitely due a birthday celebration…a birthday rest is more like it…but a true ESCAPESEEKER does not rest from travel. Rather, we find a way to escape to our favorite place where we are guaranteed to feel rejuvenated after all is said and done. That for me is cruising the Tahitian Islands via the m/s Paul Gauguin. HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME…I’m off, once again to the dramatically beautiful islands of TAHITI!

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This hammock is exactly where I began to ponder how I would spend the next decade of my life...all the while feeling forever grateful for the tremendous opportunities I've been granted to see the world...to learn of cultures different from my own...to discover the beautiful human traits that unite us...and better understand my fellow beings.  What can be better for a birthday gift than the gift of a GRATEFUL HEART?

This hammock is exactly where I began to ponder how I would spend the next decade of my life…all the while feeling forever grateful for the tremendous opportunities I’ve been granted to see the world…to learn and embrace cultures different from my own…to discover the beautiful human traits that unite us…and gain a better understanding my fellow beings. What can be better for a birthday gift than the gift of a GRATEFUL HEART?

AUGUST…Where’s My Grandma?

Time for some ESCAPESEEKER GRANDMA bonding moments in the Kamas, Utah riverside meadows…

Cherished summer moments spent with my family...

Cherished summer moments spent with my family…

Doing what I love...Cooking for my family...

Doing what I love…Cooking and watching them feast with a big smile on their faces!

...And putting smiles on my grandchildren's faces.  Did I mention I have 12 of them? Oh blessed, blessed life! Motherhood is my greatest calling...and my greatest accomplishment.  Perhaps it is that same maternal love I have for my family that filters to everyone I meet...no matter where I go.

…And being able to put smiles on my grandchildren’s faces is just priceless. Did I mention I have 12 of them? Oh blessed, blessed life! Motherhood is my greatest calling…and my greatest accomplishment. Perhaps it is that same maternal love I have for my family that filters to everyone I meet…no matter where I travel.

 

SEPTEMBER…Finds me crossing the Atlantic again…this time I am bound for ISTANBUL!

I love setting foot on places I've only read about...and ISTANBUL had been on my wish list for a very long time.  Well, it did not disappoint...more beautiful and engaging than I ever imagined!

I love setting foot on places I’ve only read about…and ISTANBUL had been on my wish list for a very, very  long time. Well, it did not disappoint…more beautiful and engaging than I ever imagined! Photographs do not due her justice!

aa59f2e6ccf2932d1e99f2af0f263a432eef93730225cb07658bcae21867ad1daa432b07ac6a0a2e3d07c2ae83a9492bIredescent Istanbul

OCTOBER…A Season of Learning

After my premiere visit to Istanbul, I prepared for my long-awaited French language extensive immersion program at Alliance française Paris Ile-de-France.  Yes!  I’m finally going to tackle the French language 24/7.  With the kind generosity and hospitality of my life-long friend, Paris native Dominique Caffin-Robert, I found myself in the City of Lights…ready to be schooled in its difficult language…and, for the next six weeks, I would be thinking…talking…dreaming…eating…reading…and playing in French!

Find my way around Paris...on foot...via metro...was a worthwhile learning adventure in itself. By week two, there was no such thing as being lost...only diverted slightly...because with Paris' superb Metro system, you can always find your way!

Finding my way around Paris…on foot…via metro…was a worthwhile learning adventure in itself. By week two, there was no such thing as being lost…only diverted slightly…because with Paris’ superb Metro system, you can always find your way home…sooner or later!

Within a matter of weeks, my classmates comprised of students from around the world, found ourselves celebrating the successful passage into the next phase of our French immersion program!  Super!

Within a matter of weeks, and with our outstanding teacher, Sandrine HIdalgo Vidal,  my classmates comprised of students from around the world, found ourselves celebrating our successful passage into the next phase of our French immersion program! Super!

A humorous outlook on our French student life...

A humorous outlook on our French student life…

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New Class...guaranteed new friends...we were all in the same boat...eager to master this increasingly difficult language!

New Class…guaranteed new friends…we were all in the same boat…eager to master this increasingly difficult language!

 

 

 

NOVEMBER…And, I’m officially excused from school…

I was never very good at playing hookie from school, so when I told my teacher I had a previous ESCAPESEEKER assignment I needed to adhere to, she handed me an official absence request form to fill out.  That’s so French right?  I mean, the form was in French, and I was required to fill it out in French as well.  By the time I finished, I knew I had made great advances in the language and could now thoroughly enjoy my ESCAPE to the DANUBE on board the AMAPrima Waterways.  Germany, Austria, Hungary…here I come!

1405007_10153522619260105_1205773081_oPHOTOGENIC…is an understatement! [Image captured by yours truly from my balcony of Stateroom #225]

The entire AMAPrima Waterways experience was simply EXTRAORDINARY in every regard.  By the time we anchored in Budapest, our final stop, I knew I had made some life-long friends.  There is something about traveling that brings like-minded, joyful (generally) people together eager to embrace all aspects of a full, vibrant LIFE!  At least, that's what I found on board the AMAPrima...a day doesn't go by when I don't miss my newfound AMAfriends!  At the end of the day, that's the real treasure--the friendships we derive from cruising!

The entire AMAPrima Waterways experience was simply EXTRAORDINARY in every regard. By the time we anchored in Budapest, our final stop, I knew I had made some life-long friends. There is something about traveling that brings like-minded, joyful (generally) people together eager to embrace all aspects of a full, vibrant LIFE! At least, that’s what I found on board the AMAPrima…a day doesn’t go by when I don’t miss my newfound AMAfriends! At the end of the day, that’s the real treasure–the friendships we derive from cruising!

1398922_10152369539093032_2126828340_o 1425298_10152373665608032_1166428731_o 1398525_10152382434548032_850488970_o 778669_10152387310503032_701769250_o 1441360_10152389395783032_510056983_n 1466134_10152389400058032_1324180111_n 1397120_10152391070898032_1579205549_oIf you wish to make new friends who share your insatiable passion for life, then I recommend you consider cruising with the AMAWaterways fleet! I’ve never met so many tremendously engaging, fun individuals under one roof. I kid you not!

HELLO BUDAPEST!  Another Bucket List item checked off! To see her illuminated was a goose bump producing moment.  I was packing in my stateroom when I suddenly realized what was right before me.  I grabbed my camera, stepped onto my balcony and just went into photographer's dream mode!  With every click I found myself saying, "Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!

HELLO BUDAPEST! Another Bucket List item checked off! To see her illuminated was a goose bump producing moment. I was packing in my stateroom when I suddenly realized what was right before me. I grabbed my camera, stepped onto my balcony and just went into photographer’s dream mode! With every click I found myself saying, “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”

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BUDAPEST…AN ENCHANTED EVENING AT ITS BEST…[Image captured from AmaPrima Stateroom 225 Balcony by yours truly, the ESCAPESEEKER on our last night of cruising the Danube. Now is this a magnificent close to an unforgettable week or what? AMAWaterways  sure knows how to script. I cannot wait to capture it all on high definition cinematic film someday soon!

HELLO PARIS! ONE FINAL WEEK BEFORE I SAY…Au Revoir…

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No matter the season...Paris, je t'aime!

No matter the season…Paris, je t’aime!

PARIS...was an incredibly healthy experience for me in so many ways.  The more miles I walked each day, the healthier my formerly shattered right foot became.  My excess weight also melted away.  Maybe, it was from excessive use of my brain trying to conquer French? :-)  Paris is the kind of city where you never, ever feel alone...because dining solo is often as enjoyable as dining with a crowd!  It's not an easy city...but it's an inspiring one! I found myself writing volumes about what I saw...what I experienced...and what I wanted to remember forever!

PARIS…was an incredibly healthy experience for me in so many ways. The more miles I walked each day, the healthier my formerly shattered right foot became. My excess weight also melted away. Maybe, it was from the excessive use of my brain trying to conquer French? :-) Paris is the kind of city where you never, ever feel alone…because dining solo is often as enjoyable as dining with a crowd! It’s not an easy city…but it’s an inspiring one! I found myself writing volumes about what I saw…what I experienced…and what I wanted to remember forever!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1470325_10153573922525105_1710100590_nMy last night was spent at my all-time favorite hotel–the SHANGRI-LA HOTEL-PARIS.  With its magnificent unobstructed view of the Eiffel Tower at every angle, and the consistently impeccable service and attention to detail, not to mention the quiet residential location…For me, it is simply the perfect place to feel totally Parisien…a rather pampered Parisien that is!

DECEMBER…A Time of Giving…Brings me to the BIG APPLE…NEW YORK CITY.

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As my incredibly remarkable year was coming to a close…I knew there was one more important obligation I had to fulfill…my commitment to help with the annual United Nations Ambassadors Ball–a highly anticipated event orchestrated by the Hospitality Committee for the United Nations Delegation.  Their mission is as follows:

  • To promote and strengthen understanding and friendly ties between all levels of the United Nations diplomatic community and the people of New York.

  • To assist newly arrived UN diplomats and their families adjust to their new life in New York by providing information and programs that reduce language and cultural barriers.

  • To broaden an appreciation of American culture and customs among UN diplomats and their families, thereby enhancing the reputation of the United States and the United Nations.

All of the above resonates with our ESCAPESEEKER philosophy of following the Golden Rule,  “Do unto others, what you would have others do unto you.”  It’s a lofty and worthwhile goal, so of course ESCAPESEEKER offered to do our part to assist with the event.  After all, “To whom much is given, much is required.”

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MAY 2014 BRING YOU AND YOURS BLESSINGS BEYOND MEASURE:  THE GIFT OF HEALTH…THE GIFT OF ADVENTURE…and THE GIFT OF LASTING LOVE and FRIENDSHIP wherever your path may lead.

Here’s to BLISSFUL, ENDLESS ESCAPES…And, Remember, Be the kindest person you know.

With love and joy,

Mel Gee Henderson aka The ESCAPESEEKER

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ESCAPESEEKER 2013 GLOBAL ODYSSEY: HOW TO COVER FOUR CONTINENTS IN THREE GLORIOUS MONTHS!

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

 2013 Theme:  Mission Possible…Conquering the Unexpected

When an unfortunate accident turned my size six right foot into size 7.5 complete with 10 screws and 2 plates, and with its accompanying recovery period that subsequently  derailed our 2012 filming season, I was determined to get back on track in 2013, no matter what it took! Once my newly renamed, “Robofoot” could travel, black/gray mega boot, crutches and all, I knew there was one place that would assist in my healing, both physically and spiritually:  French Polynesia! So, I embarked on a series of voyages on board the m/s Paul Gauguin, serving as a “Guest Speaker” and sharing our TAHITI: OH HEAVEN’S HEAVEN series with the enthusiastic guests.  After all, how can you not love watching a film about the breathtaking places you know you’re about to experience first hand?  The entire experience of being amongst such joyful passengers and crew who shared my insatiable passion for the islands, and swimming daily in those healing French Polynesian turquoise waters was exactly what my foot (and my soul) needed to bring me back to full ESCAPESEEKER form!

Fast forward, April 15, 2013 and I’m absolutely ready to tackle not one continent, but four continents in just three months. I began in Asia [Hong Kong], followed by South America [Peru], and continuing on to Europe [France], with a quick return to North America [Utah] so I can orchestrate a beautiful wedding for my daughter, Joanna, and then returning to Europe to begin an extensive exploration of Greece, Italy [including The Vatican], Croatia, and back to Italy. The journey wasn’t pain-free, but I quickly discovered that I was tougher than I ever imagined.  More importantly, I found the continuous blessing of seeing one breathtaking vista after another, and meeting so many, many engaging inspiring, talented individuals at every turn only fueled my resolve that 2013 will be the very best ESCAPESEEKER season yet! Perhaps, in part, it may be because I have a far greater appreciation for restored health…for the opportunity to travel…to explore the world on two feet, something I will never ever take fore granted again.

With God’s tender mercy, and with the tireless assistance of my ESCAPESEEKER team as well as the continued, generous support of tremendous entities from around the world, we will continue to seek out the greatest destinations, and prove again and again that there’s no destination on earth too far, too difficult, or too SPECTACULAR to reach!  I feel it a tremendous privilege, albeit also a great responsibility to correctly represent each country I write about, and subsequently film for our PBS SoCal TV Series. For the next few weeks, I will be devoting a segment on each of the destinations we researched, so I can properly do them justice. I hope you’ll continue to visit my ESCAPESEEKER blog as I share the incredible images and story after story of some of the world’s most interesting, unique places…some of which are still barely known…hidden gems waiting to be discovered by adventure-seeking, travel enthusiasts  just like you! We will be returning to film these destinations in the coming weeks, and I have no doubt my avid cinematographers upon seeing these awe-inspiring places will once again refer to me as their “Fairy Godmother.”

Here’s to ENDLESS, BLISSFUL ESCAPES…and Remember, No Matter Where You Travel, BE THE KINDEST PERSON YOU KNOW!

With love,

Mel Gee Henderson aka ESCAPESEEKER

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MARLON BRANDO’S VISION FOR TETIAROA ATOLL NEARS COMPLETION AS PACIFIC BEACHCOMBER SETS THE NEW GLOBAL STANDARD FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT.

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

REMARKABLE DOESN’T EVEN BEGIN TO DESCRIBE “THE BRANDO” ON THE ISLAND OF TETIAROA, THE HISTORIC FORMER RETREAT OF TAHITIAN ROYALS…

For those of us who hunger for the ultimate island luxury escape--the unveiling of THE BRANDO on the island of TETIAROA will be one highly-awaited (even coveted) welcome invitation!

For those of us who hunger for the ultimate island luxury escape–the unveiling of THE BRANDO on the island of TETIAROA will be one highly-awaited (even coveted) welcome invitation! With its ROYAL roots, THE BRANDO promises to deliver the kind of impeccable experience fit for a king!

A LOOK BACK AT TETIAROA’S HISTORY…

I discovered from my research  that the  atoll of Tetiaroa holds a special place in the hearts of the people of French Polynesia. It has become an almost a “sacred spot” for the people. In historic times, Tetiaroa belonged to the Pomare family, rulers of Tahiti. The royal family placed Tetiaroa in the care of faithful retainers who managed it and lived on the island.

Portrait of Queen Pomare IV of Tahiti by Charles Giraud, 1851, Musée de Tahiti et des Îles

Portrait of Queen Pomare IV of Tahiti by Charles Giraud, 1851, Musée de Tahiti et des Îles

 

Members of the royal family spent time on Tetiaroa when they needed quiet time and relaxation. The female members of the family are said to have gone there to eat (gain weight) and stay out of the sun (have their skin lighten up) “for the purposes of beautifying their person.” According to legend, in times of trouble the King placed his treasures there for safekeeping. In 1789, William Bligh is said to have been the first European to visit the atoll while looking for the Bounty mutineers.

In 1904, the royal family gave Tetiaroa to Dr. Johnston Walter Williams, the only dentist in Tahiti. Mr Williams later became Consul of England from 1916 to 1935. Dr. Williams managed Tetiaroa as a residence and a copra plantation.

HOW BRANDO AND TETIAROA CAME TO BE…

In 1960, Marlon Brando “discovered” Tetiaroa while scouting filming locations for Mutiny on the Bounty,  which was shot on Tahiti and neighboring island of Moorea.   After filming was completed, Brando hired a local fisherman to ferry him to Tetiaroa. It was “more gorgeous than anything I had anticipated,” he marveled in his 1994 autobiography Songs My Mother Taught Me.

Brando eventually purchased Tetiaroa’s islets (motus) from one of Dr. Williams’ direct descendants, Mrs. Duran. The reef and lagoon belong to French Polynesia. Brando purchased most of the atoll in 1966 for $200,000 and the other part in 1967 for $70,000. He had to overcome political interference and local resistance to purchase the atoll. Many, many important archaeological sites have been located, identified, and studied on Tetiaroa.

Wanting to live on the atoll, Brando built a small village on Motu Onetahi in 1970. It consisted of an airstrip to get there without breaching the reef, 12 simple bungalows, a kitchen hut, dining hall and bar, all built from local materials – coconut wood, thatch roofs and even large sea shells for sinks. The village became a hospice for friends, family and scientists studying the atoll’s ecology and archeology.

Tahitian actress Tarita Teriipia, who played his love interest in Mutiny on the Bounty, became Brando's third wife on August 10, 1962.

Tahitian actress Tarita Teriipia, who played his love interest in Mutiny on the Bounty, became Brando’s third wife on August 10, 1962.

 

A SPECIAL FRIENDSHIP IS FORGED BETWEEN TWO AMERICANS…

What happens when two Americans who share a passion and reverence for Tahiti and her islands come together?  Enter, Mr. Richard Bailey, a youthful, forward-thinking, fearless visionary, who would soon team up with the Hollywood legend to find a revolutionary solution to Tahiti’s ever-increasing demand (and very expensive) energy needs.

Richard Bailey, 57, is chairman and CEO of Pacific Beachcomber, the $140 million hospitality group that owns such properties as the InterContinental Tahiti and InterContinental Bora Bora resorts. A 20-year-plus resident of Papeete, Tahiti,  Bailey was a close personal friend of the actor.

Richard Bailey, 57, is chairman and CEO of Pacific Beachcomber, the $140 million hospitality group that owns such properties as the InterContinental Tahiti and InterContinental Bora Bora resorts. A 20-year-plus resident of Papeete, Tahiti, Bailey was a close personal friend of the actor.

 

 

After falling deeply in love with the South Pacific and its people, Brando’s life was affected in a profound way.  Brando who had earned a “bad boy” reputation for his public outbursts and antics or as noted by the Los Angeles  magazine–“Brando was rock and roll before anybody knew what rock and roll was”–found a new way to escape the Hollywood limelight at the 12-island atoll which he intended to make partly an environmental laboratory and partly a resort. He vowed to preserve it. “If I have my way,” he said, “Tetiaroa will remain forever a place that reminds Tahitians of who they are and what they were centuries ago.” It was during his time on Tetiaroa that Brando began researching other forms of sustainable energy utilizing what was most available and abundant throughout Tahiti:  SEAWATER!  And, in 1999, it would be this common quest that would introduce Brando, a transformed, passionately “green-focused” Hollywood star, to a young hospitality industry entrepreneur with a proven record of achieving luxury in a remote, authentic and well-preserved environment  in the South Pacific, while weaving in the genuine Polynesian way of life.  For the next 5 years, a lasting friendship was forged, as their revolutionary ideas for sustainable energy were brought to full fruition, and it should be no surprise that after Marlon Brando’s passing, the Brando family comprised of his eight surviving children  would turn to Mr. Bailey to lead the way to make their father’s dream for Tetiaroa come true!

AN INVITATION I COULDN’T REFUSE…

How does one script an incredible ending to my 2013, amazing French Polynesian Odyssey? Well, if you’re the ESCAPESEEKER you would receive one incredibly rare invitation to get a first hand look at THE BRANDO–the most revolutionary, most eco-friendly, sustainable luxury resort, currently under construction on the atoll of TETIAROA.  Yes, on February 15, 2013, at approximately 11:00 a.m., I found myself  in the co-pilot’s seat of a TBM850 private aircraft, piloted by none other than the courageously daring CEO of Pacific Beachcomber, RICHARD BAILEY, the man entrusted by Brando and his family to meticulously carry out Brando’s requests for his beloved TETIAROA:  to preserve its cultural richness, its natural beauty, and the incredible biodiversity of this beautiful atoll.

After our 20-minute, smooth flight from Papeete, we begin to make our approach towards the runway. Viewing the island from above, it finally hits me just how complex this huge undertaking is from the start–the difficulty of building on a remote atoll with no infrastructure – no power, gas, water, anything. For starters, they’ve reconstructed an airstrip, to make it meet strict regulations. After Mr. Bailey’s flawless landing, I turned to him and remarked,  “What you have set before you feels so much like your own quest to land on the moon!” He smiled, and replied, “Mel, in my business, how often does an opportunity like this come along in one’s lifetime? I am so very lucky…very, very lucky to be given this amazing challenge!”

Although I was still recovering from a foot injury, I wasn't about to let that get in the way of seeing first hand what the "The Brando" buzz was all about!  I'm so glad I did. Let me give you advance notice:  This is one "island escape" you'll definitely want to experience in 2014!

Although I was still recovering from a foot injury, I wasn’t about to let that get in the way of seeing first hand what the “The Brando” buzz was all about! I’m so glad I did. Let me give you advance notice: This is one “island escape” you’ll definitely want to experience in 2014! [Image captured by Richard Bailey…thank you for helping me document my visit]

At that moment, as we exited his beautiful aircraft, I, too felt extremely lucky to be given this very special first-hand look at THE BRANDO, guided by the youthful and energetic visionary himself, equipped with an unwavering positive attitude who believes nothing is IMPOSSIBLE!

IN 2014, THE CALIBER OF TRUE, SUSTAINABLE, ECO-FRIENDLY LUXURY ESCAPES WILL BE TRANSFORMED WITH THE UNVEILING OF “THE BRANDO” ON THE TETIAROA ATOLL…

Like other French Polynesian islands, the atoll of Tetiaroa is focused on environmental sustainability and plans to be 100% energy independent. In order to minimize the use of fossil fuels, this project will include a mix of the following renewable energy sources:
In principle, the system is simple. A pipeline is installed in seawater at a depth at which the water is ice-cold year-round. This water is then distributed through the air-conditioning system by means of an exchanger. The first SWAC installation at InterContinental Bora Bora Thalasso Resort and Spa was a spectacular success, demonstrating that it is possible to air condition a luxury hotel at a very competitive cost and without the use of fossil fuels or CO2 emissions. Based on this success, Pacific Beachcomber decided to implement the same SWAC system on Tetiaroa. The company was proud to announce that the pipes were effectively laid and flooded in October 2011.

In principle, the system is simple. A pipeline is installed in seawater at a depth at which the water is ice-cold year-round. This water is then distributed through the air-conditioning system by means of an exchanger.
The first SWAC installation at InterContinental Bora Bora Thalasso Resort and Spa was a spectacular success, demonstrating that it is possible to air condition a luxury hotel at a very competitive cost and without the use of fossil fuels or CO2 emissions. Based on this success, Pacific Beachcomber decided to implement the same SWAC system on Tetiaroa. The company was proud to announce that the pipes were effectively laid and flooded in October 2011.

Sea Water Air Conditioning (SWAC), which will distribute air conditioning to all of the project’s buildings and infrastructures. Having pioneered this system in the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa in 2006, Pacific Beachcomber is the leader in the development of this technology. The SWAC is estimated to produce 45% of the energy requirement on Tetiaroa.

Solar energy, produced from photovoltaic solar panels, will be installed along the airstrip on the north side of the islet of Onetahi. Solar energy is estimated to produce 35% of the energy requirement on Tetiaroa.

A biofuel thermal power station that uses coconut oil will be used to offset any decrease in energy outputs from the solar installations. Coconut oil is estimated to produce 20% of the energy requirement on Tetiaroa.

Additionally, hot water for the resort will be produced using solar energy instead of traditional water heaters that burn fossil fuels, and an innovative wastewater management system will filter liquid wastewater into water that will be used for irrigation.

After I   learned about the “technical” side of the resort, Mr. Bailey gave me a tour of one of the finished villas.  After all, for my discerning, luxury-escapeseeking followers, this would be an immediate draw.
Villa-2-400x300The craftsmanship, design, and attention to even the most minute detail of its beautiful interiors will amaze you! Mr. Bailey, who originated from Louisiana, requested that each of the bungalows be furnished with a comfortable rocking chair on the front porch. I tried it. All you need is a good book, and a nice tropical breeze, and you’ll be planted there for hours! Finally… A GUILT-FREE LUXURY ESCAPE BUILT TO BE IN HARMONY WITH OUR PLANET EARTH!
Speaking of HARMONY–great care is also taken to ensure that the ecology of the island remains as undisturbed as possible.

Great care is continually taken to protect the island's natural habitat.  The Tetiaroa Society, a non-profit organization is dedicated to research, conversation, and education related to the delicate ecology of the atoll. The goal of this organization is to create a scientific and educational window into the biodiversity of Tetiaroa, with the possibility of developing controlled eco-tourism and raising public awareness regarding the fragility of our biodiversity.

Great care is continually taken to protect the island’s natural habitat. The Tetiaroa Society, a non-profit organization is dedicated to research, conversation, and education related to the delicate ecology of the atoll.
The goal of this organization is to create a scientific and educational window into the biodiversity of Tetiaroa, with the possibility of developing controlled eco-tourism and raising public awareness regarding the fragility of our biodiversity.

I have to admit, as THE ESCAPESEEKER, I’ve been granted some very unique opportunities, but my private tour or TETIAROA has to be amongst the coolest of them all! Wait, let me rephrase that…in light of the perfect, noon day sun that shone brightly through the natural vegetation, it is better described as ONE BRILLIANT DAY…one I can’t wait to replicate and capture on film when THE BRANDO officially opens its doors in 2014.

Thank you Richard for a most inspiring day…and thank you Mireille Bailey for kindly suggesting I see THE BRANDO up close. I would not have missed this rare experience for the world.  While standing on the beach and looking out at an endless horizon of turquoise blue and every shade thereof, I had an overwhelming sense… the special feeling the natives call, “mana”…that this atoll is more than just another luxurious island escape.  Mr. Brando would be very, very proud!

ESCAPESEEKER fans…yes, please feel free to ask me the question: “If Heaven has a heaven, is it found in Tahiti and her islands?” Watch this clip of Tetiaroa, and you’ll begin to understand why ESCAPESEEKER has become such a strong proponent of Mr. Bailey and his Pacific Beachcomber organization!

THE BRANDO on TETIAROA

 

 

 

I cannot wait to return to Tetiaroa in 2014...but next time, properly attired to do this flawless beach justice!

I cannot wait to return to Tetiaroa in 2014…but next time, properly attired to do this flawless beach justice! [Image captured by Richard Bailey]

 

IN THEIR OWN WORDS…”PARADISE FOUND” by MICHAEL PARKS and KATRINA DRABKIN PARKS with ‘wombmate’ BABY PARKS (in a supporting role).

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

PARADISE FOUND!

Hollywood, California — A huge thanks to Mel Gee Henderson and  Roy Henderson,  Executive Producers of the extraordinary new television travel show Escapeseeker for the Grand Prize luxury trip we won to the French Polynesian Islands!!! Talk about the trip of a lifetime! Here’s how it all began…

POP STAR SENSATION, EMII ROCKEDTHE CROWD WITH HER EXHILIRATING VOICE!

 

ESCAPESEEKER PREMIERE PARTY VIP's ARRIVE! Little did we know what good fortune the night would bring...

For those who don’t know the story, my wife Katrina and I were guests at the Escapeseeker Fall Season Premiere Launch party held  on August 26, 2011.  This gala event was both fun and, like Escapeseeker, wonderfully exciting, combining a great venue, delicious cuisine, many Hollywood movers and shakers, a fantastic sneak preview of the Escapeseeker series, the amazing recording artist Emii who preformed live for us and a drawing for a grand prize trip to Tahiti!

EMII…A BIG VOICE with A BIG HEART TO MATCH!
EMII EAGERLY SIFTS THROUGH THE BAG OF NUMBERS TO SELECT THE WINNING NUMBER…#11, belonging to Michael Parks!

I should mention that at the time of the party Katrina was already 7 months pregnant with our first baby. This is important because we are sure that it was the rubbing of her pregnant belly for good luck, just prior to the drawing that helped us to win the trip.

ESCAPESEEKER aka Mel Gee Henderson congratulates the night’s GRAND PRIZE WINNER. Yes, #11…ME!!!

The crazy part is the winning number was 11 and guess what the baby’s due date is: 11/11/11!!! To say we were awestruck is an understatement.

With the baby coming soon, we knew we had to act quickly. Two weeks later, we were whisked to the airport by our good friend Rochelle Vallese (an actress who guest stars  in the Escapeseeker Fiji episode), and we were finally en route to Tahiti.  The eight hour direct flight from Los Angeles is a breeze on Air Tahiti Nui.  We arrived in Papeete and had a delightful night at the Radisson Plaza Resort overlooking the most  beautiful black sand beach of Matavai Bay.  After a morning stroll, we departed for the airport and flew via Tahiti’s domestic airline, Air Tahiti, to the island of Raiatea.

Le Taha’a Island Resort’s Private Boat…gives whole new meaning to ‘airport transfers’ doesn’t it?

 

Now, here’s where the trip really reaches new heights!  At the Raiatea airport, we were greeted by a private boat service that ferried us to Taha’a, a remote and exquisitely beautiful island.  The five star resort, (the only Relais & Châteaux in French Polynesia)  Le Taha’a Island Resort and Spa perfectly combines luxury with the exotic and breezy charm of French Polynesia. 

The stunning architecture of the resort is the perfect compliment to a location that can only be described as paradise.

 

The sea is a shining gem that changes from shades of turquoise and emerald to a deep lapis as the sun and breezes play overhead.

 

 

Ahhh! The best cure for expectant Moms who need some relief from the extra (albeit temporary) weight they’re carrying…a week in Paradise!

 

After we had settled into the tranquility of our over the water bungalow, we took our first swim off our private porch.  Apparently, floating is good for ‘preggers’ eager to get off their feet, and so that’s exactly what my wife, Katrina, did at least three times a day.  The temperature of Taha’a’s waters are blissful – cool enough to be refreshing and warm enough to be comfortable for long periods of floating and snorkeling.

 

We were delighted to discover that Taha’a  has one of the most amazing coral reefs, filled with tropical fish that seem eager to swim right up to your goggles and check you out!  You can literally start snorkeling at one end of the island and drift leisurely down stream with a  current for hours as new species of fish, each one more intriguing and colorful than the next introduce themselves.  After our first snorkeling adventure, we decided to make this part of our daily ritual.  What’s not to love about these amazing conditions?

 

We should mention that Le Taha’a’s  staff are eager to assist their guests in doing as much or as little as they like.  We decided to air on the side of doing very little because we just couldn’t bare to tare ourselves away from the resort.  I did, however, go for a spectacular deep water scuba dive off the coast during which I swam with sharks and heard a nearby humpback whale sing.  Katrina wisely opted out of this adventure and spent the day by the infinity pool drinking refreshing fruit juices, reading and occasionally gazing out at the horizon of the pool which seamlessly blends into the ocean beyond.

 

Le Taha’a Island Resort and Spa…Yes, it is as BLISSFUL as it looks! Just ask Katrina Parks!!!

 

Daily HEALTHY Fare to meet even the most exquisite cravings!

The hotel’s three restaurants offer the perfect balance French and Tahitian inspired cuisine that takes the best of both cultures and makes something even better…..  We started each day with the most amazing breakfast buffet we have ever encountered.  Being consummately picky coffee drinkers, we are hardly ever pleased by the coffee we encounter on our travels, but this coffee (made in a stainless French press at our table) was rich and  just caffeinated enough to enable us to take full advantage of the bountiful fruit, cheese, yogurt and pastry selections… not to mention the delicious crepes and waffles we ordered!  Of course, even though we were stuffed after breakfast, we managed – it’s important to keep a pregnant woman’s blood sugar up – to indulge in the most incredible seafood for the rest of the day.  The smoked salmon, the fresh lobster and crab, just melted in your mouth at every meal.

From reading about the food, you may imagine that we were too stuffed to do anything for the rest of the day, but fear not….

Ahhh…now this is the most inviting stroll back to our over-the-water bungalow!

We had to stroll back to our over the water bungalow, where we could gaze through a glass floor panel as Manta Ray’s and fish slowly cruised by,  we had to swim off our private dock and stroll to the infinity pool,  and we most certainly had to  watch the sun as it crossed overhead and went out in a spectacular display of reds and golds as we watched in our white bathrobes while holding hands.

OUR ULTIMATE PRIVATE RETREAT!
No caption needed…I shall allow this picture to tell our heartfelt story!

 

THE LOOK OF CONTENTMENT AT LE TAHA’A…

This phenomenal routine went on for five extremely relaxing and soul reviving day,  after which, we truly mourned having to leave Le Taha’a.   Once back at Papeete, we decided to make the most of our last day and sojourned to the island of Moorea, which is a brief ferry ride away.  We sadly took our last swim in Tahitian waters and had one more delicious meal, before boarding our plane back to Los Angeles.

 

Our only consolation is knowing that we can return someday.

We already eagerly await our return to Paradise!

 

LE TAHA’A ISLAND RESORT AND SPA…HEAVENLY PARADISE…PURE AND SIMPLE! 

Book your own slice of PARADISE: http://www.relaischateaux.com/letahaa