Unforgettable Birthday Retreat: A Return to French Polynesia

August 1, 2010

Présentant le nouveau visage de InterContinental Moorea Resort and Spa...if this is what it means to get a "facelift" sign me up!

FRENCH POLYNESIA — After learning that the InterContinenal Moorea Resort and Spa had officially re-opened after an extensive “facelift” –I suggested to my friend Holly Rowe that she ought to check it out, since it had been 12 long years since her last visit to magical Moorea.  And, since Holly travels a great deal for her work as ESPN’s weekly NCAA sports reporter, she was looking for a retreat that would revive her mind, body and spirit!  After I told Holly–a true “sportsiren”–about all of the tremendous water-related leisure and competitive sports found in French Polynesia,  she agreed it was a destination worth pursuing.  And as an added bonus for this ESCAPESEEKER–she decided that with all of my in-depth knowledge and passion for French Polynesia, I would make a pretty good guide.  Not to mention, this would also make for a very nice birthday retreat for yours truly. Can you imagine?  A RETURN TO PARIDISE…OH HEAVEN’S HEAVEN for a birthday present?  Hallelujah!  Thank you Holly!

Take a peak at this unedited video (just click below) that Holly shot of the brand new stunning swimming pool that is part of the “nouveau visage” of the InterContinental Moorea Resort and Spa.

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So, now here we are in BORA BORA, on the 8th day of our 3-island (Papeete/Moorea/Bora Bora) adventure.  We depart for the U.S. tomorrow, and before I close my laptop, I just had to take a moment to share with all of you some of the highlights of our amazing retreat:

PAPEETE ~ The InterContinental Papeete Resort, is a superb place to begin your French Polynesia exploration.  For Holly and I, it was a wonderful place to immerse ourselves in French Polynesian music and entertainment:

What a fantastic way to begin your exploration of French Polynesia!

The Tiare restaurant offers an outstanding dinner show performed by Les Grands Ballets de Tahiti. Watching these very fit dancers immediately inspired us to try to get as healthy and  fit as possible during our time on the islands.

MOOREA ~  Upon our arrival at the InterContinental Moorea Resort and Spa, we had three major objectives: Rest,Relax and Get Healthy!  Working in television production–whether it is sports or travel shows–they all place tremendous physical, intellectual, even emotional demands. Our goal was to return in better condition all around.  And, honestly, there’s nothing like an over-the-water bungalow with its expansive view of the turquoise clear waters of the South Pacific to lull you to sleep every night…especially if you’ve spent the entire day playing in the sun, and dining throughout the day on healthy cuisine prepared from the freshest local ingredients.  On our first two nights, we slept 10 hours!  That’s just unheard of for us.  I guess we were both even more fatiqued than we even imagined!  By the third night, we were so excited  because it was 8:00 pm and we were both still awake.  We were clearly acclimating and making progress!

If you love access to water and the playtime it affords, it doesn't get any better than from this over-the-water bungalow at the InterContinental Moorea Resort and Spa!

BORA BORA ~ You just simply cannot come this far and not visit the postcard-perfect island of Bora Bora!  I was so excited to bring Holly to the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort and Thalasso Spa because she had never been.  I also wanted to show her the dramatic setting where the finish of the Hawaiki Nui Va’a Race takes place.  This annual Outrigger Canoe Race occurs every Fall, and is the #1 sport event in French Polynesia.  For three solid days, more than 100 traditional canoes compete between Huahine and Bora Bora.  It’s a spectacular show of strength, endurance and drama amidst the most beautiful cinematic backdrop that only Mother Nature can provide!

It's such a great feeling to stay at a luxury resort that you know plays a major role in contributing to the advancement of ECO-HOTEL ENGINEERING! Welcome to the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort and Thalasso Spa.

There’s also another major reason why I felt the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort and Thalasso Spa would be the perfect ending to our “get fit retreat” –and after yesterday’s incredible Deep Ocean Spa treatments, Holly is absolutely convinced we must make this an annual pilgrimage, but next time include our families as well.  After all, experiences this joy-filled  is even more meaningful when it is shared with all those you love.  Anyways, I have a strong feeling we would have a “Mutiny on the Bounty” back home if we ever attempt to return to French Polynesia on our own again!

My unforgettable birthday retreat accomplished everything we set out to do and more.  Holly and I are both returning rested, refreshed, and refueled, ready to tackle what  lies ahead–a full Fall season of our TV assignments.  Whether you’re seeking peace, relaxation, romance or even a sports adventure–French Polynesia is one destination I would not hesitate to retreat to time and time again.  Even though we must admit missing not being able to share this trip with our loved ones–there are times when it is ok to run off with your best friend…just like the old days of youth…when time is spent laughing, exploring, and making new-found friends from other corners of the world.  And, that’s the one thing guaranteed when you travel to one of the most dramatically beautiful places on earth–you’ll make new friends who are just as excited as you are about getting to be in this gorgeous part of the world…where time seems to stand still…and where your cares just seem to float away with the tide.


As the sun sets each night on Tahiti and her magical islands, I am inspired to write these few words that truly expresses the gratitude that fills my heart each time I return to Heaven’s Heaven:

OH HEAVEN'S HEAVEN. Nature's beauty at its best...

Oh Heaven’s Heaven

How blessed am I

To return, not once

But multiple times

And, each time

I am reminded

How truly magnificent

And glorious our world is

And, I can’t help

But thank God above

For His creations…

For a life filled

With family and friendship,

Cherished experiences,

And, most of all,

Endless joy and everlasting love.

Here’s to Endless Summer’s Blissful Escapes.

With gratitude and love…

Yours truly,


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