An Island Named Desire

Tetiaroa, best known as Marlon Brando's private island, is a retreat fit for royalty. Once considered a playground for the wealthy, this atoll served as a summer residence for the former chiefs and kings of Tahiti. After many years of being inaccessible to the general public, a new eco-friendly, ultra-luxurious resort, The Brando, has changed that.

The Locale

Tetiaroa is part of the Society Islands in French Polynesia. This small, secluded atoll is located 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Tahiti and considered an extension of the Arue commune. Fittingly, the island name is a Polynesian word meaning "stands apart" or "at a distance." The inner lagoon, which is only 4.5 miles (7 kilometers) wide, is completely enclosed and protected by 13 surrounding coral islets.

The Legacy

Marlon Brando became enamored with French Polynesia when scouting the islands for his 1962 movie, Mutiny on the Bounty. While on location, he also fell in love with his third wife, Tarita Teriipia, the Tahitian beauty who starred alongside him in the film. In an effort to keep the islands close at heart, Brando sought to purchase his own section of paradise—and he set his sights on Tetiaroa.

Tetiaroa was a highly desirable piece of land. The atoll once belonged to the royal family and was subsequently passed through the hands of many private owners; thus, Brando's negotiations were met with much resistance. In 1966, after several failed attempts, he finally landed the 99-year lease that granted him exclusive "ownership" of Tetiaroa.

Over the years, Tetiaroa served as a secluded hideaway from his life in the Hollywood spotlight. The atoll had remained a pristine South Pacific paradise—and Brando sought to keep it that way. His lifelong dream was to maintain the atoll in its purest condition and allow others to enjoy it. He pictured a sustainable, ecological habitat; and although he died in 2004, his dream has been realized.

The Brando

The Pacific Beachcomber Group has developed the Brando Resort in line with the actor`s vision. The Brando aims to be the most luxurious eco-friendly resort on the planet. It has been built to the highest environmental standards and has been awarded a LEED Platinum Certification, the highest accolade from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The resort is also aiming to be 100% energy independent. Electricity requirements are met by a combination of solar panels (35%) and generators fueled by coconut oil (20%), while revolutionary technology known as seawater air conditioning (SWAC) uses deep seawater to cool the rooms efficiently and economically.

The Brando Resort has also been built with the support of the Tetiaroa Society, a local organization dedicated to the research, education and conservation of the atoll. The society manages a research center on the resort grounds, providing scientists from around the world a place to gather and conduct biodiversity research. It also funds educational programs for students, visitors and residents.

Final Impression

Tetiaroa is a delicate atoll with a rich history and strong spirit. Although once very regal, it offers the most humbling experience in French Polynesia. By hardly leaving a carbon footprint on the earth, this tiny locale will leave a lasting impression on your heart.


The Brando

The Brando

The Brando Resort combines luxury and environmental sustainability to create one of the finest eco-friendly resorts in the world. Located on the Tetiaroa atoll, also known as Marlon Brando's private island, this resort is meant to carry out his vision...

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Ultimate South Seas Escape, All-Inclusive

Ultimate South Seas Escape, All-Inclusive

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from $12,500 pp
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Elegant Luxury, Bora Bora & The Brando

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TopDive Inter-Island 10-Dive Pass Tetiaroa

TopDive Inter-Island 10-Dive Pass Tetiaroa

This package of 10 dives can be used by one person or shared between two people (5 dives each). The dives can be split between Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Fakarava, Tikehau and Rangiroa.  Operated by TopDive Dive Centers. Includes free Nitrox for...

from $876 pp

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