The Thinking Woman's Diary

Maupiti Résidence

Written: 7th Nov 2015  | Last Updated: 7th Nov 2015


I don’t want to get all carried away and overstate how wonderful this place is, how idyllic and unspoiled the island is, how perfectly situated the bungalows are, how glorious the white sand beach is...or how stunningly beautiful the lagoon is...but it’s simply impossible not to GUSH! Bring on the superlatives! This is the stuff of dreams!

Maupiti Résidence, located on the volcanic island of Maupiti in the Leeward Islands of French Polynesia, 315 kilometres from Papeete and 40 kilometres from Bora Bora, comprises two 70 square metre houses set side by side, right on the sand, a few metres from a turquoise / jade lagoon. The water is clear, safe and shallow, so you can actually wade across to the nearest motu (islet) to do a bit of beachcombing on the edge of the coral reef. As you cross, you will likely see stingrays and the occasional black-tipped shark...but they mind their own business and shouldn’t bother you at all.

You couldn’t hope for a more perfect position anywhere…and whether you choose to relax, read, swing in the hammock and soak up some sun...or to kayak, snorkel, swim, cycle and play volleyball, everything you need is right at your fingertips. All equipment, such as bicycles, kayaks, volleyball, table-tennis, beach toys for children, flippers, snorkels, goggles, water shoes, etc., are included in the price. 

Each bungalow has two bedrooms (one double, one twin), a roll-away bed for an extra person, an open-plan living room / kitchen (equipped with stove, fridge, microwave, coffeemaker, all cutlery, crockery, pots and pans), plus a bathroom with toilet, handbasin and shower. There are also outdoor freshwater showers adjacent to the stairs for rinsing off after a swim.

 



All furnishings and fabrics are charmingly themed, with plenty of bamboo and Pacific-style prints, and while not at all ritzy, everything provides a very pleasing level of comfort. Linens are changed three times a week by delightful staff members Laï and Vaea, and the beach is raked and tidied regularly by Célestin and Djamald. Considering you are essentially living in nature, exposed to all elements, everything is kept in excellent order.

The dining table and chairs are located on the west-facing deck / verandah, and because of generous overhanging eaves, you can eat here even if it’s raining. At dusk, after a perfect Maupiti day, there is nothing more sublime than watching the panorama of the setting sun while you sip a glass of wine...you get the picture, it’s paradise!

The living area is equipped with a flat-screen TV (satellite) and DVD player, plus a small but interesting collection of DVDs and books.

In the bike shed at the rear of the property, there’s a washing machine for your use (with drying lines just behind your bungalow), which means you really can pack lightly for once, and just wash when you need to. It’s a true home-away-from-home.

For lunchtime picnics, there are two big wooden tables with benches set under a shady tree by the lagoon. Nearby there’s a gas barbecue, sink and bench top. And gracing the beach are wooden chaises longues with colourful cushions...all the comforts one could wish for.

Air-conditioning is an optional extra for the bungalows, and while not necessary during the dry season (May-October), it is highly recommended for the hot, humid summer months (November-April).

And though this truly is the ideal place to drop out of the rat race, communion with the outside world is still possible should you need a fix - WiFi is included at no extra cost. The signal is good, and while not lightning-fast, it is perfectly adequate for checking news headlines or emailing amazing holiday photos to your (jealous!) family and friends.

 



Coconut palms, hibiscuses, frangipanis, Tahiti’s own tiare gardenias and many other tropical plants grow luxuriantly in the garden. The lapping of the lagoon and the distant boom of surf crashing on the coral reef provide nature’s timpani. At night, when the last rays of daylight have dispersed, the stars come out in exquisite force and command you to drop everything and look up. It's completely mesmerising! And if your kids are so inclined, they can grab a battery-powered lantern from the top of the bookshelf and explore the moonlit beach for busy hermit crabs out and about doing their nocturnal hunting and socialising.

Should you choose to self-cater, particularly if you are planning to stay on the island for more than a week, it’s a good idea to compose and email a shopping list well in advance to the owner / proprietor, Alain, who will then advise and assist you, and arrange shipment from Papeete if necessary. Local shops are small, with limited supplies (particularly in the week before the monthly shipment arrives), so making the effort to pre-order two to three months before you go will stand you in good stead. Food and beverages are quite expensive in French Polynesia, so it’s a good idea to do a bit of homework online, studying Carrefour and other local supermarket catalogues to see what’s good value in Papeete, and also to help you decide what’s worth bringing from home (i.e. sunscreen, personal insect spray, shampoo & conditioner, duty-free spirits, champagne, etc.). 

A wonderful bonus on the property is the variety of fruit trees planted and tended by Alain, his lovely wife, Nhung and their team...you are encouraged to help yourself to ripe papaya, mangoes, white passionfruit, green pamplemousse and other exotic offerings. Nhung, and team member Vaea, are both experts at opening coconuts that drop from palms in the garden, and delight in offering the sweet water and soft coconut meat for you to taste. 

If you need to purchase items from the local shops, located at various points around Maupiti - including the bakery which produces all the island’s baguettes and also sells fresh eggs and other foods - you can ride a bike or walk. The route is flat most of the way, but if you choose to circumnavigate the island (about 10 km) and return via some breathtaking coastal views (highly recommended), be prepared for a couple of hills. Whichever way you go, the scenery is simply magnificent. (If you need help finding the right shop, or if riding or walking are too difficult, just speak with Alain, he is very helpful, and will drive you to / from the village.)

 



There are only a few places to eat out on the island, and two of them are situated close to the bungalows - “Snack Mimi” and “Snack Espace Beach” - just along the lagoon a short stroll from the Résidence. “Snack Mimi” offers a specialty of simple yet delicious casse-croûte (a baguette filled with your choice of omelette, meat or fish plus frites) and also stocks various drinks. “Snack Espace Beach” has a slightly larger menu including Mahi-Mahi, chicken or steak served with rice or frites, poisson cru (raw fish marinated in lime juice and coconut milk), and seasonally, langoustes and other gifts from the sea. Both establishments have charmingly rustic tables and chairs facing the iridescent water.

Once you have adjusted to the Polynesian rhythm of life...once you have rinsed and released your tensions in the warm lagoon...you will begin to feel like your true self, rejoicing in the pleasure and privilege of experiencing Maupiti’s magic. Staying here, at this place, on this island, is a sensory experience of high magnitude, one that will refresh your mind and body, and perhaps even transform you into a calmer, healthier, more accepting, more generous human being. 

Does all that even sound possible? On Maupiti, YES!

 

Maupiti Résidence : http://www.maupitiresidence.info

 

Flights from Papeete to Maupiti : https://www.airtahiti.com

 

N.B. Staying at Maupiti Résidence, and indeed on Maupiti itself, isn’t for everyone; those seeking 5-star pampering should stick with the usual suspects like the high-end resorts of Bora Bora; but for those of you seeking a magnificent, safe, thoroughly unspoiled island where you can not only reboot your sanity but also get some insight into Polynesian life and culture, then this place is your perfect fit. :-)