by Amanda Norcross
Have you always dreamed of staying at an over-the-top luxurious resort in French Polynesia? The Brando is that resort. The remote, all-inclusive resort offers one-, two-, and three-bedroom villas to suit families of various sizes. It also features several dining options, with food sourced from ingredients grown in the resort’s gardens. Visit the spa, go paddleboarding, and just relax, far away from the rest of the world.
Our Editor Loves
- Remote resort
- All-inclusive rates
- Spacious villas
- All Inclusive Rates
- Water Sports
- Family Room 5+
- Onsite Dining
by Kimberly G
A trip to French Polynesia had been on our to do list for a long time. The travel is lengthy, and we finally found time to get away. After the first half of our trip was spent being spoiled at the St. Regis is Bora Bora, we were excited to complete our travels at The Brando.
At first, we were blown away by its natural beauty and excited about the privacy of our villa. Then, we encountered the flies. They were terrible and made it almost impossible to enjoy time outside. As well as the mosquitoes are controlled, I can’t believe there couldn’t be some way to control these annoying flies.
While I appreciate the eco-friendly nature of the resort, I also enjoy all the modern luxuries of time on vacation. To this end, the food choices seemed limited and tightly controlled. Compared to the St. Regis and other remote destinations we have visited, the food choices were average at best. Likewise, I suspect their reuse of Evian water bottles and mini bar supplies is less than what I would expect for even a low end resort.
I had high expectations for this resort based on what I had read, and none of them were met - much less exceeded. While the spa was nice, and the staff was talented, the facilities were limited to a steam room and plunge pool. Likewise, the fitness center was small and lacked headphones for use.
On a positive note, we enjoyed the bicycles and jogging around the island. We found the staff to be friendly even though they were often slow to respond. We enjoyed our time, because any time in paradise is a gift. We commit to making the most of it.
We ordered In-villa dining three times. The first two times, it was delivered to the wrong villa. On the third time, the order was incorrect. I simply expect a resort of high caliber to be more accurate. In addition, it was impossible to get ice. When the mini bar was restocked, everything was hot and took a day to cool off.
The beds are like brick, and the pillows are thin and flat. The general manager was present but never once inquired about our stay. When I booked our reservation, I booked the latest flight off the island. On the day of departure, I realized they had changed all of that for no apparent reason. It was truly one disappointment after another.
We will not return.
I always enjoy a great, luxury vacation getaway. The Brando is way down the list. Until today as I started to write my own review, I had never read anything less than a five star review for this resort. Traveler beware....
The Brando is a lovely resort with some of the best rooms in the world, amazing food and perfect landscapes.
Riding around the island is just beautiful. Te Manu Bar would have to be one of my favourite bars in the world. The turn down/house keeping service is second to none. The tennis court is just divine.
And the food! The food is exceptional (and also really fairly priced). Having restaurants the quality of Nami (teppanyaki) and Les Mutines in the middle of the ocean is mind blowing. Breakfast was equally as impressive. Though whilst The Brando has done a brilliant job at stopping mosquitos, be aware that the flies are shocking so you basically need to sit inside.
Very impressed with the small touches – ping pong table, pool table, bikes, beach tennis etc.
As mentioned, the rooms are unbelievable. They are modern, comfortable, large, private, quiet and have excellent bathrooms. Flawless.
We were extremely excited about visiting The Brando, however there were a couple of disappointing aspects.
It is extremely windy! We were there for a week and Mermaid Bay was only calm (and therefore useable) on one day. Turtle Bay was beautiful and calm the whole time but I felt sorry for those on Mermaid Bay.
The wind also meant that the pool was not an option for the majority of our stay. This was a huge disappointment for us as we love a good hotel pool and the ones in the rooms are more plunge pools. Apparently they built the pool on the windiest part of the island to capture the breeze and keep things cool. Well they succeeded so much in this that absolutely no one uses it! Crazy.
The Brando lacks activities but even more so when it's windy. The snorkelling trip was cancelled 4 days in a row and the beach activities shut down.
Obviously the wind is no fault of the hotel but be warned which side of the island you say on and the impact on activities.
Service ranged from spectacular (restaurants/bars/buggy drivers/concierge) to disappointing - some of the guys working at the activities/beach desk were just not interested. I felt insulted a few times when asking to use a paddle board or outrigger - instead of saying yes, they would huff and puff saying something about all the other ones were damaged and this is the last one. Then reluctantly they would oblige. By oblige, they would watch as I dragged it down to the beach. On the one day we could sit at the pool, there was no one there to serve us.
The spa is nice and in a lovely setting - though definitely needs a jacuzzi (or ideally two). The Four Seasons Bora Bora has fabulous jacuzzi's that are out of this world.
The gym is small and pretty underwhelming. Not many people go to The Brando for the gym but given how amazing all of the other facilities are, it was quite surprising.
The beaches are simply beautiful and even though Mermaid Bay is meant to be the rocky side, we found the sand totally fine. You could snorkel off the beach, though the fish are timid so you don’t see much. Lovely clear water but not a patch on the snorkelling you get off the Fijian islands. Watching whales beyond the reef was incredibly special though.
My review was written with mixed feelings. We had a wonderful time at The Brando and it is undoubtably a special place. Perhaps we were unlucky with the wind but it certainly impacted our time there.
Would I go back? Most definitely yes. I think 4 days would be enough though, 7 was a bit too much.