This happens because The Brando operates its own fleet of prop planes to shuttle guests from Tahiti’s Faa’a International Airport (Papeete) to the private-island of Tetiaroa 20 minutes away. But those small planes fly only during daylight hours. And most flights in and out of Tahiti, to/from the United States or Europe (namely France), arrive and depart in the dark of night. My flight on Air Tahiti Nui from Los Angeles, for example, arrived in French Polynesia at 10pm. And upon departure, we took off at midnight.
That meant that I needed a place to rest overnight upon arrival in order to sync up with the private transfer to Tetiaroa Island the next morning. And on the way back, I needed a place to stow my bags and chill (it was very hot and humid) for five hours before my international red-eye was ready. The small open-air airport would not have been the most comfortable choice for that.
The transit rooms set aside for this purpose at IC Tahiti aren’t the hotel’s finest accommodations, but they are incredibly convenient, located at street level with quick/easy access to the lobby, but also with terrific views of the ocean (and planes taking off and landing). It takes less than five minutes to shuttle between the hotel and the airport.
Inbound, I went straight to bed and awoke in time to have a quick breakfast at Te Tiare and still catch my ride to The Brando. Outbound, I found myself with several hours to kill, so I took advantage of the pool, strolled the grounds, sipped tiki drinks at the bar, then dressed for dinner at chef Bruno Oger’s Le Lotus. I still had time for a quick shower before heading back to the airport.
Seriously, the best layover ever (although a 10-hour layover at Singapore’s Changi Airport comes close).
Rates from about $275. PK7, Fa’a’ā 98702, French Polynesia, Tel. +6220.127.116.11.10, tahiti.intercontinental.com