Tahiti: Honeymoon Capital of The World Welcomes Gay Newlyweds
By Clark Harding
It’s no wonder Captain Cook’s shipmates defected. Upon landing on the tarmac and promptly getting lei-d, I was ready to have my own Mutiny on the Bounty. The aqua color of the ocean alone made me want to give Los Angeles the finger and stay ashore in what could only possibly be the warmest, and most welcoming place on Earth: Tahiti. “It’s like our own little Love Boat,” Jean Guillaumot exclaims. He’s The General Manager of The Hilton Bora Bora Nui Hotel Resort & Spa, showing me to my Overwater Bungalow. The sun outside is glistening on the ocean, the coconut palms swaying in the breeze. It’s as if I am walking in to my MacBook screensaver. Oh, Bora Bora is where those images come from. Well done, me.
It’s for reasons like this that Tahiti, more formally known as The Islands of French Polynesia, are often referred to as “The Honeymoon Capital of the World.” Every island unique and painfully romantic, it’s a “couples paradise” where newlyweds come from far and wide to post honeymoon photos that are sure to make all of Instagram jealous. The iconic Overwater Bungalow just reached its 50th and it’s been difficult to keep people out.
“Are you kidding?” Kim Marshall, PR for the Hilton Bora Bora, says. “At The Hilton, we've tried to arrange evening programs for guests like presentations by famous authors or musicians, but it turns out they'd rather just stay in their bungalows and make love."
On the Island of Motu Tapu, having a lunch at a table half-submerged in a lagoon while being served roasted lobster by French waiters in sarongs (just another day at the office) I spied a handsome male couple down the beach. They were both clad in speedos which meant one of two things: gay or European. Later, at Bloody Mary’s famous restaurant/bar, while kicking up sand on the dance floor (because it’s actually made of sand) I noticed a guy looking at me…and then another. I paused.
“Am I being cruised?” I asked Stacey McCleod, my travel buddy from Toronto.
See, I’m a cheap five star traveler, so I didn’t purchase an international data plan and kept my phone in airplane mode. Thus I had to rely on my rusty social skills instead of mobile apps to spot gays nearby. “Oh yeah,” Stacey nodded, sipping her umbrella-d Mai Tai, “They are definitely cruising you.”
I kind of assumed I was the only gay in the village but upon further investigation my assumptions were kind of dated.