French Polynesia is far away from just about everywhere, and the entire reason one goes there is to enjoy the beauty of nature. No one wants to be cooped up inside, so it's good news that all Paul Gauguin cabins have ocean views and that almost 70 percent are equipped with balconies.
Cabins range from 200 to 588 square feet, including the balconies. Most utilize actual queen-size mattresses that don't split into two single beds, although a few cabins are equipped with twin beds that can convert to queens. Almost every cabin comes with a full-size tub and shower (some only offer a shower), and high-end L'Occitance bath products are standard. The bathroom amenity kit includes verbena-scented shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and body lotion, as well as a shower cap, Q-tips, cotton balls, a nail file and bar soap.
The comfortable beds feature feather-down duvets. The closets are stocked with a hair dryer, robes and cotton slippers.
While all cabins have refrigerators replenished daily with soda, beer and water, those staying in Veranda Staterooms (Category B) or above also get in-suite bar setups and butler service. Cabins and suites share a colorful interior design that can only be pulled off in a tropical destination. The palette includes red carpeting, Mahogany-lacquered cabinetry, chiffon yellow and sheer draperies, navy blue sofas and ottomans, and purple bedspreads with gold leaf patterns. Bathrooms in every category are very spacious -- no smacking your elbows on the shower walls!
Balconies vary in size, but each includes at least two sitting chairs and a small table. Larger balconies are outfitted with chaise lounges.
If you're going whole-hog on this trip, book early, and snag a suite. There are two Owner's Suites -- one 457 square feet with 77-square-foot balcony, the other 531 square feet with 57-square-foot balcony -- that offer separate sleeping and dining/sitting areas. Two 332-square-foot Grand Suites offer spacious combined living and sleeping spots, along with huge 197-square-foot wraparound verandahs.
A step down from the Grand Suites are the Category A Veranda Suites at 300 square feet. They're spacious but have less seating in the living areas than higher categories. The balconies are 58 square feet. Category B Veranda Staterooms are popular because they offer a good amount of square footage (249, plus 56-square-foot verandahs) and, like the above-mentioned accommodations, include butler service. Editor's note: There is one wheelchair-accessible cabin (Category E, 415).
The cabins and terrace are big luxurious and very tastefully done with lots of wood furniture. We had a beautiful flower arrangement and bottle of champagne on arrival in our room. The butler ( Johnathon) was great and made all our dinner reservations and helped make...continue