Category Archives: Pacific and Indian Oceans

COMO Hotels and Resorts to open new property in The Maldives for October 2013

Como Hotels and Resorts

COMO Hotels and Resorts to open new property in The Maldives for October 2013

Como Hotels

View of the Thaa Atoll from the Maalifushi Water Villa Pool.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 11, 2013 (Toronto, ON) – COMO Hotels and Resorts has announced it will open an exclusive new property in the Maldives this October. Maalifushi by COMO, an eight-hectare private island in the southerly Thaa Atoll, will be the company’s second resort in the Maldives. Its sister property, Cocoa Island by COMO, located further north in the South Malé Atoll, opened in 2002.

The 66-room property will be the first luxury resort on the unspoilt Thaa Atoll where it will offer away-from-it-all seclusion and an abundant underwater experience. The island’s pristine white sands and bright turquoise lagoons are neighboured by a string of uninhabited islands – perfect dashes of powdery sand and lolling palm trees – including another island belonging to the resort that can be booked for castaway picnics and romantic private dining.

On the main resort island, tropical vegetation featuring exotic birdlife provides lush curtains for private rooms, suites and villas, as well as Maalifushi’s ‘Madi’ restaurant, ‘Thila’ pool and lounge bar. Overwater accommodation, including a number of exclusive luxury suites and villas with private pools, as well as ‘Tai’ restaurant, can be found on the west of the island, all offering uninterrupted views across the ocean.  Interiors throughout the resort are by Japanese designer Koichiro Ikebuchi; they will bear the hallmarks of COMO’s signature, pared-back style, with locally sourced materials, natural light and open vistas taking centre stage.

Underwater, the Thaa Atoll boasts a range of unspoiled corals, attracting a whole host of colourful reef fish and sea creatures. Opportunities to spot magnificent Hammerhead and Whale Sharks also offer a rare environment for dive enthusiasts.

Other key highlights of Maalifushi by COMO will include:

• Three expansive, two-bedroom overwater COMO Villas
• ‘Madi’ restaurant featuring all-day international, Maldivian and healthful COMO Shambhala Cuisine
• Overwater ‘Tai’ restaurant and bar serving Japanese-inspired cuisine incorporating fresh, locally-sourced fish and seafood
• COMO Shambhala Retreat spa with gym, eight overwater treatment rooms and yoga pavilion
• On-island Dive Centre and guided diving excursions including a Marine Biologist and PADI instructors
• Activities and excursions including dolphin cruises, fishing, snorkeling and sailing

Maalifushi by COMO will be reached by a 50-minute seaplane ride from the Maldives’s main airport at Malé.

For more information please visit: comohotels.com/maalifushi

About the COMO Group and COMO Hotels and Resorts
COMO Hotels and Resorts creates personalised luxury travel experiences in its Urban Hotels, Island Resorts, Adventure Retreats and Wellness Resorts – highlighting wellness, cuisine, adventure and culture, service and design – while always trying to uphold a strong, sustainable approach towards the people and places where we operate.

Founded by Christina Ong, COMO Hotels and Resorts develops and manages handpicked, individually curated properties: The Halkin by COMO in London, two Metropolitan by COMO hotels in London and Bangkok, Parrot Cay by COMO in the Turks and Caicos, Cocoa Island by COMO in the Maldives, and three Uma by COMO experience resorts in Bali and Bhutan. Point Yamu by COMO is a new property in Phuket, Thailand, opening 2013. The company also manages COMO Shambhala Estate in Bali in partnership with its sister brand in wellness, COMO Shambhala, which promotes health, relaxation and learning through its products, services, cuisine, treatments and spa facilities within each COMO property.

Vacations That Make You a Better Man: From wine tasting, to jungle survival and adventure sports

VACATIONS THAT MAKE YOU A BETTER MAN

From wine tasting, to jungle survival and adventure sports; here are some travel suggestions for the modern man

Vacation days are a precious commodity and although some men might be happy to squander them laying on a beach, here are some travel suggestions aimed at increasing knowledge, physical prowess and even helping to make the world a better place. 

Pump Up The Pedal Pressure

Forget the Lycra, dressed from head to toe in protective gear; downhill mountain bikers are the gladiators of the two-wheel world. EnjoyWhistler.com offers a package including mountainside accommodation, a bike lesson on Whistler Mountain, and then a trip to the Scandinave Spa so you too can feel like you faced the arena – and won. For more information visit www.EnjoyWhistler.com

Me Tarzan: Jungle Survival Training

Be the knight in shining armour, rather than the paper pusher behind him. Leave the desk job behind and embark on a trip to the jungle. Learn expert survival training whilst helping to protect stunning habitat and cultural landmarks in places like Belize, Borneo, and the Himalayas. For more information visit www.GoVoluntouring.com

Brain vs. Braun: Intellectual Summer Camp

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could drop a line about cloning genes into your usual chat-up repertoire? Or perhaps a little something on geology, or the human quest for truth? Head to Quest University Canada for a week-long adult intellectual summer camp and you’ll certainly learn something to liven up the conversation. For more information visit www.QuestU.com

Into the Wild: Whitewater Rafting and Fishing

You know you’re a man when you can jump off a cliff called the “Devil’s Elbow”. Part of Sunwolf’s “Elaho River Expedition”, their full-day summer whitewater rafting trip includes conquering grade five rapids and a dip in the glacial waters if you’re brave enough to face the Devil’s Elbow drop. If you visit during the colder months the rivers teem with steelhead trout just begging to be reeled in. For more information visit www.Sunwolf.net

Learning the Lingo: Give and Surf          

Learn how to surf and brush up on your Spanish in Bocas del Toro, Panama while you help the local community. Get a tan, learn the lingo and catch some waves whilst assisting in the day-to-day running of a preschool for the local children. For more information visit www.GoVoluntouring.com

Cool Combination: Savvy Skier and Wine Aficionado

Kill two birds with one stone at Big White Ski Resort, based in the heart of Canadian wine country. Learn to navigate your way around not only the slopes but also the wine list with their “Groomers and Grapes Package”, which includes a tour of the local wineries. With 700cm of powdery snow, 118 runs to explore and a 60ft manmade ice tower to clamber up, who doesn’t like a man who can handle the cold? For more information visit www.BigWhite.com

Manmade Impact: Heal The World

Adventure philanthropy can take you all over the world, whether you want to help build an orphanage in Guatemala, install solar panels in Nicaragua or help with a water treatment system in Malaysia. No construction experience required, just some muscle and a sense of adventure. For more information visit www.GoVoluntouring.com

COMO Hotels and Resorts, in collaboration with MasterCard, invites guests to ‘Purchase with Purpose™’

Como Hotels and Resorts

COMO Hotels and Resorts, in collaboration with MasterCard, invites guests to ‘Purchase
with Purpose™’

Como HotelsTuesday, September 11, 2012. (Singapore) – For the third year running, COMO Hotels and Resorts is teaming up with MasterCard to support development projects and charities across the globe.

From October 1 to December 31, 2012, COMO guests can help local community projects raise US $30 everytime they pay for their stay using their MasterCard. MasterCard’s generous contribution builds upon COMO’s partnerships with grassroots organisations to support underserved communities and enable sustainable livelihoods.

The MasterCard initiative applies across COMO’s nine luxury properties, this year including the newly-opened, Uma by COMO in Punakha, Bhutan. Each COMO property runs social and environmental programmes for staff and the local community throughout the year, focusing on projects and charities with immediate relevance to each location.

Projects currently supported by COMO that will benefit from MasterCard’s Purchase with Purpose™ donation include:

  • St. Mungo’s (personal and skill development for homeless women restarting life after domestic violence and the sex trade) in London, supported by The Halkin by COMO and Metropolitan by COMO, London, UK
  • Goodwill Group Foundation (vocational skills training for underserved young women) in Bangkok, supported by Metropolitan by COMO, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Maafushi and Guraidhoo Schools (hospitality skills training facilities for both high schools) in the Maldives, supported by Cocoa Island by COMO, The Maldives
  • Raymond Gardiner High School (sewing and hospitality skills training facilities) in North Caicos, supported by Parrot Cay by COMO, The Turks and Caicos
  • Loden Foundation (micro-grants for young female Bhutanese entrepreneurs) in Bhutan, supported by Uma by COMO, Paro and Punakha, Bhutan
  • Bali International Women’s Association (welfare services and employment initiatives) in Bali, supported by Uma by COMO, Ubud, Bali
  • Tirta Kumara Kindergarten (extension of classroom facilities) in Bali, supported by COMO Shambhala Estate, Bali

COMO Hotels and Resorts and MasterCard have worked together for the Purchase with Purpose programme since 2010, enabling community investment of US$ 75,580 thus far.

Kuno Fasel, Chief Operating Officer for COMO Hotels and Resorts, said: “COMO Hotels and Resorts is delighted to collaborate with MasterCard on Purchase with Purpose. The program builds upon community efforts by our properties throughout the year, so our staff takes great pride in sharing the initiative with our guests. Our guests, in turn, have demonstrated great interest in the projects as they focus on education, entrepreneurialism and supporting the local economy.”

Georgette Tan, group head, Communications, Asia/Pacific, Middle East & Africa, MasterCard Worldwide, said: “More and more, we find that our well-travelled MasterCard cardholders are eager to give back to the community and continue to demonstrate a sense of responsibility about the products they are purchasing. We are pleased to collaborate once again with COMO through the Purchase with Purpose program. MasterCard cardholders who stay at COMO look forward to the program and appreciate the opportunity it presents – knowing they can make a difference, just by using their credit card.”

About COMO Hotels and Resorts
Founded by Christina Ong, COMO Hotels and Resorts is known for its handpicked, intimate and individually-curated properties. COMO Hotels and Resorts provides custom-made luxury travel experiences offering culture, memorable cuisine, adventure and wellness combined with the essence of COMO Shambhala. The COMO properties are: Cocoa Island by COMO, The Maldives; Parrot Cay by COMO, The Turks and Caicos; The Halkin, by COMO, London; Metropolitan by COMO, London and Bangkok; Uma by COMO, Ubud, Bali; Uma by COMO Paro and Punakha, Bhutan and COMO Shambhala Estate, Bali. For more information, please visit www.comohotels.com

MasterCard Purchase with Purpose™
MasterCard’s corporate social responsibility platform (CSR) in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa (APMEA) is focused primarily on bettering the quality of life for women and children. MasterCard does this by supporting a broad range of women’s and children’s causes through scholarships, financial assistance, educational and various sustainability programs, helping provide them with the skills required to stand on their own feet and support themselves and their families. This ultimately improves life and prospects within the communities that these empowered women live and work. Apart from the educational aspects of MasterCard’s CSR programs in APMEA, consumer education is an important area of focus for MasterCard given the significance of financial literacy in improving lives and the socioeconomic standing of families throughout the region.

A key component of MasterCard’s social responsibility and citizenship efforts across the region is MasterCard Purchase with Purpose™. Based on the concept of transactional philanthropy, it is at the heart of a drive by MasterCard to encourage responsible spending while, at the same time, making a difference in someone else’s life. Across APMEA, MasterCard Purchase with Purpose initiatives involve cardholders in the company’s efforts to give back to the community whenever they use their MasterCard cards. More information on MasterCard Purchase with Purpose in the region is available at www.mastercard.com/sea/purchasewithpurpose
Image: Jorge Monje, former GM of Uma Paro, presenting a cheque to their community partner Kela Goemba, a nunnery in Bhutan. Last year’s program supported the reparation of a dormitory which was damaged in an earthquake.

Galeries Lafayette’s Christmas windows, Saint Nicholas Festival in Nancy and inland adventures in Tahiti

Bonjour,

December can be very warm and festive, with dozens of ways to take advantage of the holidays.
The city of Nancy, all lit up for the occasion, is celebrating Saint-Nicholas with acrobats and musicians, while in Paris the Galeries Lafayette are already displaying their Christmas windows, as always filled with wonder and invention. For insight on how the stars work, the exhibit on French monuments in cinema allows you to explore the behind-the-scenes of film.
Need some pampering? Vichy offers the perfect glamourous weekend getaway for ladies. Should you wish to add a dash of sunshine to your festivities, choose Martinique, dubbed the « Island of flowers », explore inland Polynesia’s gorgeous landscapes or relax at the newly-renovated Bwa Chik Hotel & Golf in St-Francois, Guadeloupe.
For a 2011 full of pleasant discoveries, prepare your next gourmet escapade to Provence with Planet France or book a very romantic Valentine’s Day in Paris with Air Canada.

Caroline Putnoki
Director for Canada

On the agenda

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Saint Nicolas Festival in Nancy

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Troupes of actors, musicians, acrobats and storytellers take part in this traditional festival in the illuminated city on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 December.

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Galeries Lafayette’s Christmas windows go musical!

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With « Warm Christmas Show » chosen as this year’s theme, the department store’s window displays echo the music of Hairspray, Mamma Mia or the French « Le soldat rose ».

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“ Monuments, Stars of the 7th Art ”

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Until February 13th, 2011, the Conciergerie in Paris offers you the chance to go behind the scenes and visit a large movie set!

Our favorites

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A girls’ weekend in Vichy, full of glamour and pampering!

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Discover Vichy for two days of pleasure, comprised of shopping, dietary gastronomy and fitness.

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Inland Adventures in Tahiti

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Breathtaking mountain landscapes, lush green jungles replete with exotic wildlife, towering waterfalls, and historical sites… there’s plenty more to see in French Polynesia than just its world-famous beaches!

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Martinique Romantique… A love story

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Have you been dreaming of a romantic moment to savour in the warmth of the sun? Martinique is the ideal place for romance: open yourself to the incredible charm of its landscapes, fishing villages and luxurious nature, to its cultural diversity and sophisticated hotels.

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The Bwa Chick Hotel & Golf in Saint-François, Grande-Terre

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This charming 54-room hotel located in Guadeloupe was recently revamped and renovated, with its re-opening scheduled for December 17th, 2010.

Contests

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He won, She won…..

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By signing up for one of our many contests, several people had the opportunity to travel to France!  Marielou discovered the Mediteranean basin, Stéphane and Nathalie experienced a truly Guadeloupean journey and Rose and Rico explored the Rhône-Alpes vineyards. Here is the list of the lucky winners of our 2010 Contests.

Book now

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Give Valentine’s day for Christmas

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Air Canada Vacations is offering a trip to Paris, the most romantic city in the world. Without a doubt, the French capital is a perfect choice to celebrate Passion! Departures between the 9th and 12th of February 2011 for only $1139 per person!

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WinterDelicious in Provence – Taste the wonders of Provence

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Take advantage of Planet France’s exciting offer: a stay in an Aix en Provence four-star hotel from only $845!

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Agents specialised in France

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To organise your trip, choose one of our certified agents. They have received a complete training on all the practical and cultural aspects of France.

THE MIGHTY ARROW, Soca King of the World, dies at 60.

The Mighty Arrow, Soca King of the World, dies at 60.

OLVESTON, Montserrat (Sept 15, 2010) – The Soca King of the World, Alphonsus “The Mighty Arrow” Cassell, died at his residence on the tiny Caribbean island of Montserrat today at the age of 60. 

The international recording artiste was diagnosed with cerebral cancer in early 2009. He was airlifted to the neighbouring island of Antigua last week for treatment. 

His family wishes to thank the medical teams, friends and family who gave their support during the period of his illness. 

Arrow or “Phonzie”, as he was referred to by close friends and family, is responsible for taking the soca genre to the international music scene with his 1982 smash hit, Hot, Hot, Hot. 

Having won the local calypso competition on four occasions, the talents of the proud son of Montserrat were spotted by former Beatles manager, Sir George Martin, who  worked with Arrow to turn his focus to his recording and touring career. 
 
Arrow recorded no less than 22 studio albums with other notable hits including Long Time, Dancing Mood, O’La Soca and Groove Master. 
 
He has performed at concerts, music festivals and gala events across the globe. 
 
“His death is a great loss to the family, his native land of Montserrat and the music world,” said his brother, Justin “Hero” Cassell, another talented vocalist and songwriter, who worked with Arrow during his peak years. 
 
Funeral announcements will be made in due course.  
 
—For further information contact Justin “Hero” Cassell at (664) 496-0203. 

August 16, 2010

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Once A Dream, Now A Reality

 Amazing Deals To The Islands of Tahiti

Tahiti Tourisme North America announces spectacular specials to the magical islands of Tahiti including Bora Bora, Moorea and Huahine. At only an eight-hour flight from Los Angeles, and seemingly a world away, the islands of Tahiti offer the ideal romantic escape to the South Pacific.

Seven Night Tahiti and Moorea ~ from $1699* per person; includes:

• Round trip international airfare from Los Angeles on award-winning Air Tahiti Nui
• Round trip ferry transportation from Tahiti to Moorea
• Two nights at the InterContinental Tahiti Resort; standard room
• Five nights stay Intercontinental Moorea Resort & Spa; Lanai room
• Daily American breakfast in Tahiti and Moorea
• All transfers and baggage handling
• Welcome flower lei on arrival and shell lei on departure
• Valid for departures January 7, 2011 – March 25, 2011
• Prices valid when booked 120 days in advance of travel
• Ask for special offer “2010 7-Night Moorea”

(*) Prices are ‘from’, per person, based on double occupancy. Single supplements apply. Strictly subject to availability at time of booking. U.S. foreign taxes of approximately $90, incl. September 11 Security Fee are additional. Prices, itinerary and conditions are subject to change without notice. City tax of approx. $1.80 per person, per night is not included.

Seven Night Deluxe Bora Bora Vacation Getaway ~ from $2,899* per person; includes:

• Round trip international airfare from Los Angeles on award-winning Air Tahiti Nui
• One night stay at Manava Suite Resort Tahiti; Lagoon studio room
• Inter-island air to/from Bora Bora on Air Tahiti, Tahiti’s domestic airline
• Six nights stay at Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa; private overwater villa
• Daily American buffet breakfast • All transfer and baggage handling
• Welcome flower lei on arrival and shell lei on departure
• Valid for departures January 10, 2011 – March 25, 2011
• Prices valid when booked 120 days in advance of travel
• Ask for special offer “2010 7-Night Bora Bora”

(*) Prices are ‘from’, per person, based on double occupancy. Single supplements apply. Strictly subject to availability at time of booking. U.S. foreign taxes of approximately $90, incl. September 11 Security Fee are additional. Prices, itinerary and conditions are subject to change without notice. City tax of approx. $1.80 per person, per night is not included.

Seven Night Luxury Bora Bora Vacation Getaway ~ from $3999* per person; includes:

• Round trip international airfare from Los Angeles on award-winning Air Tahiti Nui
• One night syay at the Tahiti InterContinental; Lagoon view room
• Inter-island air to/from Bora Bora on Air Tahiti, Tahiti’s domestic airline
• Six nights stay at the St Regis Bora Bora Resort in a private overwater villa
• Daily breakfast buffet for two on Bora Bora
• Free upgrade upon availability at time of booking from overwater villa to superior overwater villa • Choice of one monoi oil Couples’ Massage or one dinner for two (3 course dinner excluding alcoholic beverages); must be confirmed at time of booking
• All transfer and baggage handling
• Welcome flower lei on arrival and shell lei on departure
• Valid for departures January 10, 2011 – March 25, 2011
• Prices valid when booked 120 days in advance of travel
• Ask for special offer “2010 7-Night Bora Bora Luxury”

(*) Prices are “from”, per person, based on double occupancy, valid for departures Jan 7 – Mar 25, 2011, otherwise, supplements will apply. Package must be minimum 6 nights at St Regis, based on special promotional rates.. Must be booked at least 120 days prior to departure. Single supplements apply. Strictly subject to availability at time of booking. U.S. foreign taxes of approximately $108, incl. September 11 Security Fee are additional. Prices, itinerary and conditions are subject to change without notice. City tax of approx. $1.80 per person, per night is not included.

Nine Night, Three Island Vacation Value ~ from $2599* per person; includes:

• Round trip international airfare from Los Angeles on award-winning Air Tahiti Nui
• One night stay at the Sofitel Tahiti Maeva Beach Resort in mountain view room
• Three nights stay on Moorea at the Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort in a luxury garden bungalow
• Five nights stay at the Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach and Private Island in a luxury garden bungalow
• Daily breakfast buffet on all islands
• Round-trip inter-island air transportation on Air Tahiti, Tahiti’s domestic airline
• Welcome flower lei on arrival and shell lei on departure
• Valid for departures January 10, 2011 – March 23, 2011
• Prices valid when booked 120 days in advance of travel
• Ask for special offer “2010 9-Night Sofitel”

(*) Prices are ‘from’, per person, based on double occupancy. Single supplements apply. Strictly subject to availability at time of booking. U.S. foreign taxes of approximately $90, incl. September 11 Security Fee are additional. Prices, itinerary and conditions are subject to change without notice. City tax of approx. $1.80 per person, per night is not included.

Seven Night, Three Island Hopping Paradise Vacation ~ from $2,399 per person includes:

• Round trip international airfare from Los Angeles on award-winning Air Tahiti Nui
• Inter-island air pass on Air Tahiti • One night stay at Manava Suite Resort Tahiti
• Three nights stay at Moorea Pearl Resort & Spa in garden view room
• Three nights stay at Te Tiare Beach Resort in a private garden bungalow
• Daily American buffet breakfast on all islands
• Round-trip inter-island air transportation on Air Tahiti, Tahiti’s domestic airline
• All transfer and baggage handling
• Welcome flower lei on arrival and shell lei on departure
• Valid for departures January 7, 2011 – March 25, 2011
• Prices valid when booked 120 days in advance of travel
• Ask for special offer “2010 7-Night Hidden Paradise”

(*) Prices are ‘from’, per person, based on double occupancy. Single supplements apply. Strictly subject to availability at time of booking. U.S. foreign taxes of approximately $90, incl. September 11 Security Fee are additional. Prices, itinerary and conditions are subject to change without notice. City tax of approx. $1.80 per person, per night is not included.

In just under an eight hour flight from Los Angeles, the islands of Tahiti boasts some of the world’s best snorkeling, scuba diving, outrigger canoeing, four-wheel jeep safaris, swimming, sailing, jet skiing, shark and ray feeding and delicious Tahitian cuisine.

For more information or to book, visit http://www.tahiti-tourisme.com/iaoranatahiti/ or call (877) GO -TAHITI.

About the islands of Tahiti: Easier to travel than often imagined, Tahiti is eight hours by air from Los Angeles with daily nonstop flights. Tahiti is halfway between California and Australia, on the same side of the International Date Line as North America and in the same time zone as Hawaii. There are a total of 118 islands and atolls that comprise this beautiful South Pacific country. Tahiti’s varied landscape ranges from just-above sea level coral atolls to volcanic mountain peaks. Tahiti is renowned for warm waters, white-sand beaches, stunning turquoise lagoons, lush green hills and abundant flowering plants.