Luxury

Luxury for Less

by Brook Wilkinson

MARCH: FRENCH POLYNESIA

Lesson to Travel By: The rainy season isn't necessarily a soaker.

The Deal: French Polynesia's rainy season is a bit of a misnomer—from November to March it rarely rains for more than half an hour each afternoon, so it's highly unlikely your vacation will be a washout. And, of course, you'll find deals this month.

The Luxury Essentials: Here's a quick geography lesson that will explain this month's advice: Since there are no mountain ranges in the South Pacific to stall a storm, the precipitation that falls during the rainy season is usually brief. Nor does French Polynesia (view slideshow) get as many hurricanes as Papua New Guinea and Fiji do. In fact, February 2008 saw far more beautiful weather over Tahiti than did the August high season. We can't guarantee a repeat performance, but here's hoping. And since the islands are less crowded, you'll find the locals even easier-going and excursions open to last-minute bookings. Best of all, many resorts run specials: a fifth night free at the new Four Seasons Bora Bora or four nights for the price of three—including breakfast—at the InterContinental Le Moana Bora Bora.

Artful Advice: The low-key restaurant Bloody Mary's is a Bora Bora institution—and sees guests like Meg Ryan and Harrison Ford, who come for the barbecued fish and barefoot dining. Choose your entree from the day's catch, arrayed on ice by the entrance.

A Fair Fare: Book a flight on Air Tahiti Nui from Los Angeles to Papeete for under $1,100, instead of $1,400 or so in June.

Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora
Tel: 689 603 170
Doubles from $950

InterContinental Le Moana Bora Bora
Tel: 689 604 900
Doubles from $575

Bloody Mary's
Tel: 689 677 286

NEXT: Who says you can't afford a helicopter?

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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