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Le Taha’a: A beautiful Vanilla Scented Island

It’s been said that the olfactory sense is the most evocative of them all. A certain smell can stick in your mind and bring back the most incredible memories…IMG_1675
Like the salty sea air of the Great Ocean Road as the wind whips around your nostrils…DSC_0584
….that heady smell of freshly baked bread wafting out of the bakeries in the Rome, making you crave those tasty carbs…DSC_3532
…or piquant spices when strolling through the markets in Istanbul. DSC_6714
And the sweet smell of flowers when strolling through the Kirstenbosch Gardens in Cape Town.

When you smell something amazing (or something horrible!) it leaves an imprint on your mind so that when you inhale that sense again, it not only evokes a memory but also an emotion. Perhaps of an incredibly special moment while travelling, or maybe getting some amazing news…But I want to tell you about one particular place. A beautiful island in the South Pacific called Le Taha’a. DSC08570
Mr S and I stayed on Le Taha’a whilst on our honeymoon. We arrived at the private island by boat and as soon our feet touched the sand on the island, a glorious sweet scent filled our noses…DSC08693
A dreamy fragrance of vanilla wafted through the air, reminding me of childhood days on the beach enjoying vanilla ice cream, favourite perfumes, and cookies flavoured with essence. There’s a certain warm comfort in the smell of vanilla that evokes happy memories and sweet days gone by. So why the smell of vanilla? It’s on the island of Taha’a where the very best vanilla is cultivated and has become sought after by the world’s top chefs.
And on La Taha’a, which is fondly referred to as the Vanilla Island, Mr S and I stayed at the stunning Le Taha’a Island Resort and Spa. We had a perfect water villa for two…DSC08833
Decorated in authentic Polynesian style.
With fish swimming around our feet in the shallow waters below.DSC08640
At Le Taha’a’s main restaurant, Le Vanille, vanilla is imbued into the food – a feast for the senses and more wonderful memories to make. DSC08723
One night, an outrigger canoe took us to our own private island…DSC08728 DSC08738
A perfect table for two and a tasting menu of food laced with the island’s signature vanilla… DSC08764
Our own band to entertain us…
And a troupe of Polynesian dancers who also got us to join in the fun…DSC08820
Probably one of the best dining experiences of my life.

And now every time the aroma of vanilla fills the air, I’ll remember that beautiful island, those incredible moments and how in love we felt…