A vision to protect Tetiaroa set into motion the development of The Brando, an idyllic beachfront resort where environmental sustainability, conservation, and out-of-the-box thinking are central to preserving the island paradise.


Tetiaroa is just 30 miles north of Tahiti, in French Polynesia. The island atoll stretches across 193 acres and surrounds a deep blue lagoon home to native marine and forest species and twelve coral islets. For years, this unspoiled island has been a private sanctuary for the jet-set, including US actor Marlon Brando who prompted the active preservation of his beloved island. With the help of Richard Bailey, CEO of Pacific Beachcomber, the duo settled on the idea of a sustainable beachfront resort to ensure the future prosperity of Tetiaroa. 


The vision for The Brando was to construct a low-carbon property with a focused approach to design, materials, and services without compromising guests’ experiences or comfort. In doing so, the duo knew offering a luxury resort that served as a base to protect the island would ensure the longevity of Tetiarao. “Our idea was that tourism supports the preservation of the environment and the preserved environment makes a more compelling visitor experience for our guests,” said Bailey.


Tetiaroa is warm year-round with endless sunshine and daytime temperatures averaging 87 degrees Fahrenheit, making it an ideal destination for travelers. But with a tropical climate comes an increased demand for freshwater resources and the need for cooling. So, the resort implemented water conservation policies, waste recycling, and composting methods to be environmentally sustainable.


In a world-first, The Brando’s protection approach led to the harnessing of deep seawater for cooling its 35-villa resort, a concept that was the idea of Brando himself. Conventional air conditioning methods rely on large amounts of electricity and refrigerant gas and are expensive to operate and maintain. In contrast, seawater air conditioning mitigates the need for cooling by using a natural cold water source and is environmentally and economically friendly.


Seawater air conditioning draws deep seawater from 3,000 feet below sea level to cool air and provide thermal comfort in all buildings. Today, the resort uses a pipe that travels off the reef to the bottom of the ocean, where the cold water is available year-round. The first resort group in the world to do so now boasts a reduction of 90% energy consumption, a decrease in freshwater use, and lessened reliance on fossil fuels. The benefit to the island and surrounding areas is vast, with minimized air pollution and a reduced impacts on global warming.


Through its continued efforts, The Brando is the first resort to obtain Platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification. Platinum certification is the highest level of accreditation achievable and requires every structure on the island to comply with the LEED Certification checklist.


“Having the LEED Certification gives us third-party validation [for our efforts]. Not all of our guests may care about sustainability—we don’t require them to—but just by coming to the resort, they are contributing to reducing impacts on the environment,” said Bailey.


As more resorts look for ways to combat their environmental footprint, it seems the ones who are brave enough to think differently are the ones who succeed, paving the way for new ideas and conversations that lead to actionable change.


See Hotel details page here: THE BRANDO

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