Bora Bora: Teardrops in paradise
Just 36 hours on this droplet of natural splendour is enough to send Angie Kelly's gush-o-meter into full tilt.
There are only two places on earth so far that have brought me to the brink of tears. One was a sunny vineyard in Provence, though that had as much to do with the wine as the setting; the other was this tropical dot of loveliness in French Polynesia.
My well of emotion wasn't necessarily about being the only guest in the resort travelling solo in possibly the world's most romantic resort overflowing with newlyweds. (Though my presence in the bar and restaurant did make me feel like a tourist attraction - no doubt many of the loved-up couples were wondering if I'd been ditched at the altar and decided to go on the honeymoon anyway).
The lump in my throat was actually triggered by seeing her startling, dramatic beauty - a lagoon of an astonishing turquoise, warm sandy paths scattered with frangipani, deep green lawns and tropical gardens all set against a towering, twin-peaked volcanic backdrop.
It's no surprise that Bora Bora has been long adored by deep-pocketed celebrities. The resorts here remain in the dreams of mere mortals as they richly deserve their reputation as other-worldly expensive. Paradise may comes at a high price but the memory of wandering the bewitching island setting of the Four Seasons Resort - even for just 36 hours as I did - is like a tattoo. Once imprinted it's impossible to remove.
Set on a coral reef islet, the resort's main attraction is its delectable, warm lagoon - the urge to jump in with glee is unstoppable. A short swim from the main resort beach will take you to a biscuit-sized, spoonful of sand with one palm tree and just enough space for a dream wedding. As many a honeymooning couple here do before immersing themselves in the resort's luxurious facilities.
Each private bubble of luxury - aka your over-water bungalow - is nothing short of a stylist's benchmark in the best of taste and sophistication.
Ralph Lauren-esque in vibe, warm timber tones underpin the palette of block colours and neutral soft furnishings. Rattan furniture, bowls of flowers, tropical art and plantation shutters combine to create Instagram-worthy island chic.
Glass floors in the shower and bathroom area provide a reef fish screensaver underfoot while a dinghy-sized bath tub with rock-star views of the lagoon is enough to keep you inside your bungalow for hours. Plunging into the lagoon from your own ladder into the water takes you back to a feeling of childlike delight.
You know you are somewhere special when you get out of the plane and there is sand underfoot within a few steps. A luxury timber speedboat ride to the sandy islet signals the upmarket world to come. We are in the Leeward group of the Society Islands of French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the Pacific Ocean. We pass the main island, 230 kilometres north-west of Papeete, and several moored cruise ships on our way to the islet.
Though an array of activities are on offer - even the well-heeled kids gets scuba lessons from a marine biologist - the lure of spa and the pool and the beach is strong. Seafood and tropical fruit go hand in hand while traditional French touches are evident on menus at the islet's three lagoon view restaurants.
As far as bucket list locations go, few can top the French-speaking, tropical, colour high of Bora Bora. Sensory overload never felt so good.
Five nights in an overwater bungalow at Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora including breakfast and dinner daily, two nights at Le Meridien Tahiti (pre/post flight), return economy flights with Air Tahiti Nui from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, inter-island flights and transfers throughout is priced from $7555 a person twin share. This is a high season fare for travel from June 1 to October 31, 2014. Phone 1800 079 965. See fourseasons.com/borabora.