This post is one in a multi-part series.
Frédéric Colas has been travelling the globe with his family since July 2011 raising money to build an African school for Burkina Faso’s Cissé Yargo village. Every time a Facebook friend or “real time” friend hosts the family, the Colases donate $50 to their “We Like the World” project. In addition, for each person who friends the project on Facebook, the family donates $1. The journey ends in Burkina Faso this June.
At Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora, we met beautiful fish… and great people!
What’s proving amazing about our round-the-world trip are the deep and true connections we share with the people we get to know, forming a global chain of social friendship. So far, that chain is made up of 26 families who have generously hosted us in the places we visited—and by doing so, helped us donate money to build a primary school in Burkina Faso, Africa. After several months of travel, we can say that—beyond the beautiful and stunning places we have seen so far in the U.S., Canada, Argentina and Chile—we feel that the relationships, the human-to-human connections, are the highlight and what make our trip so unique.
For the same reason, our stay at Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora was a wonderful experience. No question, the Bora Bora lagoon is totally magical. The resort is, according to people we have met in Tahiti, the best of French Polynesia. And because Four Seasons covered our accommodation costs, we were able donate three times more to our school project “We Like The World” than in a normal week. But what made that stay even more enjoyable was that we got to really know the Four Seasons staff. These people went above and beyond what you would expect of them, even for a five-star resort. They are passionate about what they do, and that passion is contagious! I want to talk about two of them.
Hiti (from Hitiatua, “the rise of the gods”) manages the resort’s Kids For All Seasons club*. He is a very sweet and strong Polynesian man who loves kids. He is himself a father of two little girls, Heivaimaru (“freshwater crown”), four, and three-year-old Heibura (“red crown”). Hiti has been at the resort for one year. When we asked Hiti what he specifically likes about being on staff, he immediately told us about the people: that all get along really well and work in complete synergy. And that this helps the children’s experience at the kids’ club even better. The catering team makes the afternoon snack tailored to the kids’ preferences. The reception team briefs Hiti about new young guests so that he knows what to expect.
Before moving toTahiti, Hiti taught Polynesian dancing in Papeete, the capital of French Polynesia. Hiti loves it when the kids he takes care of are active and learning something new. He prefers all the sea activities: kayaking, paddling and snorkeling; but also making pearl necklaces, coconut painting and, of course, Polynesian dancing, which, combines both physical activity and education. We witnessed this when Hiti taught our eight-year-old daughter Héloïse a dance.
In addition to the physical movements of the four-minute dance, he told her about the Polynesian words, the meaning of the movements, so in the end, she knew exactly what she was dancing and why. We were so proud! Héloïse also painted a coconut—a real piece of art and that we had no choice but to carry with us when we left…
Oliver is the resort’s marine biologist. This Frenchman, a new father of a six-week-old girl Alyx, is very lucky because his job allows him to live his passion: creating a marine sanctuary for coral and fish. Then he gets the pleasure of helping others discover it, especially kids. Right at the resort.
Around this sanctuary, Oliver is building a learning centre about the fragile coral eco-system so he can share his knowledge with guests and staff members. But he doesn’t just do that by talking. Oliver also swims with us to his “touch pool” in Ruahatu, the resort lagoon. Here we got to see the coral grafts Oliver has made and the numerous colourful fish who feed on the coral. We even got to take Oliver’s best friend into our hands, a cute puffer fish, who loves to be cuddled.
His goal: “guests leave the resort with more knowledge, not just with more pictures.” When he joined the resort’s founding team, Oliver said he asked himself: “If I were a guest, what would I like to learn from the place where I’m spending my vacation?” Estelle and I really connected with Oliver—maybe because, like us, he has travelled the world. Says Oliver, “My round-the-world trip lasted for eight years. I arrived in Polynesia five years ago, and decided to settle here because of the people: they are exceptionally nice.”
And this is how we spent, according to Héloïse, “the best week since we left Paris.”
This post is one in a multi-part series.
*Kids For All Seasons (KFAS) is a Four Seasons complimentary recreational and educational program for children of resort guests. Most KFAS clubs are designed for youth four to 12 years old, and open daily from 9 to 5. (Younger children can often join KFAS with a nanny or parent, or resorts can arrange for babysitting.) But details vary from property to property, so check the resort’s website for more information.
Kids can go all day or just for an hour or two. Activities inside and out include games, sports, music, treasure hunts, swimming, arts and crafts, cultural education, environmental preservation work and yoga. Not your average camp, the VIP offerings are pretty extraordinary—for example, at Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora, kids can help the resort’s marine biologist graft coral in the lagoon sanctuary.
Read more about Bora Bora in Four Seasons Magazine.
A French native, Frédéric Colas has travelled to 50-plus countries on five continents. Fred created the Digital Marketing Department for Procter & Gamble in 1996 and in 1999 was named one of 12 Global Media Mavens by Advertising Age. In 2000, Fred co-founded Fullsix, a Europe-based leading digital marketing group. An art lover and advertising exec since 1991, Estelle worked for most of her career for the Havas Group. She is currently Global Brand Director at BETC Euro RSCG in Paris. She wants to make a difference in her life, for her family and for others. The couple lives in Paris with their eight-year-old daughter Héloïse.
View all posts from Frédéric
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