Richard Bailey is the founder of French Polynesia’s largest luxury resort group and developer of the multi-award-winning resort, The Brando. The self-referred ‘innkeeper’ found a passion for Tahiti during childhood vacations—Richard’s father was also fond of the islands—and, years later, would return to establish his life and career there.
His entrepreneurial journey started when he led the buyout of the Intercontinental Hotel in Tahiti, with the support of a close friend and colleague. Over time they would grow the portfolio to encompass seven hotels and, at one point, two cruise ships.
Richard’s impact journey began later after visiting Tetiaroa, Marlon Brando’s private atoll. Encompassing 13 islets that surround a 5-mile lagoon, Tetiaroa atoll is arguably one of Tahiti’s most destinations. Marlon’s greatest wish was for this breathtaking atoll to be preserved for the generations of Polynesians to come.
A friendship sparked between the two over a shared dream to develop a small portion into a groundbreaking, sustainable, luxury resort, along with a scientific and cultural research station, that would steward the rest of the atoll. In 2014 the resort was christened The Brando, and the research station Tetiaroa Society, and together they quickly became a paragon in sustainable hospitality.
The Brando , being the first in the world to achieve LEED Platinum status, and pioneering scientific research into solutions for rebalancing delicate ecosystems, the eradication of invasive species, energy efficiency and waste reduction. Some examples include the world’s first air-conditioning, which uses deep sea water now been implemented at other resorts, and a hospital in Tahiti; And a natural mosquito eradication technology, now being scaled for application to other islands and frontier research in ocean chemistry and acidification using the deep sea resource.
In 2018, Richard launched the Blue Climate Initiative (BCI), inspired by a conversation with Barack Obama while staying at The Brando. The aim was to assemble the world’s greatest minds to accelerate oceanic based solutions to climate change by pairing scientific research with bottom-up innovation. The Blue Climate Initiative is now working globally across numerous countries and supports solutions that address “transformational opportunities”.
Richard’s work has garnered numerous awards, including the Legion of Honor in France. He holds a BA and MA from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard University. Above all, Richard is a proud husband, father and grandfather, as well as an avid scuba diver, motorcyclist, aviator and general wayfarer who enjoys ‘exploring this astonishing world’.