WOW Factor: ROOM KEY

Posh Polynesia

With the Hilton Mo’orea Lagoon Resort & Spa as your basecamp, explore an island with a playful personality and rich history.

HILTON MO’OREA LAGOON RESORT & SPA

(Mo’orea, French Polynesia) It took me more than 40 years to see the green flash— that elusive, highly anticipated dash of sunset light over the ocean’s horizon. As a Florida native who’s seen many brilliant sun salutations, I had to travel to a tiny “motu,” or island, in French Polynesia to finally witness the phenomenon. It was well worth the flight, as the green flash was celebrated with hugs from strangers, champagne, and Polynesian fire dancing.

On Mo’orea, mother nature feels amplified. When paddle-boarding at dawn from my overwater bungalow’s private dock at the Hilton Mo’orea Lagoon Resort & Spa, the water is clearer than anything I’ve witnessed. As I glide over gorgeous turquoise coral reefs, colorful tropical fish playfully dart back and forth beneath me. Later that afternoon, after refueling with local mahi mahi at the resort’s beachside Rotui Grill & Bar, our small group takes a jet ski tour to shark alley, where small (and harmless) black tip reef sharks and manta rays swim right beneath our feet. We then take the jet skis out to a growing surf swell—again, nature on steroids, it seems, as massive waves of whitewater dance along the outer reef. The following day, a private boat tour to a another motu makes any traveler feel like a pampered castaway. Local guides grill fresh-from-the-sea tuna and serve mouth. watering ceviche and mojitos at a table placed smack dab in the ocean. We declare this stretch of paradise the best lunch spot on the globe.

All of these only-in-Mo’orea experiences are easily accessed from the Hilton Mo’orea. Nestled between two bays on the heart-shaped island and set against a Jurassic Park.esque mountain backdrop, the resort’s white sandy beach begs for sunbathing or water sports, and the calm lagoon is a coveted snorkeling spot. Dine at Arii Vahine Restaurant by the lagoon, while the resort’s overwater Toatea Crêperie & Bar (the only overwater bar in Mo’orea) is a must for sunset cocktails and crêpes. Nicknamed “yellow lizard” by locals, the island is also home to the tasty Le Lézard Jaune Café, a 20-minute drive from the resort.

On our final morning (sigh) we unwind at the Mo’orea Lagoon Spa (when staying at Hilton Mo’orea, receive an XFP7000 spa credit, per room, per stay). My deep-tissue massage features local Monoi oil. I leave in a blissful state, with braids in my hair and the scent of the island on my skin. I thank our concierge—who has helped arrange a seamless trip—and tell her I can’t wait to return.

–Erin Lentz


Enviro-Chic

TORTUGA BAY PUNTA CANA RESORT & CLUB

(Punta Cana, Dominican Republic) As a trailblazer in the Dominican Republic for sustainable development, this resort is proof of positive impact travel. Here, luxury meets innovation and out-of.the-box environmental initiatives. Launched in 1994, the resort’s not-for-profit Fundación Grupo Puntacana develops solutions to complex environmental and social challenges. Additionally, sustainable agriculture initiatives help produce fresh, organic produce and high quality soils for landscaping. So when staying at one of the property’s Oscar de La Renta-designed Tortuga Bay Villas—with views of the crystal-clear blue Caribbean—your visit helps leverage this important sustainable goal. Tortuga Bay redefines the luxury hotel experience with renovations by Markham Roberts. Thirteen villas feature an updated design and new technology in every suite. The hotel has incorporated a renewed aesthetic at the Bamboo restaurant and features a 600-bottle wine cellar. Exclusive amenities include a 30-minute Six Senses signature massage (per adult, per stay), and a $50 food and beverage credit (per room, per stay) at Bamboo Restaurant.


Design Star

NIZUC RESORT + SPA

(Punta Nizuc, Mexico) Nestled along an exclusive enclave in the Riviera Maya, NIZUC’s architecture and design is as notable as the ocean views and protected mangroves of Punta Nizuc, considered the newest luxury destination in the Mexican Caribbean. Inspired by the Mayan culture, 274 suites and private villas grace a 29-acre property. Expect private pools, spacious terraces, lush tropical gardens, and free-standing soaking tubs. Of top note is NIZUC Spa by ESPA (receive a $75 spa credit, per room, once per stay). Not-to-miss treatments include the Mayan Cacao Body Treatment. Used by the Mayan civilization for its mood-enhancing and restorative properties, cacao was the food of the gods. This muscle-melting massage uses pure cacao oil and is inspired by local culture.


Travel on a Whim

Why not book a last-minute escape? Visit our website and enter OFFER M18719.


Image by ArvidO on Pixabay


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