Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort
What is it? Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort and Spa is the only five-star resort on the island of Moorea and one of only six hotels in French Polynesia recognised as five-star properties by the local Ministry of Tourism. Often referred to as the 'island of love', Moorea is an idyllic South Pacific paradise that inspired Paul Gauguin's colourful paintings. A US$11 million refurbishment completed two years ago revitalised an existing island resort.
Why should I go? Moorea gets a big tick for its location and ease of access. The island is an eight-minute flight from Tahiti but most people prefer the more leisurely 30-minute catamaran ride. The romantic setting, between lush mountains and a sheltered lagoon, inspired TripAdvisor's users to vote it 'Top Hotel for Romance in the World' in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
What are the rooms like? One hundred and six overwater and garden bungalows are decked out in soothing tropical earth tones that highlight wood, glass, marble and silk. Bungalows have sleek bathrooms with Italian granite countertops, marble tubs and rain cascade-style showers. For a special treat, the 154-square-metre garden pool suites (right) are one-bedroom tropical hideaways. Each has two bathrooms and a large living area with sofa beds, a dining table, bar, wine cellar and espresso machine. Floor-to-ceiling glass doors open onto a walled outdoor living area with huge private deck and pool. Butler service is available for those who want the complete package.
What's there to do here? Moorea's mountains are worth a visit on a four-wheel all-terrain quad bike and there are myriad complimentary water activities, including snorkelling, paddle boarding and kayaking. Take a dip in the lagoon from your over-water bungalow pontoon or from the resort's private beach. The glass-top coffee tables in the overwater bungalows are a window to a mesmerising wonderland of colourful fish and coral.
What about the food? Executive chef Martial Clement marries Michelin-star French techniques with fresh local produce at Arii Vahine Restaurant. Clement was the personal chef of the King of Morocco for three years. For casual dining, feel the sand between your toes at the beachside Rotui Bar & Grill and the Toatea Bar, on a boardwalk over the lagoon. Toatea's crepes are delicious and the location is a perfect place to end the day.
What's the bottom line? Bungalows are 45,500 CFP francs (HK$3,850) a night and garden pool suites start from 89,000 francs. Prices include breakfast. The supplement for full board is 8,900 francs.
Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort and Spa is in Papetoai, Moorea, tel: 689 551111; www.hilton.com.