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In the weeks leading up to our momentous walk down the aisle, my partner and I frenetically juggled deadlines, tended to numerous details and dealt with last-minute changes. The big day itself also flew by; it was a joyous frenzy of emotions and loved ones.
When our honeymoon arrived at last, all we wanted to do was slow down. And at Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa on the French Polynesian island of Moorea, time crawls to a standstill. During our two-night stay at the paradisiacal 104-bungalow resort, we shared meandering pathways with unhurried roosters and chickens, and there were few distractions when we watched the sun rise over the adjacent private lagoon.
Afternoons turned into evenings as we leisurely swam and snorkeled the length of Hilton Moorea’s winding dock, which is charmingly lined with 54 of the resort’s popular overwater bungalows. (The bungalows go fast, though, so book in advance — we learned this the hard way.)
While our King Deluxe Garden Bungalow didn’t provide the direct lagoon access that attracts most travelers to Moorea, it had its own promising lures, such as 958 square feet of space and a large bathroom with a claw-foot bathtub and a separate rain shower. Our bungalow also featured an expansive private terrace with a dining table, a set of lounge chairs and a plunge pool — and at 6.5 feet by 10 feet, the pool was the perfect size for two.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by valerie (chen) adair 👋🏻 (@valerielily) on Apr 11, 2019 at 10:46am PDT
A post shared by valerie (chen) adair 👋🏻 (@valerielily) on Apr 11, 2019 at 10:46am PDT
Additionally, there was a 37-inch LCD television, free Wi-Fi access, an espresso machine, a minibar with complimentary beverages refilled daily (including soft drinks, bottled water and Tahitian beer) and Peter Thomas Roth toiletries.
For vacationers who prefer a jam-packed schedule, there are plenty of options across Hilton Moorea’s 10 acres that ought to do the trick. Two tennis courts are open for guest use, as is a 24-hour fitness center. A large outdoor infinity pool offers an uninterrupted view of the clear turquoise waters nearby, and if guests cross the sandy beach to take a dip, they’ll be in the company of curious reef fish and a rainbow of coral. For further sea discovery, clients can borrow complimentary snorkels, fins, kayaks and paddleboards from the poolside recreation desk.
At night, black tip reef sharks frequent the resort and are a common sight to behold at the popular Toatea Creperie & Bar, which offers reasonably priced and generously sized French crepes. My partner sang the praises of the overwater eatery’s savory Miti crepe, a delicious combination of seafood, cheese and creamy white sauce. Thanks to my sweet tooth, I preferred a dessert version: the Bounty crepe, which consisted of banana, chocolate, almonds, coconut ice cream, grated coconut and whipped cream. Advise clients to reserve a table at Toatea in advance, as it gets busy quickly, and request to be placed close to the illuminated lagoon for dinner and a show.
Other dining venues include the open-air Arii Vahine Restaurant, where guests can enjoy an abundant and varied breakfast buffet and, come nighttime, a fine-dining experience; as well as Rotui Grill & Bar, which hosts lunch and dinner, and a twice-weekly themed buffet night accompanied by a Polynesian dance show.
Not to miss is the on-site Eimeo Bar, where daily happy hour runs from 4 to 7 p.m. Here, we fully surrendered to the easygoing pace of island life. Our cheeks felt rosy from the sun — and probably the two-for-one cocktails, too.
The DetailsHilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa www3.hilton.com