The Luxe List 2011, French Polynesia: Maitai Lapita Village, Huahine, Tahiti

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It’s only a 25-minute flight from Bora Bora, but arriving at Huahine, easternmost of the Leeward Islands, is like stepping back in time. Graciously overlooked by the hordes of honeymooners who flock to other Tahitian landfalls, Huahine has retained its “island” character, which is why the Maitai hotel chain chose it for the site of Tahiti’s first brand-new resort in years.

Set on three hectares of beachfront land, the Lapita features 32 voluminous, smartly appointed bungalows arranged around a lily-padded lake. It also capitalizes on Huahine’s rich archeological heritage to offer a cultural experience akin to a living museum.

The bar is shaped like one of the many whalebone fishhooks unearthed on the island; the bungalows are based on traditional designs and peppered with tribal art; and a gallery in the foyer displays clay, stone, and wood artifacts.

689/688-080;; doubles from US$330

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