The scene: Deep-blue sea, dark-green foliage, jagged island peaks and rooms on stilts above the water. (Other rooms stand on solid ground.) A cabin cruiser delivers you from the airport (which is on a motu, or small island) to the hotel's dock. Between bouts of snorkeling amid clouds of colorful tropical fish, you wander among thatched roofs and strategically placed tropical flowers. In a few hours, you can ride a bike all 19 miles around the island. My stay: 1997.
Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times
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