Gems Uncovered

Continued (page 3 of 3)

The Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono, Wailuku, Maui

Two kinds of romance exist on Maui's shores. The first, and most familiar, is the kind that blooms on the island's wave-kissed coastline, a sunny side of paradise that's ruled by celeb-frequented resorts, miles of golf greens, and a sea of bronzing honeymooners. And then there's the kind that islanders covet, the kind that lived here in the 1920s and 1930s, when a lanai was more than just a tiny patio: Maui's gardens inspired poets and artists from around the world, and every particle of air was steeped in aloha. The Old Wailuku Inn, tucked behind a garden gate and a mere five-minute drive from Iao Valley State Park, makes a fitting getaway for hikers, photographers, and anyone looking for a taste of pre-touristy Maui. Carved out of a renovated home from the 1920s, the locally owned inn aims to give honeymooners a taste of that era, even theming the rooms after the works of former Hawaii poet laureate Don Blanding. For extra privacy, reserve a space in the Vagabond's House, where the spa-style showers are large enough to fit a bridal party and rooms are draped in fabrics from hip aloha-wear designer Sig Zane. The inn doesn't serve dinner or lunch, but you'll never go hungry: Simply slip into town to nosh on saimin noodles at local favorite Sam Sato's. Come morning, you'll have to go only as far as the hotel's enclosed lanai for a breakfast of banana-macadamia nut pancakes, French toast stuffed with ricotta and fruit, and warm, sugar-dusted malasadas—a Portuguese doughnut that's so deliciously decadent it should be outlawed. Doubles from $125, including breakfast, year-round; 800-305-4899, mauiinn.com.

Amuleto, Zihuatanejo, Mexico

Most people who visit this Pacific coast fishing village don't even know Amuleto is here. Too bad for them: Newlyweds who have stumbled across this gem, ensconced in a quiet neighborhood high above the fabled sands of Playa la Ropa, have discovered a honeymoon oasis of fantasy proportions. The resort has only five suites, so even when every boudoir under the high-peaked thatched roofs is booked, you might not see another soul from check-in to check-out—especially since most of the fabulous, earth-toned rooms have their very own plunge pool, and every meal can be eaten in your suite. You'll relish each bite in digs replete with touches like a handwoven hammock, a bathroom adorned with river stones and Mexican tiles, a four-poster king-size bed, and a terrace bigger than your bedroom back home. But make a point of leaving your quarters at least once for dinner at the inn's open-air restaurant, regarded by Zihua's residents as one of the best in town. Doubles from $300, November through April; 213-280-1037, amuleto.net.

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