Posada de Mike Rapu, Explora Rapa Nui
Finally, with the opening of Explora’s 30-room LEED-certified lodge on Easter Island, there’s a top-notch hotel fit for this legendary destination. Located about 10 minutes outside the main town of Hanga Roa and built to blend into the landscape, the hotel uses local wood and stone. Adventure-loving romantics can trek around the volcanoes, dive among the reefs, and examine the moai—those giant basalt statues—up close, all with Explora's multilingual guides, then spend the night in the hotel equipped with an expansive terrace and (for better or worse) the latest technology to keep them plugged in. Explora has made a point of hiring a staff of islanders; there's nothing like watching the sunset from the rim of a volcano while a tattooed guide explains the legend behind his culture's ancient Birdman ceremony, or having the staff prepare a lunch of just-caught tuna tartare under a tent on Anakena beach.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.