Laluna - Grenada

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The moon possesses a certain mystique. While it waxes and wanes in predictable patterns, it is the beacon of the night where darkness reigns and romance lingers. So I guess it comes as no surprise that this resort in Grenada is named Laluna. Even in the daytime the spirit of the moon is ever present, whether recognized in its innate synchronicity with the tides or its glimmer in the eyes of a lover.
Mystics aside, there is something quite magical about the atmosphere at Laluna. At the end of the reddened dirt road an enclave of pyramid-shaped, thatched and wood shingled roofs tuck discretely into the hillside. While the surroundings are lush, the property itself hides its flora and fauna under the ground in seedling form. Attention to detail can be witnessed in the conscientious staff and in decor accents of the highest quality. It's obvious that every process has been painstakingly reviewed. Check-in for example was effortless, overlooking the pool with cocktail in hand and soft music setting, the tone for a relaxing vacation.

This fastidiousness is a direct result of Italian owner Bernardo Bertucci's mission to create the perfect romantic hideaway that embraces a wonderful sense of style, good humor and warm friendships. He spent six weeks in Bali, hand-picking all of the furnishings that would adorn the cottages. Originally from Italy, Bernardo loves to weave threads of Italian flair into every aspect of the resort to create the perfect fusion of romance, quality and Caribbean casualness. Laluna's ambiance is laid-back and carefree, where total rest and relaxation take precedence. This commitment to quiet can be immediately sensed and serenity gracefully sets into the soul.

Needless to say, this atmosphere does not lend itself well to children. In fact, only children over the age of 10 are allowed here during the high season and upon request during low season. Families with older children would probably find cottages 15 and 16 to be most suitable, as they have a second room furnished with two twin beds.

There are 16 cottages total and all but one are hillside facing westward for the breathtaking view of the sun setting over the tranquil turquoise bay. Cottage one is beachfront and while this might seem like a plus, its proximity to the main areas of the resort affords it less privacy than the others. For the epitome of privacy with an incredible view, reserve cottage nine or ten. All of the cottages offer a heightened level of seclusion, yet the open-style Indonesian architecture allows for guests to enjoy the warm breezes and take in the glorious panorama.

The minimalist concept reinforces the idea of simple elegance in all of the cottages with boldly colored, rag washed cement walls (inside and out), polished concrete floors and dramatic teak furnishings. The 280 square-foot bedrooms feature a king sized Balinese four poster bed draped in sheer white Indonesian cotton. Each cottage also boasts a private deck framed in bamboo and complete with an edgeless plunge pool, which constitutes as the perfect setting for a private massage ($80US).

The decor reflects the South Pacific paired with Caribbean undertones, primitive in nature with a modernized twist. The fabrics gracing the heavy teak are luxurious and there's a CD player, TV/VCR and air conditioning in every cottage. Perhaps most unique is the open-air bathroom. A shower with cutout windows facing the sea allows one to bathe in the beauty of the tropics and pamper oneself with exclusive Hortus Fratris Italian bath products.

A thatched-roof cocktail bar serves up tropical delights for guests lounging on the open deck surrounding the pool. The beach is steps away and offers a spattering of lounge chairs to rest on. I would sway one away from taking a snooze under a Manchineel tree, as the sap stings the skin and this tree bears a poisonous fruit, maybe this is the Garden of Eden after all. Instead, I suggest eating in the dining room where the menu features the dangerously delicious creations of a European chef.

For those craving a little activity there are complimentary water sports available, consisting of a 14-foot Hobie cat, kayak and snorkeling equipment. Gold, the friendly water sports attendant, provides rides in a dinghy to Grand Anse Beach and popular St. George's where guests can be dropped off and picked up a couple hours later. Other excursions can be arranged at the front desk, a rain forest tour, a visit to a waterfall or the spice market in St. George's. PADI certification diving packages are available during weeklong stays at Laluna. In addition, mountain bikes are available for no extra charge and golf, tennis, and fishing can be arranged upon request.

After dark Laluna slows even more and offers an intimate setting for romantic interludes set to a quartet of tree frogs. Of course, the moon will be there to keep you company, because it's a permanent resident here at Laluna.

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