Mexico’s Most Romantic Hotel
Epoch Times May 29, 2009 By Debra Amundson
When you check in to one of Las Alamandas romantic suites you may choose a relaxing soak in an intimate whirlpool like the one in the Casa San Antonino or dip in the Pacific at one of the alluring beaches near by.
Enjoy easy access to the private beaches of Las Alamandas where there are 14 brightly colored villas featuring various themes.
Mexico’s most romantic hotel, Las Alamandas, makes its home on 1,500 acres bordering the Costalegre, a 160-mile pristine stretch of ocean beach on the Mexican Riviera, in the State of Jalisco. Perched on the shores of the blue Pacific, Las Alamandas can be reached in less than two hours from the airports of either Puerto Vallarta or Manzanillo, two of Mexico’s bustling resort towns.
The name of this rare retreat alone is synonymous with romance. It is named for the alamanda, a fragrant yellow flower native to Mexico, with its delicate scent coaxed out by the cooler air of the evening.
The brightly colored villas of Las Alamandas offer 14 uniquely designed rooms and host no more than 30 guests at a time. Each sports its own theme and all have ocean views and verandas. Amenities vary from whirlpool to lap pool, double-headed shower, or intimate entertainment den.
Well-tended grounds overflowing with native plants are a sensory treat. They are alive with color from a variety of delicate blossoms. It was only natural that the name of this rare retreat had to express pleasure: intimacy, seclusion, and romance were the founding tenets for Las Alamandas.
Owner Isabel Goldsmith-Patiño had a very different vision than what would have been her hotelier roots. Isabel’s grandfather, “Bolivian Tin King” Don Antenor Patiño, developed Las Hadas, one of Mexico’s first grand luxury resorts and backdrop for the movie “10.” Don Patino had expected Isabel to follow in his footsteps with the same style of grandeur.
However, Ms. Goldsmith saw a small retreat, eco-friendly yet providing the best amenities a guest could wish for with a rich assortment of activities. The concept was to provide a secluded private retreat, perfect for romance, rejuvenation, quality time away from home, or for small groups to exchange ideas in a peaceful environment, with no distractions. Adding a wedding planner to the mix would offer any bride an exciting destination to celebrate her nuptials.
Searching for Seclusion
RUGGED BEAUTY: Ocean view of Costalegre, Jalisco Mexico from the cliffs. (Debra Amundson)
Four private beaches afford the opportunity for a secluded escape with a picnic, and all the essentials for a day of sand, sea, and sun. Two private cliff-top perches overlook the rugged coastline waiting to be set with candlelight for a memorable sunset dinner. The staff numbers three to one of the guests, and service is a feature that is quietly provided to offer the most comfortable environment for a relaxed and intimate visit.
This colorful haven is alive with the rich culture of Mexico and also honors its indigenous people with a museum on the grounds. The Huichol (called Wirrarika in their own language) have been masters in embroidering their clothes and textiles for centuries. Bead-covered figures and carved gourds, representing their mythology, are on display along with delicate antique textiles. Huichol believe that “father sun” created the sea, making the location of Las Alamandas a perfect place to represent some of their unique history.
Las Alamandas respects the earth and animals of Mexico as the Huichol did. The land is carefully cultivated with organic gardens and native plants, including a botanical cactus garden with 12 species, 2 of which were newly discovered by a graduate student from the University of Mexico, a partner in the botanical garden.
The result of this partnership will be a year-round program of research for the preservation of native plants. Gray water is recycled for all the gardens, and rich compost is made from kitchen scraps. Las Alamandas hopes to be completely green in the near future.
The 1,500 acres of Las Alamandas provide a sanctuary for 135 species of migratory and resident birds. The compound can be enjoyed by horseback or by tour in an all-terrain vehicle. The staff biologist oversees the program and is available for questions and to help with identification of species.
You can discover Mexico’s authentic countryside at the secluded lagoon that features a freshwater estuary. In the center is Pichichi Island, and rowboat transportation adds to the pleasure of the experience. Nature walks or bike rides can be enjoyed from the pathway surrounding the island.
ECO-CULTURE CUISINE: Wonderfully tasty dishes are prepared with free-range meats and organic produce, some eco-consciously cultivated on site. (Courtesy of www.lasalamandas.com)
A boutique on the grounds is stocked with a wide variety of the finest Mexican crafts. Ms. Goldsmith, herself, searches the far corners of Mexico to provide the best selection of quality products that represent the crafts of the country. She takes great pride in presenting the work of these talented artisans.
Las Alamandas is always looking for more to offer its guests, and be the trendsetter in boutique hotels. It recently added a selection of 85 different Mexican tequilas, now used in mixed drinks and gourmet food.
Honored by the Mexican Tequila Regulation Council with a special award, the hotel has five tequila experts on hand, also called tequillers, to lead guests in a new experience that is part of Mexican culture and pride. Using all that nature offers, a rooftop lounge, “Estrella Azul,” has been added for stargazing and for enjoying a nightcap.
Other offerings by the resort are a 60-foot freshwater pool, a tennis court, half-court basketball, a fully equipped gym (designed by the actor Robert De Niro), massage, yoga, boat rides on the River San Nicolas, and bird watching. Also choose from boat rentals, fishing and snorkeling, boogie boarding, surfing, croquet, ping-pong, beach volleyball, life size chess, horseback riding, mountain biking, or hiking trails.
There is a Kids’ Club that provides children with a secluded play area complete with a schedule of activities and supervision for games and crafts. And then there is always just relaxing and enjoying the peace.
If you desire more of the local culture, 10 minutes down the road is Punta Perula, a typical sleepy Mexican fishing village. A few small restaurants line the beach, serving local favorites and fresh fish. Markets with fresh fish, chicken, and beef also sell staples. On Saturdays the pineapple truck stops. This is a true look at the easy pace of life in the small seaside towns.
Surrounded by acres of gardens, native jungle, and sparking beaches, privacy is guaranteed at this protected escape. Anyone wanting to leave the serious side of life at the gate and enjoy the pleasure of another culture will find Las Alamandas the perfect place to embrace. You will leave with a renewed spirit and a greater understanding of a colorful culture.
To read more about the eco-culture of Las Alamandas go to http://roseontheroads.com/las-alamandas-not-just-romance/
Debra Amundson is a writer living in California who frequently travels to Mexico. Contact her directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional photos have been added since this article was published. Updates on Las Alamandas can be found in Las Alamandas – Not just Romance http://roseontheroads.com/las-alamandas-not-just-romance/