Paradise in the Mexican Pacific

by Editorial

The Guests
With luxury, privacy and exclusivity assured, it is hardly surprising that the guest roster resembles a list of Academy Award and Grammy winners, including Robert DeNiro, Sandra Bullock, Meryl Streep, Sting, Richard Gere, Francis Ford Coppolla and Brad Pitt (who booked the entire resort to see in the Millennium with then-wife Jennifer Anniston and pals). Titled European friends of the owner also stay here, along with well-heeled Americans looking for quiet getaways. Family groups are fewer but welcome.

The Draw
Isabel Goldsmith had perfection in mind when carving her beachfront paradise out of a 1,500-acre Pacific coastal property she inherited from her grandfather, the late Bolivian tin king Antenor Patino. You sense she has succeeded from the first glimpse of the unspoiled coastline, white beaches, secluded lagoons and lush forests that surround the Shangri-La-like hamlet of 13 ultra-private villas and outbuildings. Miss Goldsmith, the daughter of British financier Sir James Goldsmith, spared no expense to realize her vision and the effect is truly magnificent — from the climbing vines and majestic palm trees to the theatrical fountain and magical stage lighting effects that leave one gaping in wonderment. Just like the level of pampering from mostly invisible staff who materialize instantly to fulfill any request.

The Drawbacks
None to think of except that management might consider reserving the pool for adults-only use during certain hours when more than one or two children are in residence.

Each villa boasts full-sized living, dining and sleeping areas that are simple in design (vaulted brick ceilings, doors and louvered windows open to sea air) with maximum comfort (plush shaded daybeds, oversized hand-loomed hammocks and equipal chairs, all in the Mexican vernacular style). Hot pink, canary yellow and burning orange walls complement Oaxaca pots, decorative plates and other arts and crafts from different regions. Beautiful azulejos (glazed tiles) are a feature of the commodious bathrooms featuring large, open shower/baths and flowering plants. Air conditioning is available when needed in the hottest weather, but most guests will be content to stretch out under the ceiling fans as they drift into dreamy reveries.

Delicious, fresh and organic fare — herbs, vegetables and fruit are all grown on the property. The chicken is free-range; only beef is brought in from outside. The fabulous local seafood (shrimp, lobster, dorado, bass, tilapia, rockfish) is a mouth-watering delight each day in the Oasis restaurant or in the exotic palm thatched La Palapa Beach Club adjacent to the pool and ocean (my fave). You can have any meal in your villa at any time, or, if you desire, on one of the three beaches or atop a cliff overlooking the ocean.

What to do
Swimming is best confined to the pool since strong ocean currents allow only for near-shore wading and wave jumping. Mountain biking, hiking, fishing and snorkeling opportunities are available as are boat trips to a small island where numerous wild birds may be sighted. There is a tennis court and small gym (designed by Mr. DeNiro) as well as horseback riding accompanied by a resident caballero. If cantering down a vast expanse of white beach is your idea of heaven, this is the place. Extensive massage treatments are available too — nothing like being kneaded right on the beach in a special pavilion as sea breezes waft through.

The Bottom Line
Rates: $360-1,490 in low season (June 1 – October 15) to $460-1,990 in high season (Oct. 15-May 31). Plan to add about $250 per day if meals are included (based on double occupancy). The buyout rate for the entire resort (up to 30 guests, based on sleeping arrangements) includes full board and runs from $8,000 to $17,000 depending on the season.

Las Alamandas
Costalegre, Jalisco, Mexico
Telephone: (52) 322-285-5500
Fax: (52) 322-285-5027
Toll-free reservations 1-888-882-9616

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