Casa Cuixmala: Mexico’s most luxurious estate, Aman in the Dominican Republic, Indian spa experience by Taj, Scenic
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The private enclave of Cuixmala on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, just 2.5 hours south of Puerto Vallarta in the state of Jalisco, is the stuff of legend. From its days as a retreat for Sir James Goldsmith and his family, to its current incarnation as a jetset escape under the stewardship of the financier’s daughter Alix, this 10,000-hectare estate has been a favourite for presidents, heads of states and VIPs from all fields, including Mick Jagger, Madonna and Bill Gates. In its short history as an ultra-luxury resort, it has won acclaim as one of the finest hotels in Mexico, a dream wedding destination and an all-round utopia that immerses you in a pristine wilderness.
A fantasy come to life
Above a 3km stretch of private beach, Casa Cuixmala’s crowning glory is La Loma, a Moorish-inspired palace designed by Robert Couturier. Inside the sunshine-orange walls, the decor is sleek and white. Soaring ceilings and windows with intricate lacework create light-filled rooms where richly coloured textiles take pride of place.
The main house is home to three Deluxe Suites, as well as the palatial Cuixmala Suite, with a terrace and a plunge pool-sized Jacuzzi overlooking the beach. A selection of bungalows and villas offers the ultimate in privacy for families and friends. Villa Playa is set on its own beach, embracing the ocean from stunning outdoor living spaces.
On the other side of the coconut plantation, a small community of casitas, ranging from one bedroom to three, provides a more rustic take on tropical luxury. Each casita is a vibrant cottage nestled in a garden, putting the ecological wonders of Cuixmala right at guests’ doors.
Where nature comes first
Indeed, for all its grandeur, the aims of Casa Cuixmala are rather humbling. Goldsmith created the private estate, and helped establish the 13,412-hectare Chamela-Cuixmala Biosphere Reserve surrounding it, with the goal of protecting the many native species that call the Pacific Coast home. More than 270 types of birds, including the exotic roseate spoonbill, can be seen while roaming the estate, as well as wild boar, coati mundi, deer, foxes, crocodiles and even the endangered and elusive jaguar. Guests on an electric boat tour can witness the extraordinary moment when thousands of birds flock to the lagoons by sunset to roost.
The stables are a signature of this working estate, offering numerous trails winding across the estate to explore on horseback (or mountain bikes), through hills and plantations, and perhaps encounter the introduced herds of zebra and antelope along the way.
Down on the beach, the Turtle Protection Programme allows guests to assist biologists in their work; thus far, they have returned hundreds of thousands of baby turtles to the sea. In winter, whales migrate just off shore. Halcyon days are lived out riding on horseback in the shallows of Playa
“Halcyon days are lived out riding on Horseback in the shallows of Playa cuixmala”
Cuixmala, the main beach that curves beside the jungle-coated hills, the pristine saltwater pool at its centre an extension of the ocean.
Marine life below the waves is visible as you snorkel in Caleta Blanca, a calm bay, while Playa Escondida is a rugged pirate’s beach, dotted with grottos for a secluded picnic. Surfing and scuba diving are available beyond the shore, or set sail aboard a 14-metre yacht to discover Mexico’s coastal beauty.
A taste of Jalisco
Alix Goldsmith Marcaccini is just as committed to the ecological aims of the estate as her father. Alongside its wildlife initiatives, Cuixmala has led the way with biodynamic farming. Whatever is not grown on site or fished from the oceans is sourced from the family’s ranch in the Mexican Highlands.
Everything is served to guests the day it is harvested in the form of traditional Mexican fare, whether eaten in the main restaurant on a palapa-covered terrace or freshly prepared for in-villa dining. Grilled seafood offers a superb centrepiece to picnics on the beach or a starlit dinner on the sands of Playa Cuixmala, complete with bonfire.
Although just an hour from Manzillo’s international airport, Cuixmala offers a pioneering natural escape that caters for every desire.