|Manzanillo, Mexico: What a bodacious
idea to call a hotel a palace. You won't see this description connected
with the Waldorf-Astoria or even the Ritz, and yet Dallas entrepreneur
Robert Woolley had the imagination and tenacity to fashion a Mexican
extravaganza called the Karmina Palace.
of eight interconnecting pools
Situated in the unassuming small town of
Manzanillo along Mexico's Pacific Coast (a four hour drive south of Puerto
Vallarta), Manzanillo may be known as the "Sailfish Capital of the World,"
but movie-goers recognize it as the setting of "10" filmed at the exclusive
Las Hadas. Yet it wasn't until decades later that the sleepy city would
make another splash when noted hotelier Robert Woolley (founder of Crown
Sterling Suites, the forerunner of Embassy Suites) built a nine acre exotic
Mayan-style resort overlooking the Bay of Mexico.
Sweeping views from The Karmina Palace
|Opening in 1999 and already a
winner of the Five Star Diamond Award, the Karmina Palace is an
all-inclusive property featuring a staggering variety of choices to all
guests. There are 324 spacious suites (890-square feet to 3, 390-square
feet), three restaurants and a disco, five bars, and eight
interconnected swimming pools (One for adults only). You'll have
privacy along a 425-foot sandy beach cove, but if you choose to walk
alone, there's a Kids' Club with game room and theatre. Other comforts
include a spa and fitness arena, golf and tennis, motorized sports,
amphitheater featuring theme-night dinners and live shows, business
center, plus 24-hour room service.
Having stayed at both Las Hadas and Club Maeva in
Manzanillo, I couldn't believe the glamour of this palace property. For
unlike the pristine and staid Las Hadas, the Karmina Palace jingles with
excitement and yet radiates elegance. While the design features a Mayan
temple-themed lobby, I had to look again to convince myself that I wasn't in
Egypt or Asia, or perhaps had wandered into a set from Indiana Jones. With
such a unique location, you might think it would be hard on your wallet, but
once you've paid the nightly rate, there are no hidden charges, and that
means no limits on food or drink. All taxes and tips are included. If you
choose not to leave your room, you can always order complimentary 24-hour
Book online (www.Karminapalace.com) or by telephone (1-877-KARMINA), and
come up with surprising deals. Catch them before January, 2004, and you
might come across a WWW rate for a Garden View suite costing $138 per
person. A two-bedroom can run $180 per person. For my stay, I chose an
Ocean View Suite that guaranteed 890-square feet of comfort. Each
accommodation comes with a private balcony or terrace with a scenic view,
separate living area with a pullout couch, mini refrigerator already stocked
with sodas and water, two televisions, and an oversized marble bathroom.
With all the amenities, it may be tempting to stay indoors, but then it's
Mexico and here's one region loaded with sun sprinkles averaging a
temperature of 80 degrees all year long.
Carioca restaurant overlooking the Mexican Pacific
|The only hang-up was to arrive
in the hotel lobby precisely by 4:30 every afternoon in order to book a
dinner at the much requested Carioca restaurant perched on a rocky
cliff with a sweeping view of the Mexican Pacific and the Port of
Manzanillo. Since it doubles as a disco after hours, here's one place
where you can kick up your heels. Singles are always welcome, and
you'll find the staff in a dancing mood as well.
Usually all high class resorts have spas, and I
always have a treatment indigenous to that area. The Black Mud Therapeutic
Facial ($61) is recommended for people with oily skin or acne, and has a
high concentration of Vitamin-B, copper, zinc, magnesium and selenium. Cool
off with The Cooling Aloe Spritzer ($37) if you're a real sun worshipper.
This treatment soothes burning and itching skin leaving it hydrated and
refreshed. And that's really what the Karmina Palace is all about.
All Photos by Linda-Mario Singer
# # #
Avenida Vista Hermosa No. 13
Colonel Peninsula de Santiago, Manzanillo
28200 Manzanillo Colima, Mexico
El Patio de Leda Artesanias has
terrific deals on that appealing and vibrant looking Mexican furniture.
Call for more information while in Manzanillo: