Mexico: Wonder what it's like to enter a world of sheer indulgence where you
feel special, pampered, and important? Want to stay at a top-notch getaway
that's romantic and tropical? Welcome to El Careyes in Jalisco, Mexico, a
sun-sprinkled five star property that's part of the Luxury Collection
of Starwood Hotels.
|I know. You say you haven't heard much
about it, but you will. In fact, El Careyes, positioned along the Costa
Alegre on the Pacific Ocean, is fast becoming the address of Hollywood
stars and enterprising travelers who favor basking in the sweetness of
luxury and romance.
South of Puerto Vallarta,
it's a two and one-half hour drive along the scenic highway before you reach
your destination surrounded by lush forests.
Founded by Italian
entrepreneur Gian Franco Brignone in 1968, the businessman knew he had
discovered a piece of paradise when he saw this stretch of the pacific
coastline. To some world travelers, the first glimpse seems more like a
mirage -- a Moorish playground of the rich and famous. Look again.
|Dipped in a patina of bold Mexican
colors, the resort combines Mediterranean sensuality with Mexican
architectural elements. And with forty-eight deluxe rooms and suites, a
tranquil setting and undisturbed scenery, just one stay will do wonders
for the mind and body.
Mexican-Mediterranean folk style with
|All accommodations are set within a
pueblo-style horseshoe building around a courtyard. Many have a partial
or full ocean view. If you reserve before December 21st, a Resort Room
runs $289. A Junior Suite Oceanfront is $495, but includes a spacious
living area and plunge pool with indoor or outdoor Jacuzzi overlooking
Splurge on the Casita Three
Bedrooms and the price moves up to $879. Comforts include an ocean view,
private Jacuzzi, large living room and dining area, plus a kitchenette.
Whatever your choice, all rooms feature interior rustic styles blended with
Mexican and Mediterranean touches like Parota wood (local hardwood),
elaborate hand painted furniture, and decorative objects.
Brightly colored El Careyes
|And yet perhaps the nicest amenity is the
main pool surrounded by swaying palm trees. Guests appear mesmerized by
its bright, clear blue water kept warm year round by the ideal Mexican
climate. Once they walk a few steps, they'll be following their
footprints along a private beach.
At El Careyes…Cares drift
away. Take what happened when I visited The Spa. I opted for a Self-Healing
Clay treatment ($90) to burn away fat and cellulite. The next day it was
The Papaya Body Scrub ($50) that consisted of a mix of honey, papaya and
salts to clean and exfoliate the skin and regenerate the tissues.
Now if you are looking for exercise, just walk next door to The Gym, a fully
equipped fitness center with the latest cardiovascular regimen. Looking to
arrange a polo game (November-April), lagoon exploration, go mountain bike
riding? Read on. If you're game for fishing, kayaking, snorkeling,
horseback riding, or a trip to a turtle cove sanctuary, visit EcoSportz.
Meanwhile avid golfers can take advantage of El Tamarindo championship golf
course forty minutes down the road.
Staff prepares beach chairs
|Of course it's no secret that in order to
maintain a lavish hideaway, the staff must be exceptional. So look to
be catered to especially by the service at the Lantana Restaurant and
However, the one time I
indulged myself by ordering Room Service, I found some dishes
unintentionally amusing. For instance, I read where I could select my own
"choose" and order a dessert with a "peakly pear," or a breakfast served
with "pouched eggs."
El Careyes has a toe-hold on luxury
|About the only drawback will be a lack of
activities at evening time especially if you bring children. But on my
last night, the kids there were fascinated to see wedding party guests
arrive for dinner. Once the dessert came, kids couldn't help but
stare. "Can I have a piece?" a child asked. Just then the bride turned
to the little boy and happily cut him a piece of the wedding cake.
A 5-star Starwood Hotel
property with all rooms and suites set within a pueblo-style horseshoe
building around a courtyard.
Through December 21st
Resort View = $289
($335 from December 21,2004-January 4, 2005)
Master Suite = $529
($889 from December 21-2004-January 4, 2005)
Casita Three Bedroom = $879
($1,005 from December 21, 2004-January 4, 2005)
*Internet Rates may be lower
Luxury Romance Package: Minimum stay two nights
Luxury Room or Junior Suite
Full breakfast includes
1 hour Deluxe Careyes Massage per person on chosen day
1 hour European Aromatherapy Massage per person on chosen day
Complimentary tennis and spa.
Cost = $649 per couple per day