Dispatch from Mexico: A Heavenly Hideaway in Zihuatanejo
Along Zihuatanejo’s palm-frond-shaded beachfront promenade, you'll find open-air cantinas and fishermen hawking their daily catch. The horseshoe bay is packed with fishing vessels and luxury yachts. During the cruise season, mammoth luxury liners drop anchor further out in the bay. Tenders shuttle passengers for port-of-call visits before moving on to pollinate Acapulco, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, and Cabo.
At the northern edge of town, near Playa la Ropa, the taxi climbs a short hill to the towering entry gates of cloistered La Casa Que Canta – literally meaning “the house that sings.” The valet opens the car door and smiles invitingly as he scoops up our luggage. The soft, humid air envelops us as we are escorted into the inner courtyard. “I feel like someone just brushed me into the most beautiful impressionistic painting,” a nearby guest confided to her partner as they surveyed the exotic enclave.
This boutique resort is peerless in every aspect: architecture, setting, ambience, staff attitude, exceptional cuisine, palatial-sized grand suites, and a spa and fitness center. Two years ago, Travel + Leisure proclaimed La Casa Que Canta “the most romantic hotel in the world.”
A secluded salt-water pool and whirlpool, just inches from the crashing waves, are tucked against the rocks at the cliff bottom. The main pool, adjacent to the open-air cantina, literally hangs atop a cliff edge, 150 feet above the sea.
In the 1994 Hollywood movie When a Man Loves a Woman starring Meg Ryan and Andy García, there’s a 50-second scene filmed at the resort's legendary horizon pool. Within weeks of the film’s release, more than 2,000 romantic couples booked getaways. In order to figure out where this ultra-romantic place was located, they had to scroll through the tiny film credits.
Each guest suite, named after a traditional Mexican song, is equally scintillating with hand-painted tiles and furnishings, decorated with colorful tropical flowers, and parrot, mermaid and monkey accents that pay homage to renowned Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. The buildings’ exteriors are finished with rough-textured burnt-sienna-colored stucco along with the added touch of randomly embedded straw.
Inside the suites, guests are welcomed by a brilliantly-colored work of art that appears at first glance to be embroidered onto the bed’s duvet. It takes a moment to realize that it’s actually a creation of fresh-picked flower petals with dainty green sprigs placed there by the maids.
Custom-crafted furnishings include wrought-iron tables and sumptuous lounge chairs on the private decks. Bathroom touches include granite vanities, spacious marble walk-in showers, and bidets.
The visionary creators of La Casa Que Canta are Jacques Baldassari and his wife Yvonne. Baldassari previously worked as a L'Oréal executive, and obviously learned his life lessons well. He’s applied a nuanced attention to detail, and staff caters methodically to every guest’s slightest whim.
With 25 suites and two private villas, there’s the atmospheric sense that you are a privileged guest staying at a grand, private estate rather than a boutique hotel.
The guest accommodations are so seductive that you could easily experience a memorable vacation without ever leaving your suite. The eight most popular abodes are the grand suites that come equipped with private swimming pools perched on secluded cliff-hanging bay-vista decks and yet totally insulated from the neighbors.
Mexican design motifs throughout the property include enchanting mosaics and traditional ceramic sculptures, all flawlessly accented by an abundance of cacti, brilliant-plumed trees and tropical flowers.
To dine at Restaurante Mar y Cielo is reason enough to come for a stay. The house specialty is, not surprisingly, seafood prepared in traditional local fashion.
There are thousands of upscale resorts in the world, but very few meet the matchless, first-class, indulgently romantic elements found at the house that truly sings.
For more details, visit: @lacasaquecanta – www.lacasaquecanta.com/en/m_1_luxury-hotel-ixtapa-zihuatanejo-mexico.php
Writer: Thomas Wilmer