PUBLISHED WORK - Hotel and Resort Reviews > Las Alamandas - Costalegre, Mexico
iTraveliShop.com November 2009
Las Alamandas - Costalegre, Mexico :: Hotel Review
It may be named after a fantastic yellow flower but glorious hot pink is clearly the favorite color at Las Alamandas, Isabel Goldsmith-Patiño’s chic and eco (what I like to call “checo”) resort.
First, the chic. The resort, on Mexico’s dramatic and gorgeous Costalegre (two hours south of Puerto Vallarta), has its own air strip which is pretty damn chic assuming you have a plane. Whichever way you arrive, once you’re at Las Alamandas privacy is pretty much assured.
With a max capacity of 35 guests on 1,500 acres including four private beaches, talented staff members who know the meaning of “discreet” in any language can easily arrange for you to see (or be seen by) no one else during your entire visit if that’s the way you want it.
This is partly what attracts celebrity fans including Minnie Driver, Bennifer (back in the day) and Robert DeNiro for whom the resort’s gym was built to accommodate the actor during an extended stay.
Though I have both feet in the non-celebrity category my husband and I got upgraded to the Casa del Sol Presidential, the resort’s largest accommodation. Two huge bedrooms, a massive entry way, large sunken living/dining room and 2.5 baths make this suite of rooms its own perfect little world—particularly the enormous thatch-roof-covered outdoor patio mere skips from the beach.
At Las Alamandas every surface that can be splashed in color is splashed in color. The place is so vibrant that within minutes of checking in I changed into a tangerine sundress just to fit in.
Days were capped off with sunset colors and a treat from the jar of freshly baked cookies that was delivered at turndown. It was all so addicting that we almost never left our room—not even long enough for the resort’s adorably thoughtful staff to deliver a cake they’d secretly made for me as a surprise on my birthday. I learned later that frustrated staff members were quietly staking out our room just waiting to deliver the birthday cake the moment we left, but we never did.
The next day I did tear myself away long enough to tour the property with dedicated and experienced General Manager Miguel Andres Hernandez and this simply convinced me that the other 13 rooms at Las Alamandas are equally difficult to leave.
Even more modest (as compared to the lavish Casa del Sol Presidential) rooms with “garden views” have at least a partial view of the water and all are plushly appointed with ample secluded outdoor sitting areas, wonderful art and furnishings and romantic bedrooms.
Now for the eco.
While a full-service resort like Las Alamandas is probably not scoring LEED certification anytime soon, there are some unexpected measures being taken to reduce the resort’s environmental impact. When Isabel took over the property from her grandfather, Don Antenor Patiño, she immediately scrapped his plans for big high rise and golf course construction (Don Patiño developed the sprawling and opulent Las Hadas in Manzanillo and had similarly grand plans for Las Alamandas).
Landscaping and earth moving for the golf course had already been started but Isabel stopped work and the area’s rich vegetation has all but swallowed up any sign of the would-be course, part of which is now used for an organic garden. Isabel has also unequivocally and unapologetically banned jet skis which produce more pollution in two hours than a late model car does in 130,000 miles.
Las Alamandas has also partnered with Global Green USA and the group’s CD, narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio, is placed in every room along with the organization's Environmental Manifesto.
These measures have made Las Alamandas one of the first hotels in México to be recognized by Conde Nast Johansens´ as an Environmentally Friendly Hotel and the resort certainly has an enviro-stamp-of-approval from the local tejon (also called coati) population. The harmless animals (pretty much a cross between an ant-eater and a raccoon) wander the grounds freely every evening and the resort provides an extremely responsible “Tejon Dos and Don’ts” list for guests in each room.
The seclusion of Las Alamandas is certainly romantic, but it may also be an insurance policy against one of the biggest challenges facing the Mexican tourism industry right now: swine flu. The resort is so confident that the risk of exposure while at Las Alamandas is so minimal they’re offering a “No Flu” guarantee. Should a guest become sick with swine flu while visiting the resort that guest and their entire visiting party will be eligible for a complimentary stay within a year.
Rates start at $371 including a welcome cocktail, use of tennis courts, gym and mountain bikes, one bird-watching river ride (subject to availability and weather conditions) and a one hour horseback ride. A meal plan including breakfast, lunch, dinner and non alcoholic beverages is available for an additional $135 per person per night. Honeymooners receive a romantic candlelit champagne dinner served on the terrace of their room at no charge (not available during Christmas and New Year).
In April, 2006 peripatetic journalist Karen Catchpole left her job as deputy editor of SHOP Etc. magazine in New York City and embarked on the Trans-Americas Journey, a five year, 200,000 mile working road trip through North, Central and South America. When she's not reviewing luxury hotels, resorts, ranches and B&Bs, she can be found enjoying the nearest campground.
Resort, Lodge & Hotel Review keywords: Las Alamandas, Costalegre, Mexico Mexico Boutique Hotels Isabel Goldsmith-Patiño Puerto Vallarta Miguel Andres Hernandez Don Antenor Patiño Swine flu