Mahakua (the name is a bizarre coinage, half Sanskrit, half Native American) is an Aman resort in all but name, and the only Latin American member of Adrian Zecha’s world-beating collection of hotels. Although an hour or so inland from Manzanillo and therefore not strictly part of the Costalegre, it is usually mentioned in the same breath as the other smart hotels in this part of the world.
The Hacienda San Antonio, as it is know’n locally, is hard to get to but worth the effort 10 times over. It was built in 1879 by a German expat called Arnoldo Vogel, who made his fortune with a vast coffee plantation that stretched all the way to the Pacific coast. The hacienda was then bought by Sir James Goldsmith in the 1970s and gradually restored to its former glory, before being given the Aman makeover in 2000. The house itself, a colonial mansion built largely in the local charcoal-grey volcanic stone, occupies the head of a delicious valley traversed by gurgling streams. Directly behind the hotel is a picture-book volcano with a permanent lazy wisp of smoke – an awe-inspiring, if faintly worrying sight. (Anxious guests are informed that the Volcan de
Hotelito Desconocido Left, view from a private jetty FuegO last erupted in 1998,
Here we have B audelaire’s luxe, calme et volupte’ on a grand scale. Aman junkies will recognise the prodigious attention to detail, the sublimely efficient service and immaculate upkeep of the hotel. The difference between Mahakua and other Amans, perhaps, is that Mahakua has less of a New Age tinge and more of the country-house opulence of a grand estate. There is a sense of great space and freedom of movement: even when full to capacity the hotel holds a maximum of just 50 people in its total of 6,000 square metres. The 25 suites (including three Grand Suites) are high-ceilinged, with beams and brick vaulting; and all have fireplaces which you are encouraged to light should the mountain evenings become a little nippy. Paintings, plants and
Getting to the costalegre
British Airways (0870 850 9850; www.ba.com) flies three times a week from Heathrow to Mexico City from Â£679 return (1-21 August); and from Â£576 return (22-31 August). Mexicana (020 8492 0000; www.mexicanacom) flies from Mexico City to Puerto Vallarta from Â£175 return in August; to Manzanillo from Â£188 return and to Colima from Â£234 return.The author travelled to the Costalegre with cazenove + loyd (020 7384 2332; www.cazioyd.com) which specialises in tailor-made travel to Latin America, Africa, the Indian Ocean, India and beyond. Prices from Â£2,500 including international flights