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LUXURY RESORTS: Mukul, Rivas, Nicaragua
Once upon a time Nicaragua was all about eco adventure for the bohemian and back-packing but the times are a-changing. Now Nicaragua may well be the newest destination on luxury experiential (to coin a buzz word) travellers' lips. At the forefront of the change is the just opened Mukul Beach Golf & Spa, the first true luxury resort in the country. Eco-warriors carrying Vuitton luggage should put Mukul , which means 'secret' in a local Mayan dialect,on their Must Do list. The green-resort includes a beach club, restaurant, a spa and a David McLay Kidd designed golf course (he designed Bandon Dunes and the Castle Course in St. Andrews). The 37 private villas nestle like tree houses on the cliffs, or hug the beach and the wild sand grass at its edge.

beach surf
beach surf
night view
aerial view
interior
mukul
pool

The hotel is part of Guacalito de la Isla, a 1,670 acre eco-sensitive resort development on a long stretch untouched Pacific on what has become known as the Emerald Coast. It is owned and built by Carlos Pellas, one of the wealthiest and most influential men in Central America whose family have been a name in the region for five generations. To the tune of a cool $250 million Pellas has created a resort that his fellow multibillionaires will appreciate. And he has done it in an eco-conscious and socially-conscious way. With an emphasis on family and community which makes the place doubly special.
Eco -wise the building has done little to disturb the iguanas, monkey, sloths and other wildlife that hangs out in the surrounding forests, especially since they replanted over a thousand trees moved during construction. While right at the front of the resort, on Mansanillo Beach green Sea Turtles still nest (we have it on good authority they were nesting in January).The resort also has an on-site recycled water irrigation system. Socially, Pellas apparently granted loans to beach front shops and restaurants in nearby Gigante, so locals could cater to his guests and benefit from their presence.
Only opened officially at the tail end of February the resort is already causing a buzz. One insider who flew in from New York for the soft opening tells us,   "this   resort has put Nicaragua on the luxury map". Each of    the cliff villas, called Bohios, are made of sustainable natural teak and pine with red-tiled roofs.   Wide windows look out onto a wood and glass deck with private plunge pool. Nature is everywhere from the rainforest around you to the shimmering Sapphire water below. Inside white walls with local art and rustic screens complete the eco-picture. The spacious one- or two-bedroom Beach Villas have custom designed chandeliers made from mussel shells and a garden area with its own outdoor shower.   The luxury Travel Bible readers looking for the ultimate stay can book into a two bedroom suite in Casona Don Carlos, the Pellas family's own private beach home.
Only opened officially at the tail end of February the resort is already causing a buzz. One insider who flew in from New York for the soft opening tells us, "this resort has put Nicaragua on the luxury map". Each of the cliff villas, called Bohios, are made of sustainable natural teak and pine with red-tiled roofs. Wide windows look out onto a wood and glass deck with private plunge pool. Nature is everywhere from the rainforest around you to the shimmering Sapphire water below. Inside white walls with local art and rustic screens complete the eco-picture. The spacious one- or two-bedroom Beach Villas have custom designed chandeliers made from mussel shells and a garden area with its own outdoor shower. The luxury Travel Bible readers looking for the ultimate stay can book into a two bedroom suite in Casona Don Carlos, the Pellas family's own private beach home.
Food-wise much of the produce, seafood and beef served at axis sourced from local farmers and dishes have a traditional Nicaragua and Central American spice to them. New world wines and a decent selection of rums are also on offer.
The Spa Mukul has six different treatment villas, called 'casitas', each with a different name - Secret Garden, Hamman, Rain Forest, Crystal Temple, Healing Hut and Casita Mukul- which gives a clue as to the treatments offered within.    For example those who love a massage with healing stones will find themselves in the crystal temple, hydrotherapy treatment lovers will be in Rain forest.   We love the fact that treatments are luxurious and long; reserved in three-hour, half-day and full-day increments

If you can drag yourself from your balcony or that sublime spa, try special Mukul experiences. These include exploring one of the 300 plus volcanic islands in the private Pellas yacht a and visit to the Paellas family's Cocibolca Lake House. 'El Descanso'- or 'resting place'; which has been in the family since 1930. It has an idyllic lakeside setting and views of colonial Granada. Or    you could try a more extreme approach to   a volcanic experience by taking a helicopter tour to Cerro Negro Volcano, where a one-hour hike up the side ends with an slid back down ashboarding, which is similar to snowboarding, only messier, especially if you fall.

Check in: Mukul beach Golf & Spa, Playa Manzanillo, Guacalito de la Isla Rivas , Nicaragua
Ultimate Luxury:  A suite at Casona Don Carlos
Most Indulgent Moment: Sailing on the family yacht
Insider Secrets: Staying here you share so many secrets of a spot the Pellas clan have loved for generations. It a privilege to be allowed in.
The Little Things: The local environment shines through in every fibre of the resort
Junior Luxies: Children are welcomed with activities and dedicated colourful spaces
Dent in the platinum:
Luxury Resorts Link: www.mukulresort.com , www.slh.com
Posted 6/3/13
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