Here in Mexico, some splendid secrets are meant to be spilled
There have been whispers of it amongst the celebrities: a Moorish-inspired castle sitting on sprawling green acres, set just above the bay of Costalegre. Its colour, a unique tinge of orange, extravagantly opposes the eye-soothing shades of blue surrounding it. Not many have stepped foot inside the lavish getaway, but the legends are true—the opulent casa exists—but not to prying eyes.
It was a sanctuary to Sir James Goldsmith, whose life as a European politician was exposed out in public, but whose private life remained in the sealed doors of his Mexican castle. The estate was passed on to his daughter Alix Marcaccini after Goldsmith’s death in 1997, and the doors slowly gaped open, not to unveil the family’s mysteries, but to let people bask in the exclusive beauty of the estate, which can be enjoyed for a time. Cuixmala, as it is called, was not exactly a hotel or a resort–it was more of an experience, like temporarily staying in a big ranch, or an upmarket estate. There is, after all, a lot to do here than just wistfully looking out the white ornate windows and dreaming of the sea.
The 30,000-acre property is enveloped by a lush nature preserve, boasting in its walls four suites in the main house, and seven remote bungalows. After the change of ownership, five more isolated villas are completed, each of them tucked inside the jungle, with interiors glamorously painted in chic white and bright orange hues—a theme that pervades the household. Rooms boast the views of the serene Pacific, and the main casa hosts a quelling farm-to-table fanfare from Restaurant La Loma. Her fine dining version is decked in a ballroom of white, with ornate chairs and embroidered table linens that invoke a fresh charm, made much more alluring with the sea breeze fanning one from the open doors. The outdoor cabanas trigger a craving for seafood, which the chef from Caleta Blanca readily obliges.
But the true heart of Cuixmala is its eco-luxe concept, a nod to its UNESCO Biosphere environment. Marcaccini graciously imbibes a sense of sustainability: the venue’s biodynamic farming that supports local workers and affords guests with bounteous meals fresh from the local produce. This was a homage to Sir James Goldsmith’s passion, to save the environment rather than harming it. Local activities, therefore, involves nature–take a stroll around the flower nursery of Vivero, embark on a thrilling journey inside the lagoon, where one can observe hundreds of bird species, and perhaps even a crocodile. The sea calls for conquest, and a private sailing yacht is available for trips. Visit the turtle foundation and gaze at hundreds of thousands of turtle hatchlings in Casa Rio. Instead of hiking, enter the stables and let caballeros lead the exotic trails of the playa.
Cuixmala can be reached from the airports Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta, as well as private charters—the venue itself hosts a landing strip for its private charter flights. No one would know if Goldsmith, when still alive, would be fond of having guests run up and down the suites, but some things will stay in secret. cuixmala.com ◼
© This article was first published in Oct-Nov 2019 edition of World Travel Magazine.