Sunday, March 7, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
In reality, there's absolutely nothing wrong with it. It's something I would normally eat and usually enjoy, but in this moment I'm feeling jaded. Where was my starter? What about the fresh squeezed juice of the day? And where is Alfredo, with his peaceful demeanor and soft spoken voice, to tell me what the fresh catch of the day is? Alright, I can admit it. I'm spoiled! Three-course lunches and dinners will do that to you, even after only a few days. And I owe it all to the Verana hotel.
Verana, located in Yelapa, Mexico, encourages a five night stay, and upon my arrival I understood why. It's not the most accessible place, so staying a bit longer than just a weekend will make it worth the trek. And I do mean a trek. You literally have to travel by air, land, AND sea to get there!
After flying into Puerto Vallarta, take about a 30 minute cab ride south, and upon reaching the town of Boca de Tomatlan, you hop on to the Verana boat and take another 30 minute ride along the coast until you reach the dock. There, you will be greeted by the host who will guide you up the hill on a "leisurely" hike to (finally) reach the hotel! Note: depending on your fitness level, "leisurely" may also mean strenuous!
Upon reaching the hotel property, our welcome reception consisted of freshly squeezed lemonade, homemade chips with three different dips, and cool, aromatherapy-infused towels to wipe our faces with. After signing the registration paper, we were off to our room!
The shower doesn't have a door or curtain, but don't worry, you don't need one! Every architectural detail allows the guest to live harmoniously with nature. And with minimal impact to the environment; all toiletries provided are organic and handmade by the Verana spa staff.
Such socializing is most prevalent at cocktail hour, the magical time when most guests come out to mingle about an hour or so before dinner. And the food? Well, as indicated before, the food is exquisite! Every meal is different, delicious, and centered around whatever was caught from the ocean that day. The chef, a Yelapa native and ten-year Verana staff member, is able to cater to any dietary needs. Breakfast and lunch each have an extensive list of choices, while the dinner menu is fixed. And as I said before, both lunch AND dinner are comprised of three courses each. Believe me, you will not go hungry!
Entering each house feels like stepping into a dream world of seclusion; no televisions, no telephones, and no computers. Complete separation from the outside world, yet camaraderie is easily just a few steps away.
If you worry about being bored, don't! The hotel has plenty of activities and excursions that can be arranged. From on-site activities such as yoga, one on one cooking classes with the chef, and spa treatments galore; to off-site excursions such as fishing, kayaking, a waterfall hike, or a picnic on the beach.
Not to miss: the Starlight Aromatherapy Bath. After dinner, your hot bath will be ready for you, decorated with some 100+ candles. The place is then yours for the night!
Verana does have electricity, albeit sometimes sporadic, (you are in the jungle remember!) It's really not necessary though. The hotel supplies each room with a small, LED flashlight, which comes in handy when making your way back to your casita after dinner. Upon returning, you'll discover that while you were enjoying your evening repast, the maid-staff has already come around to light all the candles in your room. If it were possible, the entire experience just got even more breathtaking than the first time you set your sights on the amazing view! I simply can't wait to go back!
Find out more on their website, and don't miss their captivating promo video! http://been-seen.com/verana/
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Self-proclaimed as "jungle-chic," this hotel is definitely one to escape to.
"Ocean view" is often synonimous with spending more, but at La Zebra you not only get the view, you also get the ocean and the beach to go along with it, right outside your rustic little hut's door. Even better, it comes without sticker shock.
If the simple white walls and thoughts of laying in a hammock all day start to stir up feelings of cabin fever, never fear! Relaxing isn't the only thing available to do here. There are plenty of activities whether on-campus or nearby.
Foodies will delight in the property's restaurant and tequila bar, as authentic food and drinks are the stars.
Fresh squeezed lime ceviche, tender lamb slow cooked in banana leaves from the brick-lined BBQ pit, and a margherita made without mixers or heavy machinery. That's exactly what your palate can look forward to.
As for adventure-seekers, the hotel offers salsa lessons, and there are plenty of tours to take nearby such as fishing, kiteboarding, and scuba diving. The hotel is also only 7 km away from the Tulum Ruins.
Just one thought for caution: "jungle-chic" IS synonimous with rustic! The rooms do have electricity thanks to wind turbine technology, but if you need air conditioning, a tv, and the use of a hair dryer, then this is not the place for you. And yes, the mosquito netting draped around the bed is probably more functional than fashionable, but if you can let those luxuries go in order to get back to nature, make a reservation and pack your (preferably) carry-on size bag.
And if you're still not quite sold on La Zebra, check out their quick promo video, you'll swear you just felt a tropical breeze!
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Forget having no leg room, a tiny bathroom to maneuver, and zero food service. This is not your typical 727 experience! Perched along a coastal rainforest bluff, this decommissioned airplane-turned-hotel room is the newest, and quite possibly the nicest, of its kind.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
3. Put on your favorite Jack Johnson CD, order room service, and enjoy your meal out on your porch as you watch the sun set!