Posts Tagged ‘private resort’

A Stay at Las Alamandas in Jalisco, Mexico

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My favorite hammock at Las Alamandas

I recently visited Mexico’s Costalgre for the first time, spending a few nights at Las Alamandas resort. Located about About 120 km south of Puerto Vallarta, getting to the resort takes more than 2 1/2 hours along a long, winding, and frequently bumpy road from the PVR airport. It’s clear from the moment you arrive that the best and worst thing about Las Alamandas is it’s remote location.

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The bougainvillea-filled courtyard

Located on 1,500 acres and with only 16 suites (which can accommodate up to 42 guests), Las Alamandas is incredibly private and the type of property that gets bought out for weddings and celebrations. Old press clippings in the hotel’s library feature images of Hollywood celebrities spending New Year’s Eve here. The hotel has also served as a backdrop for a bunch of catalog and photo shoots. Las Alamandas is also a favorite of honeymooners, again because of it’s privacy and tropical romantic charm.

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Left: colorful stairs Right: welcome drinks served in coconuts

Las Alamandas offers activities from horseback riding to kayaking to fishing. But it’s also a great place to do absolutely nothing. Wifi only works in the common areas, so it’s a great place to unplug and recharge.

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the gorgeous swimming pool

The resort is extremely private, which makes it clear why celebrities might like it so much. There is no way a paparazzi is going to be able to photograph you in an unflattering swimsuit on one of the property’s private beaches. The main stretch of beach, which my Domo Master suite was situated directly above, was experiencing unusually strong wave and current activity due to seismic activity in the Pacific. This was a bummer since it made the beach unusable, but the owner told my husband she had never seen the waves that large before.

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A cozy banquette at Las Alamandas

I stayed in the Domo Master Suite which was large, with a king sized bed, a living and dining area, an outdoor jacuzzi, and seating area. Only the bedroom had adequate air conditioning and fan coverage, so the rest of the indoor space was not all that usable. The patio was nice and used often, with a great hammock and comfy sitting area. The staff would deliver my morning coffee here and it was a very pleasant spot to gaze the Pacific ocean and wake up.

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The living room of our Ocean front master suite

The living room of the Domo Suite was large, but lack of good air-conditioning and a fan made it mostly wasted space.

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flower petals on the bed at Las Alamandas

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One of the daily gorgeous touches at Las Alamandas

The welcome greeting on the King-sized bed. The bed was not the most comfortable, but it was adequate. The bedroom had a fan and small air conditioning unit for when the breezes weren’t enough.

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The master bathroom featured dual sinks

The master bathroom had dual sinks and a fantastic shower which was large enough for two people and had ample water. It was hot during my stay so the outdoor jacuzzi never got used.

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Well-placed hammocks are abundant at Las Alamandas

My favorite amenity, a well-place hammock, is where Las Alamandas truly excels. I was happy spending the afternoon here with a book and a quick call to room service for a round of freshly made margaritas.

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Foosball in the gallery at Las Alamandas

The public spaces in the property are beautiful. There is a gallery complete with a foosball game. The only time I saw other guest was during meal times, hen eating breakfast and lunch at La Palapa restaurant or dinner at Oasis. For more about dining at Las Alamandas, check out my previous post, Mexican Food in GIFs: Dining at Las Alamandas here.

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The view from La Palapa restaurant at Las Alamandas

Las Alamandas was relaxing, rustic, and stylish. The staff was very nice and accommodating. It’s also for those who don’t mind privacy and a bit of a hassle to get there. If you want a bar scene, you’re better off staying in Puerto Vallarta. Las Alamandas’ remote location isn’t close to much of anything, so you should expect to stay on site for your visit (unless you’ve booked excursions through the hotel).

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Margarita with a view

My trip was booked through Suzy Xiu at Smartflyer. You can book directly through the hotel’s website and check out Las Alamandas special offers section here.

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Succulents near the beach

Las Alamandas is great choice for couples and families looking to get away from it all who don’t mind getting to the resort’s location. If you’re not a fan of bumpy roads, the hotel can book you a transfer to and from the Puerto Vallarta airport in a small Piper airplane.

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Left: Current warning sign during my stay Right: unusually strong waves 

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Lookout Point at Las Alamandas

Lookout point on the Las Alamandas property is great place to take in the sunset. The staff can also provide a picnic or cocktails to enjoy while you watch the sunset.

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The beach at Las Alamandas at dusk

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Killer sunset views along the Pacific

Las Alamandas could not be any prettier. It’s easy to see why it’s a popular property to buy out for weddings and other private events.

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If bumpy roads aren’t your thing, book the Piper!

Room rates at Las Alamandas start at about $260 per night.

Las Alamandas Resort
Carretera Federal 200 km 83.5
Costalegre, Jalisco, Mexico

Toll Free US: 1888 882 9616
Toll Free Mexico: 1800 8366640
Tel 52 322 285 5500

​General Information: info@alamandas.com

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Sublime Sri Lanka: My Stay in A Private Chalet at Ulagalla

Morning at My Chalet at Ulagalla

I’ve already written about the special vibe at Ulagalla Resort in Thirappana, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka in my previous post. Now it’s time to focus on the facts– Ulagalla’s rooms are actually 20 extremely private and spacious guest chalets are spread over the property’s 58 acres lush green of rice paddies and lush green environs. Ulagalla is LEED certified silver and committed to sustainable tourism, which is perfect for those who like their creature comforts to be environmentally friendly. Each guest chalet comes with it’s own private plunge pool and wifi.

Left: Ulagalla’s Helipad R: Each Guest Chalet has a pair of bikes parked in the “garage.”

A Perfect Start to a Morning at Ulagalla

The Balcony and Plunge Pool Deck Were Perfect For Relaxing and and Enjoying a Spot of Tea

The chalets are comfortably furnished with  Colonial chic interiors. There’s teak furniture inside and on the balcony and pool deck. Each villa comes with it’s own set of bicycles so you can explore Ulagalla’s grounds on your own, should you feel so inclined.

The property is bordered by the Wannamaduwa and Ullagalla reservoirs. Bodies of water are filled with water flowers, lotus, and lilies. Wildlife- from birds to monkeys– happily go about their business in the surrounding environment without being intrusive to guests.

You Can Have Your Meals Delivered to your Chalet if You Prefer Private Dining

In-room Tea Amenity at Ulagalla

My Guest Chalet had a Comfy Couch and Seating Area. I Never Even Turned On the Television!

The Villas consist of a large bedroom, a spacious bathroom and a living and dining room. You can have your meals delivered directly to your chalet or choose to go to the resort’s restaurant located in a renovated colonial villa which once belonged to the chieftain of the village.

Sri Lanka has a long colonial history and is known for the fine tea grown in it’s highlands. So it’s no surprise that each chalet has some pretty impressive tea-making paraphernalia and a wide variety of teas. I really enjoyed my morning cuppa on my chalet’s deck overlooking the plunge pool.

Tea Paraphernalia in my Guest Chalet at Ulagalla

Colonial Chic Bedroom at Ulagalla

The Luxury of Privacy +  This Dreamy Bed= a Good Night’s Rest

Bathrooms are large and packed with every amenity. There was no bathtub, as is common in eco-friendly resorts, but I didn’t miss one. The shower was spacious and had good water pressure.

The Bathroom in My Guest Chalet at Ulagalla

Wooden Blinds Are Featured Throughout the Villa’s Rooms and Bathroom

Ulagalla Resorts Private Label Bathroom Amenities Smelled Wonderful

Ulagalla is committed to sustainable tourism. The property produces most of it’s own electricity and some of it’s own bio-gas also boasts an organic vegetable garden.

Most impressive though is Ulagalla’s link to the nearby villages. Not only does much of the staff live there, but Ulagalla is an important part of their life.

Before I I came to Sri Lanka, what I most wanted to do was tour & photograph the country’s UNESCO World Heritage sites, such as the nearby ancient sacred city of Anuradhapura. Yet the highlight of my stay was photographing sunset at the reservoir on the border of Ulagalla’s property, where the local people where doing laundry and taking a swim in their favorite swimming hole.

Local villagers use the reservoir as a swimming hole and laundrette.

A few local tuk-tuk drivers cooled off at dusk in the reservoir

Jumping at magic hour at Ulagalla

The local residents were friendly and welcoming. Experiencing warm Sri Lankan hospitality both in resort’s own facilities as well as interacting and photographing them at the reservoir was an experience I won’t forget. It was a perfect example of what an unexpected luxury that doesn’t fit into a box to check on a hotel review. Yet it’s this wonderful attitude that makes Ulagalla such a special and kind of magical place.

Morning Sunlight over the Working Rice Paddies at Ulagalla

Ulagalla is a member of SLH Hotels and can be booked directly through the SLH website.

 

My stay at Ulagalla was sponsored by the resort and SLH Hotels.

 

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Virtual Vacay Video Post and Hotel Review: Mexico’s Exclusive Imanta Punta Mita

 A panorama from the deck of the Pacific ocean, the beach, and the Mexican jungle- such a diverse property

Panorama view from the deck of Tukipa restaurant- overlooking Banderas Bay, the beach, and the jungle.

It’s impossible to do a standard hotel review of Imanta Punta Mita because this top Mexican beach resort is anything but standard. Instead, Imanta sets the bar for tropical eco-luxury resorts. It’s almost Fantasy Island, except it’s not an an island. Instead of Mr. Rourke, you get Miguel, the GM, and his wonderful staff. They will do everything they can to dote on you during your time at Imanta.

My husband realized he forgot his swim trunks when unpacked. After letting the staff know, within a two hours he had a selection to choose from brought to him (and at various price points– including reasonable).

I’ve been lucky enough to stay at this unique beach resort twice. It’s set on the northern end of Banderas Bay (also known as Bahía de Banderas)  and it’s really a special place. How can you review a hotel “room” when it’s a 2,500 square foot Ocean Casa named after an eagle “werika”?

Located in the Riviera Nayarit, Imanta is specifically designed to be place to relax and revive and connect with the amazing natural setting. I immediately fell in love with the  golden sandy beach, warm ocean water with gentle waves, rainforest, and jungle which the staff sometimes charmingly calls the “yungle.” I fell in love with Imanta on my first visit back in October, 2011 and whenever you return to place you loved you wonder if it’s going to live up to your memories. Fortunately, Imanta did. That’s when I realized, Imanta is the sort of place that memories are made.

The property is large (250 acres) and has a diverse eco-system. While the grounds are immense the hotel itself is small, with only 7 casas, with a high staff-to-guest ratio. The lush green jungle is filled with amazing white butterflies, gorgeous birds, and there are now horses on the property …and moonlight horseback rides!

 Having a golden sandy beach like this to yourself is the norm at Imanta

Vacation by the beach, Imanta-style. Having a golden sandy stretch of playa to yourself is the norm at Imanta

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The stairs to the beach.

Beach bathroom facilities

Bathroom palapa at the playa: even the toilet facilities have character

 Beach bed in mirror Imanta beach chairs beds

Left: The beach beds reflected in the mirror of the beach bathroom palapa. Right: Take your pick: beach bed or chaise lounge chair?

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Time Lapse of a Day at the Beach: Imanta in Punta Mita, Mexico

Beach panorama in black and white (autostitch)

Beach panorama in black and white (autostitch)

It’s the Fourth of July back home in the states but I’m on vacation on in beautiful Punta Mita, Mexico. I’ve traded fireworks for a fiesta this year. I’m staying at the very exclusive Imanta resort, which is an amazeballs. It’s intimate and small it’s like having a private island! Or at least a private beach. I have yet to see another guest (although I’ve been told there are two other couples currently here). Miguel, the charming General Manager told me “if you need anything there are 80 staff members waiting to dote on you.” Wow! 80 staff members for 6 guests is a wildly impressive staff-to-guest ratio.

The beach bed that became my virtual office

The beach bed that became my virtual office (mobile photography, using Camera Awesome app)

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