Welcome to the magical Mexican kingdom of Cuixmala….
Where to begin with this crazy beautiful place. Well, I think a good place to start is by saying this was probably the most amazing place I’ve ever been. I’m sure I say that after most trips, but this place really is like nowhere else. It’s funny because it’s not turquoise blue seas like the Maldives, or jet white sand like the Caribbean, and yet it felt more peaceful and special than any of those spots. We also had a full week here when we normally move around every three or four days, so it felt like a real treat to really unpack, settle in and get into the rhythm of a place. And what a place….
Set on a rugged strip of Pacific coastline in Jalisco, Mexico, Cuixmala is a colouful wonderland that does that ideal thing of fusing luxury with rustic, ecological consciousness. It started as the private retreat of Sir James Goldmsith, designed and built in the 80s by architect Robert Courtier. It’s now a hotel in two parts and a collection of private villas dotted around the huge (25,000 acres to be precise) ecological reserve. The interiors are so colourful, so beautiful, you will want to immediately redecorate and get rid of every bit of Scandi grey from your home, while the mustard coloured walls and bright white interiors walls makes the most of that continuously warm, glowy light that pours in from dawn ’til dusk.
Wild lagoons full to the brim with birds, iguanas and crocodiles, stables, three private beaches (more on those in the next few posts), turtle sanctuary, biodynamic farm, community school and a herd of wild zebra and antelope, it’s safe to say Cuixmala is unique in lots of incredible ways. We were based in a bungalow near Casa Cuixmala itself with the most insane view panning the entire horizon of the estate. It’s worth noting that the rooms in Casa Cuixmala and the bungalows have access to the main pool and have full reign over the house, while those in the casitas (equally lovely and further inland) have their own pool, restaurant and a slightly more low-key, family vibe. Lying down by the chequered pool on a primary-coloured day bed staring up at magnificent Casa Cuixmala’s chevron dome, you can imagine all kinds of crazy parties, 90s Versace campaigns and general iconic happenings going on here. But while we were there, it was serene beyond belief with only a handful of others guests there at the same time. However, because of the geography of Cuixmala, the place could be almost full with guests in the villas and casitas and you wouldn’t even know.
You can’t swim in the sea on the beach right in front of the property (the swell and waves are huge) but it really doesn’t matter. That beach is still one of my favourites in the world now. The sound of the waves and the sight of the rocky islands in the distance and pelicans constantly flying in formation and diving for fish is the best meditation on earth if you ask me. I tried to walk down the beach as much as I could (harder than it sounds once you lie down with a good book next to that pool) as it really was my favourite place to be as much as we could. The last thing I did before we had to leave was take one last stroll down the sand (plenty of SPF and a hat a must) and soak in the crazy views and natural wonder of it all.
From horse-riding and yoga, to boating and bird-watching on the lagoon, we felt ridiculously zen by the end of the week whilst also feeling like we hadn’t just turned into mulch. We spent out days driving (it’s 100% worth hiring a car from the hotel to zip around everywhere) between the beaches, lying by the beautiful pool and exploring all Cuixmala had to offer. The staff are beyond lovely, the food was great (breakfasts were the best – they even do a green juice with cactus in it) and generally the whole place is above and beyond anything else. Looking at it you might not expect this, but it really does come to feel like home from home.
I have a lot more content from Cuixmala to come, but I thought I’d start with just a tonne of photos of the incredible hotel, day-to-day life by the pool, those beautiful interiors and all-important cocktail hour. Next time, we’ll be exploring the flora and fauna of Cuixmala as well as spending more time on those magical beaches….
Grab a cup of something, it’s a long ‘un.
I mentioned the interiors of Cuixmala and felt like they deserved their own section on this blog because, well, WOW. Colour abounds in this beautiful abode with so many amazing Mexican and Guatamalan textiles, art works and antiques. Our bright, white bungalow with turquoise cushions and throws, and gold bathroom fixtures was so simple and so luxurious I could have happily moved in forever more. I’ve never seen lamps that big either – suddenly all my lamps at home feel like something out of The Borrowers. We were lucky enough to peek inside all the private villas (there was no one there when we did obviously!) and one or two casitas and they all felt unique and brilliant in their own way. No room or piece is the same which I love and albeit the house of your wildest dreams, you can almost pretend it is indeed your holiday home for a hot minute.
The days at Cuixmala start late and end late. The sun sometimes doesn’t seem to rise until 8 A.M and the sun is still boiling at 7 p.m (when we were then at least), so that low, warm evening light lasts for hours. It means you can shower off the day at 7.30 pm, get changed and still have time to watch the sunset with a margarita in hand. This became our nightly routine where we’d sit in our favourite spot(s), namely those big, circular cushioned areas overlooking the sea. I can’t tell you the sheer longing that comes with writing this and just wanting to teleport myself back to that exact spot all over again.
It really was like a dream at witching hour…
White bikini top | Peony Swimwear
Nude flared trousers | Faithfull The Brand
Red shirt dress | Marina London
Blue striped long dress | Three Graces
Stripe blouse | Mes Demoiselles at Beach Flamingo
Denim shorts | Re/Done
Nubuck sandals | Palmaira Sandals
Brown leather slides | Saint Laurent
St. Christopher necklace | Theodora Warre
Gemstone necklaces | Missoma
Mustard swimsuit | Eres
Circular straw bag | Posse
Red Bandeau bikini | Eres
Pale pink linen shirt | Asceno
White linen shorts | Asceno
Large beach bag | Mango
Black straw slides | Posse
Black sunglasses | Rayban
Hexagonal sunglasses | Rayban
Straw hat | Janessa Leone
Ph. by myself and James Wright using the Olympus Pen-F, Contax and Olympus OM-1.