The best new hotels of 2013 are higher, shinier and deluxier than their one-year-older peers.
1. Mukul Resort & Spa, Nicaragua
Opened: February 2013
Part of Guacalito de la Isla, a 676-hectare, eco-sensitive resort on four miles of untouched Pacific coast, Mukul has only been open a few days as of this posting, but is already a benchmark for luxury in Nicaragua.
The brainchild of entrepreneur Carlos Pellas, the retreat takes its design cues from local culture: villas and bohio-styled huts crafted from native teak and pine are distinguished by an ancient Mayan numerical system, reclaimed rum barrels are used in headboards and the Pellas’ family rum is the nightcap of choice.
Book the six-bedroom Casona Don Carlos, Pellas’ private beach residence, and you’ll also enjoy a pool and oceanfront living area.
Spa treatments offered in themed suites include a crystal temple, rainforest room and hammam using a bounty of local ingredients: raw cane sugar crystals, seaweed and Nicaraguan volcanic clay.
There are plenty of more active diversions, such as golf on an oceanfront course — its 18 holes were chiseled without cutting down a single tree.
Mukul Resort & Spa, Kilometer 10, Carretera Tola-Las Salinas Rivas, Nicaragua; rooms from US$550 per night;+505 2563 7100;www.mukulresort.com
The impressive publicity and buzz factor for the new Mukul resort owned by the Pellas family of Nicaragua is continuing yet again with this number one position in a CNN Travel story. Congratulations!