If you’re looking for a broad, white-sand beach and a myriad of kid-friendly activities, then Ixtapa’s newest luxury property is not for you. Capella-Ixtapa, in Mexico’s state of Guerrero, doesn’t have a miniature golf course, a water park, special kids’ programs or a cartoon character-themed snack bar. What it does have is an atmosphere of quiet elegance, a dramatic setting and superb service. This is a place for grown-ups to chill out and be pampered in tranquil surroundings with breathtaking views.
While megaresorts in the area boast hundreds of rooms, Capella has only 59 suites, each with an ocean view. The suites cascade down a rocky cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and are reached by a spiraling series of steps or a funicular elevator.
Though the resort can arrange for any activity from hiking to sailing, many guests are content to lounge under an umbrella beside the infinity pool, dine in one of the three restaurants, take advantage of the 24-hour room service and indulge in restorative spa treatments.
Like the rest of the resort, the spa is on different levels, with every treatment room facing the sea. Walking into the reception area, I was immediately aware of the sound of the waves crash ing against the rocky cliff below, accompanied by softly playing New Age-type music. The faint smell of Melissa, the citric flower of Guerrero, permeated the air.
The spa manager, Valentina, greeted me and explained that the 6,000-square-foot spa features six indoor treatment rooms, a wellness and fitness facility and an outdoor massage area overlooking the sea. In keeping with the spa’s philosophy of celebrating the area’s history and natural riches, the treatments and the décor make use of flowers, herbs and other organic materials common to the region.
Indigenous flowers are used to symbolize Aztec culture, and they are the foundation for regional treatments. Each of the spa’s indoor treatment rooms is named for one of six flowers: Citlaxochitl (star flower), Cempaxochitl (sky flower), Texochitl (fire flower), Xochitlanezi (dawn flower), Cuetlaxochitl (river flower) and Yoloxochitl (heart flower). Local materials used to decorate the spa include onyx, comal iron (used to make traditional Mexican tortilla pans), wood and black clay.
Valentina’s assistant, Gaby, ushered me into one of the locker rooms and handed me a heavy, soft, white terrycloth robe. She told me to take my time showering and luxuriating in the hot tub and pointed out the deep-pillowed lounge chairs facing big windows where I could relax while drinking in the unparalleled bird’s-eye view of the ocean.
After a shower, I climbed into the hot tub, finding a glass of lightly fruit-flavored water waiting on the rim of the tub. Sinking down into the warm water was treat enough, but coupled with a bay window with a full-on ocean view — what luxury.
Because I wanted to experience the uniqueness of the Capella spa to the fullest, I asked which treatments most focus on regional flora. The Regional Flower Wrap applies a soothing wrap made of local flowers chosen for their aroma and color, followed by a massage with hydrating cream. The Sacred Obsidian Massage is based on a thousand-year-old therapy that uses obsidian minerals at different temperatures on specific parts of the body to stimulate the flow of energy and relieve tension. While both sounded appealing, I opted for the Amuzgo Herbal Massage. Inspired by ancient traditions of Guerrero’s Amuzgo Indians, the treatment uses natural herbs and flowers known for their healing properties.
I was just starting to doze off in one of the plush lounge chairs when a gentle voice asked if I was ready to start my treatment. A sweet-faced woman with sparkling black-brown eyes introduced herself as Letti and said she would be my therapist. She led me down a set of outdoor steps with more breathtaking ocean views and through a corridor to the Yoloxochitl treatment room.
Even the treatment room had a drop-dead gorgeous view, but the afternoon sun was strong, so Letti drew the blinds and softened the lights as I crawled under a cool, white sheet and prepared to be lulled into tranquility.
The Amuzgo Herbal Massage starts with moist, heated poultices of herbs and dehydrated flowers applied to the body’s trigger points to heal sore muscles, eliminate toxins and reduce tension. The ultimate and more esoteric benefit is a balancing of body, mind and spirit.
As Letti slid the poultices up and down my dry, sun-baked body, stopping to press on pivotal pressure points, the warmth, aroma and rhythm of the treatment had me wanting it to last indefinitely. When I was in a thoroughly relaxed state, Letti ended the treatment with a gentle massage using a wonderful-smelling floral and herbal cream.
In a mere 80 minutes, I’d been transported into a sweet-smelling, serene version of myself. Though I knew this euphoric feeling was only temporary, I happily agreed to postpone my trip back to reality and followed Letti back to the relaxation hall.
Once again, I slipped into a cushy lounge chair with a view of the Pacific. A warm lavender pillow behind my neck, a cup of peach tea in my hand, the setting sun before me — it was heavenly. I closed my eyes and listened to the rhythm of the waves. My body felt light as a feather, my mind was at peace: It was truly a moment of Zen.
Paseo Playa Linda, Zona Hotelera II
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