I laughed when owner Isabel Goldsmith confessed that her biggest obstacle to getting the word out about Las Alamandas, her exquisite, secluded (and safe) luxury resort in Costalegre, Mexico, is that guests don't want to share it.
Although they return year after year, they just won't talk about it with their friends. And now that I'm writing about it, I'm no longer laughing. In fact, I feel kind of invested in keeping it a secret and am a little wary of revealing this hidden gem.
What if it becomes so popular, it's completely booked when I want to come back?
You see, there are only 16 rooms – really, suites and villas – at Las Alamandas. Sixteen gorgeous, spacious, settle-in-and-make-yourself-at-home rooms. Sixteen impeccably appointed rooms that feel like your best friend lovingly decorated them just for you.
That means that, at any given time, the maximum number of guests at Las Alamandas is 42. Considering the place is home to 1500 acres of unspoiled nature reserve, it's like your own private haven. With so much space and so few people, Las Alamandas can accurately be classified as a hideaway. One that oozes comfort, sophistication, romance – and blissful quiet.
Although Las Alamandas regularly hosts celebs like Brad Pitt and Robert de Niro (who was actually the resort's first guest), the staff is fiercely protective of their – and your – privacy. They aim to please, are quick to say "yes" to any request and they treat you as if you, too, were an Oscar winner.
As soon as Augusto, the charming general manager, welcomes you with a cold drink and a warm smile, you will start to feel relaxed. That feeling will only grow stronger the longer you stay.
With four beaches, a lagoon, a river and an organic orchard on the property, you can wander endlessly, exploring the raw beauty of Mexico at your own pace. If you just want to view the scenery from something with a cushion, you can stretch out in one of the inviting chairs, hammocks and couches on your own patio, by the beach, by the pool or under the oceanfront thatched palapa.
And, on the off chance you get tired of lying outdoors, devouring books, snacks and the stunning views – something I can't even imagine – you can always go horseback riding, play tennis, borrow a mountain bike, take out a boogie board, snorkel, fish or work out in the fully equipped, air-conditioned gym.
You may actually want to consider one of those activities after indulging in the delicious and oh-so-fresh dishes at the Oasis restaurant. Food is taken very seriously at Las Alamandas, and the staff will pack you a picnic lunch to eat anywhere on the property or set up a romantic dinner on the beach just for you. They'll deliver room service, stock your mini bar and leave you homemade cookies to ensure sweet dreams.
With wi-fi only available in the Art Gallery/TV Lounge area, Las Alamandas is truly the perfect getaway for empty nesters to rekindle their relationship, for intergenerational family bonding, for writers who need to be inspired without the distractions of social media.
The resort is a two hour drive from Puerto Vallarta – which I told you about recently and where I highly recommend you spend a couple of busy days before retreating to Las Alamandas – or an hour and a half from Manzanillo. You can arrange car service with the staff.
In short, if you're looking for paradise, here it is. Visit their website to make your reservation but please wait an hour or two.
I want to make sure I make mine first.
Lois Alter Mark blogs at Midlife at the Oasis and is a regular contributor to Huffington Post. She is the reigning champion of Blogger Idol and was recently named Humor Writer of the Month by Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop. Lois won BlogHer Voices of the Year Awards in 2012 and 2013, and writes regularly on pop culture and travel. Because of her blog, Oprah Winfrey selected her as an Ultimate Viewer and took her to Australia on the trip of a lifetime. A member of the San Diego Film Critics Society, she was the Flicks for Kids editor at NickJr.com and a contributing writer for Entertainment Weekly for more than a decade. Transplanted New Yorkers, Lois and her husband of 32 years now live in San Diego, where they have turned into weather wimps and complain about the pizza. Their grown kids are, of course, both on the East Coast. You can follow Lois on Facebook or Twitter.