By Orlagh McCarron
Salt water, they say, is the cure for everything – be it by way of tears, sweat or the sea. So to find myself spending the weekend as a guest in Villa Arboles at Amor Boutique Hotel, nestled on the beachfront in the surf town of Sayulita on Mexico’s Pacific coast, I felt as if I had discovered the true elixir of life. In the words of Holly Golightly, “nothing very bad could happen to you there”. The simple fact being that there is just something about being in close proximity to the sea that does the soul good. So while Tiffany’s may signify Ms. Golightly’s heaven on earth, mine looks a little more like the deluxe Villa Arboles with its expansive, shaded ocean view terrace and plush open-air living – home for one glorious sun drenched weekend.
Arboles translates to trees in English so it seems fitting that Villa Arboles is so called due to its organic construction around two large majestic trees that rise up through the terrace supporting the roof. The hotel is an impressive feat, comprising of 22 luxury oceanfront villas, each uniquely designed to incorporate outdoor/indoor living with furnishings that lend a romantic Moroccan feel to the overall aesthetics. And although the sandy beach and Sayulita’s famous surf break is barely a hop, skip and a jump away, it’s hard to imagine ever wanting to actually leave the resort confines.
Now, anyone who knows me, knows that I am somewhat of a budget traveller who enjoys the buzzy banter of the chaotic communal hostel kitchen and the local insight afforded by the Airbnb let. But in this case, the calm and tranquil oasis wrought about by the trees, the cold-water plunge pool, the panoramic coastal views and the king size bed that requires a sprightly run and jump in order to launch oneself up and into it, I fear I may have momentarily lost sight of that once easily-pleased nomad.
Guests who stay at Amor Boutique Hotel come to rejuvenate lagging spirits resulting from their hectic rat race reality. Here they lounge by the infinity pool and notch up their ice cold Pina colada tab, they avail of the complimentary yoga in the palapa and reconnect with their partners-in-crime while dining al fresco by the water’s edge, savouring that day’s fresh catch. R&R is made achingly easy in this Arcadian dwelling because who couldn’t but feel the tension slip slide away when Luis at reception is only too eager to do all your major thinking and planning and you’re surrounded by such beauty that you think this must be pretty darn close to the world as viewed from the pedestal of Beyonce.
While living in Newquay I heard it said more than once from local surfers that they couldn’t understand why people would choose to live there if they never sought to catch that all-elusive perfect wave. I’ve heard the very same from several beach boys here in Sayulita. It seems some people simply can’t quite fathom that for some folk it’s enough just to delight in coastal living.
I confess, I don’t surf nor have I ever been hugely driven to do so. Simply put I’m not one for outdoorsy extreme activities. I am a fair-weather skier and scuba diver, at best. So when the effortlessly cool Eva, who coordinates events/weddings and teaches yoga at Amor Boutique Hotel, offered to take me out on a SUP tour, my stomach did that anxious hell-no-not-today lurch it tends to do in such situations.
I’d seen the feeble attempts of other tourists as they grappled to even so far as get their board to within inches of the water and knew I’d fare no better. But sometimes in life you’ve just got to take that leap of faith and venture into those uncharted waters…and whaddya know, I had a blast. Of course, I am under no illusion that I looked at all elegantly adept in the art of my new found passion but I stood up, breathed into the waves and even managed to enjoy the sweeping views of a hazy Sayulita as we paddled around the rocky point towards the treasure cove that is Los Muertos beach.
Along with Stand Up Paddle boarding, complimentary daily morning yoga, the Jungle and Ocean spas and ukulele lessons, Amor Boutique can arrange everything from surf sessions and fishing trips to group salsa lessons and zip lining adventures. They have certainly hit upon that magic formula that makes a holiday destination one of those automatic “Guaranteed fun and relaxation in the sun”.
The living is easy in style such as this and as Saturday evening rolled round so too did our thirst for a glass of chilled Sauvignon Blanc, signalling the call for a quick jaunt into town on one of the hotels twee red bikes – complete with a wicker basket on front. Since the villa sports a fully equipped outdoor kitchen it seemed only right that we pick up nibbles to lay on a fancy terrace spread. Stretched out on a cushioned lounger overlooking a sunset beach it was hard to suppress that smug feeling whilst thinking life doesn’t get much better than this.
So yes, Amor Boutique Hotel is its very own self-contained pleasure bubble, at home in the endlessly bewitching Sayulita. What was once a sleepy fisherman’s village, the town with its artsy signs screaming AMOR speckled throughout, today continues to march to its own colourful beat with surf and street tacos to make your taste buds zing at its epicentre. Forget your wetsuit for here everyday is a bikini day and every face beams radiant smiles of contentment. There is most definitely something in the salt water. I’m not sure how I’m suppose to leave this place and rather fear I never will.
Mum, send cash.