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Mexico's Costa Grande

The Beach at Viceroy Zihuatanejo
The Beach at Viceroy Zihuatanejo
Viceroy Hotels

“One of the top 50 resorts in Mexico” is what Conde Nast Traveler says about it. Travel + Leisure includes it on its “500 World’s Best” list. So, what is this? Take me there – quick!

While we’re in a New York Deep Freeze, consider spending an enchanting few days at the Viceroy Zihuatanejo and yes, it’s all that. A natural first question then: how do I find this place – and how the heck do I pronounce it? Zihuatanejo is located on the Pacific coast of Mexico known as the Costa Grande, about 150 miles northwest of Acapulco. The town spent most of its history as a sleepy fishing village but then in the 1970s the government decided to develop Ixtapa, just 3 miles away, into a master-planned tourist community and, of course, the rest is history. Happily, good history because Zihuatanejo has managed to keep its traditional feel and charm. And you pronounce it: Zi-Wat-En-Ay-O with stress on the syllable "Ay" as in "Bay.” There you go! The word comes from the Nahuatl language meaning “place of women” and refers to their universe known as the home of the “goddess women.

Barefoot Elegance
Viceroy Zihuatanejo resides on a private beach on serene Playa La Ropa. There are adobe-inspired suites enclosed by luxurious tropical gardens that keep your plunge pool secluded and concealed. The spa offers both indoor and outdoor massage so of course, one looks out toward the iridescent indigo sea and feels the caress of the sun. The treatments will brush away all your flight discomfort and you’ll be oh so ready for dining on the beach. At twilight, Chinese lanterns and tiki lights blaze, a sunset turns everything pink and gold, and you’ll enjoy some wicked tropical potions while a silvery full moon shines down, making matters perfect. The scene is set for a captivating experience– and it won’t disappoint. Both La Villa and La Marea restaurants, under the guidance of talented Chef Paco Isordia, serve great Mediterranean and Mexican fare.

A Great Getting’-Up Morning
Each day the staff brings coffee and Danish and leaves it just outside your door, so it’s- wake up, rub sleep from the eyes, stumble to the door, open - and voila, invariably the pretty breakfast tray is there. Can there be a more pleasant way to greet the morn? And if you feel like crawling back into bed – what a bed, surrounded by illusion netting and massed with deep pillows for dreaming; when you return to your room each night, a special welcome pillow is positioned front and center on the bed, decorated with fresh flower petals.

Doing Good, Feeling Great
General Manager Martin Kipping says that unlike so many other Caribbean resorts,Viceroy Zihuatanejo’s location is not overpopulated, thus lacking the trinket/tourist feel. Its residents live from the sea and a deeply ingrained respect for it and nature infuses all. Chef Paco, for example, is able to use 85% of Viceroy’s perishables from the surrounding bay, land and farms, enabling the resort to be truly a part of the community. Kipping explains that there’s a strong service culture here and the majority of the property’s employees are from the area. A large number have been a part of the resort for over 25 years, further enhancing this “of the land” atmosphere. And the icing on the cake – the resort has a program in place to financially aid local schools and hospitals. Perhaps this explains why a happy, cheery feel pervades, one that guests feel the moment they arrive. When you visit, please know that it really doesn’t matter much if you mispronounce Zihuatanejo. To the dedicated people of this resort, it matters less how you say it and way more that you simply surrender yourself to the inimitable charisma that is Viceroy Zihuatanejo.

Get your Mexican fix right on your own turf: in NYC, there’s the Mexican Cultural Institute of New York with information on cultural events and an up to date calendar. For example, from February 26 through March 1, there’s a Baja Meets New York Mexican Wine and Food Festival and on February 3 at 7pm, visit the Americas Society for an Emsemble Cepromusic concert

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