HOTELITO DESCONOCIDO – MEXICO
This very special hotel is set in a UNESCO-listed nature reserve abutting the Pacific, at the end of a very long dirt road about 110km south of Puerto Vallarta. The wild, isolated location and indigenous flora and fauna – coconut palms, exotic blooms, 150 bird species, including dive-bombing pelicans and herons so still they look like cut-outs, and the odd armadillo – all conspire to give that irredeemable sense of couldn’t-be-any-where-else.
The 27 roomy, thatched beach – and lagoon-side stilt houses, candle-lit at night and with four-posters and terraces, are as romantic as it gets. The food (breakfast and supper are served at El Diablito on the lagoon; lunch at Nopalito, a rowing-boat ride away on the shore) is fresh, authentic Mexican: quesadillas, tacos, fresh fruit, much of it plucked from the hotel’s organic garden or fished from the ocean.
If dozing in one of the hammocks beside the infinity-edged pool gets tiresome, sail the lagoon in a catamaran, help release soft, leathery, just-hatched turtles from the hotel’s sanctuary into the Pacific (just don’t ask for survival statistics), or go humpback whale spotting on the beach as the sun sets.