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If Nicaragua is the next big thing in Central America (and we certainly think it is), then at the vanguard of the transformation is magical Mukul, a sleek boutique hotel set in 1,600 acres on one of the most beautiful beaches on the country’s Emerald Coast.
There are just 36 teak and glass villas (some with two rooms for families) and treehouse-like bohios, all with views out to the ocean, private pools and dedicated private butler, and decked out with furniture made by Nicaragua's famous woodworking artisans. The 37th piece of the property puzzle is La Casa Don Carlos, consisting of six beachfront villas used by owner (and Nicaragua's richest man) Carlos Pellas when in residence. When Senor Pellas is not in town, this might just be the ultimate private hire property in the whole of Central America.
The open-air Beach Club is at the heart of the hotel, with three dining areas and the stylish cocktail and rum Flor de Caña bar/lounge elegantly decorated with hanging wicker baskets. The Terras is an area under a thatched palapa roof where light lunches are served, and the Parilla grill is a romantic bare-foot evening spot on the sand. The fine dining option is La Mesa where excellent cuisine is produced and served in a stylish dining room under the watchful eye of head chef Ortiz. In keeping with the hotels' admirable eco-credentials, much of the produce is grown at Mukul's organic farm, the seafood bought from local fishermen and the beef from farmers famed for their cattle.
The Beach Club is also home to the main swimming pool and a children friendly pool, a casita from which guests can borrow kayaks, paddle boards, snorkels or surf boards, and finally the Kul kids' club with its palapa roof playroom and playground. The friendly staff arrange shell collecting and nature walks and, during the season, baby turtle release programmes.
Meanwhile, mums and dads can indulge at Spa Mukul, perched on a secluded hill overlooking the sea and complete with six different treatment casitas offering different spa experiences. For instance, the Rainforest which focuses on thalassotherapy and aromatherapy, and the Crystal Temple where guests can enjoy a crystalline Gem Water Bath and a massage beneath a huge crystal chandelier. Many of the treatments on offer use products from the 'living pharmacy' so important in Mayan culture and including local spices, plants with medicinal properties and volcanic clay.
More active guests can enjoy walking the extensive nature trails, watersports and the spectacular Guacalito de la Isla golf course right on the doorstep.
Why we love it
'Mukul' means secret in Mayan, and this place is so special we were kind of tempted to keep it a secret to ourselves