Boutique Chic on the Beach

New Costalegre hotel offers equal mix of eco-focus and rustic repose

By: Dawna Robertson

When Boca de Iguanas boutique hotel opened for business in January, its nature-inspired game plan was to dazzle guests with a cool concept of rustic eco-chic-meets-contemporary-adventure hideaway.

Poised on a pristine beach along Mexico's Costalegre, 40 miles north of Manzanillo International Airport, the stylish 12-room escape is a blend of modernity and rusticity inspired by the magical surroundings of this ecologically sound development.

“Because we're situated around a mangrove ecosystem and on the beach, Boca is ideal for people who love interacting with nature,” said general manager Jaume Romagosa. “You'll see crocodiles, iguanas, many different bird species, and we even have an illusive bobcat with a kitten roaming the gardens at night. But because of the beachfront location and the spectacular infinity pool, Boca is also perfect for families with children, couples seeking romance and just friends looking to escape from ordinary hotel experiences.”

Rooms feature bedspreads and pillows with bold geometric prints, plush bathrobes, extra large bath sheets, air conditioning, overhead fans and flat-screen plasma televisions with U.S. Dish network satellite channels. But reminders of Mother Nature are everywhere hand-carved tree trunk tables, baskets woven from coconut palm husks, all natural toiletries, and indoor/outdoor living spaces that surprise and satisfy.

Room names carry this theme even further by reflecting nature as well as their unique differences. The Selva suite (meaning jungle) features an outdoor soaking Jacuzzi tub hidden along the edge of a mangrove estuary, and Palmas overlooks a strand of coconut palms. Guests in Agua luxuriate in an oversized Jacuzzi tub, while Noche invites guests to climb a spiral wooden staircase to a terrace and bed under an awning of celestial stars by night, or a bright blue sky during the day.

The multi-use development of Boca de Iguanas broke ground in the fall of 2006 on 18 acres of prime beach real estate. It represents a fusion of Mexican architecture, incorporating classic colonial hacienda elements in the Spanish mission-inspired Pueblo, contemporary modern design in Entre Palmeras and eclectic “jungle-chic” rustic areas dedicated to nature.

Amenities are also upscale, from the beach club with an infinity-edged swimming pool to the al fresco restaurant and bar under a soaring palapa overlooking a cream sand beach. In the works for later this year are rustic eco-chic cabanas hidden in the hills, and a holistic wellness spa featuring healing therapies.

Thursday night bonfires are already a favorite, as guests revisit their childhood with marshmallow roasting and s'mores under the stars. No comforts are sacrificed, thanks to full bar service and canvas folding chairs with warm blankets that ring the fire.

Guests with an itch for adventure can join the on-site biologist during turtle season (October to March) as she patrols the beach nightly to help recover and relocate precious sea turtle eggs to the safety of an on-site turtle camp. Here, these precious creatures are protected from predators until they hatch and are released at dusk into the frothing sea.

"People who have discovered Boca de Iguanas truly fall in love with the peace, harmony and incredible effort we have made to honor nature," Romagosa said. "Our on-site turtle camp has seen the first hatchlings and we now involve the local community in sea turtle releases almost every night. Our guests cannot stop commenting how magical it is to stay in a hotel with first class comforts and amenities but also have untouched nature right at their finger tips."

Opening this spring for wine lovers, the Cava de Vinos will feature an expansive selection of 400 choice labels ranging from Argentinean Merlots to Californian Cabernets and Australian Shirazes. An on-site organic fruit and vegetable garden provides much of the harvest served at Dos Higueras restaurant, which boasts an array of healthy choices based upon a low-calorie spa menu.

Signature dishes include the Boca de Iguanas Surf 'n Turf trilogy featuring garlic shrimp, juicy filet mignon with ancho chile vinaigrette and fresh fish of the day smothered in almond sauce; artichoke hearts with chipotle mornay sauce; or fresh shrimp with spicy aioli sauce.

For the entire month of February, guests are invited to indulge in three-night Sweet Dreams Romance Package for $600 (taxes not included). The special offer includes candles and flower petals turn-down service, Sweet Dreams Romance kit featuring edible chocolate body paint and fruit flavored massage oil, Valentine's dinner for two, Boca's fresh made-to-order breakfast, daily happy hour cocktails and healthy welcome fruit bowl.

Through February, nightly rack rates are from $200, based on double occupancy with a minimum three-night stay, and include a hot, fresh made-to-order breakfast under the palm trees and daily happy-hour cocktails. All rates are commissionable at 10 percent.