Situated beachfront in the sheltered Bay of Zihuatanejo, Hotel
Villa del Sol has completed construction of 14 new villa-style
suites in the final stage of a two-decade gradual growth. The
property expanded its inventory to 35 suites and 35 rooms, which is
considered the ideal size by its owner, Helmut Leins.
“That’s it, the perfect number,” claimed Leins, who conceived
Villa del Sol the moment he first saw the mile-long stretch of
Playa La Ropa beach when visiting the area as a tourist in the
The setting of these new luxury units lies among gardens, paths,
ponds and landscaped lagoons. Second story suites embrace multiple
water images a plunge pool on each private terrace, lagoons,
canals, and a free-form indigo-tile swimming pool with its infinity
edge on the beach, Zihuatanejo Bay just beyond, and then the open
Pacific Ocean on the horizon.
The new suites express original architectural concepts of Leins,
who was the forerunner of an innovative “Zihuatanejo-style” design
that, he described as, “partaking of the tropical environment and
harmonizing with Mexico.”
Also new is a separate building with a 50-foot palapa roof that
houses a spacious lobby and concierge area where guests enjoy
seated personalized check-in.
Leins remains committed to the clean simplicity of the area and
to Villa del Sol fine-tuning his product rather than expanding it
to a grandiose size.
“We’re enhancing our wine cellar, tour desk and entertainment,”
he explained. “And we’re making sure our cuisine remains
Back in the 1970s, Leins, a Munich-born engineer, searched the
coasts of Mexico until he found La Ropa Beach on Zihuatanejo Bay.
His plan was to “build a resort so intimate and exclusive that it
would forever define luxury in Mexico.”
“We have a great destination here,” Leins said. “We’re on one of
the best beaches in Mexico wide with soft sand on a sheltered bay.
There aren’t many changes from high to low tide. And there are no
big waves coming in. The way we sit, you can see the sunset right
on the bay.”
When Leins bought his beachfront property in 1977, he decided to
build nine guesthouses. He literally helped with construction
during the day and sat at his drawing board to design plans each
night for the next day’s work.
“I also bought 16 individual properties surrounding Villa del
Sol so I could protect the property.”
On a continuing basis, Leins collaborated with local architects
to develop this style of spacious, airy-yet-private beachfront
design. It features adobe-hue exteriors, Spanish tile roofs, sturdy
supporting columns of exotic parota wood tree trunks entwined with
Gaudi-esque camuchina roots, and interiors in Mexican colors,
crafts, fabrics and foliage. Even the floors are unique,
handcrafted with intricate inlaid pebble designs.
To celebrate Villa del Sol’s silver anniversary, Leins has
published a commemorative book, 25 Years in Paradise, chronicling
the colorful history of Zihuatanejo with his property as the
protagonist. The book is available for purchase on the hotel’s Web
Also coinciding with its 25th anniversary, new equipment has
been installed in Villa del Sol’s gym, and spa treatments have been
added. The property features four swimming pools, with watersports
available on La Ropa Beach.
For “land sports,” the hotel serves up two night-lit tennis
courts, plus challenging golf at two world-class 18-hole courses
located in the neighboring resort of Ixtapa, 15 minutes away.
Leins feels that Mexico is especially attractive to travelers
right now. He noted that in addition to new guests, the property
sees a very high number of repeat visitors. Leins attributes this
to Villa del Sol’s service as well as its setting.
“We have 245 employees for 70 units, so there’s always someone
around to help out,” he said. “We’re also finding that it’s easier
for people to get here than in the past. American, Continental and
United are adding seats. And there are more and more code shares.
Then European carriers are beefing up nonstops to Mexico. So it’s
just an easier place to reach from many different markets.”
The property’s award-winning Villa del Sol restaurant serves
international cuisine prepared by its European chef and his
Zihuatanejo-born staff. A specialty is the Fiesta Mexicana dinner
every Friday evening, showcasing authentic Mexican regional
specialties, delicacies and desserts.
In addition, the new, informal La Cantina Restaurant and Bar is
located at the north end of the hotel’s 600-foot beachfront. It
features a daily changing menu of Mediterranean-style cuisine with
matching wines, a boutique and backgammon at the bar.
Year after year, Villa del Sol receives Travel + Leisure’s
“World’s Best Award.” It also consistently ranks on both Conde Nast
Traveler’s “Gold List - World’s Best Places to Stay,” as well as
the magazine’s “Top 100 Reader’s Choice.”
It recently received the Conde Nast Johansens Award for “Most
Outstanding Hotel in North America” for 2005. Villa del Sol also
carries the AAA Four Diamond award, and is a member of Small Luxury
Hotels of the World and Virtuoso.
The property’s special four- to seven-night golf packages
include accommodations for two, airport transfers, three rounds of
golf on a choice of two courses (with cart), 30-minute private
putting lesson at a practice facility, luxury transfers to and from
the course, “golfer’s picnic” lunch for each round, welcome
cocktail upon arrival, custom golf amenities, use of resort
facilities, taxes and gratuities. Through March 31, rates are from
$2,645 for four-night stays and from $4,085 for seven-night
Package rates are for two guests, while the golf program is for
one guest. A second golf guest is $400 additional. During winter
season (through March 31), a mandatory meal plan of $60 per person
per day will also be added to all rates.