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Freshly heated seawater is streaming over me as I lay face down on the plastic-cushioned massage table at Paraiso de la Bonita Thalasso Center. Whoever said, ”Salt water dissolves stress” didn’t know the half of it! As the massage therapist kneads my cement-hard back and shoulder muscles into submission, stress dissolves faster than my second marriage. The combination of rhythmic massage and Thalassotherapy is intoxicating, surreal; a sixty-minute mind altering experience that soothes the soul and could easily generate world peace.

Paraiso de la Bonita, the Presidente Inter-Continental’s first boutique hotel, is an exclusive 90-suite resort nestled on the shores of Petenpich Bay, fronting the world’s second-largest coral reef. Cosseted by a nature preserve, it’s secluded, private and luxurious, a hostelry frequented by a plethora of A-list celebrities, including John Travolta, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Ann Archer. The resort’s main focus is on personalized service, with 2.5 employees per room. The twenty-minute limo ride from Cancun’s International airport is complimentary.

A muster of peacocks trumpets our arrival with tail feathers in the ‘locked and upright position’ and a burst of high-pitched staccato shrieks. These days, the brilliantly plumed fowls have a lot to squawk about; at sundown, they’re put in lock-down so they won’t become hors d’oeuvres for the wild jaguars that prowl the surrounding jungle. Guests aren’t locked in, but they are cautioned about taking late night walks.

Paraiso de la Bonita’s style is elegant eclectic, with thick manoseado plastered walls, decorative ironwork, colonial archways, polished marble floors, and a soaring thatched roof on the main building. Guest rooms are understated, tastefully decorated in African, Mediterranean, Indian, Balinese, Oriental, or Caribbean themes.

Special touches include rattan-covered water bottles, a complimentary palmetto tote bag, a celestial ceramic ‘do not disturb sign’ for the door, a mini-bar, 2 TVs, a CD-DVD player, and a set-up of tequila (lemons, limes, salt, and glasses) that is refreshed every day. Hammocks swing on upper level decks; lower level patios boast private soaking pools. Naturally, I wanted both.

The Restaurant features Mexican and international cuisine (both a French chef and a Mexican chef are on staff) including freshly baked mini-baguettes (a different kind every day), fish so fresh it nearly jumps, and exquisitely-prepared regional foods. Even the ice cream is homemade. If you’re craving something not listed on the menu, the chef will gladly prepare it.

We feasted inside walls hand-painted with bright jungle murals. Had it not been so windy, we would have dined on the adjacent terrace, comes with a wide-angle view of the rolling surf. More formal dining is available in La Canoe and the private wine cellar, which seats ten.

To work off the fat grams we gained during our four-course (not counting tropical cocktails) lunch, we took advantage of the hotel’s water activities. Paraiso de la Bonita offers---for an additional fee--- lessons in windsurfing, sunfish sailing, and scuba diving. If you’ve got the money and 4 days time, you can become a fully-trained, PADI certified open water diver.

If you’re more inclined to recline, the hotel staff will pamper you with fresh towels and a spritz of water to keep you cool. It’s no wonder guests dread checkout. Who wants to return to reality?? www.paraisodelabonitaresort.com

www.Dishmag.com / Issue 32 - September 2018
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