My most favorite places in the whole world have come to me by invitation, and Mukul Resort was no exception. This gift of a secret hideaway, and very special invitation, was the ultimate luxury experience, and my time spent there will always be on my favorites list.
Located in Guacalito de la Isla, Nicaragua, Mukul Resort is easily accessed via the Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR) or the Augusto C. Sandino International Airport (MGA). From these airports, a quick and easy flight into the Emerald Coast International Airport (ECI) will find you just 15 minutes from the resort.
Despite the ease of getting there, and the recent Conde Nast press, Mukul Resort still remains (and feels like) a secret.
I was struck instantly by the grandeur of the immaculate property, and even more put-together staff and impeccable details. From the moment I arrived at ECI, until I was carefully placed in my private car to MGA, I was taken care of in the most thoughtful and beautiful ways.
Hospitality at Mukul feels intimate, because it is. And, great lengths are taken for this detail to come across in every single thing that they do. I was welcomed by Betsy, one of the concierge, with a warm, genuine smile that made me feel like family, and an ice-cold welcome drink served in a hand-carved cup - and then I walked into the postcard and pinched myself around every corner for days, until I left.
The postcard looked and felt like someone's dream, because it is. Don Carlos Pellas' dream to be exact. His family came to Nicaragua in 1875, he is fifth generation, and named one of the 50 most influential people in Latin America by America Economia.
Smilton became my favorite ambassador, every single member of the staff is required to speak English, and the care they took to eagerly and honestly engage with me each time there was a chance was not lost on me. I was shown to my room and given the details of my private bohio which is carefully placed high above the beach for an incredible view, far enough away to feel the right amount of solitude, but close enough to feel connected - a theme that stayed with me the entire time.
Once Smilton felt like the bohio was mine he looked at me and smiled and asked me when I would like my cookies, milk and coffee delivered in the morning. The 7am delivery, each morning of my stay, was a gift that set the tone for the entire day. I shared my private outdoor space with two very eager-to-be-my-friend Magpie Bluejays, a curious raccoon who left wet tracks near each door every morning, and the usual parade of geckos and other desert/jungle creatures. But my favorite creature that shared its home with me was the butterfly. They danced, and fluttered and became the perfect reminder to take deep breaths, breathing it all in.
The invitation to "feel like you are the only person on earth" is articulated in the design of the Mukul Resort experience in many ways. My bohio, a free-standing suite and one of 37 rooms, felt like a cocoon at night when I returned home from dinner to find the turn down service included pulling all of the floor to ceiling drapes closed around the entire room blocking the outside world out. Hearing the ocean from my bed was a nice contrast to the swaddling effect of the room.
This theme continued for me as I took full advantage of my private ocean view plunge pool with daily skinny dipping sessions, air drying in the sun that felt like it was shining just for me.
I never felt the need to leave the property, and actually I'd still be there if I could. On the second day of my stay I toured the six spa temples at the resort, yes six. The temples, each one with its own theme, inspiration and sequence of treatment experiences, are available privately for three hours at a time or for full or half days. The Ancient Sanctuary, Crystal Temple, Hammam, Healing Hut, Rainforest, and Secret Garden are each unique experiences in lavishly designed space. I loved the private bubble bath experience in the Crystal Temple and the Ghassoul body, face and hair mask of Moroccan volcanic clay followed by a mist of floral rose water and Argan oil massage in the Hammam Turkish and Moorish temple.
The stretch of beach hosting Mukul Resort is idyllic and each wave more perfect than the last. This is where you feel the epic nature of this hidden place, and "make an authentic connection to the land," because they are married so perfectly. All of this by design with Pellas' dream in mind.
On my last night I dined solo on the main beach as I watched the sun paint the sky with Nicaraguan pastels. I will never forget this dinner. We move so fast, and we worry, and question things and spend so much time thinking about minutes passed, or the next minutes to come. As I watched the color of the world change both all at once and ever so slowly, I felt like I was the only person on the planet, and in that moment I felt the most incredible peace that this was absolutely enough. That I was absolutely enough.