Carratera Federal Salina Cruz — Santiago Pinotepa Nacional Km 113, Oaxaca State, Mexico
A chic hideaway on a nearly deserted stretch of sand, this well–designed, comfortable resort by Habita works for celebs escaping the paparazzi to couples wanting some quality time together to unwind.
About a half hour drive along the coast heading west from the surf mecca of Puerto Escondido, you reach the more laid–back hotel that does feel like the meaning of the word: "secret." It's down a bumpy dirt road with cattle pastures and crops beside it, leading some early guests to wonder if they'd been kidnapped by a smiling cartel member.
All cares melt away though when you walk through the cactus–lined entrance and see the gorgeous aquamarine water and empty beach beyond. This is not some beach resort with a speck of land squeezed between a dozen similar high–rises. It's a boutique resort that provides true privacy, a getaway on miles of shoreline that sees more turtles than humans...
Run by the hip and always–stylish Grupo Habita of Mexico, this is a property that strikes the perfect "barefoot chic" balance. It's a place where commissioned art pieces enliven the spaces and serious care went into every detail, but the general manager looks perfectly dressed in surf shorts and dressing up for dinner means putting on your flip–flops.
Guests spend most of their time in or next to the narrow but Olympic–length pool, which stretches along the whole deck area used for lounging. Here you can swim in a hammock, order cocktails from a bar a few steps away, or have your lunch brought right to you. Roll off the deck and you're walking on the sand, which ends at a dramatic rocky cliff at one end, and goes on as far as you can see in the other direction. More hammocks and lounge chairs are on the beach, but most of the year it's better suited for observing or boogie boarding as the sea is often too rough for swimming past your waist.
There are beach games and toys in a basket here, plus board games and a TV in the lounge. That's on the other side of a lily pond, which provides a break from the cacti all around the property. Below that, down a flight of stairs is something you probably wouldn't expect to find here: a soundproofed dive bar party space with a cranking stereo system. Being that this is a small hotel, it's meant to function as a private lounge: order up what you want to have on hand for drinks and the staffers will disappear. What happens after that is up to you and you won't have to worry about disturbing anyone's sleep.
The open–air restaurant in the middle of the property is used for breakfast and dinner. The day starts with typical local food prepared by ladies in a nearby village, though presented with a bit more flair than you'd probably get in their house. Dinner is more upscale, with the chef choosing the menu based on whatever happens to be fresh and look good that day in the Puerto Escondido market. Naturally there's plenty of just–caught seafood and tropical fruit year–round.
August 2020 saw the opening of a Japanese fine dining spot right next to the hotel. A collaboration between the Grupo Habita team and Japanese chef Keisuke Harada, the restaurant, Kakurega Omakase, will offer fresh seafood and fish plates combined with local ingredients and premium sakes and Japanese whiskies. The aesthetic is the same, clean, nature-inspired design with lots of natural materials and the signature Grupo Habita modern style. Underneath a palapa roof and with a view of the ocean, this is a singular dinner spot in the middle of paradise.
Each of the bungalows here is the same, the only change being whether there's one king bed or two queens. Casitas are private and spacious, every one having a terrific view of the ocean over the cactus garden. That view is best enjoyed from the private terrace, where there's a hammock, comfortable furniture to lounge on, and a plunge pool. Inside there's air conditioning — sort of — but it's mainly just used to blow over your body at night if needed. The high ceilings and ocean breeze are generally enough to keep you comfortable since you can open the space up on both sides and turn on a ceiling fan. You can also see the water while you're standing under your rain shower.
Natural materials predominate, with wood floors, thatch ceilings, platform beds, and woven chairs. There's a strong sense of place here, with the décor tying in with the landscape and the turndown cookies being made by villagers from local palm nuts. It's not all minimalist though: the Bose Bluetooth speaker in the room can go with you as you wander, there's an electronic safe, and a minibar. Yes, you can get online here with complimentary Wi–Fi.
There's a strong environmental ethos as well: solar power heats the water and there are no single–use plastic water bottles. A crew cleans up whatever washes up on the shore regularly. Local ingredients make up most of what's served for meals.
Most guests tend to come for a few days, but if you hung out for a week the staffers could set you up with plenty of excursions and maybe some surfing lessons. There's a spa with a steam room and cool plunge on site as well for getting really loose and relaxed.
This is the first beach hotel in this part of the Oaxacan coast that's going to please well–traveled, upscale visitors. It's the clear luxury choice outside of Huatulco — and more intimate than anything there.
Web Address: https://www.hotelescondido.com
Total Number of Rooms: 16
Published rates: $270 — $395, some rates half board but not including taxes