A hidden luxury, and to most, a place that no one's ever heard of. Once I mention that it's the destination that Andy Dufresne, played by Tim Robbins, mentions in the movie The Shawshank Redemption, the little town in Mexico on the Pacific Coast rings a bell. I wasn't too sure what to think before we visited the resort, but my husband's always wanted to tour the rare gem since he saw the film. Plus we're also fond of the Viceroy Properties, and happened to find that they have a resort in the exotic Mexico destination after we visited their property in St. Lucia.
Viceroy Zihuatanejo is nothing short of extraordinary. The romantic resort's nestled on the bay between the small town and the hills lined with beaches. The property's architecture reflects that of it's surroundings, and the room we stayed in was reminiscence of an adobe home with clean white walls mixed with a modern feel. We had our own private terrace complete with a splash pool and hanging hammock-bed right outside our french doors.
The staff was very hospitable - there to help with whatever we made need. The bartends and servers were especially friendly, even offering impromptu Spanish lessons.
Coffee and baked goods were delivered promptly at 9 am every morning; a time we had set upon check-in.
Breakfast was included in our stay, and we could order anything from the menu which included a fresh juice of the day, a traditional breakfast special of the day, Mexican breakfast dishes, as well as some more traditional American choices.
Every meal came complete with fresh baked bread in an authentic Mexican wicker basket, butter, fruit of the day and a selection of salsas (habanero, salsa roja and pico de gallo).
We spent the majority of the trip relaxing under the palapas beachside, swimming in the ocean and getting a tan. We also ordered drinks and food from the convenience of our beach chairs.
(Always supporting the Nashville Predators, where ever we may go.)
If relaxing in a lounge chair for you gets boring, I suggest a massage at the Luxury Spa or a cooking lesson with one of the talented chefs at the resort. We indulged in both, and the massage one of the best I've had in awhile.
The cooking class was beyond fun and educational. We started out at the resort where we met Chef Freddie and then took a quick cab ride into town. He showed took us down to the dock where local fishermen bring their catches to sell to the townies. After that, Freddie took us on a tour through town and to one of the most popular streets, Cinco de Mayo. There are some vendors that can tell we're tourists and try to get us to buy their souvenirs. Other than that, the town's not commercialized.
Freddie took a left on the street and started to walk down a long hallway with souvenirs on both sides, but before we knew it, we were submerged in the local market. Fresh fruits and vegetables surround us on both sides, above and below our heads and feet. Another quick turn and there's spices, chiles and herbs for purchase. We keep walking and the smell changes from earthy to fishy. Catches of the day line both sides of the aisle and Freddie begins to go to work, asking each fisherman how much for a red snapper. After a quick circle of the fish market, he decides to settle on one vendor where we purchase a whole red snapper. Then, we walk down a little ways to purchase some Mahi Mahi. Next, it's off to find fresh fruits and vegetables to prepare with our meal. On our way through the market, we also notice plucked chickens for sale, as well as beef, dried or fresh. We pass taco stands complete with local chefs feeding the lunch crowd that's populating the aisles.
Once we purchase the fruit and vegetables, it's a quick cab ride back to the resort where we prepare our meal beachside. During our class we learn to make healthy, authentic Mexican dishes like guacamole, salsa roja, ceviche, butter and garlic shrimp, grilled vegetables and whole-grilled red snapper. One of my favorite parts was learning to make a versatile red chili sauce from guajilla chiles. I definitely recommend the local experience.
The class was complete with dessert, consisting of fresh mango, grilled plantains and vanilla ice cream. It was some of the best vanilla ice cream I have EVER tasted in my life! I could definitely get used to the healthy lifestye in Zihuatanejo. I love how local and fresh the food is at the coastal town.
One night we decided to venture off property for dinner and visit a boutique resort five minutes up the road called Tentaciones. The restaurant offered a prix fixe menu, and a view that could satisfy any appetite.
The town is real and unpolished; a side of Mexico that most visitors don't get to experience. Whether you like to spend your time on the beach, in the water or walking the cobbled streets in town - there's something that Zihuatanejo can offer to any of its visitors.
"Zihuatanejo means 'the place of women.' Hundreds of years ago, before the European boot stepped onto Mexican shores, a Tarascan leader named Caltzontzin built a safe harbor here to protect his people's women so they could swim safely in the sea."
"Many believe the legend of Amazon women may actually come from here."
- Viceroy Zihuatanejo