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Mukul Resort, Guacalito de la Isla, Nicaragua

| By Bill Nestor | From Damian Lewis, January/February 2016
Mukul Resort, Guacalito de la Isla, Nicaragua

Undulating forested topography dramatically meets the sea where sandstone cliffs rise above the water to define a cove that protects Manzanillo Beach at Mukul. The resort serves up a beautifully balanced experience, blending environmental sustainability, social responsibility and native culture and people, amid the exotic splendor of tropical flora and fauna to create an allure that facilitates a rapid discarding of woes.

And if that weren't enough to recommend Mukul, my personal cigar wish list was waiting on arrival through a preorder service with food and beverage director Raul Zeledon.

This luxury boutique hotel, set in Nicaragua's Guacalito de la Isla on the country's Emerald Coast, has a lot to offer. The development, with its four miles of beach strands on the Pacific Ocean side of the country, is a secluded 1,670-acre private property that encompasses a residential enclave and Mukul, an enchanting luxury beach, golf and spa hideaway.

The form-follows-function, artistic design of interiors and exteriors maximizes sensory contact while immersing guests in both nature and authentic traditions of Nicaragua. The 35 spacious oceanfront beach and hillside villas and tree house-like bohios are custom creations that combine luxury with immersion in the environment ($725 to $1,825 a night for single bedrooms in high season). The magnificent owner's residences are also sometimes available ($5,375 to $6,925).

Enjoy a cigar and glass of 18- or 25-year-old rum under the expansive, oval palapa. The intriguing structure provides shade, captures cooling breezes and houses the Flor de Caña (rum) room and a walk-in humidor stocked with Padrón, Plasencia, Oliva, Joya de Nicaragua, New World by AJ Fernandez, Nicaraguan Global Premium, and even the Cuban Cohiba Behike BHK 52.

David McLay Kidd's golf design incorporates an 18th green on Manzanillo Beach. Its challenging but enjoyable layout meanders over rolling terrain and through coastal woodlands to the sea. The course was built under strict guidelines to minimize ecological impact. Non-golfers also have many opportunities to explore the captivating environment.

A personal therapist greets you at one of Spa Mukul's six private, luxurious suites. Each is differently themed and offers customized treatments and healing traditions, personal steam and changing rooms, and outdoor relaxation areas.

Guacalito de la Isla is the passion of Don Carlos Pellas, founder and chief executive officer of Grupo Pellas, which includes Flor de Caña. His ambitious vision is to change the image of an entire country, and to "let the world know that Nicaragua is a peaceful, safe, beautiful, undiscovered country, and an ideal tourist destination."

Visit mukulresort.com

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