At a Glance
A passion project for a savvy Nicaraguan businessman, Mukul is a stunning, remote property on the Nicaraguan coast that provides the utmost in luxury while still being low-impact on the environment and providing long-term benefits for the local community.
- Beachfront villas that boast sliding doors and plunge pools that extend to the beach and Pacific views.
- Nicaraguan regional elements, ranging from a tasting room for rum and cigars to headboards made from the old wooden barrels once used for aging Flora di Cana rum.
- Community involvement opportunities for guests range from soccer and baseball games with locals to beach cleanups
One man, Carlos Pellas, who is a fifth generation Nicaraguan used his wealth (from sugar, rum, banking and more) and his savvy (he received his BA and MBA from Stanford) to plant the seeds for the best kind of tourism boom possible: one that is low-impact on the environment and long-term and high-impact for the community. He started with a gorgeous small resort on the Pacific Coast called Mukul, which was followed by a high-end residential development called Guacalito De La Isla.
Mukul boasts thirty-seven exquisite accommodations spread along a gorgeous white-sand beach and up the hillside, are the multi-bedroom villas of Guacalito. Amenities include a stunning 18-hole golf course designed by David MacLay Kidd (he is the genius behind Bandon Dunes and Charles Schwab’s cult golf course on Hawaii’s Big Island), a beach club with surf outfitter, spa with individual suites and a tennis center.
The property has a range of accommodations, from studio-size bohios to a massive, beachfront compound. The 12 one and two-bedroom beach villas are spectacular, with private plunge pools and sliding doors that lead directly out to the beach and boast ocean views. However, the two-bedroom villas are not ideal for families with young children as the bedrooms are housed in two separate buildings. The most incredible accommodation is Casona Dos Carlos, the private estate of Carlos Pellas, which is a 20,000-square-foot beachfront compound with four suites and a large swimming pool.
Mukul fuses the sophistication of a resort like Las Ventanas with a swimmable beach just steps from your room. The décor through the resort merges modern hotel amenities, like deep tubs with views, with touches of a thoughtful host. Pellas wanted the property to feel more like a private home than a hotel so he rebuffed offers from famous hotel chains to manage the property and found his own team. (Yes, he plucked some from the Four Seasons.) He also made sure to incorporate Nicaraguan regional elements, ranging from a tasting room for rum and cigars to headboards made from the old wooden barrels once used for aging Flora di Cana rum. The result: the resort is tropical sexy but distinctly Nicaraguan (not Mexican or West Indies).
While you can spend your days playing golf on the incredible course or enjoying a deserted Pacific beach to yourself, it would be a shame if you didn’t explore more of the country and the Mukul team makes it easy. There are spectacular surfing beaches up and down the coast, as well as great snorkeling or fishing just off shore. Pellas’ own fishing boat can be chartered or taken out for sunset cruises.
The colonial gem of a town, Granada, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which reminded me of Cartagena and Havana, is a few hours drive. When you go you can explore on foot or by horse-drawn carriage and the hotel guests can stop in the Pellas Mansion, the grandest building on the main square, where the family’s staff will prepare lunch. Exploring Lake Nicaragua, hiking volcanoes or visiting the family rum plantation are also options.
The impact of Pellas’ vision is seen in the neighboring communities, which supply almost all of the employees. I spent a day with the man who Pellas hired to work with the local communities, assisting with medical, educational and cultural projects and was so impressed by his team and his commitment that I returned with our first family volunteerism trip. Getting to the region requires one or two flights from the U.S. and a two-hour-plus drive from Managua or a direct flight from Managua into Emerald Coast airport, only a 15 minute-drive from the resort.
Who Should Stay
Those looking for a very luxurious, beachfront hideaway in gorgeous surrounds with an eco-friendly ethos and the opportunity to visit nearby Nicaraguan communities. The property is best for couples or families with older children as many of the villas are spread over two buildings.
Written by Melissa Biggs Bradley