MANZANILLO BEACH, NICARAGUA — It is 6:30 a.m. and I just lost my cookies. Fortunately, it was a literal loss and not a figurative one. At Nicaragua’s Mukul Luxury Resort and Spa, they serve a “rooster breakfast” for early risers consisting of three small cookies with coffee or tea on the outdoor deck of your accommodations.
After uncovering the cookies, I moved away for a few moments to snap a picture of a mother spider monkey carrying her tiny offspring on her back through the trees. The distraction provided just enough time for a pair of colourful birds to swoop in and steal two vanilla cookies. They left the chocolate cookie behind, proving even the birds have discerning taste at this high-end resort.
Nicaragua has long been an outstanding ecotourism destination but, until recently, its natural beauty has been overshadowed by its revolutionary past. Situated between Costa Rica and Honduras, the tiny country has an abundance of wildlife and beautiful white sand beaches that have traditionally appealed primarily to adventure travellers.
Now the country also has an ultra-luxurious beach resort, where couples and families can experience the beauty of Nicaragua in complete comfort.
Mukul opened on Feb. 1 as the first ultra-luxurious vacation resort in Nicaragua and there’s much to like about it.
Situated on 675 hectares of oceanfront land on Nicaragua’s Emerald Coast, the resort conforms to the highest standards of service and provides unique amenities such as private pools for each of the 37 accommodations, and included kids’ club, activities programs, butler service in most units and excellent gourmet cuisine.
There is also a spa and a David McLay Kidd-designed 18-hole golf course.
The resort takes service so seriously, the staff-to-guest ratio is nearly three to one.
The $250-million resort was built as the passion project of Don Carlos Pellas, a Nicaraguan business mogul sometimes called as the Donald Trump of Central America.
The project is designed to showcase Nicaragua and improve the lives of locals by providing employment opportunities and investment in local infrastructure. Six years of environmental studies and conservation programs were undertaken to ensure the resort was well integrated with the surrounding environment and local communities. Pellas partnered with local farmers to protect local water sources, replanted 1,500 trees removed during construction and provided micro-loans to beachfront shops and restaurants in the town near the resort.
Specialized training provided local Nicaraguans with employment opportunities at the resort.
“Staffing the country’s first ultra-luxury resort primarily with local Nicaraguans has had its challenges,” admits Claudia Silva, director of marketing at Mukul. “But Mukul is all about introducing Nicaragua to the world and making a difference in the lives of local people. We have had to train some of our new employees right from scratch, but there is no one better qualified to introduce guests to the vibrant culture and unspoiled beauty of Nicaragua than the people who live here.”