BEST of the BEST 2014 | Journeys | Resorts: Mukul

To understand the appeal of Mukul (+505.2563.7100, www.mukul​resort.com), Nicaragua’s first true luxury resort, one might consider the view from the 18th hole of its David McLay Kidd–designed golf course. A dozen sandy steps to the west lies one of the area’s best surf breaks. To the east, lush nature trails echo with the throaty cries of howler monkeys snuggled in guanacaste trees. And just up the beach, set above the sand and along a jungle-covered hillside, are the 35 villas and bohios that house the lucky few guests at this 1,670-acre retreat on Nicaragua’s southern Pacific coast. Mukul, which opened in February 2013, is the vision of Carlos Pellas, the owner of Nicaragua’s famed Flor de Caña rum. The property is a triumphant marriage of local flavor—dedicated rum and cigar rooms offer the country’s finest selections—and modern luxuries that include private pools and butler service in the guest rooms and au courant therapies in a six-treatment-room hilltop spa. In addition to the villas and bohios, the six-bedroom Casona Don Carlos compound can be booked when the Pellas family is not in residence. ($500–$11,000, including breakfast).  

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