After roughing it at Playa Chalacatepec , you can be pampered in the luxurious isolation of Las Alamandas (Quémaro, Km. 83 Carretera Puerto Vallarta–Barra de Navidad, tel. 322/285-5500, toll-free U.S./Can. tel. 888/882-9616, www.alamandas.com ), a deluxe 1,500-acre retreat a few miles down the road.
The small Quémaro village sign at Km 83 gives no hint of the pleasant surprises that Las Alamandas conceals behind its guarded gate. Solitude and elegant simplicity seem to have been the driving concepts in the mind of Isabel Goldsmith when she acquired control of the property in the late 1980s. Although born into wealth (her grandfather was the late tin tycoon Antenor Patiño, who developed Manzanillo’s renowned Las Hadas; her father was the late multimillionaire Sir James Goldsmith, who bought the small kingdom her family now owns at Cuitzmala, 25 mi south), she was not idle.
Isabel converted her dream of paradise—a small, luxuriously isolated resort on an idyllic beach in Puerto Vallarta’s sylvan coastal hinterland—into reality. Now, her guests (28 maximum) enjoy accommodations that vary from luxuriously simple studios to a villa sleeping six. Activities include tennis, horseback riding, bicycling, fishing, kayaking, snorkeling, and lagoon and river excursions.
The hotel’s luxurious facilities—dining restaurant and veranda, bars, book and video library, sitting and reading areas, pool patio, gym, pavilions, and much more—are gracefully sprinkled throughout a plumy, grass-carpeted, beachfront palm grove. Powerful waves, good for intermediate and advanced surfing, on the south and north shoals, rise about 100 yards out and break rather quickly at the creamy yellow-sand beach. With about twice as many employees as guests, the hotel’s service is personal. Staff are attentive and focused on the goal of complete guest relaxation.
Daily rates range from about $425 low season ($520 high) for garden-view studios, up to about $1,600 low season ($2,200 high) for a three-unit beach-front villa for six; all with full breakfast. Three meals, prepared to your order, cost about $100 more per day per person. For reservations, contact Las Alamandas directly or book through their agent, Mexico Boutique Hotels (toll-free U.S./Can. tel. 800/728-7098, www.mexicoboutiquehotels.com ).
Get there by car, taxi (about $100), bus, or rental car from the Puerto Vallarta  airport via Highway 200. At the Km 83 highway marker, 81 miles (130 km) south of Puerto Vallarta, turn right at the signed Quémaro village side road. Continue about three miles west, passing through Quémaro village, to the Alamandas gate. Don’t arrive unannounced; unless you’re a recognizable celebrity, the guard will not let you through the gate without a reservation in hand or unless you have made an advance appointment. Alternatively, you can arrive by charter airplane, using Las Alamandas’s private airstrip. If you don’t have a plane, contact a travel agent.