The shells that Eva is holding out to me are beautiful. They’re finely polished Tiger Clam shells that have been given a new purpose: to serve as massage tools. Eva Simpson, an experienced and knowledgeable therapist at The Tides Spa, is explaining the property’s signature spa treatment to me. Aptly named “Lava Shell Therapy,” this is akin to hot stone massage, as it uses heated shells with which to massage.
“I love how the heat penetrates the muscle and tissue and allows me to go into it with my hands,” she says. “The heat is so comforting, it allows the person to really relax. “ I was the lucky recipient of this hour-long therapy that succeeded in soothing my achey jet-lagged self. First, a massage oil made of basil, geranium, grapefruit, lavender, and my favorite, jasmine, was applied. Then came the warm shells that felt like silk as they glided up and down my back and over and under my shoulder blades. Silk, as I was soon to find out, held special meaning at this secluded beachfront resort.
Located on the Pacific coastline, amid 600 private feet of Playa la Ropa, or “beach of silk,” The Tides Zihuatanejo is a peaceful resort with some of the best service I’ve experienced in Mexico. Its setting is one of ease and elegance—a landscape ripe with rainbow-hued bougainvillea and gorgeous hibiscus, waterfalls and a picturesque palm-studded beach. An ideal spot for couples wanting to escape from it all, this is also an ideal place to reconnect with yourself, to take that necessary breather we all need on occasion.
“The Tides story is all about connecting—couples reconnecting and connecting with nature,” says a spokeswoman for the company. And the accommodations support this. There are 35 guestrooms and 35 suites—each cheerful and chic in design—that house a variety of artisanal Mexican crafts. If you’re into water sports, there’s a bunch of options to choose from, including windsurfing, snorkeling, deep-sea fishing, and scuba diving. If you’re a foodie like I am, you’ll enjoy the interactive organic cooking class, led by Executive Chef Paco Isordia Dorantes. He takes you to the market in town where you’ll learn about indigenous herbs, fruits, and vegetables before purchasing the food that’s brought back to the resort for the class. The session ends with an elegant Chef’s lunch on the beach. The two restaurants here, I’m happy to report, are noteworthy. I was pleased to finally find a resort that caters to a largely American crowd, but that isn’t afraid to experiment with spices and herbs. La Marea, open for lunch and dinner, offers gourmet Mediterranean seafood dishes (always on the lookout for the perfect ceviche, I sampled one here that I loved—a tangy combination of scallops, shrimp, and octopus), while the romantic La Villa offers delicious Pacific-Mexican cuisine. For tequila lovers, there’s the Coral Bar that boasts over 110 varieties of tequila, and of special note is the in-room menu that has some organic offerings.
If you’re a yoga enthusiast, you’ll be pleased to learn that there are a variety of very good classes and workshops, and there’s a small but just-right fitness center that was recently renovated. The Spa itself is also intimate in size, but very welcoming. I loved the exotic and colorful lanterns that hung in the co-ed lounge area and Osea, the all-natural seaweed-based skin care line that the spa uses. I tried the Tides Signature Facial by Osea, a customized treatment that stimulated my skin and left it not only hydrated, but noticeably brighter.
The perfect ending to this little piece of paradise was the Sense of the Night event. A pristine piece of beachfront was transformed into a chic bonfire beach lounge complete with DJ, cocktails, and small bites. It was the ideal way to ease back into the real world. —www.thetidesresorts.com