Thompson Zihuatanejo is a hidden gem resort in one of Mexico’s most beautiful beach towns


Flanked by the mountains of the Sierra Madre del Sur and several from Mexico City and Acapulco by car, the sleeping fishing village that became a discreet tourist village of Zihuatanejo, fortunately, has escaped the kind of overcrowding of the its crushed counterparts such as Puerto Vallarta, Cabo and Cancun have endured over the years. Opened in 1953, the airport took local Mexican tourists to its beautiful palm-fringed beaches before foreign travelers (including two Rolling Stones and counterculture figure Timothy Leary) discovered the charms of “Zihua” for another decade. late. Many of the resorts were also built at the time, along with magnificent private homes (designer Betsey Johnson has a place there) that still discreetly splashed the hills surrounding Zihuatanejo Bay, including the hidden gem Thompson Zihuatanejo Hotel.

An elegant intimate complex

Just a 15-minute drive from Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo International Airport means you can be in full holiday mode (read: cocktail in hand under a beach palapa) in Thompson Zihuatanejo not long after landing. The 56-room hotel is located in a prime Play La Ropa location and is a destination in Shangri-la for sun lovers, surfers and creative types or anyone looking for a discreet but luxurious place to stay. walking distance to the sand.

The local architecture firm, Andrés Saavedra Design, worked with Thompson’s interior design team on a major renovation of the property in 2019 with accommodations and public spaces that benefited from a sleek new look that fuses the mid-century modern with traditional Mexican artwork. Colorful hand-woven rugs, mosaic tiles and native stone elements in the suites, as well as original furniture and prints by the local Casa Studio artists’ collective. Warning: You may want to pack at least one piece of luggage to take home.

Suites with pool and private plunge pools

Intimate but spacious, the property is dotted with walkable gardens marked by a meandering lagoon. Impressively, each of the rooms and suites enjoys views of the Pacific Ocean, just decide whether you prefer to have a private terrace with a plunge pool or one of the 11 en suite suites. With its own outdoor entertainment area, which includes a wet bar and a private terrace with a large day bed, the large Poobah Thompson Suite has sea views on the third floor and plenty of seating areas to entertain. -If you’re in town for a party with friends or family. While the Beach Suite with Plunge Pool is another fun option for couples with something special to celebrate. Finished in dark granite bathrooms, they also look like luxury stuff and come stocked with coveted DS & Durga products.

The new mural in Thompson Zihuatanejo by Mexico City artist Oscar Torres

Barefoot dinner in front of the beach

Keri Bridgwater / JustLuxe

Newly appointed Executive Chef Javier Garcia Cerrillo is at the forefront of Thompson Zihuatanejo’s two culinary concepts that make up much of the ingredients used in local dishes, from rock oysters and ricotta cheese to vegetables from nearby farms. . In the Ceniza palm straw palapa restaurant (the Spanish word for ash), the components of the dish are treated to firewood, such as a carbonated chili serrano sauce with sesame and a clemole of truffle ash and huitlacoche corn ( a Mexican-style chicken stew). Romantic beach dinners can also be arranged, and staff can also set up a small private fireplace with pillows for couples to retire to enjoy a toast dessert and watch the stars. Meanwhile, the elegant Hao Restaurant has an extensive menu of favorite local dishes, such as rancheros eggs, as well as fresh, classic juices such as French toast, making it perfect for breakfast and lunch.

While Saturday is a night of tacos at the Thompson, in Zihuatanejo Thursdays are pozole. Don’t feel like venturing into the city? Chef Cerrillo makes an abundant but deliciously fragrant green pozole with poblano peppers, green tomatoes and pumpkin seeds among other key ingredients. It is traditionally served with a shot of mezcal to drink next to the soup with a slice of grapefruit to open the palette and further tempt the taste buds.

SUP, Yoga & Spa Time

Although the center of Zihua is only a few minutes away by taxi, many guests prefer to spend time in the resort. And with the golden sands of Playa La Ropa stretching in both directions and the bright Pacific Ocean moving away from the suites and loungers, it’s hard to blame them. To change the scenery, there is an infinity pool for adults only in front of the sea and a family pool with a pool bar.

While the spa offers a selection of rituals and treatments, such as massages and facials, guests wishing to head out on the water can borrow SUP and navigate the bay; sunrise is a good time to do it when the water is calmer. They can also schedule a tennis lesson with a local professional or put their names to the yoga class at 7am before breakfast in Hao.

About “Zihua”

He became famous for “The Shawshank Redemption” (when Tim Robbins’ character escapes from prison, he goes straight to the paradise of his dreams, Zihuatanejo) and although he has seen a slow but steady influx of tourists along for decades, Zihuatanejo has maintained its relaxation. charms. Despite the most modern and recent additions such as the Thompson and the conceptual space, Loot, the pace is slow and unhurried, and the roots of the town’s fishing village are still evident. Every Saturday morning, fishermen line the main beach and sell their catch to residents and restaurant owners. The Mercardo Municipal is another venerable place where everything is sold, from freshly baked fruit and bread to molcajetes (Mexican mortar and pestle games) that are well worth a look at people and buy souvenirs.

Less than an hour north along the coast, the quiet beach towns of Troncones and La Saladita attract surfers from California, Canada, and beyond they come in search of long left, the region is famous for pauses not as secret as “The Ranch.”

How to get there and leave

La Roba Beach via Flickr

Alaska Airlines operates a direct daily service from Los Angeles (LAX), while domestic airline Aero Mexico also flies to Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo International Airport (ZIH) from major centers such as Dallas / Fort Worth (DFW) via for Mexico City (MEX). From the San Diego-Tijuana Cross Border Xpress (CBX), the Mexican non-luxury airline Volaris operates a direct flight twice a week every Wednesday and Saturday. Mexico is open to travelers, and there is no need to provide a negative PCR test or quarantine on arrival, while a COVID-19 test is not required for returning CBX passengers.

All photos courtesy of Thompson Zihuatanejo unless otherwise noted.

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