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Away from it all, and then some

From the March 26, 2001 Issue of New York

Hotelito Desconocido ("the little unknown hotel") might be the grooviest roughing-it resort in Central America. Owned and operated by the Italian designer Marcello Murizilli, who started Charro jeans, Hotelito is in La Cruz de Loreto, 60 miles south of Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific coast of Mexico. Just north of the middle of nowhere, it lacks electricity -- but somehow this becomes a luxury when each night the staff lights more than 1,400 candles and torches. To get there, fly to Puerto Vallarta, where a van will meet you for the two-hour drive. When booking, request a palafito (thatched-hut cottage) on the beach, where the views are best. Each room is different, with original murals, one-of-a-kind canopy beds, and hand-tiled bathrooms with private open-air showers (the water is solar-heated). In the morning, you can raise a flag outside your door and a waiter will paddle over in a canoe with hot coffee. Ocean swimming isn't an option (the undertow is too strong), but there's a pool, yoga classes, kayaking, windsurfing, biking, baby-turtle watching, and horseback riding, all included in the package. First-rate meals are also included, and all produce is grown on the property.

Hotelito Desconocido, 800-851-1143, info@hotelito.com (doubles from $530, meals included, three-night minimum).

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