Moored atop the Yucatán is a 26-mile-long antidote to pandemic confinement. Holbox Island forbids cars, high-rises and formality. Perhaps the most flamboyant visitors are the flamingos (above) that arrive each April.
The number #1 destination selected by the luxury magazine Net-A-PorterIf your idea of romantic relaxation is to kick off your shoes and pad around in a sarong all day, then Ser Casasandra is your boho beach paradise: think gauze-draped four posters (where staff leave you a Frederico García Lorca poem on your pillow at turn-down), veranda hammocks and sunset mojitos at the bar. With only 18 rooms, one luxury villa and 1.5km of beach to play with, it has an intimate vibe and an easy-breezy ethos; help yourself to bikes and the electric carts or glass kayaks to explore the tiny car-free island and marine biosphere.
Best places to stay: CasaSandraThis modest, boutique y place midway along Holbox's beach feels lived-in and relaxed, with rooms dotted about a pretty garden. The draw is the stretch of immaculate sand in front of the hotel, where beds are set up under cabanas. Watermelon juice and lunches of lobster salad are served on shaded decking.
CasaSandra, MexicoYou can easily recalibrate at CasaSandra, set on Holbox, a Mexican island off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula that's known for its spectacular nature, endless sun and barefoot sensibility. The island is separated from mainland Mexico by a shallow lagoon that is home to thousands of flamingos, pelicans and other exotic birds. Digital detoxing is a big part of the concept at CasaSandra: There's limited Wi-Fi and no televisions on property, so guests are encouraged to kick off their shoes and completely unplug.
By general consensus, the best restaurant on the island is at Casa Sandra hotel, where diners sip mojitos by candlelight and the Cuban chef visits each table to describe the specials. (Be sure to try Grandma's meatballs for 125 pesos.) Sandra Pérez Lozano, Casa Sandra's owner and a writer, came to Holbox looking for solitude close to nature and in 1999 built her two-story thatched-roof hotel with a full-length front porch and a second-story terrace to take in the ocean. But the future of the island, she later wrote in an e-mail message, is difficult to predict. "Although we want it to remain in silence," she wrote, in Spanish, "the money and the hotel industry in this region are very powerful and could end this secret wonder of the Caribbean."
WHAT IT'S LIKE: The island of Holbox (pronounced "Ole-bosh") is a tiny spit off the Yucatán Peninsula with sand roads. At the chic 16-room CasaSandra Hotel, Cuban-born owner and artist Sandra Pérez wanted the property to feel more like a residence. So she spread CasaSandra out over five compact buildings and filled each of the spaces with one-of-a-kind regional pieces: rough-cut antique wooden tables from Guadalajara; rattan furniture; hand-woven linens; and bath products created by local artisans. Outside, a collection of palapas and breezy bales dots the sand, and the azure water's edge is 50 uninterrupted steps away. The hotel arranges fishing excursions with Casasandra's chef, Félix Diaz, who will prepare your catch for dinner.
It wasn't too long before she opened up CasaSandra to paying guests. With 18 rooms only, Sandra created a place you may never want to leave.
Tequila, Mexico and Casa Sandra Chic Resort Offers the Best way to Enjoy Tequila April 26, 2012. UVM: N/ATequila has been getting a lot of "buzz" lately, and for those true tequila-philes, what better place to learn about this popular spirit but from the motherland: Mexico...
Great Escape: Holbox, the idyllic Mexican island 30 minutes from the crowds of CancunShe built CasaSandra, a beautiful seaside villa finished with colonial furniture and artworks, that was perfect for laid-back weekends with friends, lounging by the pool or strolling within half a minute to the beach and the warm ocean. In 2003, she decided to open it up to paying guests and let them experience this tranquil setting a world away from the insanity of Cancun.
It's difficult to think of Cancun and not imagine a long stretch of beach laid out at the base of towering resorts. If a visitor ever gets their toes wet, it's a cinch that the No. 1 vacation activity will be claiming to spot on Cancun's glittering strand. From that position, a world of leisure pursuits waits to be discovered.
"The CasaSandra Boutique Hotel is simple, one of my favorite places on the planet. I stayed with my fiancee Briana for three days, and I could not imagine how they could have done anything better. Saying that as a turn of phrase, I literally can not imagine how anything could have been better. "