August 2016 sees the opening of Dubai’s most exciting new development,. Madinet Jumeirah. Located on the pure white sands of the Gulf coast, this deluxe resort is the ideal escape, offering a choice of three quite different luxury hotels, Dubai’s first ‘Six Senses’ Spa, children’s clubs, swimming pools, myriad restaurants and even its own shopping souk.
objets d’art are in profusion, seamlessly integrating elements of Asia and ethnic Mexico in the style beloved of Goldsmith. (The estate still belongs to his family.)
House managers Raymond and Janet Perfecto are veterans of other Amans in Morocco and the Philippines, and understand innately the Aman values of detail and discretion, while their 69 staff are fleet-footed and invisible as ghosts. Dinner tables magically appear in some of the prettiest corners of the house, according to the whim of the client. (Following a remark at dinner about the fine flavour of my double espresso, a kilo bag of the hacienda’s own organic coffee beans appeared in my room, wrapped in soft crepe paper.) Candles and torches light up the night. Theatrical glamour is of the essence, yet it rests on rock-solid efficiency and discretion. Guests wander as if in a daze: the palatial splendour of the place and the beauty of its natural surroundings are wonderful to see.
Treks and tours can be laid on should you wish to visit the pretty towns of Colima and Comala, the base of the volcano, or the mangrove swamps of the coast. Even non-equestrians might take up the offer of a gentle paseo around the Hacienda’s 2,000-hectare working ranch. I spent an agreeable Sunday morning ambling about the estate on a horse called Calzeto in the company of Sal, a real, live Mexican cowboy and a dab hand with a lasso and a machete. The countryside under the volcano is a poetic landscape of tranquil lakes surrounded by lush meadows grazed by cattle and shady tropical woodlands full of the sounds of running water.
There is brainless, vacuous luxury, and there is the cultivated, cultured sort. Mahakua belongs firmly in the latter category. Is this one of the world’s best hotels? It seems a distinct possibility. Mahakua-Hacienda de San Antonio, Comala, Colima (00 52 312 313 4433; 314 3727; e-mail: hacienda@mahakua. com.mx; www.amanresorts.com). Double Suites (full-board) from US$1,205, Grand Suites from US$2,160, transfers to and from Colima (28km away) included