This article is from the February 2003 The Mexico File newsletter.
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Where to Spend that Tax Cut

by David Simmonds 

We usually donít review the more expensive properties in The Mexico File, but now that weíre all evidently going to become quite wealthy very soon, I think itís time. However, in the spirit of full disclosure, I have to confess to being invited to these two properties at no personal expense, thoughtfully hosted by Alaska Airlines. That said, the Las Hadas Resort and Grand Bay at Isla Navidad in the state of Colima are absolutely stunning, an adjective I normally reserve for members of the opposite sex. 

Most of us first heard of Las Hadas from the movie 10 starring the late Dudley Moore and that ďstunningĒ corn-rowed thespian, Bo Derek, who has since, in a bizarre career move, become a spokesperson for the Republican Party. Life does take peculiar twists these days. 

After several years of falling from its perch in the upper tier of resorts, Las  Hadas was bought by the famed Las Brisas Resorts. They have now mostly completed a multi-million dollar refurbishment, once again reviving the status and opulence that makes it one of Mexicoís premier destinations. 

Comprising 160 acres on Santiago peninsula on Manzanillo Bay, the hotel has 300 rooms in various categories, a championship Pete Dye 18-hole golf course, ten lighted tennis courts, a 70-slip marina, two swimming pools, and four restaurants. The remarkable Moorish architecture, stone path walkways, palm trees and bougainvillea mesh to produce a tranquil setting as fine as I have seen anywhere. Its location on the bay makes for wave-free swimming in beautiful aqua waters. Many of the marble floored rooms have private, small pools and they all have ocean views with private balconies. It is a world-apart from the nearby port city of Manzanillo, which I actually like despite a lack of traditional tourist attractions. Itís a real town in Colima, one of Mexicoís prettiest states. 

Now, most of what I have described here could apply to dozens of hotels in Mexico, but there is that one thing that makes you feel like youíre at a place like no other. And Iím just now realizing that I donít have the verbal acuity to convey that without being a redundant echo. Wasnít it a Supreme Court justice, when asked to define pornography, said something like  ďI canít define it but I know it when I see it.Ē You just feel itís so, and thatís the best you can do. Las Hadas is a very special place and one I highly recommend. 

At the very north end of the state of Colima is the Grand Bay Hotel at Isla Navidad. Located on a spit of land just a few hundred yards across the water from the small Jalisco town of Barra de Navidad, the Grand Bay is equally opulent, probably more so. Whereas Las Hadas seems more like a village, the Grand Bay reminds one of a castle. Just a few years old, everything here exudes luxury. Everywhere you gaze looks like a movie set and the service staff treats you like a star. It is the perfect romantic getaway, although your non-golfer mate might not like your insistence on playing the Robert von Hagge designed 27-hole golf course, the winner of Golf Magazineís Gold Medal Award.  

A small boat will shuttle you into Barra de Navidad for a taste of the Mexico you are more accustomed to.This makes the Grand Bay a great choice for a complete vacation getaway. You get to spend the day living large and being pampered at the resort, then change into your old, comfortable shorts and tattered tee shirt for a night in town, experiencing both ends of the best that Mexico has to offer. 

Las Hadas: web site Ė

Tel: (011) (52) 314 331-01-01

Grand Bay Hotel: web site:

In Mexico: Tel. 011 (52) 314-331 0500

In U.S.: Tel. (310) 5369278

For discounted resort rates or golf packages contact Simmonds Mexico Tours at (858) 456-4419 or email  

I will personally make your arrangements and save you money. I am negotiating discounted rates at hotels all over Mexico, so let me know if I can help you out. 

Dave Simmonds