Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Villa

As words, luxury and luxurious have been beaten to death by copywriters, at least as they apply to destination properties, though in hotel industry parlance "luxury" does still describe the topmost class of expensive hotel and resort properties. Too bad luxury has been drained of meaning, since the word has such an ancient pedigree--all the way back many thousands of years to the Indo-European leug-, to bend, turn, wind: referring to the bending, turning and winding of luxurious plant growth, which turned up as luxus in Latin, with the completely recognizable meaning of "excess, extravagance."

In any case, I luxuriated at one of the villas managed by Four Seasons Punta Mita for three nights and parts of three days. The villas are arrayed on a landscaped hillside lush with flowers and palms, and are connected by narrow, twisty roads and even narrower paths used by hotel golf carts. I stayed with three other writers in a five-bedroom villa with a view of the ocean split by a couple of small promontories sticking up from a rocky shore below.

Published sources put the villa's size at 8,000 square feet, at most. I didn't have any measuring equipment, so I can't vouch for that, but I will say that each day I discovered another room or two I hadn't noticed before. About an hour before I left for the airport, for example, I found the laundry room and the connection to the garage, just off the kitchen. Maybe I'd missed that because I dallied too much in the kitchen, which included all the usual upscale suspects, such as Subzero, Viking and Krups.

The sturdy wooden front door opened up into an open-air courtyard. It also took me a day or two to realize that there were three separate water features in this courtyard, the combined effect of which was to make me believe for a moment, in the middle of the first night, that it was raining. Most of my photos of the courtyard suffer from awkward lighting, even though it seemed pleasant enough to the human eye, with sunlight reaching its pastel yellow walls, offset by dark wooden pillars and iron accents.

This one turned out all right, though. Stone fish in rock pond.

The fish was only one of many mostly Mexican objets d'art throughout the villa, including ceramics, driftwood art and wall hangings. Potted palms and ferns also figured in the interior design scheme. Under everything was a limestone floor, hard but pleasant under foot, and pock-marked by small shell impressions.

Short corridors branching from the courtyard led to the various bedrooms, which by themselves (mine anyway) were much like well-appointed hotel rooms, with certain added touches. Such as a doubled-door shower. One sliding glass door led into the shower from the main part of the bathroom. On the other side of the shower, another sliding glass door led to a small, roofless room whose only purpose was to be a small, roofless room next to the shower.

The villa's living room was large enough to include an L-shaped modular couch, a round dining table for 10 -- with a lazy Susan large enough to do Aztec sacrifices -- various chairs, end tables and lamps, and a square coffee table outfitted with coffee table books. The room also sported a large flat-screen TV, mounted on a wall, but it could hardly compete with the visual treats of the next "room" -- a partially covered outdoor patio as large as the living room that also included a couch and a round breakfast table, but with the addition of a full view of the ocean.

The pool was out there, too, essentially an ocean-ward extension of the patio. Elsewhere were sunbathing recliners and umbrellas, plus flowers in pots. It all sounds cluttered, but it wasn't remotely cluttered. Clutter wasn't in the interior vocabulary of this place, and it would have taken weeks of sustained effort by me, an expert at unorganized accumulation, to make it that way.

Did I mention that the villa faced west? It would have to, of course, to overlook the ocean, since it was the west coast of Mexico. But it's worth mentioning again. We managed to time things to be at the villa to see two out of the three sunsets that occurred when we visited.

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At 11:59 PM, Anonymous RinoRalph said...

The Thought Whisperer was here: http:thoughtwhisperer.blogspot.com


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