By Chere Di Boscio
I have a confession to make: I am not much of a beach person. I don’t know how to swim very well, and avoid the sun at all costs to protect my skin. Sand and sea looks pretty much the same to me everywhere, and when I’m on holiday, I prefer exploring the cultural centres of cities, or going on a yoga retreat where the sun doesn’t slap you red if you step out at noon.
That being said, there is something special about the grandeur of the ocean: its size, its power, its murmur. Plus, my husband’s ‘happy place’ is beside the sea. So when we do choose to go on a beach holiday, for me, it’s all about the hotel.
A superlative beach hotel, in my mind, is a destination in itself. It should have a strong personality (no corporate chain hotels, thanks); intimate, with hidden corners you can curl up in with a book. It should have incredible views, unique, healthy food – and of course, it should be environmentally conscious.
I found a sweet boutique hotel – KiChic in Las Pocitas, Peru, that ticked all of those boxes.
A Haven Is Born
The place was founded by a pioneer in the area, Cristina Gallo, who was attracted to the area’s long stretches of isolated – and at the time, rather desolate – sandy beaches. Deciding she wanted to raise her five children there, Cristina bought some property along the shore and set out to ‘greenify’ the place.
Neem trees, aloe vera, honeysuckle and other flora were artfully planted and an organic food garden was installed. To construct KiChic, part of which is still her home today, Cristina used only sustainable, natural materials like adobe, eucalyptus wood and stone.
Spiritual and Stylish
She based KiChic on two core concepts: ‘Ki’, which is like ‘chi’ – the spiritual concept of the life force that flows through all things. The ‘Ki’ part of the hotel is exemplified by the vast, open yoga studio, where daily classes are held each morning; in the positive affirmations subtly placed around the hotel, and in the sumptuous vegetarian menu that offers Peruvian specialities like causa (mashed potatoes topped with avocado and diced tomatoes); zucchini ceviche; Peruanita salad (Andean potatoes, greens, lentils and corn topped off with a cheesy chilli dressing) and my favourite, malfatti (spinach dumplings smothered in a pomodoro sauce).
Ki is also seen through the hotel’s amazing energy healers. I was given reflexology by Oscar, a ridiculously handsome and soulful practitioner whose hands sent my body on a journey of pain and pleasure, after which I felt utterly renewed.
The ‘Chic’ part of Cristina’s boutique hotel concept is visible in the unique, artisanal decor – much of which was created by the owner herself. It’s a study in creativity: there are lamps made from paper and pebbles; decorative items made from shells, used tea bags and feathers; and tie dyed cotton pillows scattered over wood framed sofas.
But that’s not to say the hotel is rustic; far from it. Luxury abounds here by way of baby-soft alpaca blankets, Pima cotton robes, thick cotton towels and high thread count sheets supplied to each room.
And speaking of rooms, there are only SIX here, and each one has a special feature, be it a private plunge pool or particularly spectacular garden. Ours boasted a patio that stretched out to the sea from our bedroom, allowing us to marvel at the setting sun each evening.
Besides surfing and other water sports, yoga classes and spa treatments, there’s plenty to do here: there’s a cozy reading room with a well stocked library and comfy mattress; board games to play, and for those who don’t mind crowds, you can take a taxi to the nearby town of Mancora to shop for (rather tacky) souvenirs.
But in all honesty, I had no desire to do anything but enjoy the beauty of KiChic. It’s a hotel that’s so charming, so well located, and so well run, it truly is a destination in itself.
For more information or to book please click here.