- Style Barefoot and bohemian
- Setting Fantasy island
On car-free, carefree Isla Holbox, a stone's throw from Mexico's Riviera Maya, Casa Sandra hotel is a retreat of bougainvillea-covered beach bungalows and hammocks strung between palm-trees. On this still-undiscovered paradise island, the waves are gentle, shoes are frowned upon and sunset cocktails are the only commitment of the day.
Need to know
- Rooms 17, including 10 suites.
- Rates Double rooms from $331.58, excluding tax at 14 per cent.
- More details Rates include daily breakfast, welcome cocktails, an hour of bicycle rentals.
- Facilities Spa, art gallery, reading room, board games, bicycles to rent, free WiFi in common areas. In rooms: radio, free bottled water, herbal bath products. In room spa treatments can be arranged.
- Poolside The heated outdoor pool is shaded by palms and surrounded by sunloungers. The sea’s on the doorstep, too, and day-beds, palapas loungers are available on the North Beach.
- Check–out Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Children The remote location and low-key style make this hotel best-suited for adults.
- Also Check the tidal forecasts before booking: occasional changes in currents send heaps of seaweed onto Casa Sandra’s adjacent beach, which can make for iffy beach conditions (and fishy fragrances).
In the know
- Our favourite rooms Suite 12 is especially private at the end of the resort, and has its own hammock for afternoon naps. It’s often called the Honeymoon Suite because of its secluded spot overlooking the ocean. Room 1 in the main house was owner Sandra’s bedroom before she converted the property. It has sweeping ocean views and a private twine-woven balcony. Take a look at your showerhead: many are fashioned from conch shells that were collected along the beach.
- Packing tips No need to bring extra shoes here. The locals pad around barefoot, and it usually takes less than an hour before guests opt to do the same. Bring an underwater camera to catch whale sharks and the brightly coloured fish that swim around the mangroves. There are only three ATMs on the island, and they frequently run out of pesos, so bring plenty of cash with you.
- Also Simubi Spa offers reiki, massages and reflexology just off the beach. Keep an eye out for Bernardo, the friendly local raccoon who wanders the resort every so often to check up on things.
Food and drink at Casa Sandra
- Hotel restaurant The laid-back restaurant, which opens out to the beach, is Holbox’s finest, serving fresh fish with a mix of Cuban and Mexican flavours. Dishes include lobster tamales, mango-spiked ceviche, fresh fillets with coconut curry, and saffron fish with garlic. On Saturdays, the restaurant serves Cuban dishes, including ropa vieja with fried sweet potatoes, and beer-soaked shrimp. For breakfast, sip fresh watermelon juice with spicy cheese-topped eggs. With advance notice, the restaurant can arrange for a romantic, torch-lit dinner on the beach.
- Dress code Island casual: kaftans and Havaianas are perfect, though you’re welcome to dine barefoot.
- Top table Take a table with wicker chairs outside overlooking the ocean for the best mealtime scenery.
- Last orders The pool bar serves cocktails and a light snack menu from noon until 6pm. The restaurant serves breakfast from 7am until 11am; lunch is offered from 1pm until 3pm, and dinner is available from 7pm until 11pm.
- Room service The full restaurant menu is available in your room from 7am until 11pm.
- Hotel bar There is a casual bar by the pool with a few stools, where guests can order light snacks and cocktails with a Cuban angle, including mojitos.
Also worth knowing
- Weddings This property is suitable for weddings. More details