In 1946, Hollywood star Rita Hayworth touched down on the glittery shores of Acapulco Bay, turning a small but stylish hotel called Boca Chica into her home base as she filmed "The Lady from Shanghai" with actor/ director--and then-husband--Orson Welles.
By the 1950s, the former fishing village had been utterly transformed into a premiere jet-set destination. The Boca Chica faded into obscurity and neglect in later years, as celebrities and sun-seekers headed to larger resort hotels along the city's broad azure bay. But the mid-century-modern gem in the heart of Acapulco is getting a new lease on life, as it reopens under the auspices of Grupo Habita, the company defining boutique chic in Mexico.
With a spate of other new luxury accommodations, Acapulco is getting an injection of high style likely to spark renewed interest among international travelers. The resort town, today a major metropolitan area in its own right, has never lost its allure among Mexicans, given the easy access from the capital and the timeless appeal of beaches and dusk-to-dawn nightlife. That combination has also proved irresistible to the spring-break crowd, for whom not even public relations nightmares like H1N1 and drug-related crime would stop the party.
A world away from the antics of American college students--and south of the city center along a scenic road--is the Zona Diamante, home to the latest developments and some of Greater Acapulco's most exclusive residential and hotel properties. It welcomed this year the Banyan Tree Cabo Marques, a hillside resort graced with private villas, each with a plunge pool and glorious view. The Asian hotelier's signature style blends well with the naturally lush setting, and guests here may also indulge in the services at Banyan Tree's Spa Complex, set among seven treatment pavilions.
Last year's hot hotel debut was the Encanto, a boutique spa property in the Brisas Marques neighborhood. Renowned Mexican architect Miguel Angel Aragones oversaw the design of this sleek $20 million resort, which boasts just 44 rooms, 22 of them with private balconies with pools.
It's surprising that no one has put together a Hollywood-style star tour of Acapulco. After all, actors, politicians and other celebrities have helped shape the city's image over the years, via vacation stills in fan magazines, fashion shoots and the films and many telenovelas that have used the spectacular setting as a backdrop...