Four Seasons Goes Into Cahoots With Costa Palmas

All in the tiny town of La Ribera
BY: BILL DING

Anyone who has been to or through La Ribera on the East Cape could not imagine a luxury resort built on its shores. Well, you won’t have gone through it, only to it, as it’s a town on a dead end. The town is small, and certainly not fancy.

However, the northern beaches have seen an excavation and construction project of a magnitude never conceived of on the East Cape.  Behold the creation - Costa Palmas; a beachfront resort and exclusive vacation residence. Well, that was the plan.

first hurdle is getting through the gate. No looky loos allowed here, you need an appointment and an escort. My minders were Erin Struxness, a sales person, and her assistant.

They showed me around the Four Seasons, which is built on a corner of the property.

The setting and even the gorgeous restaurant which serves the guests is delicately understated.  Everything takes advantage of the location on the Sea of Cortez and, to many peoples’ chagrin, the natural estuary. The proximity of the estuary to the Four Seasons has been controversial from day one, but living so near it is nice. We can only hope the estuary huggers are wrong and we’re not hurting it. It was explained that to me that the natural fauna of the land in general was preserved in keeping with Mexican ecological laws. Mind you, that’s sales people talking, so who knows?

The 5 bedroom private villa I toured looks upon the estuary with tall cattail grasses which grow naturally and provide a wonderful privacy. The estuary molds into the 18 hole Robert Trent Jones II golf course which is starting to sprout its grass now. And there is another controversy;

Where does the water come from to keep all that grass happy? The original plan was to sell lots of condos in the Four Seasons and hope that they drank a lot and flushed a lot. But there are nowhere near enough residents to water the golf course, and the townspeople are really getting snippy about the lack of water coming out of their taps. They say they never had problems before this huge development started pumping out of their underground wells.

The Four Seasons has all of the amenities one would expect, including 141 accommodations with 23 suites, all with ocean view. There are four swimming pools, a spa with 10 treatment rooms, all on two pristine miles of beach.

The clutch of buildings are low slung three story, no high rise here, and come with pool, and indoor and outdoor shower for the master bedroom. The estuary side consists of moving glass walls built to withstand 100 mile an hour hurricane winds. Well, yes, it does get windy there, the area is known for it.

 Everything, not surprisingly, is designed to enjoy the outside and the climate. All residences are furnished and the owners have choices for decorating and certain architectural themes.  The architectural firm is Heah & Co of London, I was supposed to be impressed with that, but what do I know? Certainly no English architects.

comes that estuary part again, hunker down if you’re a greenie.

The prospectus tells us the rest of the residences are planned in harmony with the natural waterways and vegetation complete with swimming ducks and local birds.  Some of the villas are seemingly floating on the waterway

The master plan includes: the Four Seasons Hotel & Residences;  the Amanvari Resort & Residences; and a SoHo Hotel Resort. All would be under the Four Season branding and most offer rental services when not in use by the owners.  The private villa I viewed had very aesthetic locking storage built in for that reason. For sure these are rentals.

The previous developer of the master development went broke and there was a previous developer to that one who also went broke.  Third time is a charm I suppose, but possibly not since there has been no movement out there for several years now. It’s a big idea, dredging keys out of the ocean, building homes on those keys, and slips in front of each home. So far it’s a bit of an eye sore easily seen from the Four Seasons corner because t’s just dirt dredged out of the sea, with two jetties trying to hold the sea back. Maybe the Four Seasons has lost the faith that this is ever going to happen because now they’re saying they want to build their own marina.

The golf course is slated for ready this year and the master developer marina will be completed someday probably, and will have a yacht club; and a polo club. The concept is a family vacation with amenities to keep the children entertained as well. (Spoiler alert: kids screaming and pissing in the pool).

For now, the Four Seasons is advancing more rapidly than the homes on the keys.