The Valley is a wonderful place to spend time: it’s got warm, friendly people, spectacular views, and plenty of mysterious ruins.
But even when you live in a place that many consider to be a kind of Paradise, sometimes, you need a change a scenery. A place that’s hot, where you can hear the lull of the sea, enjoy fresh fish every day, and cosy up in a chic hotel right on the shore.
I found a sweet boutique hotel – the KiChic Hotel in Las Pocitas, Peru, that ticks all of those boxes.
The KiChic hotel is located in Pozitos, an area on the beach around 20 minutes outside the holiday town of Mancora, and that’s a good thing. While Mancora is popular with many Peruvian surfers and families on a budget, I found it overcrowded, noisy, and a bit tacky, thanks to the plethora of hostels and plastic Chinese tat that crowd the centre.
Pozitos, on the other hand, is a world away. It’s verdant, quiet and boasts long stretches of sandy beaches, bordered by vibrant sunsets in the evening.
KiChic hotel founder Cristina Gallo was one of the first people to set up a home here, and it’s thanks to her that this normally dry place is now lush with plants.
Neem trees, aloe vera, honeysuckle and other flora were artfully planted by Ms Gallow, 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.
Rooms from around $300. Adults only. For more information, please click here.