Discovering Honeymoon Retreats in Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo By Rhonda Lawrence / February 09, 1998 Share 1 -- Writer Rhonda Lawrence sought honeymoon hideaways in Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo on a trip sponsored by Sectur, Mexico's Ministry of Tourism. Her report follows:ZIHUATANEJO -- Located 150 miles north of Acapulco on what is known as both the Mexican Riviera and the Costa Dorada (golden coast), Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo is really two destinations in one. The modern resort destination of Ixtapa offers newlyweds a wide range of high-rise properties along the two-and-a-half-mile-long beach, two golf courses, tennis facilities, water sports, disco dancing and several shopping centers.Although only four miles away, the small fishing village of Zihuatanejo offers an entirely different ambience for guests in search of local color. Zihuatanejo is just the place for a couple to nestle into one of the three small but luxurious inns situated along La Ropa Beach or amid the stalls of Mexican vendors and artisans.Between the two destinations, the accommodations can suit any couple's taste and pocketbook.In Zihuatanejo, Villa del Sol, La Casa Que Canta and Hotel Puerto Mio are particularly well-suited for newlyweds.Villa del Sol, a member of both Small Luxury Hotels and Relais & Chateaux, continues to shine as the jewel of Zihuatanejo. Situated on a private expanse of La Ropa Beach, Villa del Sol offers private moonlight dinners for two on the beach, with strolling mariachis. The hotel contains more than 40 suites, including nine new beach suites ranging in size from 1,200 to 2,000 square feet, each with its own private terrace (or beach-level veranda), plunge pool and hammock for two. Nightly rates start at $210, double, through March 31 and $160 from April 1 to Nov. 14. Villa del Sol Phone: (888) 389-2645 Small Luxury Hotels Phone: (800) 525-4800 Relais & Chateaux Phone: (800) 860-4930 Robert Reid Associates Phone: (800) 223-6510.Like a storybook villa complete with thatched roofs, the 24-suite La Casa Que Canta rises above Zihuatanejo Bay. The property has pools that seemingly blend into the blue horizon of the bay, and a cozy nook lurks behind every corner. The feeling of sunlight and fresh air surrounds guests whether they are enjoying a private terrace or dining next to the pool overlooking the bay.Rates start at $280 per night, double, through April. La Casa Que Canta Phone: (888) 523-5050.The 22-suite Hotel Puerto Mio is perched on a peninsula above a stony cove. Most suites feature balconies with views from the cliff overlooking Zihuatanejo Bay. Next to the property is a full-service marina offering slips for yachts; sailing, scuba diving and big-game fishing excursions; Jet Skis and motorboats. Nightly rates start at $150, double, from April through November. Hotel Puerto Mio Phone: (888) 633-3295. Two good resort choices for honeymooning clients in Ixtapa are Westin Brisas and Sheraton Ixtapa.Taking cues from the pre-Hispanic traditions of Mexico, the monumental architecture of Westin Brisas presides over a sugar-white stretch of beach. Every room has a private balcony overlooking the Pacific Ocean, perfect for a quiet evening after a day spent at one of the four pools or the beach. One of Ixtapa's two golf courses is situated across the avenue from Westin Brisas, and the other is nearby. There are four lighted championship tennis courts and plenty of opportunities to hike, horseback ride, snorkel and scuba. Westin Brisas also has an on-site wedding planner. Two- to seven-night honeymoon packages are available. Among the many inclusions are an oceanview junior suite, a bottle of champagne, a 20% discount on greens fees, one dinner and airport transfers. Rates start at $1,204 per couple through April 11 and $962 April 12 to Dec. 20. Westin Brisas Phone: (800) 228-3000.Sheraton Ixtapa features an open-air atrium and accommodations in two 12-story towers. Every Wednesday evening, brightly colored lights and streamers decorate the outdoor fiesta area of the Sheraton. The fiesta features the ballet folklorico, rope-wielding caballeros and a Mexican buffet. Nightly rates start at $230, double, through March 31 and $170 from April 1 to Nov. 14. Sheraton Ixtapa Phone: (800) 325-3535.