Dining with Dave… Celeste Beach Residence and Spa in Huatulco

You don’t very often find the food at many beach resorts something to write home about.  Then again, Celeste Beach Residence and Spa in Huatulco, Oaxaca is not your average beach resort.

The pool area at Celeste Spa, Huatulco

The pool area at Celeste Spa, Huatulco

That becomes evident the moment you arrive and are met by the property concierge whose job it is to welcome you and get you situated on this wonderful property.  My visit this week was my second time on the grounds as last year I came as part of a real estate tour for potential clients.

This year I was there strictly as a tourist, received no compensation and as best as I could tell, was treated just like anyone else there.

As soon as we arrived we were escorted to the striking infinity pool area.  Almost immediately, the wait staff was there.  My friend wanted a mezcal margarita, which unfortunately was harder to get than one might think in the area of Mexico most famous for mezcal, Oaxaca.  As it turns out, all that was available was an off brand of mezcal reposado, which quickly became the basis for my buddies drink.

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After a while around the pool, we shifted to a nearly deserted beach.  Now you could get a boat and go searching for a deserted spit of sand, but with a place like this available, why bother?

Loaded with private and semi private cabañas, plenty of lounge chairs and an unlimited supply of clean towels, the Celeste staff made sure we had everything we needed, including drink refills on a timely basis.

Alternating between swimming and reading, I thought I was in heaven, until it was time for lunch and I got to try some of the delicious offerings from their rather small kitchen.

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First up was the guacamole, served with chips and topped with that wonderful Oaxacan cheese.  For our table of six, we asked for two orders, which more than satisfied our little group.  The guacamole was thick and rich, just like you make if you were doing it at home.  It lacked a little salt, but that was easily remedied and the cheese was a great topper.

But what was served alongside the guacamole stole the show, a creamy cilantro sauce, made even better with the addition of roasted habañero chiles.  When I added just a touch of this wonderful salsa to my guacamole, I was immediately transported to the Yucatan where the habañero is king.

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Celeste grilled fish tacos

Next up came our main dishes… actually, mostly appetizers that we shared around the table.  We tried the fish and shrimp tacos, crab tostadas and the ceviche.  For me it is always interesting to note the regional differences between how food is made and prepared in Mexico.

The fresh grilled fish and shrimp for the tacos we had today stood in stark contrast to the single dipped and fried variety you would typically get in Ensenada.  Served three to a plate, they were perfect for sharing.

Shredded crab tostaditas

Shredded crab tostaditas

As good as the tacos were, I think the shredded crab tostadas were even better.  Served on warm tostadas with a touch of romaine and a slice of avocado, they were fantastic.  When topped with the habañero laced creamy cilantro salsa they were simply irresistible.

Ceviche!

Ceviche!

We were almost full by the time the ceviche made it out, but I am glad we saved room. Just let me put it like this, I’ve had ceviche across this great country and I would make a special trip for this. Again, it was unlike the ceviche you would find in many parts of Mexico where they use ground fish.  This was hand sliced and cubed fish ceviche, loaded with flavor, and something to savor.

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Finally, one member of our group does not like seafood so she ordered a burger.  What she got floored her.  Perfectly cooked, full of flavor and topped with cheese and bacon.  It was exactly what she wanted.  Add in the chips and she was one happy camper.

All in all, we had a great day.  The people from Celeste treated us like royalty, as they did everyone on site today.  The beach and pool areas were perfect for a day of relaxation and letting go of some stress.  And the food was nothing short of awesome.

If I have one criticism, or suggestion, it would be for Celeste Spa to step up their mezcal game.  I believe in Oaxaca, at a high end resort, it is simply unacceptable to not be offering quality mezcal.  Mezcal is part of Oaxaca and a place like this should be pouring the best of the best alongside their great food and wonderful environs.

But don’t let this small criticism stop you from experiencing this place.  It’s a little remote, located on the shores of Bahia Conejos, but well worth it, especially if you have already made the decision to visit Huatulco.

For me, My Mexico cuts a wide swath.  I’ve been to small isolated restaurants, big time resorts, and everything in between in my over 20 years of traveling through this great country.

The day I had today ranks as one of the best I’ve experienced in some time.  Great location, great service and great food.  If you get a chance, check it out, order the crab tostadas and make sure to ask for that cilantro habañero salsa!

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Celeste Beach Residence and Spa is not open to the general public.  You only get in with a guest pass, or by being a member.  This is not a time share, rather it is a high end fractional ownership club.  You buy in and you get a minimum of 6 – 8 weeks guaranteed time to use your unit.  You can also book a room there if space is available.  When I am staying in Huatulco, I frequently use the folks at My Huatulco Vacation.  If you want to stay at Celeste, give Judy, Claudia or Valerie from My Huatulco a call, they’ll get you all hooked up!

If you are thinking of visiting Huatulco, you can fly direct from Mexico City or Oaxaca.  the primary airlines are AeroMexico, Aerotucan and Interjet.

You can also take a luxury class bus [ADO] from Oaxaca City.  The bus fare right now is about $35.00.  It is an overnight bus ride, taking 8 hours, during which most people sleep like babies.

Our meal for 6 people, including drinks [alcoholic and non alcoholic] and the tips for the entire day came to $140.00.

 

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