Acclaimed hotelier Carlos Couturier—part of the team behind Mexico's über-chic Habita and Deseo hotels—is breaking new ground with Veracruz's most stylish escape. Hotel Azúcar (Carr. Federal Nautla-Poza Rica, Monte Gordo; 52-232/321-0678; www.hotelazucar.com; doubles from $168), 20 whitewashed, thatched palapas with private terraces and hammocks, is named for the area's sugar factories, a tribute to the eastern state's dominant industry. Individually selected driftwood and reproduction-1930's furnishings from Couturier's grandparents' farm lend local flavor, while brightly colored poolside beanbags and rose-hued pillows accent the sun-bleached minimalist design. By day, bike to a nearby fishing village, drive through vanilla plantations and citrus groves to El Tajín (the ninth-century ruins 30 miles to the north), or relax beachside with a hot-stone massage. Then let the chef prepare you a simple dish—grilled freshwater langoustines with spicy chipotle sauce, perhaps—and watch the sun set to a Latin sound track.
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