Acclaimed hotelier Carlos Couturier—part of the team who helped create Mexico’s Habita and Deseo hotels—is breaking new ground with Azúcar, a three-hour drive from Veracruz. Named for the area’s sugar factories, the resort’s 20 whitewashed, thatched bungalows (just off a bustling main road) all have private terraces with hammocks. Individually selected driftwood and reproductions of furnishings from Couturier’s grandparents’ ranch lend local flavor, while brightly colored poolside beanbags and rose-hued pillows accent the spare design. By day, relax beachside with a hot-stone massage, or drive through vanilla plantations and citrus groves to El Tajín (the ninth-century ruins 30 minutes to the north). Then let the chef prepare the catch of the day—such as grilled freshwater langoustines with spicy chipotle sauce—and watch the sun set.