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Outside Mag March 2010, editor’s choice

Transcript: …….. Even when cash is tight, we need to check out from the world every now and then – and spare no expense doing it. At least I do. I’m a great advocate of the well-timed splurge. It’s not only necessary; it’s good therapy. By making money no object, we sign a contract with ourselves to stop sweating the small stuff. As Ray Charles put it, “ I you wanna have a ball, you gotta go out and spend some cash.”

For me, the best way to exercise this profligate impulse is to recharge in an outlandishly fine hotel. Once,Once, after recovering a weeklong ultramarathon in the broiling Sahara, I booked one blissful night in Marrakesh’s legendary La Mamounia, where Churchill wrote his memoirs. No regrets. In the Amalfi Coast town of Ravello, my wife and I blew our kids’ college nest eggs to stay just a few nights in a 12th-century palazzo with a restaurant headed by two star Michelin chefs. No regrets.

But the best splurge I ever had was last spring, at a magical place called Verana (, on a jungle hill 30 miles south of Puerto Vallarta. Created by two European set designers/builders, Verana is a triumph of primitive-chic minimalism crafted entirely by hand and maintained entirely by hoof. ( Everything in this roadless paradise has to be hauled up by burros, including your luggage – but not you.)

The total aesthetic manages to be both ragged and clean-lined, sumptuous and spare. There’s a fabulous library, a spring fed pool, a gourmet restaurant with a dead- serious tequila collection, and eight stylish suites open to the thrumming jungle. Call it flip-flop luxe. I found the place so inviting, so calming, so effortless in tune with nature, it actually repaired my soul. Of course, the bill was astronomical. But….no regrets.

by Hampton Side

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