Condé Nast Traveler showcases Francis Ford Coppola’s Cassa Zenda first

by McNab Editorial Team

The newest member of the Coppola Family of hotels is a private jungle retreat in Guatemala and featured first by Condé Nast Traveler, read excerpt and full story below …


Photo via

Travel, as they say, is about the journey. But Cassa Zenda places its bets on arrival. By the time the black speck on a vast, glassine lake sharpens into a private dock, you will have spent the better part of a day in a speeding motorboat and the last two hours purring slowly up Guatemala’s serpentine Rio Dulce. Here, steep canyons spring up on either side of the muddy riverbank, ushering you into a silent, primordial tableau of tangled green jungle dotted by thatched dwellings. River traffic slows to little more than a few families line-fishing from canoes.

If the panorama conjures the scene in Apocalypse Now in which Martin Sheen motors upriver through the jungle in search of Colonel Kurtz, it’s a meaningful coincidence: Cassa Zenda is director Francis Ford Coppola’s latest hospitality venture. (In fact, it was the filmmaker’s nostalgia for the jungle that led him to open his first hotel, Blancaneaux Lodge, in the rainforest of northern Belize in 1993.) We began the day at Turtle Inn, his low-key luxe beach hideaway in Placencia, Belize, where we overnighted in Sofia’s Beach House, a bohemian, California-modern compound with its own pool. From there we boarded a sleek Monterey motor-craft and sped an hour and a half down the turquoise, mangrove-lined Belizean coast, stopping to have our passports stamped by two tipsy immigration agents playing dominos. Crossing into Guatemala, we anchored in the port of Livingston, a knot of colorful ramshackle buildings and dockside restaurants reverberating with reggaeton and punta rock, which serves as the capital of Guatemala’s Caribbean-inflected Garifuna community. Finally, we hopped into a smaller and even sleeker boat, a Nautique, where we were met by Cassa Zenda’s ebullient manager, Kika Garces, proffering glasses of champagne, and we began our 27-mile cinematic journey upriver to Lago de Izabal.

Read full article by BY ALEX POSTMAN here:

Related Articles