(For background on the special nature of islands, read Thoughts on Islomania, Part I.)
Amble Resorts’ mission, paraphrased, is to develop places that express their true spirit, or genius loci. Thus the understanding of the Platonic Island is one of the main driving forces behind the vision for Isla Palenque, and our development will embody the kind of tranquility that can be gained by island living.
Let’s begin by considering the island itself. Both its size (400 acres) and its natural features (highly varied topography, lots of distinct, untouched ecosystems) make it eminently, but not easily, knowable. Isla Palenque is small enough to be understood, at a very superficial level, in one to two days of very hard hiking (it would take closer to a week at the leisurely pace of a casual tourist). But it’s also large enough and has enough diverse topography and distinct ecosystems to furnish a full month or more of deeper exploration: it would take a few solid years to understand the natural rhythms that affect and give life to the island year-to-year. So Isla Palenque is not easily knowable — that would be boring — but it is comprehensible within a few days, and largely understandable with a few months of concerted effort; at the same time, its jungles and lagoons contain subtle mysteries that reward years of living there, if you desire.
Next, look at how our development respects these facts and creates an environment where Palenque’s Island-ness can shine through. The island is being very lightly developed. Less than 5% of the area is being built upon, leaving over 95% as either undisturbed preserve (most of it), or as delicately enhanced landscape: gardens dedicated to local flora and fauna, lightly adjusted jungle, an organic farm, and the like. This means that most buildings will be obscured by jungle or gardens, unseen by guests.
There’s no way to reach Isla Palenque except by boat. It’s difficult to come here, and you must make the legendary journey I’ve described. As you approach the island, you will see little more than the occasional roof peeking through the jungle until reaching the arrival dock, when some of the larger elements of the hotel will become visible, built in our signature raw, exotic style that indicates the “otherworldliness” of our island development. And while it won’t feel completely uninhabited, homes and rooms will feel so secluded that you could be forgiven for forgetting that there were others on the island.
From this secluded idyll, you can reflect on your mainland life from the vantage point of an unencumbered island existence. And when it’s time for you to return to mainland, you go with new vigor, new insights, and a sense of spiritual renewal.
(To read about how these ideas are reflected in Amble Resorts’ second island project, Zophora, see Thoughts on Islomania, Part III.)