Ben Loomis, Founder and President of Amble Resorts and the mastermind behind Isla Palenque’s development, arrived on the island. With him: Julie, an Amble Resorts Design Associate, and the other intern team, Cade and Adam, two architects selected to spend the summer on special design projects for the resort. I know what you’re thinking: two intern teams, living together on the same island? While there is certainly potential for fierce competition, reality TV drama, and/or a gruesome fight to the death… we are actually quite excited to be working parallel to them in this venture.
Shortly after we all meet, Ben takes us on a tour through a number of the island’s spectacles. We’re six people in a 5-person car, going down windy, muddy trails. Buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
We reach a natural clearing where the first villa will be built. The unofficial “Phase Zero” of Isla Palenque, this 5-bedroom beachfront villa will open as a fully-functional inn while construction continues on the rest of the island. Sloping on the hillside with a glorious view over Playa Primera and Playa Cala Este, its surrounding tide pools, and the to-be nature center, the guestrooms and tented suites look to provide a teasing glimpse of the island’s expansive luxury.
Ben then leads us down a short trail where palm trees gradually give way to another beach on the eastern end. The sun glistens off of quiet waves brushing untouched sand; the kind of scene you see in a Hollywood dream sequence. Ben admits this is one of his favorite spots on the whole island.
Another interesting car ride and we arrive on the main beach, Playa Palenque. After taking time to enjoy the water, we sit around a picnic table that a Palenque architect designed from a piece of driftwood to watch the sun set. Ben serves drinks made with Panamanian Abuelo Rum, soda, and a just-cracked-open coconut. We relax and tried to fathom that this kind of thing happens in real life.
Images by Luke Hansen.