Barcello Hotel, Ixtapa, Mexico

After a seven-peso minibus ride from the charming fishing village of Zihuatanejo to the complex of high-rise hotels in nearby Ixtapa, I strolled into the lobby of the Barcello Hotel like I owned the joint. Having changed into my bathing suit in one of their marble-and-chrome bathrooms, I walked through the luxurious pool area to an even more luxurious beach area, where I was impressed by an army of palapas standing in orderly rows. Each one shaded two plush lounges with thick maroon bath towels neatly spread atop the cushions. Since all the palapas were taken up front, I sought out a remote one, away from the crowd, and hunkered down for the day. With two oversized towels at my disposal, I rolled up my thin green-and-white Godzilla beach towel and used it as a pillow.

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