Mexico may have dodged a bullet from the fury of Hurricane Patricia, but jetsetters like Bill Gates, Gwyneth Paltrow and Cindy Crawford will have to find a new playground for now after the storm ravaged some of the world's most exclusive holiday homes. Patricia, packing 165mph winds, carved a swathe through relatively remote parts of rural Mexico last week, hammering exclusive retreats favoured by A-list stars.
While Patricia missed the sunkissed Pacific resort of Puerto Vallarta and key port of Manzanillo, some of its fiercest winds first struck the eight miles of private beach at the luxury vacation resort of Costa Careyes, where pop singer Seal married his now ex-wife, model Heidi Klum, a decade ago.
The 20 or so guests staying at Careyes were evacuated before the storm hit, while the wider impact on Mexico was muted by a combination of factors including its speed and the fact it was broken up when it ran into mountains. No one was killed.
The several dozen homes at Costa Careyes have recently played host to pop stars, Mexican magnates and European royalty, and several of the largest properties feature their own helipads just beyond the resort's polo club.
When the hurricane struck on Friday (October 23) evening, neatly arranged terra-cotta tiles lining the roofs were completely blown off and furniture was sucked out of some properties, though the walls of most of the structures remained intact. Shattered pieces of the orange tiles dot the resort's narrow stairways. Elegant infinity pools are now littered with chunks of collapsed balconies, furniture and coconuts.
Poorer villages around Costa Careyes fared worse. Perula, where many of the workers who are employed by Careyes and a similar luxury resort Cuixmala live, suffered the brunt of the hurricane.