The main ingredients for a total reboot it turns out are quite simple—miles of uninterrupted oceanfront, genuine heartfelt service, top-quality local cuisine, and a dash of well-crafted poolside cocktails.
We discovered the perfect blend in a secluded stretch of Riviera Nayarit, about 25 miles north of Puerto Vallarta, during a 5-day trip to the Punta de Mita region.
The Trendy W Punta de Mita
The reboot, focusing on indulgence and relaxation, began with a 2-night stay at the W Punta de Mita, where a 9-ft.-tall Huichol statue parked in a reflection pool greeted our group at the entrance. Colorful tuk-tuks drove us to the hotel welcome area where we were handed refreshing hibiscus and mint coolers as a prelude to the personal service (and drinking) yet to come.
My room was decked out in a fiesta of colors and whimsical detail including a headboard made of surfboards, inspired by the surf culture along Mexico’s Pacific Coast. In the foyer, a painting of famous Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata leaning on a guitar stood as just one of many Zapata representations throughout the hotel.
We didn’t need to leave our rooms to get into the spirit of our stay. Displayed before me were all the trimmings for a make-it-yourself margarita—Don Julio Reposado, passionfruit soda, lime juice, fresh basil, a wedge of grapefruit, and a glass sprinkled with worm salt. The traditional version, with grapefruit syrup, is called the piwiwi, and was my cocktail of choice at the palapa-style Living Room Bar just beyond the lobby.
Local Huichol art and culture take center stage at the W, including a blue and green mosaic “Camino Huichol” bridge, stretching over 450 feet from the welcome area. Comprised of more than 700,000 mosaic tiles, the walkway represents the Huichol’s life journey, passing the hotel’s WET Deck pool area, and ending with an overlook on the postcard-perfect white-sand beach.
“The pathway represents the path of life,” says Mauricio Duran, the hotel’s destination sales manager. “The journey may have ups and downs but in the end the spirit goes to a peaceful place.”
Located around the property are three murals by Mexican graffiti artist Nacho Bernal, one depicting a jungle scene with a jaguar adorned in Huichol beads, an animal that was said to be the guardian of the Huichol culture.
“We took the W’s DNA and implemented it into a leisure environment,” says Brian Segrave, the hotel’s general manager. “We made it fun with revolutionary art, Huichol design on the bridge, papel picado—or Mexican origami—around the welcome desk. The W is contemporary but also tongue in cheek.”
The hotel, which opened in 2016, offers 119 guestrooms including 13 suites with jungle or ocean views, and a rich assortment of culinary options.
Our group dined at the Spice Market by renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, pairing local wines with Southeast Asian-inspired cuisine.
Chevycheria, a 1950’s Chevy truck converted into an oceanfront bar, serving fresh ceviches and craft beer, hosted us our second night. The chef even created a vegan ceviche using hearts of palm for my dietary needs.
To help detox from all the indulging, we spent a few hours at the resort’s AWAY Spa, soaking in the outdoor pools before our facial and massage treatments. After hours, we relaxed on the WET Deck by the pool listening to music spun by local DJs.
The Attentive St. Regis Punta Mita Resort
Located within Punta de MIta’s private Punta Mita area, St. Regis Punta Mita Resort, with 22 acres on a 1,500-acre private peninsula, beckons with vast beachfront. After the W, it had a hard act to follow. But the property proved every bit as attentive, including butler service for every guest and a private villa with its own private pool for our group. The 120 guestrooms and suites offer ocean or garden views and outdoor showers.
“The most incredible thing about this place is the people—all of our staff are from here,” says James Hughes, general manager of the St. Regis. “They’re authentic, natural. They’re happy to make our guests happy. You can feel if it’s the real thing or not. Many destinations, you go and they treat you great, but there is no soul. That’s what we try to create here. We want people to leave here knowing they have a place to come back to.”
Watermelon margaritas by the adults-only pool made us happy for a full two days leading to a rejuvenating appointment at the Remede Spa on property. I opted for an hour-long massage preceded by sauna, steam room and pools.
In the mornings we had the option of utilizing free paddleboards, kayaks and snorkel gear. I chose the latter and was lucky to see a zebra eel, pufferfish, boxfish, angelfish, wrasses, and a host of others just steps from the beach.
Our meals at Las Marietas Restaurant & Bar and the Mita Mary Bistro Boat were set on the beach with the backdrop of surreal fiery sunsets. We also participated in a cooking class with sous executive chef Angelina Ramos, formerly of the five-diamond De Cortez Restaurant in Los Cabos. She let us help with guacamole and ceviche before she pounded out a whole table full of seafood and local dishes.
Exploring Beyond the Properties
From the W, clients can head to Sayulita, a haven for surfers and shoppers who can browse clothing and handicraft boutiques, local art galleries, and restaurants.
At nearby Rancho Vista Paraiso, travelers can go horseback riding, ziplining and tequila tasting, or opt for ATV rides and Mexican cooking classes.
As I learned, there’s nothing more exhilarating than zipping at 60 mph through the Sierra Madre Occidental canopy overlooking Punta Mita and surrounding Banderas Bay. The tour traverses 10 ziplines with names like El Toro (the Bull) and Big Mama (the longest run, spanning over 1km).
The trip was capped off with one final night of decadent desserts and a beachside sunset—the reboot was complete.
W Punta de Mita & St. Regis Punta Mita Resort: marriott.com
What’s In it For Travel Advisors
The Marriott brand offers agents its Preferred Travel Agency program, which provides accredited travel agencies with a Preferred (10 percent) commission level for all transient commissionable bookings made across Marriott’s portfolio of brands worldwide. Agents can also take advantage of Fam-Tastic, which allows travel professionals to gain access to Marriott’s Hotel Excellence! eLearning module and exclusive Fam-Tastic discount rates.
Left: Poolside at W Punta de Mita; below: Deluxe suite at St. Regis Punta Mita.