Casa de Mita // © 2014 Casa de Mita
Feature image (above): Verana is a rustic chic inn on a forested hillside. // © 2014 Jae Feinberg
Fabulous dining? Check. Tempting shopping? You’ve got it. Lavish resorts and funky budget hotels? Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit have that too.
The two jungle-meets-sea destinations are filled with all the diversions travelers enjoy, but there are times when clients need to get away from distractions and decisions. Fortunately, when the desire for a complete escape wins out, Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit have that covered. Small, discreet hideaways are tucked along bays and atop hills so secluded they feel like remote islands. Give your clients these ideas for complete retreats, all of which pay commission.
Mar de Jade
It takes about 90 minutes to drive from the Puerto Vallarta airport to Chacala, a small village at the northern end of Riviera Nayarit. Guests at Mar de Jade, a lovely 30-room retreat overlooking a pristine bay, don’t mind the drive. It gives them a sense of total escape. Buildings hidden in gardens beneath leafy trees contain rooms to meet every budget. Some have shared bath; some lack air conditioning. Suites with a Mexican flair face the ocean and have air conditioning.
Guests tend to stay for a week, lounging in the three pools, indulging in soothing massages at the spa and staring out at the sea from hammocks on the beach. They can also join activities such as yoga classes, horseback riding, fishing and surfing. Tours are available of Mar de Jade’s 19-acre organic farm, the source of much of the food served at the popular buffet meals. The hotel hosts yoga, wellness and meditation retreats, and guests are invited to volunteer at community projects begun by Mar de Jade’s owners, who have been hosting guests since 1983.
Casa de Mita
Once a lavish private home on a quiet beach, this eight-unit villa maintains a mi casa es su casa ambience. All rooms have open tiled showers, gorgeous hand-carved furniture, plush beds, original art and balconies. The style is Europe meets Mexico meets owner Marc Lindskog’s imagination and desire to make guests feel comfortable and pampered.
Though it’s in the same neighborhood as St. Regis and Four Seasons, Casa de Mita feels completely isolated. Guests gather on the sun deck around a saltwater pool or claim padded lounging beds overlooking the long beach and sea. Nobody misses a meal prepared by chef Octavio Rodriguez, who varies each day’s menu with treats such as roasted poblano chili soup or coconut shrimp with mango and tequila salsa. Fortunately, all meals and most beverages are included in the room rate. Counting calories is not an option here.
Escaping to this rustic chic inn on a forested hillside south of Puerto Vallarta ensures complete privacy. A boat picks up guests at Boca de Tomatlan and ferries them along an uninhabited coastline to the tiny village of Yelapa. Next comes a hike or mule ride up the hillside toward scattered houses and palapa roofs buried in the forest. The sight of a cool blue pool, umbrella-shaded lounges and a bar makes the effort to reach this paradise worth it. Some rooms (all self-contained) are sleek and modern, while others serene and sparse.
The palapa room, with its towering thatched roof, multi-level sleeping and relaxing areas, hammocks and open-air design is completely enchanting. Gourmet meals, included in a separate meal plan, are sumptuous and varied. Even taco night includes tasty, totally fresh ingredients. Spa treatments include watsu and other relaxing options, and trips to deserted islands, fishing, hiking and other activities amuse restless guests.