PUNTA MITA, Mexico Wrapped in silky robes while watching the sun
set into the Pacific, David and Judea Winter couldn’t help talking
about their 18-month-old son Max. Mind you, this was their special
The couple had just spent 90 minutes chanting and playing drums
in the hotel’s temazcal, a dome-like adobe steam lodge on a
secluded lawn overlooking the sea. The mystical, transcendental
experience left them mellow and relaxed. But the Winters were so
enamored with Max’s adjustment to luxury travel they had to share
When the Laguna Beach, Calif., family arrived at the Four
Seasons Punta Mita near Puerto Vallarta, they discovered a crib
filled with baby essentials including shampoo, powder, diapers and
just about everything Max could desire. A safety gate surrounded
their suite’s plunge pool; bumper pads covered sharp edges on the
coffee table. “As a parent, it makes me feel very secure coming
into a room that’s been so completely baby-proofed,” David Winter
They experienced the temazcal and romantic dinners knowing Max
was perfectly happy playing with the babysitter he’d grown attached
to during their short stay.
“This is the most baby-friendly hotel I’ve ever seen,” he
The Four Seasons is the first hotel in the Punta Mita
development, which is slated to include four hotels, two golf
courses and communities of high-end villas. A couple of small
seaside villages with modest restaurants are located about a
15-minute walk from the hotel, but the property itself is remote
and peaceful. It’s set at the edge of the point and is blessed with
near constant sea breezes.
Families are particularly pleased with the Four Seasons Punta
Mita, and they certainly get the biggest bang for their buck. Room
rates, meals and spa treatments are pricey at this secluded resort,
but the complimentary family amenities might make the rates easier
to swallow. Children under the age of 18 share their parents’ room
at no extra charge, or have their own adjoining room at a 50
percent reduced rate (offered in a family package that includes a
50 percent discount on meals for kids under 12).
Children ages 5 to 12 participate in activities offered through
the daily complimentary Kids for All Seasons program, scrambling
around at the playground in the children’s center or searching for
crabs and anemones in tide pools.
Teens are delighted with the Nunutzi game room, a
2,400-square-foot facility with PlayStation consoles, ping-pong and
foosball tables and a glassed-in pool table room where parents can
compete while keeping an eye on the youngsters. When there are five
or more teens on property, the hotel hosts a teen program with
kayaking, windsurfing, beach volleyball and bonfires.
Grown-ups have plenty of playtime options as well. The hotel is
located within a 1,500-acre resort development with a Jack
Nicklaus-designed golf course boasting an optional 19th hole on its
own island. The four-court tennis center is illuminated at night;
fishing, diving and sailing excursions are available.
The daily activities schedule begins with a serene yoga class on
a rocky outcropping above the sea and continues with aqua-aerobics,
surfing, birding and sightseeing walks, kayak fishing, scuba
lessons and shopping excursions to Puerto Vallarta’s excellent
fine-art galleries and folk-art shops. The shuttle to town costs
$30 per person and runs once each day and evening. The drive takes
about 50 minutes each way.
Unlike many destination resort hotels that look like they could
be plopped down anywhere in the world, the design and style of the
Four Seasons Punta Mita reflect its jungle setting on Mexico’s
tropical Pacific Coast. The low-rise buildings blend into a virtual
forest of palms that shade terraces and part of the mesmerizing
horizon pool. Textiles in the rooms and public spaces are
embroidered with designs created by the Huichol Indians, who create
intricate beaded masks, figurines and belts in villages tucked in
the Sierra Madre above Punta Mita.
Lectures on Huichol culture and Mexican art and cuisine are held
in the large, comfy Cultural Center, stocked with books on Mexican
culture. Guests are especially fond of the center’s tequila
tasting; many follow up with a tequila-theme dinner at Aramara, the
Chino-Latino fine-dining restaurant.
Tequila takes on healing properties at the Apuane spa, where it
is mixed with sage oil for the signature Punta Mita massage. The
Margarita scrub combines lime and sea salt with a dash of tequila.
More traditional offerings include mud and seaweed wraps and a full
beauty salon. The excellent fitness center is so popular that the
spa is losing its pleasant lounge area, which will be converted
into a fitness studio for classes.
Thus far, guests are undisturbed by the sounds and sights of
construction, but the development is sure to boom soon. If your
clients are looking for a total escape, send them to the Four
Seasons before it’s too late.