Western Mexico is becoming a hot spot for resort developments aimed
at high-end travelers seeking such amenities as championship golf
courses and exclusive spas. Los Cabos’ trend of building top-tier
hotels, spas and golf courses in resort communities such as Cabo
Real and Cabo del Sol is working its way down Mexico’s Pacific
As the Puerto Vallarta area expands its lineup of upscale
properties, Punta Mita, a private, gated golf resort community set
on a peninsula in the state of Nayarit, is lifting the region’s
status as a destination of choice for the discriminating
Set on the northern tip of Banderas Bay 45 minutes north of
Puerto Vallarta, the development first surfaced in 1999 with the
opening of the 140-room Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, featuring a
Jack-Nicklaus designed golf course and a spa offering a
comprehensive list of unique treatments.
Plans for the 1,500-acre Punta Mita development call for a total
of five luxury, boutique-style properties and three championship
golf courses, in addition to residential units that will be
complemented by additional facilities.
The latest company to sign on to the project is Rosewood Hotels
and Resorts, which unveiled plans in August to build a 70-room
property north of the Four Seasons that will also include
Rosewood’s entry will further elevate Punta Mita’s status as a
premier resort community in Mexico, according to Brock Squire,
owner of the franchise for Coldwell Banker Previews International
Punta Mita, the sales agent for the Punta Mita development.
“If the Four Seasons has a target audience of the top 5%, then
Rosewood probably has a target audience of the top 2%, and they’ve
proven that in Los Cabos with Las Ventanas [al Paraiso],” he said,
referring to the company’s 68-suite resort and spa that has become
a standout on the Sea of Cortes at the tip of the Baja
The Rosewood Resort at Punta Mita is intended to be a sister
property to Las Ventanas al Paraiso, offering the same upscale
brand of hospitality in a unique ambience that incorporates the
distinctive scenic, ecological and cultural features of the
Distinguishing features of the property will include
700-square-foot guest units with fireplaces and plunge pools; an
exclusive spa; and a small village with retail stores, a gourmet
shop, a delicatessen and a bakery. The property will also have two
pools (one for adults and one for children) and three
Rosewood plans to break ground on the project in November and
open the resort by fall 2004.
Squire said Dine, the Mexican real estate firm that owns and
operates Punta Mita, is in negotiations with a Southern California
developer for the third property, which will be a 200-suite resort
the largest of the development. That deal is expected to close
later this year, with the resort scheduled to open in approximately
two years. Dine expects the fourth and fifth hotels at Punta Mita
to be developed within the next three to four years.
The two additional golf courses at Punta Mita will include
another Jack Nicklaus-designed layout, which will commence
construction when the 200-suite hotel breaks ground, and a Greg
Norman-designed course, which will be developed in conjunction with
the fourth hotel.
Squire said that, like the Four Seasons Golf Club Punta Mita,
the second course will be a Signature Jack Nicklaus facility, which
is the premier level of the three brands Nicklaus attaches to his
The course at the Four Seasons is a 19-hole facility spread over
200 acres of the peninsula, with eight holes bordering the bay or
the ocean. There are ocean views from everywhere on the course, and
the trademark feature is the extra 19th hole, which sits on a small
offshore island. Duffers access the island via a rocky pathway at
low tide or on amphibious golf carts at high tide. Squire said all
of the elements of Punta Mita are being developed in an
ecologically sensitive manner, and properties are designed to
complement the environment.
“It’s very low density. Nothing over two stories or over tree
height is allowed anywhere in the project,” he said. “There are
1,500 acres of land in Punta Mita, and the hotels will be a minimum
half-mile away from each other. Some will be several miles
According to Squire, Punta Mita sets itself apart from other
resort communities in Mexico with distinctive scenery, high-level
infrastructure and a variety of recreational pursuits.
“It’s the beauty of the peninsula there are 9.5 miles of
coastline at Punta Mita the quality of the infrastructure, which is
absolutely top-of-the-line, and the level of activities available
for everyone to participate in,” he said.
With the new developments, Punta Mita expects the United States
to continue to be its main market, Squire said, adding that upscale
couples and families, including a number of celebrities, have
represented the bulk of business since the Four Seasons debuted in
“When the Four Seasons opened, they anticipated more couples
than families, but what has transpired is that the bar bill is one
of the lowest of all of the Four Seasons hotels, which has
indicated that it is more of a family resort,” he said.
As a result, the property opened Kids for All Seasons. The
complimentary program, aimed at children ages 5 to 12, features
indoor and outdoor activities, a welcome gift, milk and cookies at
bedtime and child-size robes. “There are a lot of families who come
to Punta Mita because of all of the things to do tennis, golf,
horseback riding, surfing, sailing, kayaking and deep-sea fishing,”
Despite the family appeal, couples will find plenty of privacy,
according to Squire.
“There are great little getaways around the project and within
the existing [Four Seasons] hotel,” he said.
Aside from the numerous recreational diversions, such as
excursions in the nearby Sierra Mountains, Punta Mita also promotes
cultural endeavors. In particular, the Cultural Center at the Four
Seasons features exhibitions, lectures and tastings focusing on
everything from Mexican culinary traditions and tequila to the
area’s ecology and Huichol Indian heritage.
For information on Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, call
800-819-5053. Web site: www.fourseasons.com.
For Rosewood Resort at Punta Mita, call 888-ROSEWOOD. Web site: