Upscale travelers have their pick of luxury hotels in Riviera Nayarit. // © 2018 Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita
Feature image (above): Thanks to luxury hotels and unspoiled coastline activities, Riviera Nayarit is a favorite spot among upscale travelers. // © 2018 Riviera Nayarit Visitors and Conventions Bureau
I had never, in my entire life, received two spa treatments in one day. But if you’re a tired traveler looking to indulge to the extreme, Riviera Nayarit is an appropriate place to do it. With its alluring blend of unspoiled nature, luxury hotels and unique experiences, this sun-soaked spot along Mexico’s Pacific coast makes it easy to combine various elements for a unique getaway.
My first spa treatment was at Imanta Resorts Punta de Mita, a Relais & Chateaux property set among lush natural vegetation and an idyllic beach. The spa is fully open-air, tucked among soaring palm trees just off the sand. The ocean breeze is the only sound that accompanies the expert treatments.
With only 14 rooms, Imanta attracts upscale travelers looking for peace, privacy and impeccable service. The thoughtfully designed rooms range in size from the 1,900-square-foot Jungle View Suite to the 10,000-square-foot, three-bedroom Casona Los Templos villa. The on-site Tukipa restaurant serves international cuisine with creative flair.
My second spa treatment was at the 119-room W Punta de Mita, which opened in 2016 along a wide stretch of beach. The property’s Away Spa is exceptionally expansive and contemporary in design, and is furnished with couple’s treatment rooms with soothing water views.
Guestrooms at the W are decidedly casual and hip, with a stylish surfer vibe that works surprisingly well with local Huichol Indian decor elements (the top-of-the-line choice here is the 3,625-square-foot Extreme Wow Suite). Six dining venues serve an impressively diverse array of cuisine, from the pan-Asian fusion creations at Spice Market to the tasty ceviche at the cleverly named Chevicheria, an open-air beachfront restaurant created partly from a vintage Chevrolet truck.
Also ideal for indulgence is the beachfront resort development called Punta Mita, which is home to two of the region’s most luxurious hotels: The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort and Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita. Both properties offer easy access to the Jack Nicklaus-designed Punta Mita Pacifico and Punta Mita Bahia golf courses. Golfers should be sure to have their cameras ready when visiting the Pacifico course, which is known for its picturesque hole 3B, set on what’s called the world’s only natural island green.
The 120-room St. Regis exudes the ambiance of a private residential community, with handsome landscaping and a thoughtful layout with rooms arranged in an especially attractive style. Among the property’s most celebrated features is the AAA Five Diamond restaurant, Carolina, which serves fine international cuisine in an elegant setting. Also noteworthy is the Remede Spa, which has 10 treatment rooms and offers the only flotation therapy at a Mexico resort.
New this year at the St. Regis is the Avocado Bar, a beachfront eatery that serves a health-conscious menu.
Four Seasons Punta Mita, meanwhile, provides many options for travelers seeking posh accommodations, including private residences and multibedroom specialty suites. The hotel’s most exclusive activities include an Ultimate Tequila Tour that whisks guests aboard a private helicopter to the town of Tequila for customized tastings.
The Riviera Nayarit offers a variety of interesting diversions along its coast. Water-based activities are among the top reasons to visit, with opportunities for sailing, deep-sea fishing and even whale watching. The 340-slip Marina Riviera Nayarit is a favored spot for visiting yachts, while those in search of an exclusive experience might consider Four Seasons Punta Mita, which offers hourly and daily yacht charters, with craft including a 55-foot, 10-passenger vessel complete with a living room and kitchen.
Visitors will find myriad ways to enjoy the Riviera Nayarit on land and with upscale flair, too. On Sundays between January and April, La Patrona Polo & Equestrian Club offers a rare chance to experience a polo-themed brunch in Mexico. For $40 per person, guests enjoy mimosas, nonalcoholic beverages and an ample buffet, accompanied by a lively polo match and live music.
Even activities that may not seem elegant at first glance have become popular with well-heeled globetrotters in the Riviera Nayarit. Celebrities, for example, may check into the priciest suites and villas along the coast, but they’re also just as likely to be seen strolling the streets of Sayulita, a bustling little beach town that’s dotted with open-air restaurants, bars and shops. The rich and famous, in fact, seem to have staked a claim in Riviera Nayarit, taking a liking to its unique combination of luxury, nature and peacefulness. It’s no wonder that other upscale travelers have put the destination on their list of favorites, too.