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Puerto Vallarta has long lured travelers with its simple charms, a quality I find to be naturally embodied by CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa.
The property is located just 1½ miles from the airport and offers 433 guestrooms, including 29 spacious suites with a separate living area, sofa bed and walk-in closet. Room decor is simple and warm, with vibrant colors adding a touch of Mexican flair. All rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows, a marble bathroom, an LCD television and high-speed Internet access.
The resort features three restaurants. For traditional Mexican cuisine, such as chilaquiles with salsa verde, guests should try La Estancia. Or, for Mexican with a twist, the breezy, beachfront Las Casitas offers items such as escabeche de camaron (a marinated shrimp dish), one of my favorites. I recommend the sushi at Mikado, where chefs prepare the day’s local catch in front of guests. There is also an open-air lobby bar and a swim-up bar in the infinity pool.
For a unique gourmet highlight, clients should try the Sunset Guacamole Experience. Every Tuesday and Friday, one of the resort’s guacamole experts works the molcajete (a traditional Mexican version of a mortar and pestle) to make the dish for guests to taste while the orange sun dips into the sea. The signature recipe is given out as a souvenir.
Tequila aficionados will be drawn to the resort’s tasting courses, aptly named Tequila 101, Tequila 2.0 and Tequila Snob. Tastings are led by the resort’s tequila sommelier and include Mexican small bites.
The on-site Ohtli Spa offers signature treatments inspired by the local Huichol tribes. Menu items include Fire Opal Balancing Stone Therapy, which uses the Mexican fire opal to stimulate circulation; Aztec Chocolate Body Wrap, which follows ancient cell-renewal techniques with a nutrient-rich infusion; and Jantzu Rebirth Therapy, which combines meditation with relaxing warm water. Guests should arrive early to spa treatments in order to luxuriate in the calming foot bath, sauna and steam rooms.
CasaMagna Marriott also prides itself on ecological activities. I found Marriott’s sea turtle rescue program to be one of the most intimate and memorable experiences. In the summer, biologists commissioned by the hotel search the beaches to preserve and protect sea turtle nesting areas. When the baby turtles are ready to be guided by moonlight into the ocean, guests hold them in their hands, walk to the shoreline and place the turtles in the water, wishing them well as they find their way into the ocean.
As I discovered firsthand, the staff at CasaMagna truly excels at taking care of guests. After spending a few days at the resort, my time was interrupted by Hurricane Patricia. I can’t give enough praise to the disaster-response procedure put into place by the Marriott staff. They were the first in the area to evacuate clients, and they treated everyone like VIPs. The professionalism and kindness shown was impressive.
I can’t wait to go back and say thank you in person — perhaps while sipping a tequila cocktail in the infinity pool.