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TheRiviera Nayarit region has refreshed and reinvented itself over the decades, growing from a sleepy surf town to one that offers high-end and family-oriented vacations.
It’s about to change again, with the imminent debut of the ultra-luxe Mandarina development, which will cover 640 acres and have its own 1-mile beach. The land and seascape — located about 25 minutes north of Sayulita — is reminiscent of Hawaii, particularly Kauai.
(A new toll road, slated to open in 2021, will link Mandarina to Puerto Vallarta International Airport, cutting travel time from one hour to about 30 minutes.)
“Mandarina will be the lowest density ultra-luxury property in Mexico,” said Kappner Clark, chief marketing officer for RLH Properties, a developer of Mandarina.
In addition to branded private residence villas, which will all feature ocean views, Mandarina will also have two resorts: One&Only Mandarina and Rosewood Mandarina.
“One&Only Mandarina will be located on the hillside, while Rosewood Mandarina will give guests a beach option,” said J.P. Mahony, director of sales for One&Only Mandarina.
The 108-room One&Only Mandarina will debut at the beginning of 2020 and feature a beach club with infinity-edge pools, beachside terraces and private massage cabanas. A jetty — which will provide mooring for yachts — will create gentle surf conditions, allowing for a beach area ideal for families with small children. On-site dining venues will include The Plateau, which will offer dining for the whole family, and adults-only The Point. Both venues will feature sea and jungle views.
Rosewood Mandarina will open in 2021 with some 130 rooms, as well as 65 residences. The resort will have a beach club; Sense, A Rosewood Spa and several restaurants.
Ricardo Santa Cruz, president and CEO of RSC Development, a development partner with RLH Properties on Mandarina, relayed how Sol Kerzner — founder and CEO of Dubai, United Arab Emirates-based Kerzner International, a company that operates One&Only Resorts — reacted when he first visited the site for Mandarina.
“He stood up after an hour and said he had seen enough,” Santa Cruz said. “I thought that meant he wasn’t interested; instead, it was the opposite. Kerzner said, ‘I have clients who travel 24 hours to experience something like this. It reminds me of Southeast Asia.’”
Clark notes that family amenities are important to Mandarina’s market, especially considering the rise of multigenerational travel. To satisfy family clients, Mandarina will offer a kids’ club with its own butterfly sanctuary, resident storyteller and tree houses. On-site The Outpost will feature a zipline; a rappel course; a climbing wall; sports fields and courts; hiking, cycling and horseback-riding trails; an arcade; and a movie theater.
“What makes the difference will be the experiences at Mandarina,” Santa Cruz said.
And there’s no lack of activities. Additional features will include a farm and farm-to-table restaurant, a beach club and an estuary. Polo players and fans will appreciate Mandarina Polo & Equestrian Club, which will have two tournament-size polo fields, jumping and dressage arenas, a clubhouse and lounge, a pro shop and more.
“Polo instead of golf may have seemed like an odd choice, but it has been embraced by buyers,” Santa Cruz said.
Great care is being taken with Mandarina’s natural environment, as well. During my tour of the property, we drove around extant trees in the middle of the road, which was widened to accommodate them. This holistic vision is also evident in how the villas blend into their surroundings; exterior and interior paint colors of the villas are carefully matched to the soil. This attention to detail throughout the development contributes to an overall eco-conscious ambiance.