Arriving at the Four Seasons Punta Mita, on Mexico's western coast just north of Puerto Vallarta, is an event. The resort is breathtakingly beautiful, the staff incredibly friendly, and I was quickly whisked up to my beautiful ocean view Casita Room. Upon arrival I was thrilled to see a welcome gift on the coffee table – a fabulous fruit basket and all sorts of sweets. I took a quick picture and began to taste the treats to see if they tasted as good as they looked (yes).
The special touches by the Four Seasons staff continued. At our dinner party on the beach of the Coral Presidential suite, I was served a fresh fruit margarita of my own concoction with a personalized flag decorating the glass. S’mores were offered on the beach, and with lure of burnt marshmallows and melting chocolate, it was hard to pull myself off the beach to head off to bed, but I knew the next day was going to be a busy day of exploring.
Next morning, after a sumptuous buffet breakfast at Ketsi, we toured the rest of the resort by golf cart. The guest rooms and suites were all newly refurbished in colors pulled from the ocean, sun and sand. They were stunning and very homey. One of my favorite spaces on the property was Las Cuevas Beach, which has swinging day beds with views of Banderas Bay, and is served by The Shack beach bar.
At the conclusion of our Four Seasons tour, it was time to leave for the neighboring property, St. Regis Punta Mita. The St. Regis was in for a challenge after our stay at the Four Seasons; they were ready. We were greeted with cool towels and cold drinks, and I was instantly wowed with the spectacular view from the lobby of the reflecting pool and palm trees leading to the Pacific.
We explored the property, and I was impressed with the impeccably maintained resort without a blade of grass out of place. The rooms and suites were decorated in neutral colors with pops of fuchsia and Kermit the Frog green. Remède Spa, at 10,000 square feet, is nice and spacious – the perfect place to relax and be pampered. I contemplated staying behind at the spa, but it was time for lunch.
Lunch was served beachside at Mita Mary Boat Bistro. This was one of my best meals of the trip, with dish after dish of grilled seafood served family-style at the table with tortilla chips and guacamole, followed by a selection of desserts that I couldn’t refuse.
While I was finishing dessert on the beach, I was thinking back on my visit to the Four Seasons and wondering which resort I preferred. Each was similar in excellent food, service, beautiful beaches, stunning guest rooms…but there was one more resort to explore.
The W Punta de Mita is nearby and outside of the gated community of Punta Mita-proper. With a “surf beat and tribal heat,” the new W is both fun and pure eye-candy. As soon as we pulled up to the main entrance we hopped on colorful tuk tuks and rode down to the main lobby, Welcome. Green drink in hand, we began exploring the resort, and I was instantly drawn into the vibrant colors and wonderful décor with an abundance of Huichol art.
The Huichol Sunway is a runway of sorts above the resort pool, Wet. With a backdrop of the gorgeous Pacific, Wet is pool by day and nightclub by night. It’s open 24 hours with the Chevicheria nearby beach-side, serving ceviche dishes. Of course if you are going to be at Wet most of the night, you’re going to want to visit the spa, Away, during the day. With treatment rooms overlooking a lake and surrounded by trees, Away is just the place to recharge.
The resort was designed using the natural landscape to its advantage with the ancient trees providing privacy for the “Jungle” rooms, and terracing of the hill to provide privacy for the “Spectacular” and “Wonderful” ocean view rooms. The rooms are all decorated with bright fuchsias and turquoise and some have fabulous silver-hammered headboards. The art on the walls is from local artists and is inspired by the bohemian surf culture of the area.
Las Marietas Islands are right off the Punta Mita coast. With underwater caves, these islands are perfect for divers and snorkeling. There is no shortage of activities on any of the resorts’ beaches. Four Seasons has two beaches with one more swimming-friendly. The W has an excellent swimming beach, and the St. Regis beach is gorgeous.
One of my favorite things about Punta Mita is its proximity to Puerto Vallarta. Less than an hour’s drive away, a day-trip to visit this beautiful colonial town on the Pacific is within easy reach. It’s small enough that you can explore the waterfront on foot; search for the best mariachi band; shop local boutiques; explore art galleries; enjoy fine dining (eight with 5-Star Diamond awards); seek out Our Lady of Guadalupe; climb the stairs to Casa Kimberly, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor’s love nest, in time for sunset.
So the dilemma, which Punta Mita resort? This is hard, and I think it’s a decision that may best be left to the children. St. Regis has La Tortuga Children’s Club for kids from ages 5-12. If your kids are the kind that love to ditch you, they may just love this option. The Four Seasons has Nunutzi Games Room and a lazy river for kids who may not opt for a club experience. The W? If your kids want you to go on vacation without them so they can stay home with doting grandparents, or you don’t have kids, the W may be your best option. The resort is more adult-oriented.
This trip offered a great sampling of some of Mexico’s best treasures. From the colonial town experience and tequila to beach resorts and ceviche, it is possible to blend your Mexico vacation like a fine tequila.