In every region, there is a “Beverly Hills of…”
More or less, these cities are utterly glamorous, visually stunning and awash in truly luxe attractions and amenities. For example, if describing Scottsdale or Paradise Valley, one might refer to it as the “Beverly Hills of Arizona.” Similarly, one might call the Upper East Side or Park Avenue the “Beverly Hills of New York.”
In Mexico, it is no different. Located on a private peninsula just north of Puerto Vallarta and surrounded by ocean on three sides is the community of Punta Mita, the Beverly Hills of Nayarit. The 1,500-acre enclave, hidden behind a massive gate, is like nothing you’ve seen or experienced before.
Less than an hour from the Puerto Vallarta airport, which offers multiple two-hour non-stop flights to and from Phoenix daily, Punta Mita somehow blends opulence, outrageous hospitality offerings, culinary creativity, outdoor adventure and a laidback vibe with ease.
Upon entering the gate, it feels at first as if in a lush rainforest. You are drenched on all sides by towering palm trees as far as the eye can see. The sun’s rays pierce through the trees here and there, slowly unveiling hidden gems along the paved road, notably entrances to golf courses and beach clubs as well as tropical plants, colorful birds and centuries-old trees that rise up what feels like 100 feet in the air. And whether a nature buff or not, it is hard not to stop in your tracks when you pass the famed 400-year-old fig tree along the path. It must be at least 50 feet wide and has roots as big as some cars. They almost look like tentacles of a sea monster, but in the coolest possible way.
Once you’ve hit that tree, you will start to smell the ocean. That means you are just steps from the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, one of only two resorts located in the region. Because there are no superlatives to properly describe the waterfront wonderland, perhaps Janice from “Friends” and said it best: OH.MY.GAWD.
One of only two resorts within the idyllic community, the Forbes Five-Star Award winner is set on 52 acres, and it uses every inch of said land in epic fashion.
First, let’s talk rooms, though “rooms” are actually suites, villas or full-on beach homes. The standard accommodations, referred to as casitas, offer nearly 700 feet of space, most with fully unobstructed ocean views or full garden views angled to maximize one’s enjoyment of sunset. And it only gets better from there, starting with the plunge pool suites. Available as a one- or two-bedroom option, expect 1,625 to nearly 2,300-square-feet of indulgent, unabashed extravagance including floor-to-ceiling glass doors in each room allowing for the indoors to become the outdoors at the flick of a wrist; multiple entertainment centers; two-plus full bathrooms; a glass bar with native garnishes and hand-selected local and international wines and spirits; plush bedding; and, most impressively, a massive plunge pool for quick dips or luxuriating all day and night as well as an outdoor sitting area bigger than many traditional backyards. On property, they also offer oceanfront residences and villas as well as full beach homes. Three- to five- bedroom options abound, each more spectacular than the next. We are talking over 10,000 square feet in some.
The indoor-outdoor dining spaces are just a lavish as the rooms, especially Aramara, Bahia by Richard Sandoval (of Hacienda and Toro fame here in the Valley) and Dos Catrinas.
Aramara has an elevated Asian flair but uses fresh ingredients from nearby when it can, making it in some ways the best of both worlds. While there is no misstep on the menu, do not miss the marinated New York strip with enoki mushrooms and carrots, cauliflower bites, five-spice half duck or the lobster Udon noodles with curry, yuzu oil and sesame seeds.
Bahia is a steak and seafood hotspot set just steps from the ocean that allows guests to enjoy dinner with their feet in the sand. At night, the bar area glows with teals and blues to match the ocean, and there are fire pits dotting the outside of the restaurant to add to the beachy glamour. Menu highlights? The pink snapper, catch of the day and surf and turf are worth the splurge.
Dos Catrinas is the MacGyver of the property, meaning it can do a little bit of everything from brunch to mixology to tacos to multi-course dinner. It is also just steps from both the main pool (but not the only) at the resort, which is a free-form infinity-edge pool with sprawling deck and cabana space with ocean views, and the beach, where you will find mini tree houses, cabanas, swings, beach chairs, loungers and even games.
Speaking of pools, there are several on property. A favorite for those of all ages: the serpentine jungle-entrenched lazy river that might cause revelers to start humming the theme song to Jurassic Park. It is that lush and green.
The lazy river is just a stone’s throw from the Apuane Spa, which uses ancient indigenous ingredients and methods to calm one’s mind, body and soul. One even includes a tequila-infused sage oil to stimulate circulation (and maybe get you ready for a margarita later in the day).
Seeking a little more adventure? Punta Mita has that, too. Through the Four Seasons alone, there is a seemingly endless list of complimentary enhancements to any level of room or package booked. Among the gratis offerings directly on or just off property are kayak, bodyboard and fishing rentals; snorkeling tours; water aerobics; salsa dancing classes; kite making; Spanish classes; art classes for both children and adults; games; nature walks; cultural workshops; sea foraging demonstrations; guided ruins hikes; indigenous nature programs; stargazing and both tequila and Mexican chocolate – or xocolatl – tastings.
Punta Mita also boast five tropical beach clubs including a new surf club; two Jack Nicklaus Signature golf courses; a full-service marina (that offers whale watching!) with outdoor pavilion; and a PBI tennis center.
After writing all of this, maybe it isn’t the Beverly Hills of Nayarit? Perhaps it is in a category all its own?
For more on Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, visit www.fourseasons.com/puntamita.