Ok. I know I tortured all of you with tantalizing travel pics this month on my Instagram of private beaches, cocktails by the ocean and villa life but it just so happens that Riviera Nayarit is one of the most luxurious travel destinations I have ever been to. In fact, I’ve spent the time since we got back planning our next trip there – hopefully in a year’s time, before I turn into a pumpkin – but for now I just revel in the memories of a place one must live to believe: Mexico.
If you’re interested in planning a similar trip to the one Alex and I embarked on, I’m going to be sharing all my tips and snobby do’s and don’ts of finding luxury in the Riviera Nayarit right here. The first thing you should know about the 190-mile coastline is that it is located on the Pacific Coast of Mexico near Puerto Vallarta. If you’re going to be flying from Toronto may I recommend the Air Canada nonstop flight to PVR on Saturdays that leaves at 10am (just enough time to hang out at the Maple Leaf Lounge without having to wake up at the crack of dawn, and they make killer hardboiled eggs for breakfast in there – my fave! – otherwise I suggest Dim Sum at Susur Lee’s restaurant located just beside the gate).
Puerto Vallarta airport can be a bit chaotic in a really fun way – if you don’t have a shot of tequila and leave with a red rose in hand, you obviously didn’t do it right. Thankfully, we booked a Mercedes Benz car through the Airport Concierge beforehand, which I highly recommend for added peace of mind. You’ll find your ride just before you exit the terminal on the right.
We chose to spend the majority of our trip in Punta Mita. It’s located at the most western tip of the Riviera Nayarit and is home to the most luxurious hotels, private estates and the exclusive Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course with the world’s largest island green aptly named the “Tail of the Whale” – good luck making the hole in the middle of the ocean! We stayed just next door at the St. Regis Punta Mita, which most people will tell you is the best of the best – in fact, it’s voted #1 hotel in Punta Mita on TripAdvisor.
The St. Regis Punta Mita is luxury beyond. You can usually tell the difference between a luxury hotel and one that only purports to be, in the details. There are so many beautiful hotels with stunning properties, rooms and amenities, but it’s the resorts that pay attention to the finest details that, to me, are truly luxurious. St. Regis Punta Mita is not only breathtakingly beautiful – it offers an unparalleled service and comfort; the best expression of which is their legendary private butler service. We even had our butlers, Leo and Luis, on Whatsapp, where one could say “your text is my command.” I’ll admit, I was crying when we had to leave (and no, it wasn’t just the mouth-watering shrimp tacos I was parting ways with). In just four days we had come to know most of the staff and had made friendships with other guests that made the whole experience that more special. Roll the slides:
Our 640 sq. ft. Deluxe Room had more than you could ask for – and if you can believe it, it’s the “basic” option in terms of rooms offered. With indoor and outdoor showers, a delicious bathtub, double sinks, walk-in closet and massive terrace, I’d hate to see what the larger options offer. (We did peep some stand alone villas with private plunge pools and jacuzzis right on the beach – decadent!).
The cuisine at the St. Regis Punta Mita was exceptional. I highly recommend the shrimp tacos at Mita Mary restaurant located on the beach, which they deliver right to your beach chair – make reservations for dinner, though, as there are only a few tables open each evening to dine under the stars, al fresco beside the ocean, with a live quartet playing Spanish lullabies. Serious romance factor. Not to mention the breakfast buffet will make anyone want to forgo room service.
Best guac ever. You could literally order anything and everything by the pool and by the ocean.
We woke up really early on Sunday morning to have a private yoga lesson by the water. Something about hearing the ocean waves while you’re exalted in tree pose looking to the heavens beats any other yoga experience I’ve had thus far. I even attempted an unassisted/unattractive headstand. OK, baby steps.
We finished off our Sunday with massages at the peaceful Remède Spa – with its own set of plunge pools and lounge areas, one could easily spend the entire day getting pampered. Alex and I opted for a couple’s massage that took place in a bright bright room lit by the sun. Definitely a different approach to the catacomb-like massage suites we’ve experienced before. The entire treatment just felt like being infused with fresh mint and sunshine. Needless to say I came out glowing (for those who commented on my tan that day on IG, it was the eucalyptus oil from my massage).
How beautiful is all this marble in the spa? #FLATLAYHEAVEN
There’s tons to do in Riviera Nayarit outside of the resort as well, and I highly recommend you venture to nearby attractions as there is so much to do and see. We chose two excursions, a private sailing trip to nearby Isla de la Marietas (which has a Leo Di Caprio-worthy secret beach you have to swim to get to) and a UTV off-roading trip to Sayulita, the cutest surf town on earth. Both excursions are organized through Punta Mita Adventures.
Ok this was the BEST home decor store ever. We may or may not have spent a little too much money buying everything from pillow cases to cow heads. If you’re interested in browsing their selection visit EvokeTheSpirit.com.
Our sailing trip was so cool – we even got to see humpback whales! The Banderas Bay is one of the largest bays in North America; it is filled with all kinds of marine life and is perfect for water sports.
Between the amazing cuisine (I didn’t so much as get a stomach ache to my mother’s surprise), the royal accommodations and the memorable adventures – our trip to the Riviera Nayarit is one of the best, if not the best, of 2015. For those looking to shop, the Baronessa pop up at the St. Regis had the cutest pieces like silk beach shorts from Poupette St. Barths and Original Marrakech monogramed beach bags (I purchased both). There are still so many things and places we didn’t get a chance to do or see, like eat at Si Señor or the cruise, dinner and show extravaganza, Rhythms of the Night. This is precisely why we want to go back again next year just like these two beyond jet-set couples we met at the St. Regis Punta Mita who have made it an annual tradition to spend the week before Christmas in the Riviera Nayarit together. We didn’t go as far as to ask if they were looking to expand their group but I’m sure if we showed up next year, same place same time, it would happen.
A big thank you to the Mexico Tourism Board, Punta Mita Adventures and the St. Regis Punta Mita for hosting us on what was truly a trip of a lifetime!