Looking for something different in Mexico and not far from Houston? Try Punta de Mita!
Punta de Mita, just 45 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta, is a fishing village and luxury resort on Mexico’s Pacific coast known as Riviera Nayarit. It sits on a small peninsula on Banderas Bay and is known for upscale homes, golf courses and private beaches. The public El Anclote Beach, home to many restaurants, has gentle surf. The ocean is home to wildlife such as humpback whales and blue-footed boobies. To the north are the laid-back surf villages of Sayulita and San Pancho.
The W Punta de Mita is one of the area’s newest hotels, only open since 2016. Nestled in the jungle, the secluded resort offers a vacation’s worth of dining choices, activities and relaxation.
Some guests arrive in personal or rented autos and others choose the hotel’s transportation, but all pass down a long driveway from the main road to the central building – a mile long downhill with three guard stations along the way.
From the moment you arrive at the 119-room resort, guests are welcomed by a colorful tapestry of Huichol art – a bright blue and green-tiled walkway that leads all the way from the front door over a walkway just above the pool, taking you out and up to a pristine view of the Pacific Ocean. This represents the cycle of life of the native Huichol people (life, death, afterlife). The colors and scenes depicted within the design are inspired by the Huichol, who are indigenous to this area of Mexico.
Guests are greeted with whimsical scenes true to Mexican culture. Mexican wrestling masks (Lucha Libre); historical figures with surfboards; mariachi instruments; and sayings such as “Mexico es Amor” and “Canta y No Lllores” – translating to “Sing and Don’t Cry,” a line from a famous local song which highlights the culture’s upbeat disposition – are artfully embedded into the hotel’s design.
The decor and design of this place is incredible, a strong pop interpretation of traditional Mexican art styles including the Huichol, Day of the Dead Calaveras, tin cutout art, mosaic tile work ... are all done with style and class. It’s a pleasure just to walk around and enjoy the highly thoughtful layout and design of the hotel, which is kept spotless.
The room – wow! They are hip with vibrant colors and art, cool chairs, an amazing bathroom with a huge tub and separate shower, a very comfortable bed and pillows, a state-of-the-art control system in the room to dial the lights and temperature, and a stunning view of the lake, jungle or ocean!
Accommodations are spread out over the hillside property and it can be quite a walk from the main building to one’s room, but there are plenty of staff driving around in electric carts offering you a ride if you want.
The rooms are decorated with a blast of Mexican color, from beautifully hand-stitched cushions to stunning silver tin around the bed. The walls are also quirky, decorated with the occasional figure from Mexico’s Revolutionary War, although instead of carrying a rifle, they’re depicted carrying surfboards or boomboxes. The pictures are cleverly incorporated into the décor of each room with repurposed vintage photographs of Mexican historical figures, such as Zapata and Frida Kahlo, by designer Revolución Del Sueño. What a twist!
There are four restaurants at the hotel: Venazu, which is where breakfast, lunch and dinner are served; Spice Market, which just opens for dinner; Salero is the beach-side seafood restaurant, and at Chevycheria, ceviches, craft beers and cocktails are served from a beach-side, converted 1950s Chevrolet 3800 truck. Venazu is a very nice setting with indoor and outdoor seating; the food is excellent with a nice choice of options. Consider ordering a pizza, which is freshly prepared in their outdoor pizza oven.
Breakfast is superb; the buffet is the most comprehensive I have seen, with a wide selection of hot and cold items, some Mexican dishes such as chilaquiles (nacho chips cooked in red or green salsa) and quesadillas (cheese and vegetables cooked in a tortilla), fresh fruit, and a cooking station where you can order fresh omelets. The breakfast, served until 11:30, sets the mood and attitude of the resort, relaxing and enjoying; it is not about rushing, but focuses on simply offering guests what they want and at a time they want it. Included are unlimited bloody marys and mimosas – this is what a W Escape breakfast should be!
The Spice Market is tasty – the food is truly excellent as is the service. There is a very good mix of options available and it works very well having an Asian food option as it contrasts against the food available at Venazu and the other daytime food options. It means you can have different meals each day without ever having to leave the resort.
Salero is the newest addition to the dining choices. It can be found right on the beach, dishing up fresh seafood at an artful seafood bar.
Let me give a shout out to room service, which runs 24 hours. It is quick and the best food I’ve had at a W property. Get the burger – hands down the best burger I’ve had outside the U.S. and possibly in the top 5 I’ve ever had! Also try the carrot cake. It’s served in a mason jar and is perfect to share.
The beach is fantastic – very clean and uncrowded. You can walk up and down for about a mile and swim or surf in relatively shallow water. The water is clear and the sand was hard packed and fine. The ocean waves are big enough for surfing (you can get a free, introductory lesson) and body surfing. Most people hang out by the pool. A few gigantic beach beds, with curtains, are provided along with some private cabanas. Complimentary yoga every morning is nice. During the day, guests pick between slumbering on their balcony or sitting on a daybed by the long swimming pool. Just a few feet further and you are on the soft sands of the beach. The ease with which you can move between the beach and pool is definitely a plus. Sunsets are amazing.
One of the great benefits of staying at a resort like the W Punta de Mita is that there is no reason to leave the property for the entire duration of your stay. Everything is catered towards fulfilling guests’ needs. However, a quick trip to the nearby towns of Sayulita and San Pancho are fun and recommended. Sayulita is filled with cute shops and restaurants. San Pancho is home to the La Patrona Polo Club and the Beach Club at Costa Azul is simply breathtaking. Open-air dining, swimming and water activities are offered. It is well worth a visit!
The Away spa is simply one of the best I’ve ever experienced in terms of ambiance and service. There are four interlocking and amazing pools outside along with hot tubs, fountains and jetted pools, all surrounded by trees and beautiful vegetation. Inside there are steam baths, a sauna, showers and massage rooms. If I could recommend only one thing, it would be the spa! The spa rooms are amazing, with sliding doors that open up to a pond with a retractable ceiling. A spa attendant walked around the pool one day offering “Happy Hour” specials; I was offered either a complimentary 30-minute addition to any massage or a complimentary express facial along with a massage.
One More Thing
The greatest asset W Punta de Mita has is the staff. They are quite simply spectacular; friendly, kind, resourceful, helpful and genuinely kind people.
If You Go
If you are looking to sit by a beautiful pool or beach, go to a stunning spa, and generally feel pampered and grown up – this is a great choice. Keep in mind that while W appeals to a youthful and party-going type of guest, my fellow guests included two large wedding parties, a large corporate gathering, a huge group celebrating a 50th birthday, families and plenty of romantic couples. For more information, including special packages, go to wpuntademita.com and to rivieranayarit.com.
There is currently a Punta de Mita Amplify Your Stay deal with the third night free (30 percent off rates). Book a three-night stay with the resort’s Amplify Your Stay offer and get your third night free, plus daily breakfast for two. Rates start at just $150/night. Black-out dates apply. How to book: Visit wpuntademita.com with promo code S29.