Punta Mita knows how to deliver a gated Mexican getaway
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Every traveller looks for something a little different when it comes to spending time off the clock. For some, it’s a backpack and bicycle. For others, luxury is a must with exquisite dining, fine thread-count linens and perhaps a butler to help plan your day. If it’s the latter you seek, Punta Mita, Mexico will undoubtedly deliver.
The developers of this 600-hectare private resort peninsula north of Puerto Vallarta have done everything right when it comes to providing unparalleled luxury for guests. It helps that they started with a stunning location of tropical lushness and beautiful beaches, surrounded by a coastline of alternating calm waters and big, rocky surf breaks. Then there’s the enviable weather of the Bay of Banderas that always seems just right. The combined results spell the very definition of luxury.
First, a bit of a geography lesson. Punta Mita is the gated resort community that covers most of the peninsula. Punta de Mita is a traditional village with a mix of casual and posh restaurants, shops, markets and surf schools. It’s the kind of place you’d typically find along the Pacific coastline north of Puerto Vallarta.
Where to Stay
It’s all about options when it comes to Punta Mita’s accommodations. Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita and The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort provide all the amenities you’d expect attached to these boutique hotel brands. Private butlers, plunge pools, spas, multi-bedroom suites, sumptuous dining and cabanas at the beach are the hallmarks of these five-diamond rated resorts.
Combining the luxury of a five-star hotel stay with the comfort of a private home, Punta Mita’s rentals fall into three categories: condo apartment, deluxe private homes and premium private homes and villas. All come with golf carts (a ton of fun) or SUVs for getting around. Condo Anturio is a three-bedroom, four-bathroom condo with a wrap-around terrace that accommodates up to six guests. There’s a private, heated infinity pool right off the living room, gourmet kitchen and daily maid service included in the 4,000 square foot space that rings in at a rather affordable US$750 a night (think about splitting that tab with friends or family) and includes access to the stunning beach clubs at Punta Mita (more on that later).
If you’ve recently won the lottery or really want to splurge, consider the open-air estate Casa Tau with its 12 en-suite bedrooms designed to accommodate up to 28 guests in the main house and two guest houses on the beachfront. All your meals are expertly prepared by chefs and delivered by wait staff. You’ll also get a butler, concierge, bar staff, private pool, home theatre, billiards, spa and laundry service for $17,500 a night.
What to Do
Kilometre after kilometre of coastline means aquatic pursuits are never far away, including sport fishing, sea kayaking, whale watching, surfing, paddle boarding, sailing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, diving, snorkeling and swimming.
Golf is a big draw to Punta Mita, thanks to a pair of Jack Nicklaus Signature courses. Pacifico has seven holes alongside the Pacific Ocean and features the Tail of the Whale, the world’s only natural island golf green. Throughout the day at low tide, you’ll see golf carts ambling across the rock bridge to play the signature hole. The 18-hole course has an optional par three and comes in at 7,000-plus yards.
The bird sanctuary at the Marietas Islands is home to 92 species of aquatic and subaquatic birds and only a short boat ride from Punta Mita. On the peninsula, the Sierra Madre forest is habitat for plenty of other avian species including the sociable yellow-winged cacique — with its floppy winged headdress — that gather in treetops near the rental accommodations.
Perhaps the favourite activity for this writer was a simple pleasure —flopped on padded beach lounger, soaking in the Pacific sun after an extended dip in the heated seaside pool at Pacifico Beach Club. It’s one of several beach clubs in Punta Mita, each sporting its own combination of pools, restaurants, spas, kids’ clubs, recreational activities, cabanas and surf boards and all are accessible with a stay in the community.
Where to Eat
Sufi Restaurant at the Sufi Ocean Club is perched over the Bay of Banderas and offers a Mexican Mediterranean menu along with an extensive beer, wine and cocktails list. Service here is impeccable with staff going above and beyond to make diners happy, even creating a very Canadian Caesar when the cocktail menu didn’t include one.
Opt for the tasting menu that includes three pared-down courses plus dessert. The tortilla soup arrives as a bowl of crispy shredded tortillas decorated with panela cheese, avocado cubes, ranchero sour cream and strips of dried peppers. Servers gently pour the tomato and epazote broth overtop, to grand effect. A hit on the mains menu is the mariposas de camaron, grilled shrimp over pappardelle in a sea urchin, guajillo pepper, sriracha, ricotta and chevre sauce.
Breakfast at the Pacifico Beach Club is the stuff of dreams. Pick an open-air table with a panoramic view of the breaking waves. Huevos rancheros, the breakfast sandwich and the berry-laden French toast are all terrific choices. Spot the surf enthusiasts catching the first waves of the day.