by Steve Ellis
I admit to some apprehension before my recent trip to Riviera Nayarit, midway down Mexico’s Pacific coast. But from the start, the concerns many of us may feel about travel to Mexico were quickly put to rest, in spectacular fashion. I felt completely safe at all times, the food was inventive and delicious and the accommodations, spas and service were among the finest I’ve ever experienced. Even the golf was world class.
Punta Mita is a gated resort and residential community 40 minutes from the Puerto Vallarta airport. It’s a self-contained vacation oasis with two Five Diamond luxury hotels, the Four Seasons Punta Mita and St. Regis Punta Mita, and two oceanside Jack Nicklaus courses, the Bahia and Pacifico. I stayed at the Four Seasons Punta Mita, which has a well-deserved reputation as one of the brightest stars in the Four Seasons family, quite a feat to say the least. I also visited the equally chic St Regis for drinks on the beach and a superb dinner in Carolina, its Five Diamond Restaurant.
The Nicklaus courses at Punta Mita are two of Mexico’s best, designed to be fun for the casual golfer and a challenge for more accomplished players. Pacifico even has an “optional” hole with the world’s first natural island green, accessible only at low tide. And there is more spectacular golf at the El Tigre course just a few miles away. Other championship options in Riviera Nayarit include a third Nicklaus course and designs by Tom Weiskopf and Greg Norman.
My next stop was the Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, yet another of the region’s Five Diamond resorts. The Grand Velas is all-inclusive, which is even more extraordinary considering their world class spa and superb restaurants, two of which have Four Diamond ratings.
Indeed, “diamonds” are sparkling brightly at Riviera Nayarit.