Mexican tourism has taken a hit lately. Reports of kidnapping and violent drug gangs have put a damper on the flow of U.S. visitors to our sunny neighbor to the south. But there are still parts of Mexico that are completely safe—and one of those places is Puerta Vallarta and, specifically, Punta Mita, 35 minutes to the north on the Riviera Nayarit.
Punta Mita is a beautiful, verdant 1,500-acre gated peninsula that is home to two dramatic resorts: the Four Seasons and the St. Regis. There are 36 holes of Jack Nicklaus–designed golf on the property, featuring the famous par-three island hole where golfers have to hit their tee shot over the ocean.
Four Seasons Punta Mita This beautiful 26-acre resort has 173 rooms, many of which are suites. All the rooms are in single story casitas that face the shimmering waters of the Bahía de Banderas. Each casita is guarded by a locally-crafted ceramic jaguar.
The 11-year-old Four Seasons has four restaurants: Aramara, a romantic place in the main building featuring contemporary Asian cuisine; Bahía, a breezy beachfront place specializing in grilled seafood; Tail of the Whale, a lively luncheon spot at the golf club; and Ketsi by Richard Sandoval, a lovely pool-side restaurant that serves contemporary Mexican dishes styled by the worldfamous chef.
In addition, there are three lounges featuring a comprehensive selection of tequilas. One of my favorite features of the Four Seasons happens three mornings a week. A small fishing boat lands on the beach bringing a selection of freshcaught seafood, which is then spread out on a table. The Bahía chefs discuss each variety and then let the guests choose which fish they want for lunch. A variety of preparations are offered, including sashimi. In addition to golf, the Four Seasons offers a complete selection of water sports and a remarkable children’s program.
It also has a lovely and fully-staffed spa and several wellstocked boutiques. St. Regis Punta Mita The St. Regis is smaller and more intimate. Built just three years ago, the 120 rooms are in 32 low-lying casitas, most of which face the beach. Each room is equipped with a terrace and an outdoor shower. The rooms are stylish and brightly decorated and have the full complement of modern amenities, including flat screen TVs in the bedroom and bathroom as well as full butler service.
There are many dining options at this AAA five-diamond resort: top-of-the-line is the Carolina restaurant, an exquisite high-end dining experience with a beautiful bar attached; Las Marietas a lovely indoor/outdoor place that serves excellent modern Mexican cuisine for breakfast and lunch; and the Sea Breeze, a bright, casual beachfront restaurant that features California and Italian specialties.
There is a lively bar adjacent to the Sea Breeze and another one called Altamira in the main lobby building. There are three dramatic swimming pools, a state-of-the-art Remède spa, water sports, educational activities including a cocktail class, and plenty of special activities for children. Of course, guests have complete access to both golf courses.