W Punta de Mita is the epitome of a luxury beach hideaway. Situated on the Riviera Nayarit, one of Mexico’s most coveted spots, this indigenous-inspired escape pays homage to the bold, vivid traditions of local Huichol natives and the local bohemian surf culture. For the ultimate rest and relaxation, I flew into Puerto Vallarta and headed north to uncover Riviera Nayarit’s hidden gem.
Arriving at W Punta de Mita isn’t like arriving at just any five-star resort; it’s a runway onto a feast for the senses. A Mexican fiesta, if you will. Upon arrival, I was driven through two rounds of gates under a canopy of exotic green and yellow leaves, and then transferred to a TukTuk which took me right up to a vibrant open-air lobby decked with hanging chairs swinging in the breeze.
I wandered along a Camino Huichol walkway, which is made up of over 700,000 mosaic tiles to gauge the resort layout from above. To my right, a sea of bubbling pools and romantic cabanas, to my front the Pacific Ocean’s surf-perfect waves echoed, and to my left couples drank from coconuts by a converted 1950’s Chevrolet truck. This W demands business to step aside, and pleasure to take centre stage.
Rooms and suites
The property has 119 guest villas, each with warm splashes of colour, surf-inspired artwork, artisanal Mexican tiled floors and beds with headboards fashioned from either surfboards or punctured tin, replicating the type found in local churches. I stayed in a Spectacular ocean view room. number 1109, a minute’s walk from the front desk. Perched on the lake, the room is a hideaway within a hideaway. It had its own terrace with large daybed out front and an enclosed, open-roofed patio with pink wicker chair and swing at the entrance. Both provided for a more private way to catch vitamin D.
Entrance to and from the villa itself via sliding floor-to-ceiling windows invited the ocean light, sights and smells in, helping the room distinguish itself from other Ws, particularly city properties which are generally darker and have a glamour-club like feel. The W Punta de Mita’s bohemian surfer style is accentuated thanks to the locally inspired décor, which I discovered came from an adorable little store called Revolución Del Sueño in downtown Sayulita. The comfy king sized bed was adorned with traditional Mexican throw and matching pillows.
That’s not to say that W devotees whom trust familiarity of product will be completely thrown off. All the staples are here; fans will find signature W ‘Bliss’ bath amenities, modern tech lighting, Nespresso coffee maker, a 24/7 ‘Whenever, Wherever’ service and plenty of bold W aesthetics. This is still the W, just on beach vacation.
Food and drink
If you’ve spent the day shredding waves or sightseeing the Riviera Nayarit, then the good news is W Punta de Mita has plenty of options when it comes to refuelling. There are seven restaurants and bars to choose from, not to mention a plethora of locally owned businesses nearby eager to welcome your custom.
Spice Market is inspired by the street markets and food stalls Jean-Georges experienced travelling Southeast Asia. Brits may recall the one at W Leicester Square a number of years back. Expect Pan-Asian dishes served family-style in a relaxed, yet alluring atmosphere. Signature dishes include pork belly bao buns, spicy chicken samosas and house made ginger ice cream.
Geographically speaking, the Riviera Nayarit is perfectly poised for seafood, and I therefore opted for the ‘catch of the day’ more than once without disappointment. You can enjoy fresh fish at W Punta de Mita at Chevycheria, a vintage 1950’s Chevy truck that overlooks the beach. They serve made-to-order ceviches alongside craft cocktails made with Mezcal, and don’t forget that guac! Back in the main building, Venazú is the all-day dining destination where I enjoyed my catch of the day washed down with a glass of Casa Madero white. Dessert is also a treat, the Flan De Café De Olla was housed under a dome which you crack open like a piñata.
If you have time there’s also Salero, a fish and seafood marketplace that encourages guests to choose fresh catch prepared any style, including regional Zarandeado – a local specialty. And for something ultra special, how about a table, literally, at Mesa1? This exclusive chef’s table experience happens to be on its own private island and offers just one nightly seating. So if you’re thinking of a proposal or a very intimate party, then this is it.
At tropical destinations, many think of weddings. W Punta de Mita is ideal for that special day, whether intimate ceremony at the oceanfront or banquet reception for 200 in the gardens under the orange sunset. For those after non-matrimonial activity, there are some fabulous options – including surfing and the spa. The onsite WAVE Surf Shop offers private surf lessons, an array of non-motorized water-sport rentals, and water-based excursions, from sailing and snorkelling to luxury catamaran charters and Humpback whale watching tours.
The 4,000 square-foot AWAY spa is utter luxury. Here, you’ll find a broad selection of W treatments to pamper your body. There are locally inspired signature facials, massages and body treatments which use local ingredients such as cactus and agave, and ancient Huichol healing techniques to promote overall wellbeing. The Blue Agave, for example, combines the powerful antioxidant in butter form with massage, and afterwards you’re free to enjoy the green sanctuary, easily one of the most Instagrammable spots on site (if you like a pretty photo, then be sure to inquire about the ‘Instagram concierge service’.)
The AWAY spa pools are a contrast with what’s out by the beach. The WET Deck has Monte Carlo vibes with private cabanas, DJs and it’s also where the buzzing Chevycheria is. Further out is WET Too, which I preferred as it was quieter with an adult-only pool and Jacuzzi. Overall, even at capacity, there is more than enough water space for all to enjoy at ample social distance.
To do in the area
Punta de Mita is located on Riviera Nayarit, about 30 miles north of Puerto Vallarta. There’s so much to do that a few paragraphs doesn’t suffice. First time visitors are recommended to venture to the village of Sayulita, about 15 minutes’ drive away. It’s a popular spot for local surfers, and has plenty of boutiques, bars and restaurants to wander on in land. Nearby you should also pop into San Francisco, also known as San Pancho, a laid back hipster beach town with colourful Volkswagen Beetles parked in front of organic cafes.
As an animal lover I signed up to be a dolphin trainer for the day with Vallarta Adventures, one of the region’s most reputable excursion and experience companies. I took part in a behind the scenes tour where I was educated about these incredibly smart creatures, marine wildlife within the state, and of course got to actually swim with dolphins under the watchful eye of expert trainer Rafa, at the end. The animals are taken such amazing care of and if you plan on doing an encounter be sure to support an ethical and Humane Conservation certified company such as Vallarta Adventures.
The property is 45 minutes from Puerto Vallarta’s Licenciado Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport (PVR). Once in Punta de Mita, taxis are the easiest way to get around. Car rentals are also a popular option and the W offers free parking.
Address: Km 8.5 Carretera Punta de Mita, Desarrollo Costa Banderas, 63734 Punta de Mita, Nay., Mexico
Phone: +52 329 226 8333
Images courtesy of W Punta de Mita, unless specified.