Four Ways to Paradise
Growing up in the ’70s, the friendly loudspeaker message, “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Puerta Vallarta,” from Captain Stubing on “The Love Boat” was my only connection to Puerta Vallarta. Just hearing the town’s name conjures up thoughts of a cheesy, Mexican tourist-trap town.
Puerta Vallarta may be a fairly typical town, but the Four Seasons at Punta Mita, about 30 minutes away, is another world all together. Staying at the Four Seasons affords access to world-class golf, dining and spa treatments for the Mexican tourist in all of us. So grab your wicker bag, slip on your best shades and pony up to paradise.
Your hotel can help you make plans to have a car or shuttle waiting for you. If you seek privacy and quiet coupled with luxury, you’ll find it at the Four Seasons at Punta Mita. The stark white entrance seems lonely at first, but is greatly contrasted by the breathtaking view of the ocean that invites you into the open-air lobby. The hotel itself dons sparkling adobe walls and tile roofs and is built into a hillside that sensuously slopes into the pounding Pacific below. This tropical paradise is nestled on an unspoiled coastline of white sand beaches framed with soaring palm trees.
The Suite Life
The resort is a perfect getaway for couples, with its romantic sunsets and extravagant rooms. The setting is superlative, offering polished service, luxurious amenities, abundant recreational opportunities, fine dining and spacious suites. Why settle for a standard room when upgrades are available? Upgrading to a suite is definitely worth it, as most come with a private plunge pool in a tropical setting. When you’re ready to retire, the down comforter and plush bed make this tile-floored casita a room you won’t want to leave.
Everybody Knows: It’s All About Golf
For many, it’s exclusively about golf. Naturally, the Four Seasons doesn’t take a back seat with the 18-hole Nicklaus course that has resort areas such as Palm Springs and Scottsdale foaming at the mouth. The signature 194-yard par-3, has the pin located on a natural island in the ocean. It’s called the whale’s tail and is only accessible at low tide. That’s right; your tee shot is taken right into the ocean toward an island green. During low tide, you can ride your cart out to look for your ball, but during high tide, you either make a hole-in-one or start swimming. There are eight ocean holes that let you play right along the Pacific. Not bad for a day’s work.
Punta Mita is Spanish for “resting place,” and the spa staff makes sure that you do just that. You might overexert yourself with all of the decisions facing you: Should you have your massage by the sea, in your suite or in the spa? The Punta Mita massage includes sage oil and tequila, and a couple’s massage room is available. Treatments combine European products and Mexican healing techniques, resulting in the ultimate relaxation.
After a day of snorkeling, windsurfing, shopping or indulging in spa treatments, you’ll be ready for dinner. Main courses at dinner include seafood quesadillas, tortilla soup and chicken enchiladas. The outdoor restaurant features a Mexican buffet with not only four kinds of tamales, but three soups and a grill manned by three chefs. Yes, you can drink the water, and it’s advisable to watch your wallet at this resort. The food is top-notch, but the $70 U.S. per person sticker price is a lot to shake your maraca at.
For a special occasion dinner, a private meal can be organized on The Rock. This rock is no ordinary rock – it juts out over the ocean. The dinner is reserved for one couple per evening and is a set meal from the chef. (Hint, hint, nudge, nudge if you are celebrating an anniversary or birthday on this trip.)
This is Mexico the way it should be. No loud spring breakers knocking on your door to borrow ice. No poolside tequila shots. Just a good, old-fashioned, upscale Mexican getaway. ¡Ole!
Get there today. Continental Airlines offers direct flights to Puerta Vallarta daily, www.continental.com, or visit Aero Mexico at www.aeromexico.com. Book a suite at the Four Seasons Punta Mita using www.fourseasons.com