Mexico’s new bright star lights up the Pacific coast.
You might be forgiven for having never heard of Riviera Nayarit, Mexico’s bright young star of the Pacific. For one thing, the 100-mile stretch of coastline didn’t even exist until last year — at least not under its present name, which Nayarit’s state tourism folks hatched as a new destination to distinguish it from its southern (and more famous) Jalisco neighbor, Puerto Vallarta. What’s more, Nayarit’s current speed of growth has been meteoric, to say the least.
Four Seasons Punta Mita — the highest earning property in the brand — first opened up the area to luxury tourism in 1999., and, since the introduction of its Coral Suite in 2007, is home to one of Punta Mita’s most expensive beachfront retreats. Now, with nine other luxury hotels open, in addition to the first phase of Mexico’s largest marina, plus a new highway and airport in development, the entire area is projected to have the country’s highest concentration of high-end hotels by 2011.
New five-star neighbors include the exclusive Hotel des Artistes (a boutique hotel with just a dozen suites, a rooftop chillout pool and lounge, plus one of the finest restaurants anywhere on Mexico’s Pacific coast.
The Four Seasons’ stiffest competition yet is the spanking new St. Regis (pool and pergola path pictured), the only other property to finally open within the gated precincts of the Punta Mita peninsula. Together, the resorts share two Jack Nicklaus golf courses (featuring an ocean island green), and the usual ne plus ultra standards in landscaped gardens and beachfront swimming pools.
Every one of the St. Regis’ 120 rooms comes with a terrace, outdoor shower and bilingual butler, while the spa does a nice crushed pearl exfoliation and a bespoke line of Bliss cosmetics (that are retailed nowhere else). But the property’s choice setting, on the calmest beach of the peninsula, might be its real edge — at least until Ritz-Carlton and (we hear whispers) Las Ventanas commandeer Punta Mita’s last two remaining plots.