In 1999, the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita made its debut in Mexico, and it has since become the star of the country’s Pacific Coast. Golfers came first, for the chance to play on the world’s only course with a natural island golf green, a Jack Nicklaus signature design that covers 186 acres. However, Punta Mita, a private resort perched on 1,700 seaside acres on the north end of Banderas Bay, offers much more than golf and the memorable sunsets you might expect. The property’s tranquil Apuane spa implements treatments based on the traditions and culture of the local Huichol Indians. A not-to-be-missed specialty is the tequila and sage oil massage, an indigenous ritual. Perhaps the most rejuvenating indulgence on the expansive spa menu is the Temaztac wrap, a Mayan body treatment that softens and smoothes the skin.
The entire resort is designed to give you a deeper appreciation of where you are in Mexico, rather than just surround you with Four Seasons luxury, although that is apparent wherever you look. Because this is tequila country, the cultural center offers tequila tastings as well as language lessons and informal discussions about local crafts and traditions. The spacious, red-tile-roof guest suites with terraces and patios overlooking the bay feature the ambience of a well-designed Mexican home. Everything—from hot tubs, plunge pools, private bars, and terraces—has been orches-trated for your comfort and pleasure, both visual and physical.
The hotel can arrange bird-watching excursions to nearby Las Marietas Islands, swimming with dolphins, or a jungle tour. Scuba diving and deep-sea fishing are also offered.
In this part of Mexico, old-world graciousness reigns, whether you are lounging along the infinity-edge pool that hugs the hill above the beach or selecting your own personal catch of the day from the fishermen who arrive in the early morning. The staff is polite, well-trained, and genuinely helpful. Meals are served with style and imagination, especially the Nuevo Latino cuisine on the main restaurant’s open-air terrace. There’s also a poolside restaurant and bar for more informal dining. For a romantic interlude, dinner is served on a rocky outcrop above the ocean called “the rock,” accompanied by a trio of musicians.
The pace is so leisurely at Punta Mita that suddenly your daily plans to go horseback riding or windsurfing, or to improve your strokes with a Peter Burwash pro on the tennis court, fade away. After all, it’s always time for a margarita and some fresh lobster and shrimp from the Ceviche Bar, yet another Punta Mita innovation.
Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, 800.332.3442, www.fourseasons.com