In 1999, a quiet, spear-shaped peninsula north of Puerta Vallarta was turned into a private, gated resort and residential community—at that time, a novel concept. Since then, the 1,500-acre coastal haven has grown to include two luxury resorts (from Four Seasons and St. Regis), several neighborhoods of multi-million-dollar homes, and amenities like residents’ beach clubs, a tennis center, and two Jack Nicklaus Signature golf courses. With its focus on discretion, security, and maintaining a low-key vibe—you can ditch the car and drive your golf cart everywhere—Punta Mita has become a favorite with everyone from celebrities, entertainment industry execs and tech billionaires (Bill Gates bought 48 beachfront acres, and the Four Seasons Resort, in 2014) to honeymooners, families, and downtime-seeking CEOs. Basically, anyone looking to enjoy—or own—a bit of seaside luxury will find it here.
But while, twenty years after launching, the development has earned this loyal clientele, it’s not resting on its laurels. From ultra-luxe new homes and villas to exciting new resort and facility developments, here are five ways in which Punta Mita is entering its third decade—and five reasons to visit in 2020.
One of Punta Mita’s newest for-rent residences is also its best. Created by noted architects Manolo Mestre and Juan Collignon, Casa Tau is a 12-bedroom oceanfront estate set in the development’s exclusive Ranchos Estate neighborhood, past an additional security gate. Guests will be greeted by a house General Manager, who oversees the operation of the home and the services of the six house butlers, chef and kitchen staff, and six housekeepers. Along with the stylish guest rooms—which range from an oceanfront master suite with waterview soaking tub to a garden-set suite with its own rock-lined meditation pathway—the house comes with a media room, gym, central Sonos digital sound system, and a spa room in which to enjoy massages and facials. Guests also have access to Punta Mita residents’ beach clubs, water sports, pier, and tennis center, as well as preferred access to the Pacifico and Bahia golf courses—but chances are, you’ll mainly want to hang out at the spectacular house, enjoying the pools, hammock-lined beach, chef-prepared gourmet meals, and sunset cocktails in the thatched roof-topped living room, prepared to precision by your attentive butlers. Rates range from $11,500-$27,000 per night.
Retreat to the Resorts
At the heart of the peninsula are its two five-star resorts: the 177-room Four Seasons Resort and 120-room St. Regis Punta Mita. Following a multi-year, multi-million-dollar renovation, the Four Seasons now features upgraded guest rooms and suites designed by Mexico City-based firm UribeKrayer, each with private oceanview terraces and a décor accented by locally-influenced pieces like a colorful beaded map of Punta Mita made by the Huichol community and embroidered pillows from the Sna Jolobi textile cooperatives in Chiapas. The excellent new Dos Catrinas restaurant puts a modern twist on regional Mexican fare and serves handcrafted cocktails at an upper level bar, while the redone Apuiane Spa now offers expanded hydrotherapy facilities, healthy food options (think superfood bento boxes), genetics-based wellness programs, and new mind-body-soul retreats. Meanwhile, at the serene St. Regis, brand signatures like dedicated butlers, Friday night Champagne sabering rituals, a Remede Spa, and twice-weekly Tea Rituals in the lobby lounge are accented by only-here offerings—including dining options that include the Avocado Vegan Bar and a converted boat now serving beachside tacos. At the elegant Carolina—the only Five Diamond restaurant in the Riviera Nayarit—award-winning Chef Miguel Soltero crafts creative menus the marry traditional flavors with inventive techniques.
Golf has been one of the core aspects of Punta Mita from the beginning, with novices and pros alike drawn to the development’s two Jack Nicklaus Signature Championship Golf Courses: Bahia Golf Course, which offers slopes around the greens and heavy contours to create more movement on the fairways; and Pacifico Golf Course, best known for “The Tale of the Whale,” the world’s only natural ocean island green. New on the golf front is the Punta Mita Golf Club’s driving range, which has been re-designed to provide the ultimate practice facility experience. Add to that the state-of-the-art, Tom Stickney-led Punta Mita Golf Academy Complex, and a calendar of regular golf tournaments and gourmet food-and-golf festivals, and the on-the-greens experience here is truly next-level.
Among the perks for homeowners and guests of vacation rental guests is access to the development’s private beach clubs, each of which boasts its own style, unique facilities, and signature sandy location. Opening this April, Punta Mita’s newest seaside retreat is El Surf Club, where Club PM members, resort guests and villa renters can enjoy surf rentals and instruction, drinks from expert mixologists, a barefoot-chic vibe (fueled by in-house DJs), and Chef Noe Ulises Rodríguez Garcia’s Mexican coastal cuisine, which highlights fresh, locally-caught seafood.
A Place of Your Own
If you fall in love with all that Punta Mita has to offer, it’s easy to stay a while. In addition to the existing residential neighborhoods, new real estate offerings are regularly coming on-line. Announced in late-December, Las Vistas Estates will feture 10 custom home sites perched above the entire destination, while the IYARI Villas–which are rolling out in early-2020–are set on the lush hillside above the existing IYARI Estates, on Punta Mita’s north coast. Designed by renowned architect Jaime Barba, each stand-alone villa houses four bedrooms with unobstructed ocean views, personal plunge pools, chef’s kitchens, and expansive terraces for outdoor living. The Villas also offer private access to Playa Iyari through the community beach cabana, which is only accessible to IYARI owners and their guests. IYARI Villas starting at $2.53 million.