By Robert Offley
It’s shiny, it’s glamourous, it’s Beverly Hills with a fiesta spirit. This is Puerto Vallarta, a Mexican jewel with a cachet all its own. Whitewashed homes, smothered in purple and scarlet bougainvillea, tumble down the steep hillsides to a ribbon beach. Sleek yachts and fun-loving cruise ships anchor in the cobalt-blue waters of the Bahia de Banderas, where pirates once found their treasure.
Located in the northeastern section of Baja, Mexico—a magnificent thousand mile-long peninsula that extends from the California border to the equator—Puerto Vallarta is an ideal location for those who want the flavor of a foreign country, but the friendliness and familiarity of a ”home away from home.” It wasn’t so long ago, Puerto Vallarta was a sleepy fishing village with a modest population. Today, its population has grown to include permanent and part-time residents, a sizable contingent of them U.S. citizens.
And unlike other Pacific Coast resorts, Puerto Vallarta remains quaint, with its narrow, cobblestone streets. One of Puerto Vallarta’s most appealing attractions is the fabulous weather, which remains consistently warm year-round and seldom fluctuates more than ten degrees. Situated at the head of 28-mile-wide Bahia de Banderas, Puerto Vallarta is on the same latitude as Hawaii and enjoys a similar climate. Chic shops abound along the malecon (boardwalk) and Avenida Juarez, with native clothing and crafts at the Plaza Malecon or on Isla Cuale (if you don’t find the exact bit of resort wear you desire, chances are the proprietor can have it made by the next day!).
A WORLD-CLASS RESORT
The Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa’s enviable location gives it an edge over other Puerto Vallarta area resorts because of its peaceful atmosphere and pristine beach. And with a recent completion of an extensive $18 million renovation, it’s even more spectacular than before.
All 433 guest rooms celebrate the natural elements that embrace Mexico’s Pacific Coast. Tranquil colors of warm, neutral sand tones contrast with accents of the silvery blue color of the ocean. Each room boasts a streamlined yet modern aesthetic featuring sleek furniture and remodeled bathrooms with rainforest showers, granite vanity countertops with chrome fixtures, and enhanced lighting all throughout.
Along with the refurbished accommodations, the Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa makes each welcome a special one. A full renovation of the lobby entrance boasts an open-air layout, and brightly colored contemporary décor.
Dining at the resort may just have you canceling those reservations in town. Las Casitas, Mikado, La Estancia and Champions Sports Bar will satisfy every palate. Plus, the new Ceviche & Tequila Bar offers an authentic menu of local and international flavors. Don’t miss the Deli Los Mangos to enjoy a quick morning jolt of caffeine and local snacks. Spending the day at the pool? Then head to Coco Bar which serves up chilled coconut water as well as cocktails.
The resort offers special culinary experiences for guests as well. The Jalisco at Your Table is an explosion of flavors curated by chefs on property. The seven-course menu is inspired by meals from their childhood and time spent in their mothers’ kitchen. Some of the courses will include Tamale with Atole (a warm, creamy coconut drink) and accompanied by a Tamale. This is soon followed with a Del Tuito Salad (lettuce from the garden, fresh cheese of El Tuito, Jalisco, roasted organic nopal, red onions, and roasted corn on a crispy tortilla) topped with a Vinaigrette. Creating an out-of-the-box approach, the chefs constructed a Sorbet Jalisco as a palate cleanser (made with shaved ice and prepared with guava and syrup from the region). Info: Dinner is available by request.
Another intriguing dining experience is the Fresh Catch, which involves guests selecting their fresh catch of the day and how it will be prepared for dinner that evening: Grilled, fried, blackened, sushi, or even teppanyaki. Each week is a different catch; however guest can always find a variety of options to include Mahi-Mahi, Red Snapper, and Lobster.
BODY & SOUL
If you’re looking to hit the links, a stay at the Marriott Puerto Vallarta puts you less than half a mile from Marina Vallarta Golf Club and less than 7 miles from the Vista Vallarta Golf Club. However, you may want to stay on the resort’s grounds to take full advantage of its multiple pools and whirlpool or relax with a massage or a yoga class at the Ohtli Spa and Fitness Center. The size alone impresses. At 22,000 square feet, the spa is the largest in Puerto Vallarta, and where a thorough plunge pool experience is followed by relaxing treatments like the popular Thai massage or hydrotherapy “rebirth” sessions.
So, whether you’ve spent the day lounging on the grounds or putting on the greens, a return to your heavenly haven affords your own luxurious private escape. And, remember because this is Marriott be sure to use your Marriott Rewards points here for extra well-deserved perks.
The special Discover Puerto Vallarta package offers the best of both worlds and includes accommodations in a newly renovated room (with private balcony!), daily breakfast for two, one city tour for two adults, and one 30-minute Agave Syrup Sea Salt scrub per person, among other perks.
For more information on Marriott Puerto Vallarta & Spa, visit puertovallartamarriott.com.