W Hotel Opens a New Puerto Vallarta Luxury Resort
The W Punta de Mita officially opened this month and is set to cause waves as it brings the W’s upscale experience to the Nayarit coast. That means a stunning lobby (called the living room) designed by Mister Important Design, a 2016 worldwide finalist in the Gold Key Awards for Best Resort. This lobby sweeps triumphantly down three floors from the front door to the beach level. Decor inspiration is derived from the local Huichol civilization and also designed by local artists. Nightly DJs play tunes around the large outdoor pool and wet area, and there’s a pervasive sense of elegance sans ceremony on the property.
Most guests at W Punta de Mita come from the Unites States by flying into Puerto Vallarta International Airport and getting a taxi or shuttle to take them the 20 miles to the resort. The drive takes about 45 minutes. The resort is situated in an upscale development named Los Veneros. After passing through the manned entry gate, the resort is set back about a half mile down a secluded lane.
Rooms and Suites
W Punta de Mita offers three types of accommodations among its 130 rooms and suites. All have a private patio or balcony, a deep bath large enough for two, a separate shower, high speed Wi-Fi (free if you book via the W web site), TV with satellite channels (English, Spanish, and German), the W Signature Bed, free bottled water, pay minibar, and opening windows. The most numerous room type, and the one that I had on a media trip, is an Ocean View Guestroom. I unlocked the door to reveal a patio (complete with a hanging chair) that led to the room, entered via floor-to-ceiling sliding doors.
A technicolor standing shelving unit separates the main part of the room, containing the bed, coffee table, and couch, from the bathroom section that was split into three with a toilet room, a vanity with two bowls, and a room with a rain shower and the deep, square bath. At the back of the room is floor-to-ceiling glass with a door that opens onto a small patio with sun loungers that overlook an elaborate terraced lake system. Regarding the room, I especially liked the tub-to-ceiling window in the bathroom, providing an impressive view of the Pacific.
Photo by Andrew Chalk
The 4,000-square-foot Away Spa at Punta de Mita is set in a jungle environment and is built with an indoor/outdoor use in mind. After a refreshing massage, step out onto the patio for a plunge in a cold pool. In addition to massages, the spa offers a full range of services and is also the area used for yoga classes.
Nearby is the 24-hour, fully equipped, smartphone-ready gym with personal trainers available.
Dining at W Punta de Mita is set in one of two restaurants. The casual option is Venazú, a take on modern regional Mexican with a healthy number of American favorites such as a burger. This is also where breakfast is served. Each day, the self-service tables groan under the weight of the kind of things you normally only find at a weekend brunch. I got into a routine of smoked salmon with fixings, then a charcuterie plate, followed by scrambled eggs and bacon. Illy coffee is a welcome touch, too.
The slightly more formal (in that resort wear is the universal norm at W Punta de Mita) is Spice Market. This Jean-Georges Vongerichten concept, already in New York and Doha, is based around Asian food of the Gulf of Thailand rim (Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam). Food is served family-style, continuously throughout the meal. Look for soy cured salmon, spicy chicken samosas, and roasted bass.
The most spectacular dining experience is to dine on an island at the center of the lake, accessible only by electrically powered steps that rise out of the water. For one couple, the churros arrived via drone.
There is, of course, a large pool and wet area (with a ceviche bar). But my favorite before-breakfast swim was in the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean. Step out of the resort straight onto the white sand beach and less than 100 yards away are rolling breakers up to about three feet high. They provide exhilarating stress relief and the occasional thrill. There are surfing classes available here, too, weather permitting.
W Insider Program Gets Me to a Tequila Distillery
One special advantage of the W Punta de Mita over other resorts is the “W Insider” program. It is an extension of the traditional concierge. The “Insider” is a staff member responsible for having deep local knowledge for questions that a guest might ask. For example, where can I rent a horse? Or, I want to propose to my girlfriend with a message delivered by drone; do you know anyone in the area who can do that? My requests were simpler: I wanted to tour a tequila distillery (since Puerto Vallarta is in Jalisco, ground zero for tequila), and I wanted to do a taco tour of Puerto Vallarta. W Insider on premises, Jose Manuel Amaro, nailed both (reported on in related articles).