A sprinkling of luxuriously secluded upscale miniresorts, perfect for a few days of quiet tropical relaxation, have opened in some remote corners of the Puerto Vallarta region. Being hideaways, they are not always easily accessible. But for those willing to make an extra effort, the rewards are rustically luxurious accommodations in lovely natural settings.
In order of proximity to Puerto Vallarta, first comes the minihaven Majahuitas Resort (tel. 322/293-4506 or U.S. tel. 831/336-5036, www.mexicanbeachresort.com, or contact Mexico Boutique Hotels, toll-free U.S./Can. tel. 800/728-9098, www.mexicoboutiquehotels.com), tucked into a diminutive palm-shaded golden strand on the bay between Quimixto and Yelapa.
Here, guests have their choice of seven uniquely decorated cabañas ($250 for two, meals included, low season, $375 high), including a honeymoon suite. Solar panels supply electricity, and a luxuriously appointed central house serves as dining room and common area. A spring-fed pool, sunning, snorkeling, and horseback and hiking excursions into the surrounding tropical forest provide diversions for guests.
The following three splendidly isolated small resorts are tucked along the Jalisco Coast south of Puerto Vallarta and are road-accessible from Highway 200.
Find Hotelito Desconocido (toll-free Mex. tel. 01-800/013-1313, toll-free U.S./Can. tel. 800/851-1143, www.hotelito.com, $340 d April 15–Dec. 20 low season, $450 d high season, includes breakfast and all activities) basking on a pristine lagoon and beach two hours south of Puerto Vallarta. Here, builders have created a colony of thatched designer houses on stilts.
From a distance, it looks like a native fishing village. However, inside the houses (called palafitos by their Italian creator), elegantly simple furnishings — antiques, plush bath towels, and artfully draped mosquito nets — set the tone. Lighting is by candle and oil lantern only. Roof solar panels power ceiling fans and warm showers.
Outside, nature blooms, from squadrons of pelicans wheeling above the waves by day to a brilliant overhead carpet of southern stars by night. In the morning, roll over in bed and pull a rope that raises a flag, and your morning coffee soon arrives. For the active, a full menu, including volleyball, billiards, bird-watching, kayaking, and mountain biking, can fill the day. Reservations are strongly recommended.
About 30 miles farther south, the small sign at Km 83 shows the way to Las Alamandas (toll-free U.S./Can. tel. 888/882-9616, www.alamandas.com), where Isabel Goldsmith, daughter of the late British tycoon Sir James Goldsmith, has created an idyllic isolated resort. Guests (28 maximum) enjoy accommodations that vary from luxuriously simple studios ($425 low season, $520 high) to entire villas that sleep six ($1,600 low season, $2,200 high), all with full breakfast. Activities include a health club, tennis, horseback riding, bicycling, fishing, and lagoon and river excursions.
Alternatively, you can enjoy isolation at more moderate rates at Hotel Punta Serena (reservations through Blue Bay Club Los Angeles Locos, tel. 315/351-5020, ext. 4013 or 4011, fax 315/351-5412, www.puntaserena.com, $170 d low season, $200 d high), perching on a high headland overlooking the blue Bay of Tenacatita. From the hotel lobby, walkways meander to the tile-roofed lodging units, spread over a palmy park-like garden. The lodging units themselves (all with a/c) are designer-spartan, in white and blue, with modern baths, high ceilings, and broad ocean vistas from view balconies.
Here you can enjoy it all: an adults-only romantic retreat, with all meals and in-house activities — a big blue oceanview pool patio, sauna, sea-vista hot tub, gym, clothing-optional settings — included at no extra cost. Added-cost amenities include native Mexican temazcal hot room, and massage and spa services. Additionally, at no extra cost, you can also enjoy all of the lively sports, discoing, and beach action at the Blue Bay Club Los Angeles Locos on the beach downhill.
© Bruce Whipperman from Moon Puerto Vallarta, 7th edition