A sprinkling of secluded upscale mini resorts, 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 haven Majahuitas Resort (tel. 322/293-4506, U.S. tel. 831/336-5036, or via Mexico Boutique Hotels, U.S./Canada tel. 800/728-9098, $250-315 for 2 people low season, $375 high season, meals included), tucked into a diminutive palm-shaded golden stretch of sand on the bay between Quimixto and Yelapa. Guests have their choice of seven uniquely decorated cabanas, 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. Get to Majahuitas by water taxi, from the beach at Boca de Tomatlán, accessible by car or the buses marked “Boca” that leave Puerto Vallarta from the south-of-Cuale corner of Basilio Badillo, one block downhill from Avenida Insurgentes. It’s closed in August and September, and kids under age five are not allowed.
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 (Mexico toll-free tel. 01-800/013-1313, U.S./Canada tel. 800/851-1143, $340 d Apr. 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 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. Rooftop 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 Kilometer 83 shows the way to Las Alamandas (U.S./Canada tel. 888/882-9616), where Isabel Goldsmith, daughter of the late British tycoon James Goldsmith, has created an idyllic isolated resort. Guests, 28 maximum, enjoy accommodations that vary from luxuriously simple studios ($425 low season, $520 high season) to entire villas that sleep six ($1,600 low season, $2,200 high season), 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 Ángeles Locos, tel. 315/351-5020, ext. 4013 or 4011, fax 315/351-5412, $170 d low season, $200 d high season), 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 palm-treed parklike garden. The lodging units themselves, all with air-conditioning, are designer-Spartan, in white and blue, with modern baths, high ceilings, and broad ocean vistas from the balconies. Here you can enjoy it all: an adults-only romantic retreat, with all meals and in-house activities—a big blue ocean-view pool patio, a sauna, a sea-vista hot tub, a gym, clothing-optional settings—at no extra cost. Added-cost amenities include native Mexican temescal hot room and massage and spa services.
Excerpted from the Tenth Edition of Moon Puerto Vallarta.