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Prior to this trip I had never visited Mexico as an adult. As a kid we took a couple of cruises there (though 12 hours at a Cozumel cruise port probably doesn’t give you a fair representation of a place), and I remember once vacationing there when I was really young, but that’s about it. I also connected at Mexico City Airport last year, but that doesn’t really count.
Given that I fly halfway around the world to relax at a resort, I figured I might as well try somewhere closer to “home.” The new W Punta de Mita opened just last year, and looked like a fun place for a getaway.
I booked only a few days in advance using the Citi Prestige Card fourth night free benefit. For my stay the hotel had a rate of ~$350 per night, which was brought down to an average of ~$260 per night after applying that benefit. The rate was actually much higher further in advance, but this hotel seems to consistently lower rates closer to the actual stay date.
Unfortunately this doesn’t include the obscene 25% tax and service charge in Mexico, which drives up the cost of everything.
We flew Alaska from Los Angeles to Puerto Vallarta, and from there it was a roughly 40 minute drive to the hotel. Do note that there’s a bit of a taxi mafia, both at Puerto Vallarta Airport, and also in Punta de Mita. Before the stay the hotel told me that a taxi to the hotel shouldn’t cost more than 800 Pesos (~$40).
Meanwhile the taxi people at the airport insisted it should be 1,200 Pesos, and even had a fake laminated sheet listing prices, and then they offered me “special discount” based on that, trying to charge 1,000 Pesos, etc. I informed them that the hotel told me not to pay more than 800 Pesos, and eventually they agreed.
Punta de Mita is quite a rural area, and and eventually we were dropped off in an area in front of the hotel.
From there we were driven in a cute buggy to the main lobby area. These buggies could be called at any time to take you to your room, the restaurants, etc.
The lobby area was stunning, with tons of seating, and a set of stairs that could be taken down to the bar, restaurants, beach, pool, etc.
There was tons of seating in the lobby area, including “U” shaped couches, etc.
Check-in was efficient, and we were informed we had been upgraded from a wonderful jungle escape to a wonderful ocean view escape. At this hotel Platinum Suite Night Awards clear into oceanfront havens, though unfortunately my Suite Night Awards didn’t clear, despite these suites being available for sale.
After check-in we were driven to our room, which was only a short distance from the lobby.
All of the “escapes” — whether wonderful or spectacular, jungle view or ocean view — are more or less the same. The main difference is the views they have. Each “building” has two rooms.
In our case, we were assigned room 1207.
The room had a quirky forward patio area, with a couple of comfortable seats. I loved the design of the outdoor space — how cool!
The patio was separated from the rest of the room by a sliding door. Oddly there was no way to actually lock the sliding door. Rather you needed a key to enter the patio area, and then nothing could be locked further.
The room’s design was quirky… and I sort of loved it. It’s certainly not everyone’s taste, and I also don’t think it translates well in pictures. However, the design looked pretty cool in person. It had some Mexican elements, and also didn’t feel cookie cutter, both of which I appreciate.
The room had a comfortable king size bed, wth night stands on both sides of it.
Then in the far corner was a chair of sorts. I’m not sure what exactly it was, though it wasn’t especially comfortable. I would have preferred if the room had a small table with chairs as well, since there was nowhere in the room to eat or work.
Then across from the bed was the flat screen TV, which was mounted to a big console that separated the bedroom from the bathroom area.
Also in that console was the minibar, including snacks and drinks.
Most of the bathroom wasn’t actually in a separate room, but rather part of the bedroom. There were double sinks.
Between the sinks was a Nespresso machine and two big bottles of water.
Then the shower compound was at the far end of the room, and had both a soaking tub and a walk-in shower.
The water pressure and temperature control were excellent.
As is the norm at W properties, toiletries were provided by Bliss.
Then the toilet was at the opposite end of the room of the shower.
While there was an interior patio upon entering the room, there was another patio on the other side of the room, overlooking the resort, with the ocean in the distance. It had a big lounger.
Overall there were things I liked and disliked about the room. In general I loved the quirkiness of the design. The bed was comfortable, and the huge tub was a nice amenity. I also loved the two patios, and especially loved the swinging seat, from which I ended up working most of the time.
However, I also wish that the room had more practically designed furniture, like maybe a desk or dining table. I should also note that I was expecting the standard rooms at this hotel to be huge, given that they’re advertised as being ~637 square feet. As it turns out, that seems to include the exterior space, which seems like a bogus way to measure rooms, in my opinion.
Ultimately that’s not a huge issue, but they’re doing a poor job of managing expectations, in my opinion. When I saw the base room was over 600 square feet I was expecting it to be like a big junior suite, when in reality it was maybe 350 square feet of interior space.
While the rooms are largely on the back side of the resort, the focal part of the hotel is the lobby, pool, and restaurants. This area was maybe a five minute walk from our room.
The lime green building to the left of the lobby was Spice Market, which is the hotel’s Asian restaurant, and is only open for dinner.
Then on the opposite side of the lobby is Venazu, the hotel’s all day Mexican restaurant. I’ll have more on the restaurants in a bit.
Both of these are in front of the hotel’s beautiful pool, which has two “built-in” hot tubs. I thought the pool was great, though at the same time it would have been nice if the hotel had another pool, maybe just for adults, given that this one was often overrun by loud families.
On the weekend the pool had a fun vibe, with a live DJ and a Veuve Clicquot champagne setup.
To the side of the pool is a cool elevated deck, from which you could look at the pool, resort, or beach.
The beach sunset views from the deck were great.
The beach in front of the hotel was beautiful, and spanned about 1-2 miles. Technically the beach wasn’t private, though it wasn’t crowded at all, and was quite clean. There are a few other hotels on the stretch of beach, though it was consistently empty.
Suffice to say the sunset views from the beach were great as well.
I briefly talked about the hotel’s dining options above, so let’s get into that in a bit more detail. First of all, below are the hotel’s dining options:
As a Platinum member I received complimentary breakfast, which included access to the full buffet. Interestingly breakfast included bloody marys, mimosas, etc., though cappuccinos were extra.
Breakfast is served starting at 7AM. The restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating, though in reality the indoor seating is “open air.” Some mornings it was quite cold outside — in the upper 50s — so be sure to bring a sweater if you’re an early riser and going to breakfast.
The breakfast buffet was solid. It wasn’t a selection like you’d get at some resorts in Southeast Asia, but was still excellent. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
In addition to the buffet, there was an outdoor station where you could order eggs to your liking.
I had a veggie omelet every morning, which was tasty.
We had lunch almost every day at Chevycheria, which is located on the beach. No, you’re not reading the spelling of that wrong — the “Chevicheria” has that name because the restaurant is a converted Chevy truck.
As the name suggests, this place primarily serves ceviche, and it was incredible. Here’s the menu:
We had lunch here every day, and it was so good. When you ordered they prepared the ceviche fresh right in front of you. Nom nom.
The first evening there was live music just outside the lobby bar, so we sat there for a bit and enjoyed the music and views.
As we were ready to order drinks, the server informed us that there was a complimentary sundown cocktail. So we ordered that, and it was quite good. I’m not sure if this is a feature they have every day, only certain nights, or what.
We also ordered some appetizers here, which were good.
The first night we had dinner at the hotel’s Mexican restaurant.
The menu read as follows:
The food was excellent, and I didn’t think the prices were too horrible (they were obviously high for Mexico, but for an American resort in Mexico, not so bad, in my opinion).
We each had an appetizer and a main, and then shared churros for dessert.
The next night we had dinner at Spice Market, which was empty. There’s a Spice Market in Doha and London, though this seemed like an odd location for one, on the surface.
Fortunately everything was incredible. I was blown away by the quality and taste of everything we had. I’m sad we didn’t eat here again, as we had dinner outside the hotel the next two nights.
Now that we’ve talked all about food, the hotel has a spa and gym at the far end of the hotel, in a uniquely shaped building.
We used the gym every day, which was never full, and had a good selection of equipment.
Our time in Punta de Mita was incredibly relaxing. The town as such isn’t terribly interesting — it’s a small fishing village — but that’s part of what made our stay so relaxing. In the past I’ve always traveled halfway around the world to go to a hotel to relax, though in this case I found it so enjoyable to just take a short flight to paradise, without the challenges of jetlag, etc.
The service at the hotel was generally very friendly. No, it wasn’t Fijian or Balinese levels of hospitality, but everyone was well intentioned and generally quite competent. A special shout out to Dolce at breakfast, who was a gem.
W Punta de Mita bottom line
When it comes to relaxing, I’ve long looked at hotels halfway around the world, given that getting there is half the fun. However, I had such a nice time in Mexico, and can’t wait to explore other parts and check out other hotels, especially for a quick, relaxing weekend getaway.
Overall I loved the W Punta de Mita. It has friendly service, great food, a quirky and “fresh” design, a fun vibe, and great beach access.
However, the hotel isn’t perfect. The rooms are on the small side, not practically designed, and there’s only one main pool area.
I’d definitely recommend this hotel, though, if you’re looking for a fun, relaxing weekend somewhere. I know I’d return in a heartbeat. Next time I might try the St. Regis, I think, just so I can compare the two hotels.
Anyone have a favorite place/hotel in Mexico I should check out next?