Onsite Review: Iberostar Playa Mita

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Poolside overlooking the Pacific Ocean
Poolside overlooking the Pacific Ocean

The huge Huichol jaguar head in the lobby, embellished with three million beads of different colors, is a sign of big, beautiful things to come at Iberostar Playa Mita: dozens of palapas waiting under the sun, light-filled rooms made for relaxation, and so many peaceful spots in which to cozy up to one’s significant other. Located north of Puerto Vallarta, this vast resort has the intimacy of Riviera Nayarit’s raw beauty surrounding it—mile upon mile of swelling coastline, a more-than-generous jungle and the occasional cry of a jungle cat. It’s beach and forest coming together for that dreamy, relaxing and so-convenient setting clients have been dreaming of.

Even the resort’s unveiling was passion-filled; when the 452-room resort opened last December, Grupo Iberostar executive chairman Miguel Fluxa admitted to a love affair of his own. “I’m the type who falls in love easily and each time we open a hotel, I fall in love with it,” he explained.

The feeling is mutual. Roberto Sandoval, governor of the state of Nayarit, said Iberostar was “a company that believed in Nayarit.” With past stop-and-go efforts in Litibu, the planned resort area where Iberostar Playa Mita is located, this property is its official, unequivocal kick-starter and had the added benefit of creating hundreds of jobs.

“The more you get to know this land, the more you love it,” says Fluxa, calling Mexico “an extraordinary country.” He also mentioned the possibility of a second Iberostar not far from this one. It’s not just talk; after Spain, Mexico has the most Iberostar properties, and with better sales numbers from the North American market, improved online sales and a burgeoning Russian market looking their way, the company is poised for just as good a year, if not better, than the one they had in 2013. Iberostar Playa Mita is the brand’s first property in Riviera Nayarit but the 10th in Mexico. It’s part of the brand’s Premium Gold category, meaning an above-par all-inclusive experience with luxurious touches along the way.

made for romance

How do you conjure up romance at Iberostar Playa Mita? Very easily—it’s not difficult to get lost in love in this haven of R&R. The 18 adults-only spa rooms are especially enticing for lovers, with king-sized beds, upgraded spa amenities, fresh flowers and fruit upon arrival, specialized mini-bar offerings, and spa credits that come with booking them. Each night, their turndown service comes with aromatherapy to ease couples into peaceful slumber. Spa room guests also get exclusive access to an alfresco relaxation lounge overlooking the beach with whirlpools and treatment areas. Although the other guestrooms are lovely and spacious, clients spending a few days here might want to try at least one night in a spa room.

If they want the full spa experience, the gorgeous SPA Sensations won’t let them down. It comes with an indoor pool with hydrothermal features, private cabins, a wet zone with steam baths and sauna, and even a relaxation garden. A soothing side-by-side massage for lovebirds will make a world of difference after arrival, post-exploration or just before their wedding day.

Speaking of excursions, signing up for day tours of Riviera Nayarit with the help of their concierge should be another must for couples. You can’t honeymoon in this area without doing a little town hopping—surfing and lounging in Sayulita, shopping for crafts in Bucerias, or spotting crocodiles and other exotic creatures as you cruise among the mangroves of La Tovara on a panga. They might also want to visit the famous “Hidden Beach” of Las Marietas Islands by taking a boat ride to this protected area and then swimming under a short tunnel.

There’s also great news for couples with kids in tow. There are connecting rooms in all categories, as well as day beds in all rooms. They’ll love to know there’s a great kids’ club and Splash Park for ages 4-12 just steps away from the pools, and that each extra hour of babysitting services is just $15. There’s also a nice teen club complete with disco ball and that made us want to be 15 again, only without the angst.

Some rooms have showers and some have tubs, so if your clients have a particular preference, make sure you let the hotel know.

There are four a la carte and one buffet restaurant to choose from, but they’ll probably find Pacific Express the most romantic. It’s designed to look like a classic train car’s dining room, complete with white tablecloths and gussied-up waiters. Another hit is Tsuba, a beautiful Japanese restaurant with teppanyaki option.

The huge Huichol jaguar head in the lobby, embellished with three million beads of different colors, is a sign of big, beautiful things to come at Iberostar Playa Mita: dozens of palapas waiting under the sun, light-filled rooms made for relaxation, and so many peaceful spots in which to cozy up to one’s significant other. Located north of Puerto Vallarta, this vast resort has the intimacy of Riviera Nayarit’s raw beauty surrounding it—mile upon mile of swelling coastline, a more-than-generous jungle and the occasional cry of a jungle cat. It’s beach and forest coming together for that dreamy, relaxing and so-convenient setting clients have been dreaming of.

Even the resort’s unveiling was passion-filled; when the 452-room resort opened last December, Grupo Iberostar executive chairman Miguel Fluxa admitted to a love affair of his own. “I’m the type who falls in love easily and each time we open a hotel, I fall in love with it,” he explained.

The feeling is mutual. Roberto Sandoval, governor of the state of Nayarit, said Iberostar was “a company that believed in Nayarit.” With past stop-and-go efforts in Litibu, the planned resort area where Iberostar Playa Mita is located, this property is its official, unequivocal kick-starter and had the added benefit of creating hundreds of jobs.

“The more you get to know this land, the more you love it,” says Fluxa, calling Mexico “an extraordinary country.” He also mentioned the possibility of a second Iberostar not far from this one. It’s not just talk; after Spain, Mexico has the most Iberostar properties, and with better sales numbers from the North American market, improved online sales and a burgeoning Russian market looking their way, the company is poised for just as good a year, if not better, than the one they had in 2013. Iberostar Playa Mita is the brand’s first property in Riviera Nayarit but the 10th in Mexico. It’s part of the brand’s Premium Gold category, meaning an above-par all-inclusive experience with luxurious touches along the way.

wedding perks

A plus for the soon-to-be-married is that the resort has a strict policy of hosting just one wedding per day so that all resources and attention of the wedding planner are focused on the one couple. The planner is happy to walk them through the entire process, including helping them choose the right spot to say “I do” and the legal requirements to get married. Another benefit here is that couples can visit the Iberostar Star Weddings showroom to get an idea of the options they have for their onsite dream nuptials, down to floral arrangements and linens.

As for wedding locations: Besides the aforementioned beach, there’s an oceanview gazebo that fits up to 100 seated, plus smaller areas such as the Zen gazebo, ideal for a small wedding, which is surrounded by gardens. Couples can also host a private event near the pool or at one of the restaurants. Grand celebrations can take place at one of the resort’s large meeting rooms.

Soon to come: A Huichol-inspired wedding option that would include touches of this indigenous group into a wedding for those wanting to honor their chosen location’s culture and history.

Wedding packages at the Iberostar Playa Mita start at $999 for 10 people (the Star Wedding package), plus $20 for each additional guest staying at the hotel. Rates start at $233 pp per night. ●

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