The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort

If there’s a resort in heaven, it mirrors The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort. Tucked right in Banderas Bay, the resort is a vision of deep-rooted elegance inherited from an era of top hats and long skirts—though here they’d be hiding tan foreheads and bare feet with pink toenails.

This one’s for your most exigent clients who know what they like and feel fine paying for it. The St. Regis Punta Mita in Riviera Nayarit is the first property from the St. Regis brand in Latin America, though not the last—the next one opens up in Mexico City in just a few months and another one in the Riviera Maya is set to unveil by 2011; still others are coming in Costa Rica and Buenos Aires. The Punta Mita location, however, sets this one apart—it’s situated right on a peninsula of postcard sunsets that drip onto the sea, a flurry of lush gardens of deep pink and green reflected in the decor, and the most impeccable service.

Start with the guestrooms and suites, all 120 of them. Seventy are connected, making them a great option for families. All of them feature the roomiest of outdoor showers, rivaling in size to many hotel bathrooms, as well as indoor showers and bathtubs. All of them include the brand’s famed butler service. All have Mexican touches in its fine towels, tiles and trays, although the St. Regis’ trademark European grandeur is omnipresent. In fact, Mexican architect and designer Roy Azar has described the decor as “Provence meets Mexico,” a fitting depiction of each room’s understated delicacy.

Despite the additional indulgences in each room—the expansive terrace, Remede bath amenities, decadent beds and DVD player—the tiny details still impress. There’s an umbrella and bug spray at the ready, neither of which we ever had to use; a small flashlight for nighttime walks to the beach or the manicured grounds; big chunky candles by the tub and outdoor table; and a few good books to curl up with. And in the late afternoon, ladies float in and sprinkle moon dust on your evening. They bring you ice, place water on your bedside table, and get your bed and slippers ready.

tickling the senses Along with three strategically placed infinity pools that look out to sea, there are pool and beach cabanas throughout with outdoor butlers also at the ready with sunscreen, water or a lunch menu should the mood strike. For evening stargazing, there are jacuzzis near the beach and fire pits to keep guests warm. Even the Children’s Club is an all-age delight at The St. Regis Punta Mita. Tailored for kids ages 5-12, it has oversized plush toys, Wii systems, play kitchens and wooden trains. Guests dropping off their children will want to stay and play a while, much as we did.

Just a few feet away from the Children’s Club is a state-of-the-art gym and the Remede Spa, where a fully licensed and expert staff relies on “intuition and practice” to offer guests the very best in customized treatments, says the spa director, Monica Charvet. The relaxation lounge and sauna area alone are worth a few hours here. A Punta Mita exclusive is the hot and cold stone massage, with both onyx and obsidian used to soothe and invigorate.

Another St. Regis exclusive is its weekly Champagne Ritual at the Altamira Bar, where head butler Carolina Evans opens a bottle of bubbly with a quick slice of a sabre as the sun goes down. The bar is one of several prime vantage points to enjoy the dramatic views here, which may include whales and dolphins jumping about near the horizon.

For yet another fantastic view of the shoreline and what lies beyond, there is Las Marietas Restaurant. Breakfast here begins with a virgin Bloody Mary, perfectly tangy for a beachfront oasis. Fresh pastries, including the best darn croissants this side of the Seine, are available for your morning coffee, as is anything from a chorizo omelet to an all- natural fruit smoothie; lunchtime options a la Mexicana, meanwhile, tempt you with treats such as jumbo shrimp fajitas. For dinner, there is Carolina, a fine dining corner of opulent intimacy, or the more casual Sea Breeze, which indulges guests with dishes such as roasted red snapper in a sauce of fine herbs or lamb chops with organic baby vegetables.