Mexico makes an easy jaunt from Los Angeles with most flights just a few hours. Puerto Vallarta, situated on Mexico’s Pacific coast on the Bay of Banderas, is a Mexican town located on the second-largest bay in North America. This setting attracted tourists in the 1960s when the area became the love nest of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in the film The Night of the Iguana. Thousands came to see the film locations and hopes to catch a glimpse of the movie stars. After this publicity and transportation improvement, the town grew by leaps and bounds. Today the wildly popular beach town is dotted with many types of properties – towering resorts, all-inclusives, local hacienda-style properties, and oceanfront luxury boutique hotels.
To heat up the romance in 2020, look for a unique stay with the ultimate privacy and service because true luxury is having no worries. Check out these two special vacation destinations – Puerto Vallarta Beach Club and Casa Velas.
Puerto Vallarta Beach Club
Puerto Vallarta Beach Club is perched cliffside above the ocean on the south end of the famous Los Muertos Beach. The secluded private gated estate offers 4 villas with access to adjacent boutique hotel Villa Ventana. The Hideaway is also easily accessible to everything.
Built by the Macy Family of department store fame, then later bought by avid traveler and local Los Angeles restaurateur Burt Hixson (who owned Beachbum Burt’s and Warehouse Restaurant in LA) known for redefining white tablecloth dining to a relaxed casual fun atmosphere with Pacific Rim influences in the 1970s. Hixson purchased the walled estate from a Macy’s granddaughter and opened the property to a long slew of visiting dignitaries, celebrities, and influential people, all evident in the photos in the entryway hallway.
Today you can still taste the ocean, feel the warm tropical air, and lollygag at Puerto Vallarta Beach Club’s special property – where the price for such privacy, luxury, and convenience is surprisingly reasonable. Most guests return year after year.
Cliffside ocean view villas where privacy is paramount
Upon arrival to this private gated estate, you don’t need to leave your villa home. Each villa comes with the ultimate privacy – shrouded in tropical foliage with front-facing ocean views. Clothing optional.
Watch the sunset from your private plunge pool hanging cliffside or go to bed with the sound of the surf to lull you to sleep each night. From the bed, gaze at the sunrise colors swirl and bloom over the limitless ocean. Dine on your private terrace or grab a snack from your full kitchen. Donned in local art, the 3 level one-bedroom villa called the Beach House offers dramatic ocean views from every angle, even the bathroom sink.
At Puerto Vallarta Beach Club visitors can also book 2 villas with 3 bedrooms and 1 villa with 4 bedrooms which makes villa life perfect for families, groups of friends, or multiple couples. AC, free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, a washer/dryer, a fully equipped gourmet kitchen, daily housekeeping, a water purification system, and an outdoor dining terrace with gas-fired grill are some of the amenities you can expect in each villa.
Since the property is just a ten-minute drive from the airport in an Uber or taxi, Puerto Vallarta Beach Club is easily doable for a long weekend, especially from the west coast.
Butler to the rescue. A private chef can prepare your meals. Complimentarty breakfast.
The butler known as the “Houseman” is assigned to your villa so that every possible need is met during your stay. He is at your disposal for supermarket shopping, maintenance needs, chef coordination, restaurant reservations, and any special requests. Your villa can be fully stocked before arrival with food and spirits pre-ordered for a small fee. Upon arrival, freshly prepared margaritas and guacamole awaited us.
Complimentary Mexican-style breakfast is made-to-order each morning and delivered to your villa. Dine on one of the balconies atop of the ocean without ever having to leave your bathing suits or robe.
For our anniversary dinner, we picked several items off the menu that the chef prepared for us at our own private table on the hotel’s terrace. Since we happened to be the only guests, we had the entire place to ourselves. After sunset, a surprise firework show and blustery windy downpour added to the romantic ambiance. The highly-trained chef (who must have been trained in the French style) prepared towering avocado ceviche and grilled fish with sweet potato puree. The chef on site can create whatever you like or you can select from a menu.
Lush setting with all the amenities
One morning an avocado the size of my hand fell from the tree outside our villa which made for a wonderful snack later in the day. Built into a tropical jungle-like hillside setting, Puerto Vallarta Beach Club feels like the ultimate Shangri-la. Birds and iguanas outnumber guests while whales can be spotted at the right time of year.
A private sandy beach bar is down below the villas and above the local beach where guests can layout on lounge chairs or order a cocktail at the palapas bar with ocean views.
The adjacent Villa Ventana with over 10 rooms offers amenities that can be used by guests too, such as a pool backed up to bamboo and palm trees, a circular poolside bar, and enchanting wraparound terrace with expansive views of the bay and Los Muertos Pier. Palm fronds and greenery hug the property while the midcentury décor with brick arches on the terrace feels like stepping into another era.
And for those looking for an adventure, Puerto Vallarta offers world-class golf, zip-line jungle tours, snorkeling, fishing, and boating to beaches only accessible by sea. Jet-skiing and paddleboarding are available just outside the beach gate.
Adventurous local flavor steps away
Spiral down the property’s lush stairwell to your own private beach access. A 5-minute walk down the beach brings you to the Mexican cobblestone town. Zona Romantica is a cultural adventure with century old taco stands and local shops. A long craft market runs parallel alongside the river. Consider booking a restaurant atop of the bay with tableside flambe cooking.
The value and small-feel privacy of the adults-only boutique hotel Casa Velas are the major reasons guests return to Casa Velas. The luxury Spanish hacienda with nearby private Ocean Club overlooking Banderas Bay is situated within the greens of the Marina Vallarta golf course with flitting colorful birds and wandering iguanas and peacocks. Casa Velas is the kind of property you come to deeply relax and wonder how you can stay longer.
A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World and a Four-Star awardee from Forbes Travel Guide, Casa Velas has been top 5 on TripAdvisor for Puerto Vallarta since 2010. Every guest we met was a repeat customer, some coming back every year.
Suites with plunge pools in a secluded calming atmosphere
Colorful birds often land on lily pads on the property’s sprawling koi ponds while lizards flit and peacocks roam the grounds. Beautiful vegetation surrounds the serene property that never felt crowded. Plenty of lounge chairs are available at the Main Pool and the adjacent Botanical Garden is a nice change of scenery to read a book, smell the herbs, or walk the enchanting garden labyrinth.
The grand Mexican-styled room boasts an outdoor plunge pool which we loved at night, especially for gazing at the stars. Eighty spacious suites come with private pools and jacuzzi bathroom tubs along with comfy pillowtop beds and a pillow bar to select the best option for your sleep. A 2-level Wellness Suite is available with a private immersion pool and terrace along with suites suited for up to 8 guests with grandiose living and dining rooms.
Breathtaking Ocean Club views
A few-minute shuttle takes you to Casa Velas’s Ocean Club, an intimate poolside retreat on the beach with cabanas and lounge chairs. Watch the surfers ride the waves from the pool and indulge in fresh tuna sashimi, ceviche, and made-to-order sushi with a cucumber margarita. A highlight is dining here at sunset watching the colors splash the sky over the ocean with an epic Sierra Madre Mountain backdrop.
All-inclusive done right
There is a high ratio of staff to guests so you are never left wanting for service. With the resort’s all-inclusive package, food and drinks can keep flowing without any worry about the price or tipping. Sample breakfast poolside or try out the exciting drinks from the impressively expansive cocktail menu. The Swim-Up Aqua pool bar makes a fun spot to sample refreshing tropical drinks or blended frozen concoctions. Might we suggest a passion fruit margarita with watermelon?
Each day a schedule is provided with activities and gourmet experiences offered complimentary, like beer pairings and Casino Night. A “Guacamania” multi-course dinner poolside infused avocado into each artfully plated dish. Another day a painting and margarita class with their resident artist León de la Vega reminded us the importance of flow, creativity, and that good health originates in the brain. Casa Velas’s Garden-to-Glass Botanical Cocktail experience taught us how to make personalized cocktails by selecting herbs from the garden like cactus pads, lemongrass, aloe vera, sage, rosemary, and lavender. Also, Casa Velas’s nearby sister property has 3 tennis courts and more restaurants that can be used anytime.
Need to spice things up? The Romantic Concierge provides creative romantic experiences to deepen your connection like a candlelit dinner oceanside or a moonlight massage for two.
Don’t pack a purse. Mix up your look by borrowing a designer handbag at no extra charge. Head to the gift shop and peruse the book of various designs.
Just 5 minutes from the airport and 15 minutes from the charming Puerto Vallarta cobblestone town with authentic eats and the popular waterfront El Malecon (boardwalk), a cultural adventure awaits! Sign up for the hotel’s complimentary art gallery tour in town or book a local walking food tour with Vallarta Food Tours.
Spa and Golf Days
Relieve stress with a Harmony Massage, but come early for the hydrotherapy circuit which allows guests to enjoy the sauna, pressure shower, eucalyptus steam, and jacuzzi overlooking the gardens. The intimate spa feels private, most likely due to staggered appointments. Choose from more than 60 holistic spa treatments, from soothing facials to invigorating skin treatments. Find wellness with aromatherapy, reflexology, sacred rituals, and more using herbs and ingredients harvested in Casa Velas’s own botanical garden.
A huge perk for golfers is the next-door Marina Vallarta’s 18-hole par 71 Joe Finger golf course. In addition, the hotel also offers free golf at nearby signature-designed 18-hole Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf courses. Golf clubs and greens fees are part of the all-inclusive experience but a mandatory golf cart rental fee applies.