Tequila and Treehouses One & Only Mandarina

One & Only Mandarina, we love O&O Resorts, it took me too long to visit the newest Mandarina, in a wild jungle set between the Sierra del Vallejo wooded mountains and the Pacific Ocean, near Punta Mita, Mexico.  The property is located on a gorgeous stretch of coastline in Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit area.

Carao, adult pool

Mandarina is a cliff-side resort set in 88 acres of coastal rainforest, there is no bad view. Two beaches, one of which is swimmable all year round, in a protected jetty.  The resort is hidden amid massive primeval palms and the largest tree ferns I’ve ever seen. From my tree house deck, I honestly thought some of the palm fronds had been wired to the treehouse base, they are gargantuan!  The resort in the rainforest is almost invisible from the coastline.

Tree houses and villas are casual yet luxurious, the low-impact buildings have a graceful, contemporary design that utilizes impressive modern architecture and an understated Mexican style. Dark local Cumaru wood, like teak, is used on ceilings and slatted windows, alongside plaster earthen walls and polished concrete floors. Accented with modern comfortable furniture, the artwork and décor are all sourced from local Mexican designers, there is truly an authentic sense of place. The villas are wide open and expansive, some have many stairs to access rooms; the tree houses are all flat and you won’t need to navigate any stairs.

The resort has 104 free-standing villas set either in the treetops or on ocean cliffs, each with its own private plunge pool. Designed for open-air living and to amplify the dramatic views of the Pacific Ocean; floor-to-ceiling glass walls and huge, sliding balcony doors dramatically frame the jungle and the sparkling sapphire sea. The large open rooms include comfortable seating and dining areas, inside and out, double-sink vanities, indoor and outdoor soaking tubs, or showers. The indoor showers could host a party! Some of the villas have spas within, projection rooms, massage rooms, full size professional gyms.

Guests have their own dedicated butler and are shuttled around the grounds by buggy. The excellent staff are warm and accommodating, I didn’t experience any wait time by my butler, and this is probably the only complaint I’ve heard – a wait for a butler. The personal touch was abundant, excellent restaurants, and a long list of on property activities, a stay here is especially delightful for travelers who prefer not to venture too far from the property.

Time with your Tribe. Embark on a family adventure through the wilds of Riviera Nayarit, with curated journeys designed for all-ages enjoyment. Spend your days surfing Sayulita’s waves, hiking to ‘La Abuela, and mastering the art of horseback riding, before enjoying family-friendly dining and a campfire under the stars.

So many choices of activities, but to be clear, you won’t be walking to and from, I was very happy with the beck and call buggy service. High points include the two beaches (the wild Canalan beach is especially lovely), a dip in one of the many infinity pools, a beach horse ride organized by the hotel’s Mandarina Polo & Equestrian Club, or a hike through the historic rainforest peppered with petroglyphs. Mountain bikes can be used in the somewhat hilly jungle terrain, there is archery, polo classes, hiking, tree top zip lines, water sports – a plethora of options – one could be active all day if you can wrench yourself from the secluded tree house deck.  A deck amid a wild jungle teeming with melodic and whistling birds and early morning curious Coatimundi critters who may peek in your windows.

The adult only pool Carao, is dramatically tucked into the hillside, on the edge of a jaw dropping cliff. Jaunty loungers line the long decks, shaded by vibrant carrot orange umbrellas. One could pass a day here with a thick book, interrupted only by cooling laps in the elevated pool.

As customary with O&O properties, there is the complimentary KidsOnly club, with a dedicated forest and butterfly farm. A jungle fort offers outdoor time and the arts and crafts looked stimulating and fun. There is also a family pool, near the sandy Jetty beach.

The expansive yet serene spa offers a variety of treatments, from astrology readings to Tata Harper treatments and classic massages. There is also a massage pool, mud bath and a chill-out area overlooking a forest of ancient Higuera trees. 

The resort includes four open-air restaurants and a treetop bar overlooking the ocean. The fine-dining coastal restaurant Carao, offers modern Mexican cuisine in an elegant, contemporary setting. Menus designed and executed by Enrique Olvera, a meal usually begins with fresh ceviche starters and concludes with multiple desserts including homemade cinnamon buñuelos. Dishes include scallop with broccolini tostadas, tender lobster, fresh salads and fruit. The list of mezcals, tequilas, artisanal agave and international wines is particularly impressive.

The more casual Alma restaurant is Mediterranean inspired with a large garden and pool. An open-air, garden-to-plate restaurant helmed by French Mexican executive chef Olivier Deboise, who prepares dishes like epazote raviolis with huitlacoche and almond cheese over two wood-fired ovens, which also produce yummy pizza.

Alma is also the setting for breakfast; guests can order an array of options from enchiladas and chili scrambled eggs to power bowls and waffles. Order a small portion of chiliquilies with scrambled eggs or Huevos Rancheros. Lastly, there is the casual beach side Jetty Beach Club for light Mexican-style lunches, fresh fish is extremely popular.

Several of the private villas boast immense professional kitchens and chef Olivier Deboise can be reserved to prepare a spectacular dinner feast in your villa. Begin with mezcal cocktails on a cliff side deck with soaring Pacific Ocean views, migrate to the open-air dining room and end the evening around the infinity pool with delectable desserts.

Finally: Retreat to the spa. Each of the six treatment rooms are built within a natural volcanic rock garden, the rooms are conical in shape and appear to be small pyramids amid the jungle. It’s another world at the spa. Treatments are inspired by Indigenous and pre-Hispanic cultures and go beyond typical massage offerings: including mud bath treatments, apply a dark mud treatment to your skin at the mud grotto. Let it dry while relaxing on a lounger, then rinse it off under the tropical rain showers, and quiet sessions in the on-site temazcal, experience an age-old ritual that has been part of Mexican culture for a thousand years. The name ‘Temazcal’ originates from a Nahuatl word meaning “house of heat”. This pre-Hispanic cleansing rite took place before and after battles and sport tournaments due to its healing powers. a sweat lodge inspired by the Indigenous cultures of Mexico, boosts detoxification by combining medicinal herbs with steam and heat.

One could spend over a week here with an amazing combination of ocean kayaking, hiking, reading, archery, tennis combined with visits to the spa for the numerous ritual treatments. A marvelous combination of exercise, ocean dips and spa rejuvenation with ancient healings.

The property is situated within easy driving distance of the relaxed beach towns of Sayulita and San Pancho. It’s 20 minutes drive to the charming seaside town of San Francisco, 45 minutes to Punta Mita, and less than an hour to Puerto Vallarta airport.

Highly Recommend!

Four Seasons Paradise in Punta Mita

September 4. Punta Mita, Mexico. We arrived at the Four Seasons Resort on a sizzling September afternoon, it was muggy, hot and damp. Always expecting a warm welcome, the Four Seasons didn’t disappoint, a refreshing juicy cocktail spiked with tequila served with a fragrant chilled towel. Sip and freshen up – the ideal combination, we’ve alighted in Paradise!

Labor Day week is generally quiet for me; thus, I escape! September in this jungle climate, typically produces showery evenings; monsoon type tempests accompanied by impressive thunder & spectacular jagged lightening, for a native Californian, it’s Mother Nature at her very very best!

The Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita is a luxurious family-friendly resort hotel with excellent facilities on a 1,500-acre nature reserve on the northern tip of Bahia de Banderas, one of the world’s largest natural bays. Fringed by palms, sandy beaches and a backdrop of jungle clad mountains. Paradise Indeed! Richard and Elizabeth and the Night of the Iguana introduced these picturesque fishing villages to the world.

The Arrival – a refreshing juicy cocktail spiked with tequila. It sets the stage for the visit! Four Seasons Punta Mita.

The Welcome continues – this is one of my absolute favorite hotel amenities at Four Seasons Punta Mita

Holas and sipping achieved, we were escorted by golf buggy through the fragrant frangipani gardens to the Presidential Suite and its adjoining sumptuous suites. The Welcome continues – this is one of my absolute favorite hotel amenities, I am passionate about The Welcome – the most delectable individual Margarita, with guacamole, chips and salsa- mosey out to your terrace or slip into your plunge for a brilliant sunset and panoramic views of the Pacific. Did I mention Paradise?

A hacienda style retreat with five-bedrooms, it’s located at the very tip of the Resort’s private cliffside, overlooking massive sea rocks and the panoramic views of the Pacific. Each suite has a plunge pool and spacious terrace.

Our clients are devoted to this little oasis of calm relaxation on a sun-splashed stretch of Mexico’s Banderas Bay coastline. Reserving many times a year for multi-generation families and couples, it’s a peaceful fun sanctuary with impeccable service – we rely on the perfection so much, I haven’t visited in several years. Our clients are considered Royalty here – Aztec Gods.

Plunge View from Presidential suite Four Seasons Punta Mita

Presidential Suite Four Seasons Punta Mita

The resort has 173 guest rooms, including 34 suites. All are spacious and feature large bathrooms with separate shower and bath tub, as well as a private balcony or terrace. The suites also feature a separate sitting area and private plunge pool. The massive outdoor shower provided my daily rinse.

Bahia Restaurant Four Seasons Punta Mita

The hotel has three main restaurants. A new restaurant Dos Katrinas will be completed by November. Overseen by executive Chef Jorge González, the restaurant will marry Mexico’s past and future with a new culturally rich dining experience set in a modern, reimagined space with views to the ocean. Bahia by Richard Sandoval has a prime spot on Las Cuevas beach, enjoying some of the best sunset views, and taking advantage of the fishermen’s daily catch, with delicious seafood prepared on the open-air grill. Cool ocean breezes set the scene for the extensive range of smoky mesquite grilled seafood and meat, served with seasonal vegetables and signature sauces. The Aramara restaurant, meaning “sacred place by the ocean”, features a melting pot of Latin American and Asian cuisine and the Aramara bar offers the perfect place to relax before or after your meal.

Tropical Playground
 – Offering championship golf, diving, surfing, languid swimming pools, whale watching, flyboarding, fishing and the list goes on. The Lazy River is paradise for the kiddos. The Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita offers an excellent Children’s Club, a super luxe spa, fitness center, 3 outdoor pools and an impressive tennis center with 10 tennis courts. The hotel also offers a wide variety of other activities including deep sea fishing, diving, snorkeling, kayaking and golf at the two Jack Nicklaus designed 28-hold courses next to the ocean. Whale watching excursions can also be arranged between the months of December and April – and in fact the whales can often be seen right in front of the hotel, do lift your head to the rim of your plunge pool and look for the spouting and slapping tail flukes. A new Teen Center has received raves from our clients: The Container. The resort invites guests 13 to 19 years-old to enjoy the new indoor-outdoor modern space, which offers interactive programming, a “no adults allowed” lounge area and teen-friendly culinary options.

The Container Teen Center Four Seasons Punta Mita

Located just steps from the Resort’s lazy river and the basketball court,

Apuane Spa
 – Pièce de résistance. Step into a coastal haven of rest and tranquility. Apuane, Spanish for “healing waters,” is ultimate serenity in scenic Mexico. Spa therapists have created a special treatment that will enhance your feeling of well-being like no other massage you’ve ever experienced using tequila, indigenous sage oil and traditional Mexican healing techniques. My personal favorite: Dream Time Journey. Huichols believe that we live two lives, one in our waking state and the other in our dreaming state, and both are of great importance in their culture. This beautiful restorative ritual is performed to promote the journey into the dream world, where our subconscious mind and conscious self, meet and create harmony and peaceful sleep. We begin with a luxurious exfoliation and bathing ritual, followed by massage based on ancient techniques with repetitive movements to completely switch off the thinking process. A full body nourishing cocoon with scalp massage completes the treatment to promote deep, deep sleep and a pleasant dreamtime journey.

Four Seasons Punta Mita

In the style of chic Mexican beach homes, each guest room and suite at the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita is enhanced by simple, elegant décor and wide doors open to a furnished terrace. High-tech features include plasma-screen televisions, DVD and CD players, two-line telephones and high-speed internet access. For personal comfort, there are famously restful Four Seasons beds. Spacious bathrooms feature immense soaking tub, a separate glass-enclosed shower and a stunning outdoor open-air shower, large enough for a group! Some of the Villas we reserve have their own screening room and gyms.

If you want to swim in the Pacific, the water is calm and just cool enough to refresh from the heat, or just laze away the day on a Bali beach bed under the shade of a thatched palapa or float in the infinity pool … a friendly beach attendant will be hovering with a tray of iced drinks and frozen popsicles. Kayaks, boogie boards, SUP are all supplied from the beach shack.

Five-star sea sunsets guaranteed – gazing from your terrace or all the restaurants.

Catch of the Day Four Seasons Punta Mita

Every morning, guests who mosey to the Las Cuevas beach near Bahia may greet the local fishermen boat as they deliver the fresh catch of the day straight from the sea. Instagram the ritual as the whole fish are removed from the fishermen’s cooler and beautifully arranged on slabs of ice that line a replica wooden boat. Thursday’s catch included red snapper, flounder, Dorado and brilliantly colored parrot fish. Chef will let you snap photos with the fish and explain fishology – if your kiddos want to touch the tongue of a fish or peer into the gills, this is an interactive Fresh Fish Cart!

 – The most devoted professional staff I’ve ever encountered. Fortunate guests will enjoy a round of golf with the very congenial GM. John is a beyond charming Irishman and if you are VV lucky he will gift you a book of his poems.

The Four Seasons property rambles amidst tropical jungle gardens overflowing with fragrant flowers, spectacular songbirds, colorful tree climbing iguanas, and a stunning ocean view.

As Thornton Wilder wrote: There’s nothing like eavesdropping to show you that the world outside your head is different from the world inside your head.

I’m quite pleased with the Four Seasons Punta Mita world.

Four Seasons Punta Mita Included again in the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Awards

Guaranteed Five Star Sunsets Four Seasons Punta Mita

Four Seasons Punta Mita