Saturday, July 20, 2024

Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit ready for a new wave of five-star resorts

Move over, Los Cabos. There’s a new capital of luxury resorts in Mexico, and it’s along the coastline of Riviera Nayarit and Puerto Vallarta. Years ago, the beaches of Riviera Nayarit and those along Puerto Vallarta and the Costalegre were known for their bohemian surfer vibes, budget backpacker bungalows, and off-the-grid secrets. 

Well, the secret is out, and the investments have followed by the millions. Over the past few years, Riviera Nayarit and Puerto Vallarta have received massive injections of investment, which have been poured directly into the development of five-star hotels and resorts. You may recognize names like One&Only Mandarina and Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo, the two bookends along a vast stretch of coastline peppered with one impressive resort after the next.

Riviera Nayarit
Riviera Nayarit is poised to become the new capital for luxury tourism in Mexico. (Saulo Meza/Unsplash)

Development is not exclusive to hotels and resorts. Infrastructure has also received massive funding, from the recently rebranded Riviera Nayarit International Airport in Tepic to the new highway connecting Guadalajara with Puerto Vallarta, passing through the state of Nayarit. Puerto Vallarta’s international airport is in the process of expanding to include a new terminal, as well, to bring more tourists to the region and help alleviate the congestion in and around Puerto Vallarta.

Looking ahead towards the end of 2024 and through 2026, the coastline is expecting the debut of some heavy hitters, with big names like Rosewood, Montage, and Ritz-Carlton on the horizon. Here’s a look at some of the biggest five-star development projects coming to Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit.

Rosewood Mandarina

Heads turned in 2020 with One&Only opened One&Only Mandarina along Riviera Nayarit. Now the next phase of the Mandarina development is set to debut with the opening of Rosewood Mandarina. Slated for a 2025 launch, this will be Rosewood’s fourth property in Mexico.

The resort will offer 140 guest rooms, suites, and villas, with views across the mountains, beach, and ocean. Three bars and restaurants will be part of the property, including a specialty restaurant and sunset bar, as well as a pool grill and beach bar. The resort will have three pools, a fitness center, a spa with 10 treatment rooms, and event space. 

Me by Melia Sayulita

Me by Melia Sayulita, Puerto Vallarta Riviera Nayarit new resorts
(Melia Hotels)

While Sayulita has long been known for its boutique hotels and surf bungalows, the bohemian village north of the Bay of Banderas is about to welcome its first brand-name hotel. The ME Sayulita will have 125 rooms and villas, three restaurants, a pool, gym, spa, beach club, a rooftop bar, and a pool venue. It is slated to open by the end of 2024.

Milaroca, A Belmond Hotel

In 2024, Milaroca, A Belmond Hotel will open along the Riviera Nayarit coastline. The resort’s 57 guest pavilions will be shrouded in 105 acres of thick jungle, overlooking a beachfront two kilometers long. The rooms will range from junior suites to one-bedrooms, jungle suites, and 12 three-bedroom villas. Most rooms will have private plunge pools, as well. The resort will have six dining venues, a wellness center, four outdoor swimming pools, and 27 private villas. 

Zel Sayulita

The Zel brand is a lifestyle hotel partnership between Melia Hotels International group and tennis superstar Rafa Nadal. The brand is bringing its first hotel to Mexico in 2025 with Zel Sayulita. The beachfront hotel will have 145 rooms wreathed around a central courtyard, a nod to the Mediterranean roots of the Melia brand. The courtyard will be the place for socializing, dining, and relaxing. 

Six Senses Xala

South of Puerto Vallarta, along the Costalegre, Six Senses is readying to make its Mexico debut. Scheduled to open in 2026, Six Senses Xala will be part of the Xala master-planned residential community. The beachfront resort will have 51 bungalow-style villas with private pools, nestled amid coconut palms and mango fields. True to the Six Senses brand, environmental conservation is a huge part of the program. At Six Senses Xala, this includes the reforestation of 590 acres of land and the construction of a new coastal protection reef to create a consistent surf wave, all the while helping to preserve the marine habitat. Sea turtles will be monitored and protected through the sea turtle camp, and local families and farms will reap the benefits of renewable energy and year-round potable water. 

Montage Punta Mita

Puerto Vallarta Riviera Nayarit new resorts
(Montage Hotels Resort)

Just north of Puerto Vallarta, along the luxe Punta Mita peninsula, Montage is developing its 63-acre newest hotel. Montage Punta Mita will open in 2026 and will feature 140 guest rooms and 91 Montage Residences. Along with multiple dining options, a resort pool, spa, and signature children’s program, this beachfront resort will bring another five-star experience to the Punta Mita peninsula

Pendry Punta Mita

Speaking of the five-star Punta Mita experience, Pendry Punta Mita is another exclusive hotel that is currently under development. The resort will open with 115 guest rooms, six dining concepts, the Spa Penury, a kids club, 30 Penury Residences, and a stretch of beachfront with a brag-worthy surf break. Pendry Punta Mita will open in 2026.

It’s certainly a change in pace for this part of Mexico, which up until recently was known more for its boutique and budget accommodations than for an extreme swing towards luxury. But with hundreds of miles of spectacular beaches, rugged mountainous landscapes, outdoor adventure, gastronomy, and international access, it’s not a surprise that wealthy travelers took notice.

Meagan Drillinger is a New York native who has spent the past 15 years traveling around and writing about Mexico. While she’s on the road for assignments most of the time, Puerto Vallarta is her home base. Follow her travels on Instagram at @drillinjourneys or through her blog at drillinjourneys.com

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