When is a vacation more than a vacation?
I’m going to tell you straight up. It’s when you have seven-month-old twins, and you’re getting on a plane for a getaway without them for the first time since they were born. It’s when you watched with major FOMO other people’s travels on Instagram during the summer your babies were born and you were post-op and in the weeds with two newborns and in love with the new cuties, but also in WTF-is-going-on mode. It’s when you’ve never in your entire life needed or deserved another vacation as badly.
Those were the circumstances behind our trip to Punta Mita, Mexico, such that I was literally skipping through LAX on the way out of town. Of course, we were going to miss our sweet babes madly, but they would be safely in the care of four deeply doting grandparents.
So on this trip, we were off to the St. Regis Punta Mita, a getaway planned for pure luxury — no camping, no remote locations, no crazy string of planes, trains, and automobiles this time for obvious reasons. Just the most luxurious beach-and-pool vacation we have taken since our honeymoon in French Polynesia. Just sheer luxury romantic travel this time, thank you very much.
(As an aside, I have surprised myself since then with my shrinking interest in endlessly beach bumming when adventures like private puddle jumping and ancient caving are out there — but this time pure relaxation was the Rx for sure.)
After a scant three-hour flight from Los Angeles into Puerto Vallarta, followed by a 45-minute car ride (easy, safe), we passed through the entrance gate into the private enclave known as Punta Mita (which also houses a Four Seasons; Punta de Mita is the name of the town, located outside of the gate) and arrived at the St. Regis. Our rental car was promptly whisked away with our luggage to be placed directly in our suite, and we were greeted with welcome margaritas for a desk-free check-in, just in front of the hotel’s epic multitiered reflecting fountain at sunset. Welcome indeed.
The check-in process forshadowed the property’s epic hospitality and level of service, expemplfied by the St. Regis’ hallmark butler service. (I just really, really want more of this in my life in general, BTW. Can I get an amen?) We exchanged phone numbers with our butler, and communicated easily and effortlessly by iMessage (there’s free wi-fi throughout the property) for any whim. Not bad, right?
That first night, our butler got our bags to our suite… and then unpacked them while we were at dinner, meticulously categorizing items in our suite’s walk-in closet. He’d also collected our preferences, so that he knew how we liked our coffee and tea, which he delivered to our suite the next morning.
Of course, the morning coffee service was a wonderful amenity, but superfluous — because we took daily breakfast in the poolside restaurant, Las Marietas — and these were probably my favorite meals on the trip. They included the breakfast standards, plus an inventive quesadilla and huevos bar, as well as a fresh green juice made with cactus that, you know, balanced the Nutella and waffles I had for dessert. (Vacation is time for dessert after breakfast, am I right? Pay that piper in Equinox spin class when I get home, mmmmkay, so I can do it all again the next time.)
Speaking of food, one of hub’s absolute favorite things was the Mita Mary restaurant right on the beach: the resort’s take on a food truck, but instead of a truck… it’s a boat! It may be true that we had a good few Tecates here…
We lazed our days at the property’s sprawling pools, first trying out the 21-plus pool—figuring we’d seize our chance to do so while we had no kids in tow! But after that, we preferred the slightly livelier and larger family pool — with its infinity top tier — which was absolutely sophisticated with zero unwelcome noise, from children or otherwise.
We also of course spent time on the luscious beach, which has unusual views toward some small, green land masses, that change shape altogether with the ebbing and flowing of the tides, and toward the Marietas Islands six miles further into the background. (More on our trip there soon in a separate post, as well as our easy day trip to the cozy and colorful surf town of Sayulita.)
And this may be a small point, but it’s a critical one for packing considerations: For our short, warm-weather trip, we packed carry-on only, which meant spray sunscreens didn’t make the cut. (Those, in addition to my nonnegotiable mousse, can sometimes be carry-on dealbreakers.) No matter, because the beach- and poolside butlers provide various SPFs on the spot, along with bottomless chilled buckets of water bottles.
A highlight, of course, was an afternoon at the Remede Spa, where somehow the expansive locker rooms and relaxation areas seemed empty, even in high season. (It’s worth noting that the entire property felt this way — never, ever a challenge to get a great seat on the beach, and never a sense of being cramped anywhere.)
Even before my treatment, I was sold on this spa being one of my top five anywhere in the world (and if I could be a professional spa ranker, I assure you, I would.)
The soaring thatched ceiling of the women-only relaxation area was outfitted with a soothing ceiling fan, and nearby were warm and cold plunge pools. I fell asleep during the couple’s massage that followed, so the details on that are sketchy — but I’m clear on it being pretty much perfection.
Afterward, hubby opted for a manicure (oh yes, I just outed him), which he enjoyed in a massive cabana surrounded by a cool moat-like trough of water… totally solo. Such luxury!
From there, it was on to a little tradition: a fine-dining experience to blow out the last night. We changed our clothes and got ready for dinner in enough time to do one last evening walk along the beach at sunset. Not only was the sunset superlative (you know, like on every other night in Punta Mita), but the vibe on the beach was, too. I was excited about our fancy meal up at the top of the sprawling property, but simultaneously loving the atmosphere on the sand, where all ages and all types of travelers blissfully enjoyed the end of another sunny day in paradise in a totally low-key atmosphere. Yes, please.
Then it was up, up, up to the top of the hill, where we found Carolina, the signature restaurant, which has a brand new chef at the helm. We went for the six-course tasting menu — because Equinox when I get home. Each course was elegant and precious, but somehow playful and not too fussy. And the vegetarian substitutions… well, they hardly felt like substitutions. By the time we got to the buñuelo… well, we were stuffed and satisfied.
Satisfied in that larger sense too, if I may.
Because we are determined to continue to live our lives with joy and adventure, exposing our kids to the same when they are (old enough to be vaccinated against measles, ahem, and) more ready for travel, evolving the nature of that travel as feels appropriate and right for our family. We’re also determined to continue to seek balance, which sometimes means seeking grown-up relaxation, and reconnecting as a couple.
A couple who has been fortunate to mark many precious occasions and milestones at epic beaches aroud the world. And that’s a life way too good to stop now, whether the hammock’s holding two or four.