We are in the midst of summer, not quite the dog days, but still that crucial point where fantasies of beach vacations are frequent if not all-consuming. So, of course, when I went to Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ Starlab in Manhattan last week to learn about the W Punta de Mita in Nayarit, Mexico, it was hard not to envision a trip to the spa or relaxing poolside, even enjoying fresh ceviche at the Chevicheria, a converted 1950s Chevrolet 3800 pale blue truck that has been transformed into a beachside bar.
Because the culture is so rich in the Mexico town, a 25 mile drive from Puerto Vallarta, the W design team, along with Oakland-based Mister Important Design, used those influences (Frida Kahlo, luche libre masks, the papel picado paper-cutting technique, and, especially the traditional patterns of the Huichol people, one of the few remaining native groups in Mexico) as well as the natural architecture and verdant landscape for the 150-villa resort.
There are the W mainstays—a DJ booth that sits behind the bar and commands the area; the 4,000 square foot Away Spa that opens out to a pool where the natural spring water flows; and a few dining options: the Spice Market Beach (that has yet to open) and Mesa1 restaurant, which sits on an island in the middle of the spring-fed lake, both exclusive and isolated.
As one of the few select luxury resorts in the W portfolio, the property combines the flare the brand is known for—whimsy, humor, and bright colors—with what we expect from a beach resort (soft colors, tranquil setting, and views for days). Indeed, each moment is a curated social media share waiting to happen. The welcomes desks, for instance, have tiny skulls embedded in them, a nod to the Day of the Dead.
In the villas, fun elements like a mural of Frida Kahlo, are used to bring in humor, while other ones speak to the bohemian beach culture, with vibrant surfboards acting as headboards in some, and local tin used as a headboard in others.
But it’s the green and blue mosaic walkway, the Camino Huichol, in the entrance that truly speaks to the setting. Acting as a pathway for guests, it spans nearly 460 feet, guiding guests from the entrance outside to the Wet Deck and pool area and finally to walkway that overlooks the Pacific Ocean.