Your experience is our priority. Our Club Marketing Manager, Brittany, visited each resort this past summer to provide you with insight on what to expect while traveling now. Read along for her firsthand experience and top recommendations for each destination.
Over summer, I took two weeks to travel to all resort our destinations in Mexico to experience what each of our resorts are doing to keep everyone safe during these COVID-19 times (LINK). In addition to observing the “new normal” practices at our resorts, I engaged in the full resort experience by participating in activities, visiting the spas, enjoying the resort amenities, and more. Please read along for highlights of my favorite experiences that I had at each destination during this trip.
Villa del Palmar Puerto Vallarta
I love the warm hospitality, artistic vibe (given off by the design of the resort), and central location. This resort has done a lot of renovations and enhancements since my last visit there, including a new mural in El Patron Restaurant, updated exterior paint, and a renovated lobby. These impacted the ambience of the whole resort in a positive way and made this resort feel even more like home to me.
In addition to the above enhancements, I always enjoy the special welcome amenity placed in my room prior to arrival. Plus, snacking on the welcome fruit for the few days I am at the resort is a great way to taste the local produce and feel like I am in vacation mode!
Relaxing on the beach and enjoying beautiful views of the Banderas Bay is a must for every trip! The sunset in Puerto Vallarta is always amazing and a phenomenal view you won’t want to miss. All chairs are socially distanced from other groups to keep you safe and follow COVID protocols.
For activities, I recommend taking a bracelet making class offered onsite by the Activities Team. You will learn how to braid your own Huichol bracelet, which is a staple in Mexican handcrafts. It is a bracelet made out of yarn and braided in a crisscross pattern. The activity leader walks you through the process step-by-step to ensure that your craft turns out beautifully. Plus, you get to take this creation home with you as a souvenir.
I’m a guacamole fan and can’t come to Mexico without enjoy some! El Patron is my favorite spot for guacamole and Mexican food since it boasts charming artwork and offers a wide variety of Mexican food. Plus, I am adoring this new mural showcased in the below photo that this restaurant now boasts!
Since Villa del Palmar Puerto Vallarta is in the heart of downtown, I always visit the malecon (boardwalk) every time. There are many shops, restaurants, street vendors, and beautiful views that will immerse you within the city’s culture. I highly recommend that you get a paleta (Mexican popsicle) while down here as the ingredients are so fresh! On a warm day, these paletas work wonders to cool you off!
Villa La Estancia, Riviera Nayarit
This is the ultimate quiet sanctuary for relaxation. The rooms are luxurious, with every little detail accounted for. One of my favorite things about staying here is that you can light a few tealight candles, pour yourself a glass of wine, and enjoy your in-room bath tub.
The pool is unique as it boasts a swim up bar and a great large area around the pool for relaxation. Plus, the views of the Banderas Bay never get old!
A stay here is not complete with a visit to the Tatewari Spa. I find the hydrotherapy area here beautiful and they always have a wide variety of services to meet your wants and needs.
When staying at Villa La Estancia, I enjoy walking from the resort on the beach into Bucerias. I really take my time on this walk (it takes me about 45 minutes one way) and take in all the beautiful views. Walking down the beach into town, there are some vendors. As you approach Bucerias, there are many restaurants that you can see. Stopping at the flea market in Bucerias is a must for any souvenirs that you may be wanting. I find the prices very reasonable and have purchased many glass hearts and some glassware for my kitchen there.
Villa del Arco
Who doesn’t love the stunning views of the famous “El Arco” arch?!
Attend the Members Cocktail Party (offered at all resorts; times vary based on location) for welcome drinks, appetizers, and live entertainment. Laura, the Activities Team host of this event, will lead the event by giving you introductions to the onsite management and announcements. The Activities Team will also perform for you a few dances to get you in the vacation mood! This is a great way to meet your Club staff and other members.
Take a cooking class with Chef Remby at Neptune Seafood Restaurant to learn how to make popular Mexican dishes. During my last visit, we made seafood tacos in the cooking class. Visits before I have learned how to make ceviche, guacamole, and handmade tortillas! It’s always a tasty time and Chef Remby makes it fun with his lively personality during the class. Plus, you get to eat whatever you make.
I love dining at Neptune Seafood because the food is great, the style of the restaurant resembles the inside of a ship, and the views of Medano Bay are gorgeous!
For lunch I like to eat at the Sushi Bar because it is right by the beach, has fresh food, and a short walk from the pool for easy lounging access.
Visit the Desert Spa and book a “Signature Desert Moment,” which is a treatment exclusive to this resort. I had the “Coconut Milk Immersion” during my last visit, and these 80 minutes were pure bliss! The treatment started out with a relaxing 15-minute bath, where soaked in coconut milk to hydrate my skin. As I soaked in the tub, my therapist gave me a head and shoulder massage. Then, I took a quick rinse off shower and laid down on the massage table where my therapist gave me a luxurious Swedish massage with coconut oil to finish moisturizing my skin. My skin has never felt so soft before!
Villa del Palmar Cancun
I enjoy looking out and seeing all the palm trees and Isla Mujeres in the distant. The deep blue Caribbean waters are mesmerizing and just by staring out into the ocean I feel instantly relaxed.
One of my favorite activities at Villa del Palmar Cancun is the daily morning yoga that they offer on the pier. I like being able to start my day off with exercise and feeling grounded along the backdrop of the beautiful Caribbean. Plus, I don’t feel so guilty indulging in some poolside guacamole later on in the day! The class is catered towards beginners and the instructor offers modifications for those at a more advanced level to ensure that everyone receives a great workout. I appreciate that this class is offered at the same time and the same place every day, making this an easy addition to my daily vacation routine.
The food and beverage options here are delicious. My favorite restaurant here is Hiroshi. The sushi is always so fresh and the chef can make you anything sushi-related that you may be craving. Plus, they offer ramen and meat-based dished for those who do not always want sushi.
Ordering the Mexican Flaming Coffee in the evenings from Davino’s is a tasty treat that also comes with a performance, as shown below. There’s nothing I’ve had like this in the states and I recommend this to everyone since it’s festive, unique, and delicious!
I recommend spending a day relaxing by the pool and/or beach while at this resort. Additionally, have a few drinks from the Tiki Bar. The bartenders here are fantastic and can suggest you a drink to try based on your likes if you need a recommendation. They always serve your drink with a smile (as you can see literally below) and have a passion for ensuring that you truly enjoy your experience with the some of the best views in the house!
The Village Spa is a beautiful relaxation oasis that is different from any of the spas at our other resorts as this spa has an outdoor hydrotherapy area. If you want to truly feel relaxed in the beautiful Caribbean setting, this is one stop you won’t want to miss! Their spa menu incorporates the Mayan influence and has many services utilizing Mayan names and practices, in addition to traditional services. My favorite treatment to get here is the “Tuunich Warm Stones Massage,” which means “Stone for Sculpture” in the Mayan language. The warm sensation of the hot stones on the skin feels fantastic and very different than a normal Swedish massage.
For evening entertainment I really enjoy the live band shown in the video below. It’s a fun addition to the nightly ambience at the resort. For a schedule of this please ask your concierge upon check-in.
My visit to the resorts was a nice getaway from the current COVID situation in the US. I personally felt that the resorts spent so much time keeping everything clean and sanitized. The staff all pays special attention to all details to ensure that everyone is safe and that all COVID protocols are followed. I felt safe during all my travels to and within Mexico. I felt much safer in Mexico (at the resorts, airport, and within the towns) than I do at home in Las Vegas with the current COVID pandemic. There is a special level of care practiced all throughout Mexico that made me truly feel like I could relax during this trip.
If you have a vacation experience that you would like to share with us, please respond in the comments section below this blog or email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay tuned for more updates and recaps of my travel experience.
Your fellow #TravelTrendSetter,
Member Marketing Manager, UVCI