March 13, 2015 | By Ilona Kauremszky |
It’s one of those places you read about.
An all-inclusive luxury resort perched on the edge of the Pacific Coast with its sandy beach – the kind you want to dig your toes into and linger on for hours until you finally blink your eyes and can’t believe what you just saw.
A massive geyser erupts from the sea as a black girth emerges from the shimmering blue waters at the forefront of the Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit. Besides being a hub of elegance, the 267-room property becomes centre stage for frolicking humpback whales during whale watching season.
You never know what you’ll see when you stretch out your beach blanket here.
Here’s the 411 on Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit.
Swanky, modern interiors with open spaces in the main public areas emit that breezy, relaxed atmosphere guests enjoy. Find a quiet nook by the lotus pond and sit back in one of the lovely lounge areas with a coffee or visit the adults-only infinity pool and keep your eyes peeled for whale sightings.
This recently renovated all-inclusive luxury resort is a member of the Leading Hotels of the World, so expect only the finest in service and quality. Pretty bougainvilleas cascade off the balconies so a burst of colour beautifully offsets the honey yellow facade.
Families can enjoy time together by the pool or parents can enroll their children at the Kids Club (ages 4-12). The hours are 9 am – 11 pm daily.
The Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit has 5 pools including a children and adults-only pool, but what makes them incredible is the design. At nearly every vantage point the pools cascade into each other and that’s thanks to the wonderful infinity, plunge pools.
Did you forget your sunglasses? Maybe even the SPF? Ask the pool concierge for assistance. The attentive pool staff continually circulates to aid guests in libations, eats and yes, certain amenities.
Nightly entertainment is scheduled at the Lounge Bar or the magnificent Roman-inspired amphitheatre for movie nights.
There are several room categories, but even the Standard Suites are spacious at 1,000 sq. ft. I stayed in a Parlor Suite overlooking the gardens facing the beach. These suites have 2 rooms, a main bedroom and a living room, as well as a large bathroom. There is 24-hour room service and free WiFi.
One word: amazing. The selection in fine dining is huge. I had no idea you could dine in such elegant, stylish restaurants at an all-inclusive resort and be entertained by a distinguished crop of musicians. I dined at all 3 triple-A, four-diamond restaurants to musical accompaniments which were distinct at each location. (Fyi: Reservations are required).
Frida’s is akin to a Mexican hacienda with its Spanish colonial interior and splashes of Frida Kahlo touches. One of the biggest Frida ties is the hostess who is a dead ringer for the famous Mexican artist.
Lucca specializes in Italian fare. The Romanesque-styled decor with white columns has a grand piano as the focal point. My menu incorporated Mediterranean touches.
Piaf, the French restaurant, is a study in art and design. Whimsical blown glass art in shapes of butterflies greet guests as they enter this upscale restaurant. A smooth stone floor and muted tones elegantly showcase the extraordinary collection of huge modern wall art.
What to do
I went for a “serenity now” experience so I indulged in several activities.
I visited the spa, which incorporates traditional Mexican, pre-Hispanic remedies in its signature treatments. I tried the 50-minute Serenity Massage. The ambiance was ideal. Between the dim lighting and oceanic soundtrack, my massage therapist greeted me with a fabulous spa welcome infused with the four elements (fire, earth, water and air). Go early and get pampered by the spa butler and after your treatment, relax for hours at the private hydrotherapy pool.
One late afternoon I participated in a yoga class at the fitness centre. We did meditative breathing, the downward dog, and other moves that were totally new to me. I appreciated the instructor’s patient approach and totally recommend taking a yoga class there.
For the gourmet lover that I am, I heard about a cooking class and decided to experience a French cooking lesson. Executive Chef Claudio Hotter who oversees the resort’s 3 triple A, four-diamond restaurants helms this class. My class size was small so we each took turns creating our 3-course lunch. I picked up handy tips that day on mushroom cleaning and now can proudly say I know how to make an endive salad with a creamy Roquefort dressing.
Guests can also play tennis, golf at their choice of 2 golf courses in the area or head out on off-site excursions to explore the area. Daily resort activities are scheduled too.
Do you think the Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit is the resort for you? Find out more about it here.
Award-winning travel writer Ilona Kauremszky is a co-producer of mycompasstv and mycompass.ca and works with leading publications across North America. She’s been a nationally syndicated travel columnist and has appeared as a travel expert on CBC, NPR, Yahoo Finance and other national broadcasters. Follow her travel pursuits on Twitter and YouTube @mycompasstv.