Resort options on the Riviera Nayarit continue to evolve. That’s good news for agents booking high-end family and couples travel.
“The Punta Mita area is definitely on the rise. There are some beautiful villas there and also some boutique hotels. The Imanta Resort is one in particular that we’re recommending,” Jody Bear co-owner of Bear & Bear Travel in New York City, tells Travel Agent.
Known for its jungle, sea and mountain backdrop, Imanta is going through a re-set of late. Last year’s affiliation with Relais & Chateaux has enhanced its profile, especially on the culinary front.
“Our chef is quite happy to take the culinary experience to the next level. We’ve had some guest chefs and special dining events here already. It’s great exposure to be part of the Relais & Chateaux family,” Imanta’s Sales Director Rodrigo Ruiz tells Travel Agent.
Ruiz added that the property hopes to join Fine Hotels of the World by the end of the year. It is also working on a meal all-inclusive plan to roll out later this year.
Now in its fifth year of operations, Imanta has honed its appeal.
“We’re still a 12-unit property set on 250 acres of a jungle reserve. But the concept is evolving. We see ourselves as an experiential property for a weekend trip, a honeymoon or wedding anniversary,” said Ruiz.
Experiences can take the form of a jungle hike to a secluded beach. Or a hike into the mountains for a vista that spans from the Bay of Banderas to the surfing enclave of Sayulita.
It’s a landscape Ruiz is intimately familiar with. He spent seven years as a sales manager at the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita. Both the Four Seasons and the St. Regis Punta Mita Resort are a short fifteen minutes away from Imanta.
“The resorts here are like a big family. We are all seeking what’s best for the destination. We don’t see ourselves as competitors. Actually, we complement each other,” said Ruiz.
In fact, guests of the neighboring luxury resorts are known to frequent Imanta’s fine dining restaurant. They’re also welcome to book treatments at Imanta’s new Jungle Spa. Opened in December 2014, it’s constructed of palm leaves, wood and quarry stone. Its temazcal sweat lodge is overseen by a third-generation practitioner.
“At Imanta, the whole property is meant to be a spa. It’s the ultimate private seclusion experience. Guests come here to relax, decompress and find balance,” said Ruiz.
Couples rather than families are Imanta’s prime market. The former are drawn to the newest accommodation, known as the “Tree House.” The home of the resort’s owner, it’s a 7,000-square foot pine and stone structure built on the side of a mountain.
“There’s nothing around you except jungle and ocean, but you do have a butler and housekeeper,” said Ruiz.
“Puerto Vallarta itself doesn’t currently have anything like Imanta. That’s why it’s so popular with our high-end clientele. It’s glorious but specialized. Of course for families, the Four Seasons is our best-seller,” said Susan Brodner, a luxury travel specialist with All Star Travel Group in Los Angeles.
The Four Seasons has recently redesigned its two private beaches, adding surf shacks, day beds and floating lounge pods. And its range of accommodations, from suites to villas, is a top selling point.
“As expensive as it is, the Four Seasons is a staple for clients going to the Puerto Vallarta or Riviera Nayarit area. What they do as far as kids and teens go is perfection,” said Brodner.
The news of other high-end brands coming to the area is tremendously positive, Brodner added.
“If One&Only expands into the Riviera Nayarit, that will be absolutely huge for our clientele. Everyone loves it there. You have remote beaches, dramatic scenery and adorable little villages such as Sayulita. For me, the Pacific coast is the real Mexico,” said Brodner.