Riviera Nayarait, a 100-mile stretch along Mexico’s Pacific coast, has grown as a vacation destination since 2006, thanks to a $1.5 billion infrastructure investment from the Mexican government that enabled the building of luxury hotels. Encompassing Nuevo Vallarta, the Punta Mita gated community, cultural attractions, and fishing villages updated with wi-fi and coffee shops, Riviera Nayarait — 15 minutes north of both Puerto Vallarta and its airport — is emerging as one of the next great places in Mexico for couples. The best Riviera Nayarit hotels, below, are set beside the pristine beaches of this sunny area.
Set on a 400-acre nature preserve on a peninsula northwest of Puerto Vallarta on Banderas Bay, the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita lies inside a private gated community. Best at this hotel: Beachfront, traditional Mexican-style casitas with red-tiled rooftops directly on the shore and the signature professional Four Seasons service.
Tucked in a hot, lazy nook of Riviera Nayarit, the romantic St. Regis Punta Mita features several infinity pools and a clutch of dining options. What's best: All hotel rooms come with sexy outdoor showers and indoor tubs. And the 10,000 square foot Remède Spa contains two couples’ treatment rooms and a deluxe private spa suite.
Opened in 2013, this is the first of the Iberostar properties on Mexico's Pacific Coast. Although it is a family-friendly all-inclusive, couples in search of an adults-only experience can book a room in the Spa Tower, which is limited to (chronological) grownups. Although the beach is narrow, an ocean-facing pool with swim-up bar and active games pool provide ample spots to soak up the sun and get-wet opportunities.
Secrets Resorts, Dreams Villamagna Nuevo Vallarta is another of the Riviera Nayarit hotels for those who must travel with children. Best of this Riviera Nayarit property: big-screen movies on the beach and private balconies and terraces containing a Jacuzzi for two.