Dreaming of where to escape once we weather this COVID-19 crisis? A new low-density, luxury retreat outside of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico should be on the top of your list.
Sitting on a swanky speedboat sipping Champagne, freshly glistening from a dip in the warm azure waters off the Riviera Nayarit, I am having one of those one of those heightened perfect moments that exotic tropical travel can elicit. Immersed in a psychedelic array of greens and blues, our vantage point is the perfect spot to drink in the dramatic landscape of this jungle-meets-the-sea resort. Jutting cliffs and an emerald canopy tower above a mile-long ribbon of golden sand and lapping waves. A jetty arcs out into the sea, creating a halcyon cove for snorkeling and swimming. And if there was ever a place to social distance while vacationing in style, this is it.
Set on 636 acres, Mandarina is a spacious natural Eden, sustainably designed and organic in its architecture. Its first opening phase welcomes One&Only Mandarina with 104 stand-alone bungalows tucked into the trees, a beach club, spa, infinity pools, and myriad al fresco dining spots, come late 2020. A second phase in 2022 will usher in the equally compelling Rosewood Mandarina.
This jungle paradise has everything imaginable: Infinity and oceanfront pools; a full-blown equestrian club replete with a tournament-size polo field, dressage and jumping arenas, stables and well-trained horses for trail rides. For the adventuresome, there’s a network of mountain biking and hiking trails in the pristine rainforest, canopy zip lines and a jungle course, along with sleek boats ready to whisk you off to epic surf breaks, secret fishing spots or scenic scuba sites. You can kayak, paddleboard and birdwatch in the estuary flatlands, or enjoy sailing, whale watching and watersports from the Canalan Beach Club. Adults can bliss out at the One&Only Spa in open air treatment rooms, serenaded by bird song, while little ones hang out at KidsOnly Club with its treehouses, nursery, insect hut, jungle excursions, game room, outdoor amphitheater and more. And the bounty from Mandarina’s on-site organic gardens will artfully land on your plate in the various al fresco dining spots tucked throughout the property.
In addition to One&Only Mandarina’s stunning treehouse hotel rooms, which sport infinity or plunge pools, expansive decks for lounging, dramatic views and indulgent butler service, 54 One&Only Private Homes are being built, with conceptual design by renowned architect Rick Joy of Amangiri Resort fame. Joy’s focus falls on design organic to the landscape that blends with the beauty of jungle rather than disrupting the natural fl ow of the wild. Th ese insanely luxurious homes (four to eight bedrooms with price tags upwards of 5 to 11 million) are holistic in their design with seamless indoor/outdoor spaces, allowing you to commune with nature. Earth tones, natural materials, high design chef kitchens, infi nity pools, outdoor showers, cinema screens, wellness technologies like circadian lighting and dreamy mountain and ocean views add to the elevated living experience. And for the ultimate private getaway, you and your posse can rent one of these jungle compounds.
RLH Properties, which owns Mandarina, is no stranger to supporting environmentally forward resorts, as they also own ecofriendly Mayakoba, south of Cancun. At Mandarina, RLH’s commitment to sustainability and preserving the fragile ecosystems of the jungle and mangroves is reflected in myriad protected green spaces, the low density home building (one residence for every 2.4 acres), sustainable building materials, and golf carts and bikes as green transportation versus cars.
Another charm of Mandarina is its ease of access. Once the world opens up again and planes fill the sky, you’ll discover that you can easily jet in and out of bustling Puerto Vallarta, and then, after a scenic hour drive, you’ll find yourself in this secluded sanctuary, humbled by nature and indulged by a staff who will cater to your every whim. And if you can bear to extract yourself from Mandarina’s luxurious clutch, the bohemian-chic surf town of Sayulita is a mere 15 minutes away for shopping, bar hopping, surfing and snacking.
Soon our dreams of traveling will be transformed into real-time adventures. And I’m counting the days until I can return to this tropical rainforest retreat by the sea.
Discover more: discovermandarina.com