As I have mentioned before, I used nights earned via the Starwood Getaway Free promo for a stay at the SPG category 7 St. Regis Punta Mita. It was a beautiful property, and certainly not one I would pay for out of pocket, or even necessarily with Starwood points. Typical rates for a base room are $500 and up, and 30,000 points per night. This seemed like the perfect sort of aspirational award that Gary talks about, a resort that is out of my price range both with something I have a lot of (points), and something I don't have a lot of (cash). This seemed to be the ideal redemption using the Resort nights I earned primarily on business travel.
Since we got a good deal on flights, and weren't paying for the rooms, we decided to splurge for the US$300 or so for the car service to/from the hotel from Puerto Vallarta airport. We could have taken a taxi or rented a car, but it was quite simple to walk from the customs hall to find a person holding a sign with our name on it. We were quickly offered cold towels, and cold water, and then shown to a waiting Lincoln Navigator. It was about a 50 minute drive from the airport to the resort. Despite using the car service, the drive would not be overly difficult if one was to rent a car.
The St. Regis itself is within the Punta Mita gated development, which also houses the Four Seasons, several golf courses, and some high end condo developments. The nearest town is a small fishing village called Punta de Mita, with a very short tourist zone along Avenida El Anclote.
Once we arrived at the St. Regis, we were welcomed with an offer of either ice tea or a margarita. Our bags were taken from the car, and we were escorted to a table near what serves as the reception area. There the agent told us a bit about the resort, and mentioned that due to my platinum status, we would be upgraded to an ocean view junior suite. There are apparently 10 of these junior suites on the property, and are the typical platinum upgrade. The fact that we got an ocean view room was certainly a nice touch. Beyond the room upgrade and free internet, as is typical with top SPG properties, at least in North America, there is no additional benefit to top tier status, such as free breakfast.
The room itself was quite spacious, 2 TVs, a nice sitting area, plus a patio with a table, chairs and a lounge chair. The bathroom contained a large bathtub, an excellent shower, plus an outdoor shower.
Details down to the logoed paper lining the drawers of the walk in closet
bathroom with tub and shower, and outdoor shower beyond
View from patio towards Las Marietas pool and the beach. (Sorry for the foggy lens, going from an air-conditioned room to humid Mexican air is tough on photography).
This is a view of the back of our building. Our room was on the ground floor, patio is in the center of picture. This was just before one of the rains we had most evenings.
The occupancy rate must have been pretty low, as we rarely saw a lot of other people. One day at one of the pools, there was never more than 3 other people there besides us.
One feature of St. Regis is the 24 hour butler service. We didn't really use our butler a lot, but it was nice to have someone just a phone call away. The butlers we worked with provided great friendly service, as did everyone else we interacted with. Many of the upper managers are very visible on property and want to ensure guests are satisfied. I only had a brief conversation with the GM, but had nice chats with an assistant manager as well as the Butler manager.
This is a (sorry, rather poor) photo of a map of the property showing the various buildings, mostly grouped around pools. Our room was in the Cielo group, second building from the left in light green, facing the center pool area.
The larger buildings on the map in red are restaurants, meeting rooms and the spa and fitness center.
The fitness center was well equipped, and like many public buildings had a grass roof. There was also a aerobics classroom and locker rooms. There are also jogging trails around the complex. It was a nice area for running, but the humidity was heavy.
We noticed information on various spa treatments on sale when speaking to the concierge, so my wife went to the spa to enquire as to their services. They mentioned that they were offering a 50% discount on all services for the next 2 days. Like many parts of the resort, there didn't seem to be much business, which likely explains this discount. We both signed up for a 60 minute massage. The spa was very nice, and as expected, very quiet.
Sauna and Steam room
soaking pools at spa
There were several dining options available within the St. Regis, depending on the time of day. Dining on property was very expensive, but simply out of convenience, we did so for several meals. One evening we took advantage of another discount, 50% off margaritas at the Sea Breeze restaurant. This was a California style restaurant.
Nearing dusk at Sea Breeze bar
One interesting experience we had was the traditional St. Regis champagne sabering. Apparently this is done at many St. Regis properties. At Punta Mita, they do this each Friday evening at the Altamira lobby where we checked in. They opened 3 bottles of Taittinger Brut with a sword, and distributed it to guests. It was an unique experience.
We also visited the nearby Punta de Mita area for some scuba diving and cheaper dining options. Just as a point of comparison, prices for a bottle of Pacifico at the St. Regis was 85 pesos, approximately US$7.30. At one of the touristy places, the same beer was 30 pesos, or less than US$2.60.
One restaurant that the concierge highly recommended served what she termed "Mexi-terranean" food. Sufi was located within the Punta Mita complex, but just outside the St. Regis, in a condo development. The food was very good, and while not cheap, much more reasonable. The setting was very nice, overlooking the water. I highly recommend the tasting menu.
Shell chandelier at Sufi
Overall, it was a great stay at the St. Regis Punta Mita. I would highly recommend this resort to anyone looking for a secluded getaway. Its out of my typical price range, but its an excellent deal for a free night promotion such as the Getaway Free promo that I used to stay here. Hurry, as the earning period for this promotion ends July 31, 2011, but redemption is through mid-December. The resort is on a beautiful piece of land, and the service is top-notch. Its easily accessible from the PVR airport, but away from the madness of the hotel zone. I know Kevin has an upcoming stay here, anyone else care to share their experience?