Before my trip to Sayulita, Mexico, I did some pre-beach prep that I’d never tried before: a spray tan.
When a resort christens a casita the Love Nest, it raises certain expectations. Will it be worth that sheepish moment at the restaurant when you charge dinner to the room and they ask which villa you’re in? Yes. A thousand times yes.
A steep, switchback trail through Playa Escondida’s jungle-jammed property leads to the secluded bamboo villa. After our 56-stair climb, I was glad we didn’t have to lug our own suitcases. (I was going to say I don’t stay at lodgings without bellboys, but then I remembered gracing an Idaho motel with my fabulous presence less than three weeks ago). The Love Nest’s front door was just a few more steps up on the right, but first I had to see what was beyond Door Number Two, ajar and tantalizing.It turned out to be the door to paradise. From our Lanai, which just seems so much more apropos than veranda or porch, we faced due west. Perfect for sunbathing, sunsets and moonsets. We could see a little of the resort’s beach below, but no other villas. And no one could see us.The Love Nest is more than surface beauty — it has a quirky personality that gives you a constant grin. A circular thatched hut with adobe flair, the lower landing inside has a seating area, a mini-fridge and table for two.Upstairs, the main attraction is the bed, minus the traditional swan towels. It takes up almost the entire room, even though it’s only a double. As a king-sized coma aficionado, I was worried about this, but I slept blissfully. Maybe it’s something in the water…… which was purified, prettified and provided for in abundance. The only mirror only offered a view of my clavicle, but I was too charmed by the bamboo faucet to worry. Besides, it gave me ammo for my vacation m.o. of avoiding my hairbrush.In keeping with the Love Nest theme, the shower is built for two, with a shower head in each corner. If you haven’t noticed yet, bamboo is the only barrier between you and the jungle — no windows.Back up the steps to the bedroom (if you’re not ok with steps, this is not the villa for you) the ocean vista, along with the siren song of the crashing waves, usually lured me back out to the lanai…… where I had the option of a hammock with a view…… or a lovingly landscaped two-person hot tub. The gardeners here make sure to fill in any jungle bald patches with plants. The pink-leafers popped my peepers. Meanwhile, the waterfall behind the tub was lovely, but it conflicted with my ocean audio. Yes, I’m that type of hotel guest. The amazing staff here acted like I wasn’t nuts. However, when you’re in the tub, you don’t really notice all of this…… because this is the direction you’re facing, with Punta Mita out there on the left. You can see that it’s a tough decision every night: where do you sit to take in the sunset?Or do you sample some of the other activities available at the Love Nest?Still, even paradise has its pain. If you leave your shoes outside, give them a shake first before putting them on. Who wants a scorpion sting getting in the way of getting jiggy?We could have watched the sunsets from the beach, but then we’d miss all the colors reflecting in the sand. During a week at the Love Nest, I saw the best sunsets of my life. Think I’m exaggerating? Here’s the video:
Set a bookmark — Blue Besos is in Sayulita all week!
Blue Besos Goes to Sayulita!Playa Escondida is a secluded beach 18 miles north of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It’s also the name of the muy romantico boutique resort here, tucked into the lush jungle hillside overlooking the Pacific.If, for some loco reason you didn’t realize it when you made your reservation, when you arrive at the resort’s office (to do that, I recommend booking the hotel’s driver, who will greet you at the airport with a giant Suburban and make sure you have enough cervezas for the 40-minute ride, purchased from the liquor store conveniently located in the PVR parking lot) it hits you: this is not a Four Seasons. Or a Hyatt. Or a Hilton. Or any other hotel brand with a global marketing initiative. And, as a globally recognized woman tends to say… it’s a good thing.This is what a hallway looks here. Overflowing with foliage, Playa Escondida feels like a hipper version of the Swiss Family Robinson’s house, minus the ladders. The very things that make this resort so wonderful also make it tricky to photograph. On the right, you’ll find the entrance to the fine dining restaurant. The steps up to the lounge are hidden on the left. Follow the path to the end… … and you’ll arrive here. Don’t feel compelled to choose the hammock because that lounger looks a little too hard. Someone will be right out with cushions to get it just right, Goldilocks.Even when it’s booked solid, the small number of rooms at the resort limits guest numbers, keeping the beach muy tranquillo. It’s not the best for swimming with these rocks scattered along the shoreline, but if you walk south for, oh, about five minutes, with Monkey Mountain in the distance, you’ll find a long stretch of sand. Perfect for body surfing. Even during major holidays, the beaches south and north of the resort are deserted, probably because there are no other hotels along this stretch of the Nayarit coast.Or you can get there on horseback, via a jungle trail. The hotel has its own horses, so if you book a ride, it’s just you and the gaucho. Speedy is playing it cool, but I look a little bedraggled because we’ve just been cantering up and down the beach having the ride of my dreams, splashing through the waves. Check out Speedy’s one-eared bridle! Her Mexican saddle is totally different than Simon’s Argentine polo saddle, but once I settled into it, it was vaquera time.The owner, who has no other hotels, started with a couple of thatch-roofed casitas ten years ago. Now up to almost 30 rooms and villas, two thirds are either right on the beach, like these ones above, or have an ocean view.After outdoor yoga, offered free every morning on a terrace overlooking the ocean (claro) I finally tried a coffee at the restaurant, also overlooking the ocean, although my photo doesn’t really show it. Being in vacation mode, I have to admit that My Usually Ultra-Excellent Photography Skills were in slacker mode.Every other day I had my coffee at the room, brewing it myself with the maker provided. Can you see why I had vacation brain? Look at this view! Deets on the Love Nest later. (I’m not kidding — that was the name of my room). Meanwhile, I highly recommend David Sedaris’ latest: Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls. His hilarious essays were the perfect length for my reduced mental alacrity. Playa Escondida is one of those rare hotels where the reality is actually much, much more beautiful than the website photos. Which is saying a ton, because their website is great. I was so agog, I almost forgot to blog.
So I’ll leave you with the video that instantly cemented my decision to come here. It’s like no promo I’ve ever seen, and instantly filled me with amor for my as-yet un-met amigos at the resort. Meanwhile, that’s not all! Blue Besos Goes To Sayulita continues all week.