Mexico editor Gay Nagle Myers was in the Riviera Nayarit for the opening of the Iberostar Playa Mita, the Spanish hotel company’s first hotel on Mexico’s Pacific coast. While there she also explored two fun and funky beach towns, discovered the beadwork jewelry of the Huichol Indians and caught three glorious sunsets on the beach.
RIVIERA NAYARIT, Mexico — There’s something exciting about being the first guest in a brand new hotel and hotel room. No one else had slept in my queen bed or taken a shower in my bathroom or dozed on my balcony or brewed a cup of coffee.
I felt like a new homeowner discovering secrets the realtor hadn’t revealed.
A hotel opening is like that. The staff is new and we’re all in this together.
Glitches are expected, and there were a few, but overall the Iberostar Playa Mita is a showstopper, one that agents who know Iberostar’s other nine resorts in Mexico can recommend with confidence.
For starters, there’s the immense beaded mask depicting the head of a jaguar, which is on display in the lobby reception area.
“A family of seven Huichols from grandparents to grandkids worked on this for more than three months,” Richard, Iberostar’s group coordinator, told me.
Huichol Indians live in the mountains on the border between Jalisco and Nayarit, and the jaguar is a revered symbol for them.
“I don’t know how many beads are in the mask, but it’s the only mask of this size anywhere,” Richard said.
With an infinity pool that seems to spill into the Pacific, a splash park and water slide for families and little ones, an activity pool for water volleyball, and a mile-long beach, Iberostar has the sun-and-sand aspect covered.
That goes for food and drink as well.
I drank a glass of thick green juice at the breakfast buffet in El Nopal, which looked awful but tasted great. It’s billed as a healthy energy drink, derived from pineapple and lime and other fruits of the Nayarit region.
By the Sea Soul poolside bar, I sipped a michelada, a combination of beer and lime juice with ice in a glass rimmed with salt.
At an opening reception, I munched on an appetizer that tasted and looked like a small crispy chicken leg. Unfortunately, I later discovered it was part of a small bird.
I ate marinated grouper at the Pacific Express gourmet restaurant, which is designed like a fashionable dining car on an Orient Express-type train.
Chicken tacos were on the room service menu, churros were offered at the cafe and guacamole and very hot salsa was available at La Duna snack bar down at the beach.
Nestor, Max, and Avi were just three of the friendly staff I met. All of them served as my personal GPS at one time or another when I lost my way en route to the spa, fitness center and the theater.
Signage could be bigger, but I’m geographically challenged anyway, so I doubt that normal guests would have this problem.
When I did encounter a problem, I had a great support team.
Internet in my first room didn’t work, so I was moved to a second room. No connection there either.
“This is a big property. We are seeing now that there are pockets where WiFi doesn’t work. We need more antennas and they’ve been ordered. We promised WiFi throughout the resort and we will deliver on that,” Jesus Bosque, general manager, assured me.
He made space for me and my laptop in the back office area, brought me a glass of wine and I typed away.
WiFi did work in the airy, spacious lobby area and in the café. Guests also could use the three computers in the library with Spanish keyboards. I did, but gave up because I could never could find the quotation key.
Richard, two weeks into his new job, pretty much summed up what Miguel Fluxa, Iberostar’s executive chairman, had said at the formal opening ceremony.
“This is a great resort. People will come here and will come back,” he said.
I plan to.
Follow Gay Nagle Myers on Twitter @gnmtravelweekly.