The Cathedral spire towers over Puerto Vallarta’s old town.
My heart jumps at an opportunity to stay in a unique place on vacation. The little hotels, BnB’s and Villas that have grown out of circumstance and the passion of owners instead of reliance on corporate business plans, inspire me. A big resort is perfect for certain kinds of trips but on a recent visit to Mexico, I found that the boutique hotels in Puerto Vallarta are swoon worthy.
Location. Location. Location.
Banderas Bay is post card gorgeous. The Spanish colonial old town district skirts the water and slopes up towards lush green mountains. Tide pools and gentle waves kiss the Malecon boardwalk, with its treasure of fantastical sculptures. Over sixty years the area has been a magnet for expats, artists and film makers.
Old and new mingle in Puerto Vallarta.
In the 1950’s director John Huston was mesmerized by the natural beauty – even though originally there was no electricity or running water in the area where he filmed ‘The Night of the Iguana.’ In the film actor Richard Burton´s character declares, “This is Mismaloya, garden spot of the west coast. You will be grateful to me until your dying days for bringing you here. In all of Mexico, there is nothing equal to this.” Burton proved it as the world witnessed his love affair with co-star, Elizabeth Taylor. They married and returned many times to Puerto Vallarta.
Site of the ‘Night of the Iguanas,’ the John Huston film.
One of hotels where the Burtons and friends would dine is still open. The Rosita Hotel is across the street from the Malecon. Originally it was built with only 8 rooms but as it’s grown has retained the original Mexican architecture with tiled floors, archways and fountains. With 114 rooms looking out across the sea, and just steps from the heart of the city, the Rosita Hotel remains a favorite vacation place for visitors.
A room with a view – the Velas Vallarta resort.
While staying in Puerto Vallarta for a writers conference, I had a suite at the Velas Vallarta Resort in the Marina District where a row of towering hotels offer deluxe accommodations and all the amenities you’d desire. The beachfront breakfast buffet was full of temptations, peacocks strolled the grounds and huge iguanas lounged in the sun by the pool. It was a slice of paradise but what lured me to the colonial part of town was an invitation to visit the glamorously eclectic Rio de Rivera Villa Bed and Breakfast.
Rio de Rivera BnB rooms in Puerto Vallarta
The building rises three floors above the street and is directly across from the shallow waters of Rio Cuale about four small blocks from downtown. The original owner, ‘Silver’ Maria Cortez, hailed as one of the world’s top architectural lady designers, spun her magic through a series of suites, each with their own kitchen, sumptuously painted and furnished.
‘Silver’ Maria Cortez, Founder of the Rio de Rivera Bed and Breakfast
N.Y Interior designer Billy Baldwin called her eclectic abode “the house of dreams” and since the 1960’s many famous visitors have dreamed there. Others, like the actor Kevin Costner, have relaxed between takes in the suites. Several movies have used the textured walls and antiqued furniture for scenes.
Rooftop pool at the Rio de Rivera.
Today the romantic rooms are lovingly managed by Silver’s grandson, Alejandro. The building with it’s luxuriously painted surfaces takes constant maintenance. Hungarian artist, Christina Molnar, is on-site weekly to update the gold leaf, the textured walls, resurfacing furniture and touching up murals.
Nemi Eco Villa pool.
Of all the luxury villas tucked into the hillside around Puerto Vallarta none is quite like the Nemi Eco Villa
. The luxurious property has 6 individual bedroom pods in four tiers that hug the hillside in Amapas. Each room has their own expansive ocean and mountain views. They are completely constructed from re-purposed, sustainable or locally sourced materials.
View from the Nemi Eco Villas.
The architects are dedicated to providing an ecologically responsible experience without sacrificing luxury. The 40 foot pool is filled with chemical and salt free water, filtered water is provided for drinking, solar panels keep the lights, as well as the ice-based air conditioners, on. Locally sourced foods fill the tables. Staying at the Nemi (along with a dozen friends!) is high on my bucket list.
Adult only Luxury
Steps from the downtown district the Villa Premiere Hotel and Spa rises above the beach
. Over nine years it’s won the Four Diamond Award and in the top ten of the Conde Nast Travel Readers’ Choice Awards. I saw why as soon as I entered. The staff is kindly welcoming, the lobby is filled with art. The meal I had in La Corona was one of the most creative and delicious I’ve ever enjoyed.
Lunch at La Corona inside Villa Premiere
The pool lies sparkling near a tall Palapa and suspended beds are shaded by palm fronds. I could spend a day there! The suites face the ocean with the afternoon heat tempered by sea breezes. The Master suites are stunning with large patios featuring a private hot tub, lounging area and full kitchen.
Villa Premiere Master Suite patio
With Mexico being so affordable, returning to spend several days in one of these boutique hotels in Puerto Vallarta is high on my bucket list. Where will you be staying ?
Fooling around on the Malecon. Sculpture by the artist, Bustamante.
Proud to be a partner with these blog networks. Visit their sites for more travel news and stories.