PUNTA DE MITA, Mexico — (hospitalitybusinessnews.com) W Hotels Worldwide, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., expands its Latin American portfolio with the opening of W Punta de Mita in Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit. Owned by Fideicomiso Los Veneros, the new hotel is part of the multi-use oceanfront development, Los Veneros, on Mexico’s magnificent Pacific Coast which is known as one of the world’s most desirable vacation destinations.
W Punta de Mita is the 48th W Hotel worldwide and fifth W Hotel in Latin America following W Santiago, W Mexico City, W Vieques Island and W Bogota, bringing Starwood’s iconic category disruptor closer to reaching 75 hotels by 2020. W Punta de Mita joins W Mexico City as the brand’s second hotel in the country, as well as the second Latin American W Escape (the brand’s modern approach to staid leisure travel, currently in ten destinations around the world).
“We are delighted to introduce our new W Escape to Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit, a world-class destination for surf and sun, as we continue to grow the brand’s presence in this region,” said Anthony Ingham, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide. “W Punta de Mita brings a playfully stylish addition to this Mexican hot spot, and we are confident that with the brand’s unique lifestyle programming and cutting-edge design it will become a must-visit destination to the new generation of jetsetters.”
“Starwood has been aggressively expanding its presence in Latin America and is on track to reach 100 hotels this year,” said Jorge Giannattasio, Chief of Latin America Operations and Global Initiatives, Starwood Hotels & Resorts. “Mexico is an important market for our company, and we are excited to continue to grow and introduce this new W Escape experience into the country.”
Bohemian Surf Culture Inspired Design
Designed by ASET/AOMA in collaboration with Oakland-based design firm Mister Important Design, and Starwood’s award-winning design team, W Punta de Mita is inspired by the local bohemian surf culture found throughout Mexico’s Pacific Coast. Steeped in historical, social and spiritual context, the design of the hotel conveys: colorful Mexico; the blues of the bay and the coast surrounding Puerto Vallarta; traditional patterns of the Huichol people (indigenous people of Nayarit); images of traditional Mexican celebration; sensational sunsets over the beach; vivid handcrafts with ancient roots and the amalgamation of Spanish and indigenous cultures all of which are brought to life throughout the hotel’s luxurious and stylish villas, public spaces, and buzzing bars and restaurants.
When designing the property, careful measures were put in place to ensure that the natural surroundings – the ancient fig trees and natural springs – were not disturbed during construction. Many of these natural features are showcased throughout the hotel’s design including the reuse of spring water in the reflection pools and within the spa.
Upon arrival, guests are greeted with a cheeky and oversized 9-foot Huichol statue standing in a reflection pool, along with a fleet of colorful Tuk Tuks with artwork customized by Revolución Del Sueño, a Sayulita based design studio, that whisk travelers from the main entrance to the Welcome area and Living Room (the brand’s take on the hotel lobby), as well as around the grounds. Backdrops behind the Welcome Desks, are reimagined versions of Papel Picado, a traditional Mexican folk art that hangs in villages during community events and celebrations and evocative of being welcomed into a Mexican Fiesta. Mexican wrestling masks (Lucha Libre); historical figures with surfboards; mariachi instruments; candy skulls, evoking death; and sayings such as “Mexico es Amor” and “Canta y No Lllores” translating to Sing and Don’t Cry (a line from a famous local song which highlights the culture’s upbeat disposition) are artfully embedded into the hotel’s design.
A bright blue and green mosaic “Camino Huichol” walkway, stretching over 450 feet, acts as the central nervous system of the space, with restaurants and shops branching off. The walkway guides guests from the Welcome area, through the Living Room and onto the center walkway of the WET deck (pool area), finally jutting out over the beach for that Insta-worthy view of the sunset over the Pacific Ocean. Comprised of more than three quarters of a million individual tiles, the colors and scenes depicted within the design are inspired by the Huichol people who are indigenous to this area of Mexico. The pathway is also a representation of the Huichol life journey, highlighting the ups and downs of life, with the goal to achieve spiritual ascension (as you may over the ocean at the end of the path).
W Punta de Mita’s Living Room (W’s answer to the staid hotel lobby) is inspired by a traditional Palapa, one big open space with no walls to divide the area, and is anchored by a rectangular bar that replicates an altar. Above the Living Room bar, a sacrificially-inspired chandelier sways in the ocean breeze, illuminated by 450 LED lights designed to look like church votives. This is a reference to the spirituality of the culture, and is non-denominational, paying homage to Mexico’s traditional mysticism. Underneath, a gong at the bar is rung each evening to gather guests to appreciate the sunset. Scattered throughout the space are long, beautifully-crafted strands of beads around small cocktail tables for guests to sit and sip on handcrafted signature cocktails while listening to the sounds of the resident DJ, which is housed in the corner leading to the WET Deck.
The WET deck features lounge chairs nestled under the walkway and around the pool in a palette that seamlessly blends with the sand, while the bar and DJ booth are housed at the end of the deck overlooking the beach. VIP cabanas are spread out around the perimeter and sunbathing loungers are conveniently placed in the shallows of the pool. Six private cabanas, each artfully decorated with a mural of a mermaid it is named after by Revolución Del Sueño, are found on the beach off the WET Deck. Each cabana is equipped with a flat screen TV, fully stocked mini bar, personal shower and bathroom, and is available for rent for $500USD+ per day.
Located about the property are three beautifully designed, locally-inspired murals by Mexican graffiti artist Nacho Bernal, depicting different takes on W Punta de Mita’s surrounding area. One piece of art found on the side of the beachfront villas depicts a jungle scene with a jaguar adorned in Huichol beads, an animal that was said to be the guardian of the Huichol culture. However, the jaguar is always hidden (as it is in the mural) and legend says that if the animal is seen it will only be seconds before it pounces.
Room With A (Pacific) View
The hotel offers a selection of 119 stylishly designed guest villas, including one Extreme WOW Suite (the W brand’s take on the traditional Presidential Suite). All villas and suites feature private balconies or patios, artisanal Mexican tiled floors and headboards fashioned from either surfboards or punctured tin replicating the design found in local churches, as well as the signature W Bed and sumptuous Bliss® bath amenities. Cleverly incorporated into the décor of each villa are repurposed vintage photographs of Mexican historical figures, such as Frida Kahlo, by Revolución Del Sueño. A cluster of casitas called Ocean Escape Villas resemble a pre-Hispanic fishing village of the past. Surrounding the property’s spring-fed lake, the villas are designed in a way to highlight the natural beauty – each has private terraces and an enclosed open-roofed patio for stargazing by night and natural light by day. The Jungle Escape Villas feature private balconies allowing for intimate views of the surrounding natural beauty, including the bright red trunks of the papelillo trees and hanging vines of the forest. The villas are offset to accommodate these ancient trees and to respect the topography of the area.
The 4,460 square foot, 2-bedroom Extreme WOW Suite is inspired by the Mexican Flag – the red is found in the tiles of the pool, the green in the surrounding vegetation and the white in the expansive views of the crashing waves on the beach seen from the suite’s private terrace. The center focal point of the room is the swimming pool that circles around the suite’s island-like living room and can only be accessed by a small wooden bridge above the water.
Mix, Mingle and Indulge
W Punta de Mita offers five distinct dining spaces where guests can mix and mingle including one of the most exclusive restaurants in the world, Mesa1. Privately situated on an island in the middle of a spring-fed lake, this “restaurant” can accommodate only one seating daily. A gastronomic experience unlike any other, guests arrive on stepping stones that emerge from the water and disappear once everyone has been seated. A massive Parota tree trunk from the local forest was repurposed to create the spectacular dining surface. The evening is then topped off with a seven-course customizable tasting menu prepared by one of W Punta de Mita’s private chefs.
Influenced by the cuisine that Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten enjoyed while traveling throughout Southeast Asia, Spice Market evokes a Pan-Asian oasis with a tropical twist for guests looking to enjoy shareable lite bites and handcrafted cocktails. A large mirror on the ceiling features hand cut images representing foliage while the VIP section is home to Spice Market’s signature glass dome.
Perfect for afternoon or happy hour snacks, W Punta de Mita’s Chevicheria is located on the beach near the WET Deck. Serving signature ceviche and craft beers from a converted 1950s Chevrolet 3800 truck, the vibrant Latin American recipes blend citrus and raw fish or seafood seasoned together for a refreshing break from the Mexican sun.
Venazu, open all day, is the hotel’s casual dining restaurant offering guests authentic Mexican cuisine with must-try dishes like Taco de Langosta al Pastor, Risotto de Huitlacoche, and Venado Cocida en Hoyas de Aguacate. With locally sourced materials – from the colorful upholstery to the brightly painted, refurbished Mexican baking shelves reused as partitions – the space fosters a convivial, lively atmosphere with sweeping views of the ocean, evocative of a Mexican town during their weeklong Fiesta.