Mexico is very popular with the LGBTQ crowd, and Puerto Vallarta has long been the favored destination. But just a few miles northwest along the coast of Banderas Bay, the Punta de Mita area is gaining traction. For example, we recently visited an all-inclusive, adults-only luxury resort in Punta de Mita called Marival Armony. Not only is it gorgeous, relaxing and accommodating, but the resort is very gay-friendly. Dare we say Punta Mita is a new LGBTQ hot spot?
As a relaxing alternative to the often wild Zona Romantica area of Puerto Vallarta, Punta de Mita is a quieter, more remote destination. The area juts out into the westernmost end of Banderas Bay and is situated on a point of land (“punta”). All this is nestled in the green jungles of Nayarit. It’s also home to some of the most luxurious resorts in the area, including the Four Seasons, St. Regis, W and Marival Armony.
We were looking for some R&R, not the late night party scene and day drinking at Blue Chairs. (If you know, you know). This trip was not about tequila shots and tacos. Plus we wanted to feel welcome as members of the LGBTQ community. Marival Armony was the perfect escape, and evidently we were not alone in this idea. It appeared to us the resort was hosting a number of members of the LGBTQ community while we were staying there.
Punta Mita is a New LGBTQ Hot Spot
I’ve been going to Puerto Vallarta since I was 19 years old, and wow has it changed in those (few!) years. The area grew and prospered as a resort destination, drawing visitors from around the world. The LGBTQ crowd has been particularly welcomed, and for good reason. Many gay expats have relocated to the area, opening businesses, living their lives openly, and just generally gaying up the place. It’s one of the reasons we kept going back again and again.
We never once considered going north from the airport despite hearing rave reviews of the resorts from straight friends. Even then, it was almost as if there was an invisible line we were not interested in crossing. Until now.
Is Punta Mita the new Puerto Vallarta?
But now we are aware of the amazing destinations welcoming guests on the north side of Banderas Bay. And for all our readers that are not members of the LGBTQ community, you are welcome too! LOL – the area is still mostly popular with a straight crowd. We witnessed male couples, female couples, Mexican nationals, Americans, and a host of visitors from European countries,
It’s nice to know there is an inviting alternative here where all people feel welcome, which makes Punta Mita is a new LGBTQ hot spot.
Where is Punta Mita?
For those unfamiliar with the area and ask the question where is Punta Mita, let me explain. The area is positioned at the northern end of Banderas Bay, and technically called Punta de Mita which means Tip of Mita. (Mita comes from an Aztec word that means “Gateway to Paradise”). Banderas Bay is a huge semi-circle that dips in from one point to another, looking like someone took a bite out of the land. Puerto Vallarta is located towards the middle. Punta Mita is about 28 miles from Puerto Vallarta, and about 25 miles from the Puerto Vallarta Airport.
The town of Punta Mita itself is not that much, which is why most visitors enjoy staying at their all-inclusive resorts for most of their visit. With many activities and adventures located in the area, there are tons of opportunities for day trips and outings off property. But there is no “city” here like Puerto Vallarta. It’s more like a string of villages leading up to the collection of amazing resorts along the coast surrounding the Punta de Mita area.
Because the area is more remote, the beaches here are pristine and uncrowded. We took long walks without seeing more than a handful of other people. Everything is clean and unspoiled, with no trash on the beaches. For a relaxing getaway in Mexico, this is an ideal spot. No wonder Punta Mita is a new LGBTQ hot spot.
Marival Armony is an Affordable Luxury
Often when we hear the words “luxury resort” we think it may be too pricey for our travel budget. Marival Armony is an exception, perhaps because it is a newer hotel company trying to make a name for itself. The Marival group of resorts has several locations – the Marival Armony in Punta de Mita, Marival Emotions in Nuevo Vallarta, and Marival Distinct Luxury Residences in Riviera Nayarit. All three properties are focused on a luxury experience, with Marival Armony designated for adults only. Marival Emotions is large and family oriented, and Marival Distinct is meant for larger families or groups traveling together.
When we say Marival Armony is an affordable luxury, we mean the experience, the 265 rooms and suites, the 5 pools, the grounds, the culinary offerings are all presented at a premium level at a reasonable price. This all-inclusive resort easily compares to some of the nicest – and most expensive – luxury resorts we have stayed at in Mexico.
Prices for spacious, well designed rooms start at approximately $420 per night, all-inclusive.
That all-inclusive price includes food and drinks, with no charges for upgraded spirits. Many activities are also included. Read on for what is included in the Marival Armony all-inclusive experience.
Room Options at Marival Armony
Marival Armony offers guests the choice of 265 rooms including 1 and 2 bedroom suites. A variety of views are available, with prices commensurate with the size and position of the room in relation to views. As in most resorts, garden view rooms are less expensive than oceanfront, etc. but all rooms have balconies or terraces.
When we visited this resort, we stayed in an oceanfront suite. Our room had incredible views overlooking the pool area, the beach and ocean, and the coastline headed north/west. Included in our room were all the amenities, snacks and mini bar, all stocked daily. The room itself was awesome, with huge bedroom and bathroom, as well as a large living room, dining room and second full bathroom with shower. The balcony had comfortable furniture for relaxing or dining.
We also toured several other room types, including some sweet ground floor rooms with sliding doors opening to a private balcony and pool. While these very quiet rooms have jungle views rather than ocean vistas, they are considered spa rooms. With close proximity to the Melange World Spa, they have special amenities such as a Peloton cycle in the room. Rooms in the main building above the lobby are also graced with amazing resort and ocean views, not a bad vista in the bunch. These are slightly farther away from the pools and ocean, but closer to the lobby bar, high-end restaurant Divum, and the spa.
There are five buildings total at Marival Armony, each with its own differences and attributes. To be considered a new LGBTQ hot spot, a resort like this must have many options to choose from. We do love our options!
All-Inclusive at Marival Armony
When we say all-inclusive, at Marival Armony that says a lot. Some of the things included:
- 4 restaurants with gourmet menus and a la carte and buffet options
- Premium label drinks
- 5 pools including an infinity pool with swim-up bar
- Water activities such as kayak, paddle board, boogie board and Hobie Cat
- In room Nespresso machine and mini bar
- Welcome bottle of wine and snacks in room
- 15-min treatment at Melange World Spa
And that’s just a partial list!
Dining Options at Marival Armony
One of the things that impressed us most about Marival Armony was the quality of food. We often hear people complain about all-inclusive dining, and how the food is mediocre at best. But not at this resort, which is another reason why this is becoming a new LGBTQ hot spot. The food quality here is really top notch, and there are several options depending on taste and mood.
Ocean-front buffet restaurant with sooooo many choices and oceanfront views. We had breakfast here every morning and never ate the same thing twice. A favorite was the quesadilla and taco bar, where one person handmade the tortillas while another cooked and filled them. Fresh and delicious.
This is Marival Armony’s fine dining restaurant located on the top floor of the main building with incredible views. The chef here creates haute cuisine with signature dishes, multiple courses and the optional wine pairings. We would put this restaurant up against any fine dining we’ve enjoyed anywhere in the world.
Here the chef serves local authentic gourmet food with a twist. This restaurant has a decidedly Italian -inspired menu of choice meats, fresh seafood, pastas and more. We had dinner here twice and each time had a very different meal, and both were wonderful.
A Sky Lounge located on the top floor with expansive views, bar menu and delicious tapas. Guests can watch sports on widescreen TVs and on weekends there is a deejay with music and late night dancing.
There are also four bars dotted throughout the Marival Armony property, all serving the usual assortment of resort concoctions. We enjoy mango margaritas while floating around the pool that were especially flavorful, frozen, blended and served with a tajin-lined rim.
OK Let’s Talk About That Spa
Honestly, the Melange World Spa is one of the most interesting concepts for a spa we have ever experienced. On our trips throughout Mexico, we’ve visited many spas – some good and some not-so-good. The Melange World Spa at Marival Armony stands out from the others because of its global theme. Each of its treatment rooms are dedicated to a different country. Each features spa treatments inspired by that country of origin. We had the opportunity to visit twice and experience differently themed spa treatments, and they were unique and amazing.
The list of global experiences at Melange World Spa is impressive:
- Mexico Agave Experience
- Italy Vendimia Wine Experience
- Japan Shiatsu Experience
- Turkey Hamam Experience
- Russia Banya Experience
- Bali Aromatherapy Experience
- India Shirodhara Experience
- Thailand Bodywork Experience
- American Melange Experience
Our first spa experience at Melange World Spa was the Thailand Bodywork Experience, held in a private enclosed cabana a few steps from the spa on the resort grounds. Immediately upon walking in to the two-person treatment room, we felt transported. The aroma, the music, the decor and the mood were all nicely themed in the traditional Thai design. Our service began with a foot-washing ceremony, followed by a tasty treat of cucumber stuffed with Thai chicken and a Tai-Pirinha cocktail. Once we laid down on the massage tables, the treatment was a relaxing hot herbal compress massage treatment and body therapy. Afterwards, we were served a chocolate truffle as we returned to the present moment.
Our second day, we experienced the Bali themed program, complete with curried chicken snack along with a Watermelon Araktini Cocktail. The treatment itself included an aromatic exfoliation, followed by a hydrating massage with warm mud. It was heaven on earth – enough to please any member of the LGBTQ community and beyond.
If You Go to Punta de Mita and Miraval Armony
Now that we have established Punta Mita is a new LGBTQ hot spot, you may be thinking about a visit – regardless of whether you are a member of the LGBTQ community or not. (Honestly, we don’t bite.)
Here are some things to consider when planning your trip:
- Consider coming October – May. The weather will be warm and clear, and the humidity will be less. However, the prices for flights and hotel rooms may be lower in the off season (during the summer).
- Arrange with the hotel in advance for a car and driver to pick you up at the airport. So convenient to step out of the airport after the flight and have a nice person standing there holding a sign with your name on it.
- If you want to experience Melange World Spa, consider booking your treatments in advance of coming. The times and treatments you want will be confirmed for you when you arrive. Sometimes the spa appointments book up quickly for popular times.
- Bring a couple of nice outfits for dinners on property. We noted some guests really brought their A Game on wardrobe, and others in shorts and t-shirts looked very underdressed at dinner.
- Once you get to the resort, make reservations for dinners at the restaurants you would like to try. Again, popular times can book up and you don’t want to miss your favorite dinner spot.
- There is free coffee in to-go cups at La Brise restaurant every morning. We’re not huge fans of in-room coffee makers, and were so happy to find a nice cuppa ready for us downstairs whenever we woke up.
- Spend some time on the beach. The ocean here is calm and warm, and the sand soft. The beach goes on forever, so a nice walk along the water was a welcome start to the morning.
- Find the Cańada pool and reserve a cabana here for some jungle peace and quiet. You won’t regret the splurge.
Have fun and let us know how your visit went!