By Babbie De Derian
THE FOUR SEASONS PUNTA MITA, MEXICO
Paradise for the Young and Young at Heart.
Every Four Seasons resort and hotel around the world takes pride in the experiences they deliver to their guests; “attention to detail“ has built the brand, and is the prime focus of management. Four Seasons, Punta Mita, is a multi-generational paradise. Family friendly; it is a destination that was planned and developed for the young and the young at heart. The resort’s 173 rooms and suites are spread out in 11 buildings, and the serenity and simplicity of the hotel’s décor is a perfect backdrop for the dramatic lush landscaping and jungle like plants, trees, bushes and flowers.. It is a place where artist Dale Chihuly’s whimsical glass green beans that light up at night, sprout from the gardens, and oversized sculptures of people, animals and abstract shapes grace the lobby and the grounds. Golf carts on call 24/7, zip around the property shuttling guests (who choose not to walk) to one of several pools, restaurants, beaches, golf courses, tennis courts, the spa and other activities. A call to the front desk brings one in a matter of minutes.
My elegantly decorated room has a view of the sea; others open directly onto the beach. There’s a delicious and unexpected treat waiting for my arrival: chips, salsa and guacamole sit on a tray along with three bottles (containing the ingredients for two margaritas), a shaker, salt to rim the glasses, a bucket of ice and an instruction card. I am here just before high season, and I am convinced this is the best time to arrive in paradise. Rates are lower and tranquility reigns.
Here, everyday is to be treasured. It is a playful peaceful sanctuary where, as in all Four Seasons Properties, the service is impeccable. One can participate in a full schedule of well planned, creative and engaging activities: for all ages: from Latin dance and Spanish lessons to aqua aerobics, yoga on the rock and an Introduction to Mexican architecture. There are two 19 holes Jack Nicklaus golf courses and 10 championship tennis courts.
On the other hand, if you are here to relax and recharge, the Apuane Spa offers a full menu of renewal treatments that reflect the rich plants and minerals indigenous to the area. if you want to swim in the sea (the water is calm, warm and reassuring), float in the infinity pool, or just laze away the day on a Bali beach bed, under the shade of a thatched palapa … a beach attendant will be around just about every hour, from ten in the morning to five in the afternoon, with a tray of iced drinks and frozen popsicles.
There are three restaurants to choose from. Ketsi, Bahia and Aramara.
In the mornings I hitch a ride on a golf cart and head to Ketsi, for their sumptuous buffet or one of Chef Ramon’s special concoctions. Jose Ramon Bramasco has been working at the Four Seasons for nine years; he started as a cook in the employee’s cafeteria; was promoted to line cook, and now supervises 11 people. He tells me: “in my opinion, service is around food and a guest has to leave happy with the food. All that I cook is made withy love and I try to translate this to the guys in the kitchen”. Ramon has created the most unique and delicious variation of bagels, cream cheese and smoked salmon I have ever tasted. Substituting a bagel for a soft tortilla and cream cheese for a savory aoli (made with chopped eggs, capers, mayonnaise, ricotta cheese and lime juice), he smears the aioli on the tortilla, adds caramelized onions, layers of smoked salmon and then garnishes the plate with capers and a drizzle of the aioli.
Down at the beach, jagged rocks jut out from the water; one resembles a giant sea turtle. The sea is warm and calm, and I sink into its embrace. Rudolph comes by with glasses of iced cappuccinos. I sip the rich frothy creamy treat; a frozen mound of cream slips down my throat. At three the ice cream cart with a choice of three flavors arrives at the main pool. I pick a scoop of corn ice cream, crunchy with kernels of frozen corn.
Sunsets looking out to sea from Ketsi and Bahia are spectacular. Both restaurants excel in the preparation of succulent signature dishes and grilled fresh catch-of–the-day. As the crimson sun struggles to prolong its decent into the horizon, I watch a table being set on the edge of a cliff for a romantic dinner celebration.
On Thursdays at noon, everyone is invited to join the Executive and restaurant chefs down on the beach to greet the fishing boat as it delivers the fresh catch of the day straight from the sea. There is a ritual where the whole fish are removed from the fishermen’s cooler and beautifully arranged on ice that lines a model wooden boat. Today’s catch includes red snapper, flounder, Dorado and striped bass… and we receive a lesson in the differences in tastes and textures of each.
The Bahia Restaurant overlooks the resort’s Las Cuevas Beach. Cool ocean breezes are the backdrop for the wide range of mesquite grilled seafood, fresh catch of the day and meat, served with seasonal vegetables and signature sauces. I watch as my dorado is seasoned and turned.
on the fire. Every Thursday at 5 in the afternoon, the Bahia Restaurant hosts a cooking class with one of their chefs; the first half is spent learning to prepare the meal … and .the second half, savoring the results. Aramara, which means sacred place by the ocean in Hulchol, serves contemporary Asian Cuisine blended with Mexican flavors and the produce and seafood of the Pacific.
I spend time in the Kids ForAll Seasons Club, a colorful magical world of creative and skill building toys and games. I follow kids in residence from one arts and crafts project to the next, and then down to the beach for the weekly piñata party. Today is a birthday celebration, and I join in the fun as guests between the ages of 5 and 12 interact, make new friends, learn to take turns, be a good sport and whack the heck out of the swinging piñata in the hopes of releasing all the candy that is tightly wrapped inside. No doubt memories of time spent here will last a lifetime, and many will return as adults with their children.
It is my last day in paradise; Ramon sends out his Mexican version of eggs benedict and the recipe for his amazing and creative tortilla and salmon dish. There is time for one last dip in the sea, and I swim out to greet the gentle waves
On the ride to the airport, we pass an open pickup truck filled with kids; they are laughing and having fun, which is what The Four Seasons, Punta Mita and Mexico are all about. This is a flavorful, colorful and happy resort. It is every color and hue of the rainbow and every texture, taste and sound ….but most of all, Four Seasons Resorts are all about caring, sharing and love.
For more info and reservations: www.fourseasons.com
© December 2012 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.