W Punta de Mita Riviera Nayarit lobby

If you want to stay in an upscale resort on the beach near Puerto Vallarta, but not too near, the W Punta de Mita Resort and Spa about a half hour north of the airport is a fun, aesthetically pleasing choice.

Sometimes we manage to make it to a worthy luxury beach resort as soon as it opens, like with the Nobu in Los Cabos, but other times the schedule conspires against us and it takes a while. We recently made it back to the Puerto Vallarta region though and got to check out one we’ve had on our to-do list for a while: the cool W Punta de Mita.

More on the details in a moment, but here’s a spin around the property to check out in video form:

The owners clearly let the designers’ imaginations run wild in this resort, so it’s not for the staid and conservative. As with the W Mexico City, there’s an element of fun and playfulness almost everywhere you look, but also some painstakingly serious work involved on the architectural and engineering side of things. For starters, there’s a Huichol-inspired walkway with more than 700,000 tiles that goes from the lobby down the steps to the outside, up another set of steps, then across an elevated walkway beside the main pool. It’s a thing of wonder.

Outdoor patio with Frida the skateboarder at the W Punta de Mita Resort in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico, near Puerto VallartaForm meets function in relative harmony throughout this property, with the multi-room blocks in the jungle and the hillside units both breaking the normal beach resort expectations. The outdoor hydrotherapy pools by the spa are especially inviting. The two main restaurants are filled with whimsical design touches, but then they back that up with dishes that are big-city-restaurant great in taste and presentation. There are two more places to dine for lunch, both with a heavy focus on seafood and fun cocktails, so your taste buds can stay as engaged as your eyes while you’re here.

Rooms go from colorful and spacious to colorful and huge depending on where and what you choose. Views of the ocean aren’t that plentiful from the rooms in this low-rise layout of the grounds, but you can get plenty of that from the two pools and beach chairs. The W makes up for that by having an outdoor seating option of some kind for every room, two-vanity baths with tubs, and lots of fun Mexican-inspired decorative touches to make you smile.

One motif running throughout is turning two national historic icons into modern pop culture ones. Pancho Villa is seen sporting a leather jacket while holding an electric guitar. In another room he might be a surfer. Frida Kahlo may be a life-sized image on your patio who is wearing a jean vest and holding a skateboard.

The appeal here is not to the retirees that make up one important slice of the region’s clientele, nor is this really the best resort for families with children, though they’re welcome. (You can escape to an adult pool, the spa, or one of the bars if they’re not yours…) There’s an edge of debauchery and adult fun here that comes on stronger than in the two luxury Punta Mita resorts behind the gate 10 minutes away.

beach at W Punta de Mita Resort and Spa north of Puerto Vallarta

Putting all the design and culinary draws aside, however, the W Punta de Mita is also on one of the most attractive stretches of beach on Bandera Bay. You can walk for a couple miles if you head left, but on the right the resort is naturally protected by a rock cliff. It’s a favorite spot for surfers when the waves are up, but there are usually ample spots where you can play in the surf all day.

Check out the video tour above to get a feel for this great destination hotel for couples, or see our full review of W Punta de Mita Resort with more photos.