Where the jungle meets the Pacific Ocean


As it is said, some things are worth waiting for and timing is everything. Opening a luxury resort is always a test of fortitude for the staff members and many others who can spend years in bringing their project to fruition.

Such is the case with One & Only Mandarina in Riviera Nayarit Mexico. Taking up to 10 years to purchase the 640 acres and then 7 years to develop the villas and Treehouse accommodations that dot the hills overlooking the ocean, it was worth the wait.

Arriving at Puerto Vallarta airport after steering through the throngs of local taxi drivers hawking for fares you are met by hotel personnel who escort you to an awaiting SUV for the approximate 60–90-minute drive north to the resort.

Upon arrival at the resort, there are staff members offering you a cool towel and a refreshing non or alcoholic spritzer. Immediately you are whisked away in a golf cart to your accommodation. I was booked into one of the Treehouse suites. Perched on pillars 30 feet above the ground, a picture-perfect view of the surrounding jungle leading to the ocean was had as a most welcome sight each morning.

Each Treehouse offers floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors that open to bring the outdoors in. The bathroom runs the width of the suite with double vanity and more than ample amounts of closet and drawer storage space. An enormous double rain shower has a double glass sliding door which opens to a huge outdoor soaking tub offering relaxing and calming views of the jungle and the water.

A built-in day bed separates the bed/living room area from the bathroom.

There are 3 categories of this accommodation: Treehouse (comparable to garden view), Ocean Treehouse (partial Oceanview), and Panoramic Ocean (unobstructed ocean view). Daily breakfast is included in each rate.

The villas throughout the property are incredible oases of privacy, luxury, and comfort. Grand and Signature villas range from 3 to 10 bedrooms. The pinnacle is Villa One. This is a spacious split-level 11,000 sqft. villa with almost 4000 sqft. outdoor terrace space with a private pool. You could spend an entire week in this villa and never get tired of the commanding views, the movie room with an enormous LED screen, the private gym, steam room, and sauna.

You must visit the resort website to view this as no pics that I could take would do it justice! Here is a photo of one of the fire pits at Villa One but the rest of it has to be viewed on the resort website.

The dining experiences in the 4 restaurants were amazing. The resort has focused on local cuisine with a slight twist. There is no Italian restaurant, there is no Japanese restaurant, and there is no French fine dining restaurant. All the dining venues offer fresh seafood; tacos made of homemade corn tortillas (superb!!). There is an area called the Flatlands where the resort has its own herb and vegetable garden. Here you will find another eatery with offerings direct from the garden to table. Special events can be held here with prior arrangements.

Also, in Flatland is where the Polo and Equestrian center and a full-service veterinarian center for the horses are located.

For those looking for beach time, a short buggy ride takes you to an expansive swimmable beach and the Canalan Beach Club offers a full-service restaurant. Non-motorized water sports equipment, not to mention a fabulous infinity edge pool with chaise lounges running the length of the pool. Horseback riding along the water’s edge is an offered activity.

The spa was wonderful with an outdoor pool and six indoor treatment rooms. There are hiking and biking trails that can be enjoyed independently or with a guide. A Kids club with a Swiss Family Robinson-like treehouse is a great place for the little ones up to 12. There is also a butterfly conservatory here for everyone to enjoy.

An evening cocktail or mocktail is a perfect prelude to an amazing and absolutely delicious dinner at one of the restaurants.

The resort offers privacy and seclusion for those seeking to get away from the pace of a hectic daily life. However, those seeking to have an option of walking to town for shopping, restaurants and other things will not get that here.

Very efficient and speedy buggy service is the way of getting around in this resort. All communication is done via the WhatsApp app which is extremely handy. Each accommodation is assigned a day butler and an evening butler that communicate via this app. Need to get to breakfast at Alma? Send a text message and within 5 minutes you are on your way, door-to-door service!

So many activities here (down to archery in the Flatlands!), so many tasty offerings at the restaurants, so many opportunities to unwind, and so many ways a multi-gen family can experience a great family vacation –I can’t wait to go back !!!!