sine, yoga, Pilates, Zumba and much more. But whether your desires lean toward wellness, decadence or laziness, the resort meets them all in style, in an ambiance that’s welcoming and steeped in natural beauty. The flowering landscaped gardens, the dramatic backdrop of the Sierra Madres, the legendary sunsets and, of course, the long stretch of pristine beach lining azure waters, all serve to comfort body and soul. We alternated floating in the warm gentle waves of the Pacific with dips in the magnificent three-tiered infinity pool, each section heated to a different degree. (Our favorite was the oceanfront tier with swim-up bar and superfriendly bartenders concocting delicious combinations of rum, vodka, pineapple, nutmeg and all sorts of intoxicating ingredients.) Grand Velas has won numerous awards from Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, TripAdvisor, U.S. News & World Report and Forbes, which named it one of the Top Ten Coolest All-Inclusives. I can now confirm that it’s beyond cool: a blissful escape where one can’t help but relax, renew, resolve and thoroughly appreciate life’s blessings. Or as my husband observes, “If you enjoy being miserable, don’t stay here!”
ing that my husband and I are not “wellness” people. He is a perennially stressed-out CPA who has been trying to lose about 50 pounds for the past five years and enjoys being negative and grumpy. I live on coffee, wine and pasta and have not entered a gym in ages. A New Yorker by birth and disposition, I thrive on crowds and chaos: the prospect of a peaceful, soothing, sustaining respite intrigued but also terrified me. I needn’t have worried. Everything about Grand Velas—from the rooms (267 oceanview suites, some with private plunge pools) to the luxury amenities (an award-winning spa with 20 treatment suites and 30-plus spa treatments, many inspired by the native traditions of Mexico; fitness center; 24/7 in-suite service; water sports; tennis; baby concierge; Kids Club; teen lounge) to the personalized service (exceptional but not gratuitous) to the incredible restaurants (three of which have received AAA Four Diamond awards)—is pure perfection. Their wellness package includes a personal concierge, Serenity Massage (heaven!), personal training session, two-level oceanview suite with private hot tub on the rooftop level, in-suite training equipment (ours served as a perfect valet to hold wet swimwear), spa cui-
IF YOU LOVE GRAND VELAS, CHECK OUT THESE TWO OTHER NEARBY VELAS RESORTS. Casa Velas is a luxury boutique hotel and fabulous ocean club (just minutes from the beach) for adults only, nestled on the greens of Marina Vallarta’s 18-hole golf course (golf fees are included in the all-inclusive package). Just five minutes from the airport and 15 minutes from the boardwalk, shops and art galleries of Puerto Vallarta, this upscale resort features 80 suites, many with private pools and hot tubs. Amenities include Spa Casa Velas (specializing in couples treatments) and a unique “handbag bar” where guests can borrow designer bags for the evening. Emiliano is their wonderful AAA Four Diamond restaurant; guests also enjoy dining privileges at Grand Velas. Velas Vallarta is a fabulous family all-inclusive located on 10 acres of oceanfront in Puerto Vallarta. Situated on the emerald waters of Banderas Bay, it offers 345 suites in three eight-story buildings, seaside spa cabins, a transformative spa, fitness center, multiple restaurants, nightly theme dinners, and an inviting lounge with live music. Eco-conscious at its core, the resort uses solar panels and protects/releases marine turtles. A recently renovated Kids Club features supervised activities for kids under 13 so their parents can hit the golf course, spa or any one of numerous excursions, including various adventure activities in the Sierra Madre mountains.