Montenahuac Lote - L, Higuera Blanca, Bahía de Banderas, Nayarit
Located on a dramatic jungle hillside with a perfect cove beach below, the eco-conscious Imanta comes across like a madman's dream, an impossibly expensive project that also manages to be in harmony with its surroundings.
Located a few miles north of Four Seasons Punta Mita and Casas de Mita, Imanta Resort feels like something out of a James Bond movie, a billionaire's hideaway hidden in the jungle. But this is no mere rental villa and unlike with some other eco–friendly resorts in Mexico, it's not hard to get here. My main worry when approaching in my rental car was that I would run over some of the scurrying land crabs that turned the road into a moving carpet of life.
The sustainability importance built into Imanta is already clear on that approach, however, with the access road purposely detouring around large trees and with a minimum of clearing on the sides. The arrival point shows that the designers had an eye for drama: staffers meet you with a welcome drink at a stone overlook point, with the ocean below and the trees rising up on both sides. Despite being so close to Puerto Vallarta, the property here is 250 acres, only a small part of it developed, and the much larger Sierra de Vallejo biosphere reserve adjoins, with another 160,500 acres. The developers sited the buildings in a way to avoid cutting down a lot of trees and much of the extensive stone work on site originated with boulders excavated during construction.
The result is simply stunning, both architecturally and in the interior designs. Stone, wood, and water perfectly complement the clear ocean water below and the live jungle on both sides—a thick forest that's home to six different eagles and a multitude of parrots. The units themselves are like the best you would find in a high–end rental villa, but with on–site restaurants and a staff to fulfill all your requests.
There are only seven units available here: five one–bedroom casas and two two-bedroom casonas that have a nanny's quarters or office. The casas are decked out with all the amenities and then some, with high–end bedding, minibars, flat–screen TVs, Wi–Fi, music systems, large tubs, indoor/outdoor showers, walk–in closets, and robes. The buildings are situated so that all units have a full ocean view and each has a private plunge pool. In keeping with the surroundings, many of the design elements integrate recycled wood, stone, and earth tones, letting what's outside the glass walls be the main focus.
The casonas take the same eye for design and move everything up a notch, with more space, larger pools, and fully equipped kitchens with Sub–Zero appliances. They each have 3–1/2 bathrooms, living room, dining room, and ample outdoor deck space for lounging. You can request to have the kitchen stocked before arrival and/or hire a private chef to prepare meals.
Otherwise, the two restaurants here offer two distinct options. Tupika is in the main building of the resort, offering easy access for all three meals and a great hillside view of the water. The other is situated right on the beach, a perfect spot for grilled fish at lunch or a sundowner later. In keeping with the sustainable theme, fish is from right off the shore and the menu takes advantage of organic produce and seasonal tropical fruit. A bar area on the roof of the main building offers not just great 360–degree views—it also has a pool for cooling off, cocktail in hand.
This being an intimate luxury hideaway, the staff is prepared to meet most any wish, assuming of course you've got the bank balance to make it happen. Whale watching, sailing, deep sea fishing, bird watching excursions, golf tours, horseback riding, and romantic private dinners in a secret spot are just a few of the possibilities. A spa on site offers a variety of treatments in the facility, in your room, or in a more exotic location. Owners say their gym "may be the most beautifully sited exercise facility in the world" and a tennis court is planned for 2011. A library has wildlife books, games, and a computer for guest use.
This is a resort built with sustainability and harmony in mind, but it certainly doesn't ask guests to make any sacrifices (the company even built its own cell phone tower). With the cement trucks continually desecrating a larger swath of the coastal land in this region every year, it's exhilarating to leave the Puerto Vallarta airport and be in an expansive natural paradise like this one less than an hour later. In a region where there are plenty of luxury hotels to choose from, Imanta stands out as a hidden paradise.
Web Address: ImantaResorts.com
Total Number of Rooms: 7
Published rates: $1,100 double to $5,995 for six BB
Review and photos by Timothy Scott
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