Paseo de Las Garzas 271A, Campo de Golf El Tigre, Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit
Can a wellness resort be luxurious? Can a hotel in a beach destination region catch on if it's not on the beach? In the case of Taheima, it's got the goods to overcome the obstacles and please a variety of upscale guests.
For many, Puerto Vallarta inspires visions of busy beaches, all–inclusive over-indulgence, and hedonism. Taheima Wellness Resort is aimed at a different crowd altogether. Adjoining El Tigre golf course in the Nuevo Vallarta area, Taheima is for those who may want to hit the beach now and then at the affiliated club nearby, but are more interested in yoga, tai–chi, exercise, and healthy food. Fortunately this doesn't mean making a lot of sacrifices. There are two large free–form pools on site, you can get a drink after 5:00, and the restaurants serve great cuisine that's healthy—not health food that leaves you craving a real meal.
The layout is roughly rectangular, with rooms on two sides and public areas on the two ends. The two elevated pools with hot tubs are in the middle, surrounded by ponds with water lilies. The impressive lobby is filled with designer furniture and commissioned art, with dramatic lighting adding extra flair. You receive a warm welcome and a cold drink upon arrival, but here the drink is a mixture of healthy fresh juices.
Above the lobby area are the main bar and two restaurants. Bistro Silhouette is a French bistro run by two French chefs, though the meals here refrain from following the French habit of piling on the butter. The smaller Cafe Maria serves flavorful Mexican dishes—but without the deep frying and extra cheese. Another kitchen serves the pool area, with a Ceviche bar and a variety of light fare.
You have plenty of ways to work off the calories or just enjoy your time here. There is a one-hour yoga session every morning and the daily schedule (all part of the regular all–inclusive package) includes aerobics, Pilates, weight training, and more. The excellent gym is well–equipped and there's a Temazcal sweat lodge on site. Besides the physical activities, ceramics classes and cooking classes offer ways to learn something on vacation. The cooking classes focus on using healthy ingredients, but not to the point of denying pleasure: a separate educational class focuses on pairing wine and chocolate. There's a kid's club and playground on site as well to keep little ones occupied.
What about the beach? Well, if you get tired of the activities and the pool, a regular shuttle runs to the beach club in front of a local condo building, which is actually close enough that you could walk it if you really wanted to. Guests also have access to the El Tigre Sports Club, with golf and tennis available. (Some room package deals include greens fees.)
The 132 units at Taheima range from junior suites with a kitchenette to full-blown penthouse suites with a big rooftop party deck and outdoor Jacuzzi. In between are suites of one or two bedrooms, the latter being 1,700 square feet and all having attractive custom furniture and more homey decorative touches than you find in most hotels. They also have three other things most regular hotels lack: a dishwasher, a washing machine, and a dryer. The one–bedroom suites are on the first level and have a private pool off the terrace, most facing the golf course.
The penthouse suites have three bedrooms on two levels and as much space as a house: 2,800 square feet. They are basically the same as the two–bedroom suites on one level, with a full–size kitchen, dining room, and several flat–screen TVs. Stairs lead to another floor though, which houses another bedroom with its own bath and a deck big enough to entertain multiple families. These can comfortably sleep six adults and a couple kids on a pull–out bed.
Tahéima has its work cut out for it trying to lure vacationers away from the beach, but both Casa Velas and Hacienda San Angel have managed to pull it off for years. Plus with the focus on healthy eating and exercise for the mind and body, this new resort does a good job of setting itself apart from the pack.
Web Address: Taheima.com
Total Number of Rooms: 132
Published rates: $324 to $1,675 all-inclusive
Review and photos by Timothy Scott