By Timothy Scott
The tricked-out sleeping quarters go beyond what you can find in even the best luxury resorts. Each suite has a Sonos sound system, a 4K TV, Nespresso coffee machine, adjustable Lutron mood lighting, and top-quality linens on custom hardwood platform beds. Three of the suites face the ocean and these have furnished bathrooms bigger than many city apartments, with indoor showers, outdoor ones, double vanities, and big tubs carved out of boulders. A few of the garden suites have bunk beds for kids, bumping the total capacity to 26 guests. One room with ensuite bath can be used as the nanny’s quarters.
Our house manager had previously been a food and beverage manager at the Four Seasons while our head waiter had worked for Vallarta Adventures; both were very fluent in English. As with Fortuna, consultations with our concierge ahead of time meant that meals were catered to our tastes and the drinks we wanted were flowing. It was wonderful to wander downstairs from our master suite in the morning and have a cappuccino appear along with a spread of fruit, yogurt, and fresh-made pastries—before the chef prepared the main dishes.
Casa Koko offers so much at your fingertips that some families come for a week and barely leave the place. Guests do have Punta Mita golf privileges, tennis club access, and beach clubs access, however, plus the staffers can arrange almost any excursion on your wish list on this coast. If you want to get an idea of what the golf course is like, just look down: the house overlooks the 17th hole of the Jack Nicklaus Bahia course that runs parallel to the ocean. Next to it, there are often surfers taking advantage of big waves.
Rates run $5,000 to $11,000 per night most weeks outside of holiday times, depending on the season and number of guests, not including taxes, groceries, and other fees. See more information here.
Casa Koko is one of the best private villas in Mexico, but there are several other listings in the area with even more bedrooms if you are making plans for a larger group. Check out these photos and descriptions for Casa del Oso, Casa Tau, and Casa Aramara.
Luxury Villas in Puerto Vallarta
While the top Punta Mita vacation rentals tend to be sprawling, multi-building complexes with gardens and lawns, the Puerto Vallarta luxury rentals are more urban and compact. After all, the whole Punta de Mita Peninsula was almost completely undeveloped a few decades ago, while Puerto Vallarta has been a thriving city and vacation spot since the dawn of air travel and cruise ships.
Puerto Vallarta is a mountainous city facing a large bay, so many of the villa rentals here are multi-level houses or condos with panoramic views. Those that are right in the city itself are often walking distance to nightlife and restaurants, while others to the south of downtown may require a ride into town for going out.
Our experience was in Casa Punta del Cielo. This is an ideal Puerto Vallarta private villa for a group of friends who want to explore by day and have fantastic views each night for sunset. The main level has an infinity pool overlooking the city and sea, an indoor-outdoor living room, and a dining table that can seat 12. The upper level has another outdoor living room with a gas fire pit and string lights overhead. The six bedrooms with baths are all rather similar in size, so the big fight is over who gets the rooms with the best views.
The owners are clearly avid travelers and Punta del Cielo’s décor is a mix of traditional Mexican elements with some touches from Asia, like an elaborately carved door from India and several antique statues. While not as luxurious as the much higher-priced villas in Nayarit we experienced, this was a great way to end the tour while drinking some local craft beer or Mexican wine and watch the twinkling lights of the city come on from our spot in the pool on a floatie. With our own music playing on the stereo and the only people we didn’t know being the staffers, the experience certainly felt more exclusive than being at a hotel.
We didn’t choose all our meals in advance at this villa, giving the concierge some drink requests and guidelines, but letting the chef do her thing for breakfast and dinner. (Lunch is not included at many of the city villas since many guests are out and about during the day.) We dined on tortilla soup, spicy shrimp, grilled fish, and breakfast classics like huevos rancheros. We got some work done now and then on the fast WiFi, but with a view we certainly don’t have from our normal office.
It was sad to leave this last stop after trying out one of the top Puerto Vallarta vacation homes in the city itself. There was one last bit of fun on the way out though: to leave the property you board a funicular to ride down the steep hillside to the road.
If using all six bedrooms, rates at Casa Punto del Cielo run $950 to $1175 per night outside of holiday weeks, plus taxes and the cost of groceries. See more details here.
Advantages of a Mexico Villa Vacation
The vacation experience in Pacific Coast luxury rentals in Mexico are a big step up from nearly any hotel or resort you could stay in. In a way, they benefit from all those luxury hotels in the area though as those high-end international chain hotels are a great training ground for staffers. Your main point of contact in the villa will usually speak fluent English after getting the hand-off from the English-speaking concierge you interfaced with in advance. Anyone serving you drinks and food will be able to handle special requests and adjustments with no communication issues.
There’s no need to meet someone for keys or head back out after arrival to stock the fridge. It’s someone’s job to take care of those things for you, based on information supplied in advance on what you’d like to eat and drink. Then someone’s ready to mix the cocktails, make the smoothies, and serve a gourmet seafood dinner. There are no dishes to wash afterward either like you’d have in a regular DIY condo rental and no check to sign after each meal as you would in a resort.
If you need to get COVID-19 tests to re-enter the USA, the Agave Villas concierge can arrange that in advance, with the testing done from the comfort of your villa. The paperwork will be ready to take with you when you depart for the airport.
While the Four Seasons Punta Mita may have 800 staffers filing in and out each day, you’ll have a small team taking care of you in a staffed villa and that dedicated circle of people will stay consistent during your stay. It won’t take long for them to remember your preferences and anticipate your needs. If you need privacy, a family bubble, or control over who knows you’re in town, a villa provides the ability to limit contact and visibility. At the same time, it provides more pampering and comfort than you get at even the best beach resorts in the region.
Review and photos by Timothy Scott.