Carretera a Barra de Navidad km 7.5, Torre 6, Zona Hotelera Sur
For the ultimate in pampering in one of Mexico's most popular destinations, the owners of the Garza Blanca now offer the all-inclusive Hotel Mousai for their most discerning guests.
The Hotel Mousai emerges from the tropical mountainside along Puerto Vallarta's coastal road like a lighthouse in a sea of green. It is flanked by two towers that comprise part of the Garza Blanca all-inclusive hotel complex, but this hotel within a hotel is worlds apart in style, concept and vibe.
Entering the hotel you are greeted by quilted golden doors, statues of the meditating Buddha and giant red chess pieces strategically placed on the floor's black and white tiles. The look is art deco meets 80s Memphis-Milano (with some Zen thrown in for good measure). It's the first sign that this will be a totally different experience for guests accustomed to the traditional style and family ambiance of Garza Blanca, the parent hotel of this chic, new 72-room tower. Regardless of the vast amenities, when you walk through the door to your room the view is what immediately and breathtakingly catches your attention.
Each room, with its purple rugs, light-up onyx mirror frames and slinky red lounge chairs, faces the Banderas Bay and the Pacific Ocean just beyond it. After a few moments of admiring the blue beyond you can begin to take in your surroundings: a personal Jacuzzi plunge pool, a king-size bed overflowing with pillows, a bridal-party size dressing area, and a decadent heated toilet seat.
The butler assigned to you will explain how to run your room with the iPad that sits besides your bed. There are various lighting settings for creating a multitude of moods, phone-free room service, iBooks, and music. It took me a few tries, but by the end of my stay I was ordering room service and working the espresso machine without any mishaps.
This adults-only hotel provides its guests as much or as little service as they'd like. The staff seemed genuinely happy to help but weren't pushy. When I chatted with them they were easy-going and professional, when I sat in silence they let me be and didn't invade my privacy. Mousai's director says that they hire their staff for attitude, not experience.
"We can always train experience, but we can't change personalities," he explained.
All guests at Hotel Monsai are welcome to use not only the facilities at the hotel, but also the two other restaurants (Blanca Blue with international fare and seafood, and Bocados, an American-style steakhouse) two additional swimming pools, and the small front beach of the sister hotel. (Garza Blanca guests in contrast have limited access to Mousai facilities). At Mousai you can look forward to working out with a view of the tropical forest to the west at the hotel gym, which has a wide range weight and exercise equipment. They also have a hip sushi bar with a list of specialty cocktails a mile long.
Breakfast can be taken in one of the Garza Blanca restaurants, in your room, or at the rooftop lounge next to the infinity pool. The menu is an international mixture including eggs Benedict and bagels with smoked salmon. The hotel also has a full vegan-vegetarian menu if you ask for it. I had quite a few delicious bites at Mousai including fish dumplings and jalapeno scallop sashimi, braised short rib glazed au jus with ginger scented sweet potato puree at Blanca Blue, and buttery filet mignon at Bocados. One night I was able to sample a Claudius Neibolo from Valley de Guadalupe that they plan to add to the menu it was ... unforgettable.
Each day there are guest activities like kayaking and snorkeling trips at Los Arcos, hiking to a nearby waterfall, and pick-up basketball. Bbe sure to check the schedule the day of to confirm what's happening.
The hotel's distance to the beach (in reality just few dozen yards down the hill) made the rooftop infinity pool the hotspot for basking in the sun. Mellow electronica, Wi-Fi, and an endless supply of alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails make it a great place to while away a few hours. If you squint under your sunglasses just right, the pool's edge and the ocean blend into a single expanse of baby blue.
A total Mousai experience definitely includes a treatment at their spa Imagine. In their hydrotherapy room, with a view of that beautiful bay looking back at you, you can steam, sweat, get plunged in the plunge shower, melt in the hot tub, andcome back alive in the cold pool. The spa offers various types of wraps, massages and facials with a separate area for manicures and pedicures.
Despite visiting in the low season there was still a pretty lively nightlife scene at Monsai's rooftop bar while I was there. After 6pm the area is open to both Garza Blanca and Monsai guests and if you hang out often enough friendly faces begin to peak over the edge of martini glasses.
As an all-inclusive most things at Mousai are covered in your package, things not included unfortunately are wi-fi, most of the wine on the wine list in every restaurant and additional Keurig espresso pods. Almost everything else can be signed for with a stroke of a pen.
The clientele at Mousai averages 30s and older, mainly couples, all a particular level of chic. It's a sleek, modern hotel for urbanites that crave five-star service in the beauty of the wild. Inspired by W brand hotels, Mousai draws an older crowd with its tamer sophistication in addition to its beautiful setting along the Puerta Vallarta coast that gives it style inside and out.
Web Address: www.hotelmousai.com
Total Number of Rooms: 72
Published rates: $560 — $804, all-inclusive (Rates are seasonal)
Review by Lydia Carey