We were recently presented with a challenge to plan a 4-night stay in a new destination. Specifically, we were looking for something:

  • Unique and different.
  • That would allow for fine dining.
  • With 5-star accommodations.
  • That had sense of adventure.
  • That would accommodate an intimate, private event.

As we researched, we stumbled upon CNN’s article, “World’s 50 Best Hotels for 2023 Revealed.” #8 on the list piqued our interest: One and Only Mandarina, in Nayarit, Mexico. While it’s currently ranked as #8 in the world, it’s considered North America’s #1 choice. We were familiar with the brand but not this location, so we decided to check it out.

World’s 50 Best Hotels for 2023 Revealed

Nestled in a picturesque rainforest surrounded by lush mountains at the heels of the Pacific Ocean along the Riviera Nayarit, One & Only Mandarina first opened its doors in 2020, welcoming all (individuals, families, and furry friends) with convenient accessibility from Puerto Vallarta International airport. 

Following a one-hour journey from the airport, guests arrive at the villa-only property to check into one of the 105 cliff-top, treehouse, or multi-bedroom jungle or ocean view villas. An array of private experiences, an equestrian center, a kids club featuring a butterfly sanctuary, and a variety of dining options ensure all guests’ desires are met, regardless of age. 

Villas

We were lucky to call the panoramic treehouse home for a few nights. Perched about 30 feet above the ground, the spacious villa was magnificent. We were met with an abundant amount of privacy, a plunge pool, and a notable design aesthetic. Our favorite features: the unobstructed Pacific Ocean view and the super oversized shower.

Private Events and Celebrations

A boardroom, dedicated event space, and other unique spaces are available for private events and celebrations. Poolside cocktails and canapés with the Pacific Ocean as the backdrop? No problem. An intimate private beach front dinner with live music of your choice? Absolutely. To be noted, the planning process for a private dinner was met with attentiveness, flexibility, and countless options.

Activities

Whether you choose to explore and play on land or water, nature trails, ziplines, and the Mandarina Polo & Equestrian Club are just a few of the available options. Whale watching, fishing, and other water sport options await. We opted for the thrill of the zipline and were more than satisfied with the adventure after swinging on four lines!

Dining 

Pan-American, Mediterranean, Italian, and creative Mexican specialties are sure to please even the most discerning palates. Of the various dining options available, we chose the Beats and Bites pop-up dinner featuring guest chefs Mario Malváez and Maryann Yong from Mexico City’s popular Makan restaurant. Held at the resort’s Treetop Bar, the event featured a live DJ along with an interactive, open-kitchen style seven course dinner prepared and served right at the bar. 

Wellness

If enjoying the privacy of your own villa, poolside, or beach leaves you wanting even more relaxation, then the spa is guaranteed to provide an incredible treat. The list of spa options seemed almost endless, in a great way! We eventually opted for the Earth Connection, which began outdoors and felt like an intimate reawakening with nature, followed by the most inviting, relaxing, and recharging massage experience we’ve ever had.

Do we recommend a visit? Heck, yeah!

Will we return? Most definitely.

If you’re looking for more ideas for destination events, themes, or event planning, contact us!

Photo Courtesy of One & Only Mandarina