PUERTA VALLARTA, Mexico -Taking a page from 2023 Masters Champion Jon Rahm’s book, I can enthusiastically attest that the Vidanta Puerta Vallarta Resort is a wonderful destination for relaxing, playing golf and the right to do so much more or nothing at all.
After winning the 2022 PGA TOUR Mexico Open at Vidanta in Puerta Vallarta, Rahm had nothing but praise for the resort and I agree after just returning from a blissful week there, just prior to the 2023 edition of the Mexico Open (April 27-30).
A direct flight from JFK to Puerta Vallarta transported us to the 300-acre resort, our refuge for the week, which sits just a few miles off the Pacific coast. Our vacation strategy was to mix things up with a little golf, lots of relaxation, and some exploration of the boundless amenities at our disposal. We achieved all and never left the property.
The Vidanta Vallarta Resort is one of the highest-rated hotels in Mexico and among the many accommodations available on property. We stayed at the pinnacle of luxury, the Grand Luxxe tower and were spoiled with a spacious home base for the week, floor to ceiling windows provided wonderful views, an oversized living room and dining area. Sliding doors gave way to an open-air deck and “foot tub” for morning tranquility and coffee. Our third story views of the horizon were slightly obstructed due to construction, reminding us the developers of this property are not resting on their laurels.
Soon they will introduce The Cirque du Soleil Theme Park which will feature never-before-seen attractions and groundbreaking experiential adventures. They are coining it as a fantastic world where adventures leap to life resulting in a new approach to family vacations.
But for the here and now, our blissful stay at the Grand Luxxe gave us access to all Vidanta properties and amenities – from 30 pools and 20 bars – to a waterpark and recreational classes. We enjoyed tubing along the lazy river while daily activities like water volleyball, yoga on the beach, pottery classes, happy hour and aqua fit classes were happening. You can also opt for exclusive rooftop pools and quiet pool areas with the Madres Mountain range as your backdrop which complements ocean views.
There was an abundance of entertainment and restaurant options on property – from traditional Mexican, Italian, and Asian, Japanese cuisine with hibachi at Gong (PHOTO) to the club’s Mexican Fiesta on the beach at sunset – a feast for the senses with dancing, musicians, fireworks, and entertainment
The real delight of the week was the golf. Vidanta has three pristine options, two 18-hole golf courses featuring Greg Norman’s Vidanta Vallarta Signature Course (2015) (PHOTOS) and the Nayar Course (Jack Nicklaus designed in 2002) with well-groomed fairways, seven lakes, and too many (49) well placed bunkers, playable for all levels. The 10-hole executive course is a joy to play – especially under the lights. The club provides club rentals with a light walking bag for the meticulously kept par 3 design however, there are simply too many lost ball options (read: lots of water).
We met Fermin, a veteran caddy of eight years at Vidanta’s expansive practice facility and driving range. He led us on a dramatic but fun cart ride over the longest suspension bridge (PHOTO) in the world which delivered us to Norman’s masterpiece (the site of the 2023 Mexico Open). I took a 360-degree head turn before stepping to the first tee and was immediately transported, courtesy of the panoramic views of the Sierra Madres (mountain range), the serenade of birds – Sonatas and Great Tailed Grackles – to name a few, and the unsurpassed condition of the course. I was also enamored by the oversized parotta trees (often called Elephant ears) snapping photos before realizing it was time to tee it up. Fermin was a great help, as were the expansive fairways lined with native grasses.
The Vidanta Vallarta par-71 course measures 7,456 yards and plays straight forward with some elevation changes. There are five par-3s, four par-5s and nine par-4s and everything is plush. Yet, in his trademark course design, Greg Norman is committed to letting nature lie and lead. And it’s evident in how the sensitive ecological areas – wetlands, streams and vegetations – are left to be.
I’ll leave the hole-by-hole course description details for the pros, but can say when I approached the par 5, 548-yard 18th hole, the crew was setting up the Grandstands for the Mexico Open. I could envision and anticipate the energy that would be evident when pros like Rahm and others make their way to the finish, but for today, I was energized and rewarded – spending the day embraced by two things I love – nature and golf.
On the web: Vvidanta.com