Whether you are looking for a romantic interlude, a girl’s getaway, or a mother/daughter retreat, Casa Velas Boutique Hotel is an elegant, adults only, all-inclusive resort in the Marina Vallarta neighborhood of Puerto Vallarta on Mexico’s sunny Pacific coast. Located just a five-minute drive from Gustavo Diaz Ordaz international airport, the fun and relaxation begins as soon as you arrive.
Casa Velas is behind wrought iron gates and fronts verdant gardens and the rolling greens of the Marina Vallarta Golf Course. Designed by Joe Finger, golfers will be in bliss as they can easily channel their inner Arnold Palmer on this 18-hole, par 71 course. Golf widows – and you know who you are – will relish time spent at Abja Spa. With a full spa menu of massages body wraps, facials, the talented therapists truly deliver a sense of well-being.
There are 80 spacious suites starting at 550 square feet with vaulted ceilings and decorated in neutral, calming tones with framed art and interesting resin mask sculptures by Sinaloan artist Sergio Bustamante. Suites have several sitting areas, a work desk, and are equipped with Nespresso makers. Minibars are replenished daily and are stocked with sodas, waters, and local beers, as well as a large tray of snacks; and in case you overindulge, a packet of Alka-Seltzer.
As is the case with all Velas properties at which I have stayed, suites boast incredibly comfortable bedding, high-count cotton sheets, and goose feather duvets. Many suites have sizable balconies that are superb for reading and relaxing. My suite also had a built-in outdoor plunge pool which was put to good use daily. Bathrooms have granite counter tops, walk-in showers, and L’Occitaine amenities.
Casa Velas’ main restaurant Emiliano’s serves Italian cuisine but also serves continental dishes. There is also an additional international menu that changes nightly. During the time I was there, Spanish, Mexican, French, and Asian nights graced the menu. For those who enjoy eating in, Casa Velas has room service serving from 7am to 10pm.
On Spanish night at Emiliano’s a marvelously prepared paella had me thinking of Barcelona while another night enjoyed a rib eye so tender and flavorful my knife was nearly bored to tears. For dessert, the unusual and tasty goat milk ice cream with figs was creamy and inspired as diners that evening were serenaded by an eight-piece band of talented women with four violins, two trumpets, a guitar, and bandolón that resembles a cello, but is played like a guitar. Every night different, accomplished musicians played various instruments – violin, harp, guitar – while vocalists made for melodiously contented evenings.
At the azure tiled, gigantic free form pool, lunch was a delight of guacamole and fresh salsa, pizzas, tacos, nachos, gourmet sandwiches, and fantastic tuna tartar with avocado and ponzu. The tamarind margaritas at the swim up Aqua Bar were pleasure producing.
Guests of Casa Velas also have full access to the private Tau Beach Club, a 10-minute stroll or two-minute complimentary shuttle from the hotel. Facing the Pacific, Tau serves all manner of salads, cerviches, tacos, tostadas, and fresh fish of the day at lunch, while killer sunsets for which Puerto Vallarta is famous, provide visual entertainment at dinner while bartenders mix top shelf drinks of choice and the chef prepares baby lobsters – that were in fact enormous and delicious – Ossobuco, and beef fillets.
For golfers, in addition to the Marina Vallarta course with views of Banderas Bay, Casa Velas guests have privileges at two other courses at nearby Vallarta Golf Club, designed by Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf. A menu of weekly activities on the property includes wine, gin, and tequila tasting, salsa lessons, aqua aerobics, meditation, and yoga. Taking the Hatha yoga class outside in front of the state-of-the-art fitness center, under white sail cloth umbrellas with bamboo swaying under the light breeze and various birds singing their hearts out was simultaneously energizing and Zen.
If you can drag yourself away from the Casa Velas’ free form pool or Tau Beach Club’s infinity pool, a 15-minute cab ride will bring you to the Old Town and the Romantic Zone. Replete with colorful buildings, shops, and galleries, several contain art created by the indigenous Huichol people. Colorful, unusual, and interesting, Huichol art often contains sacred symbols influenced by peyote. The three-dimensional beaded works are vivid, dramatic, and larger pieces are a great addition to private collections.
The Lesson Learned
It always seems that regardless of whether one stays in Puerto Vallarta three days or three weeks, it is never quite long enough. With perfect weather, warm ocean waters, elegant accommodations, great food, perfectly mixed cocktails, and genuine hospitality, a respite at Casa Velas is one to be repeated time and time again. Happy Travels!
Written by Julie L. Kessler
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