For many years I’ve been on the lookout for North America’s finest golf resort hotel. Now I’m ready to bestow that honored designation and it goes to The St. Regis Hotel at Punta Mita. Located just a 45-minute drive north from the Puerto Vallarta, Mexico airport to a peninsula virtually surrounded by the warm Pacific waters, you might as well be in golfing heaven, or just heaven for that matter.
Just to be clear, this award is about hotels that are located immediately next to and operate with golf courses. The honor is not about the golf courses themselves, but having an outstanding adjoining course is a contributing factor, and The St. Regis has two superbly spectacular oceanside Jack Nicklaus layouts plus a full practice area just a 30-second walk adjacent to the property.
My criteria reflects a modern physical plant, attractive accommodations that look and are in harmony with their surrounding, and of course beautiful natural surroundings. Customer service is another critical factor as are the availability of other recreational, eating, and relaxing spa opportunities.
Having visited nearly every major American golf resort hotel of note, disappointing services, or tired, dated facilities or accommodations, noise and congestion knock out many of the famous names from consideration. One or two Canadian resorts are very competitive, but the award goes to the St. Regis. In revealing my choice with others who had visited there, all were at a loss to offer a compelling argument for any others. (If you feel you deserve consideration in the future, I’d love to hear from you.)
Here why I scored the St. Regis Hotel at Punta Mita so high. This is not a highly trafficked or busy place. Located on a peninsula with only a tiny access road, it effectively is an island with the low traffic, safety and security that one would hope for. The St. Regis has the feel of a boutique offering, but easily accommodates more in a highly personalized friendly fashion with the high touch service – not overly intrusive, but just right. Every room has an ocean view and you can no doubt hear the surf, which along with the tropical lawns and gardening makes for a most dramatic, colorful, and romantic landscape that is approached by few.
The rooms are well appointed and include both an indoor as well as a private outdoor shower and a spacious tub along with a private padded outdoor bed and table and chairs that make the most of its gorgeous surroundings. Some suites even have their own infinity pools.
Due to its convenient yet isolated geography there are not many other eating options without getting into a carry. No worry, as that will be the least of your concerns. Your major challenge will be to not overindulge for The St. Regis features world-class cuisine! A fantastic menu of culinary delights causes one to not even consider eating anywhere else. There are multiple eating options featuring multiple indoor and outdoor food themes and dining. Add in a fine selection of wines and drinks along with the friendly service and you will never feel the urge to leave.
What top resort would be complete without a world-class spa? Certainly the St. Regis features this. You can totally indulge yourself with a massage, workout, sauna, steam room, cold plunge pool, Jacuzzi, and outdoor couches under expansive canopies. My spa treatment massage was masterful and speaking with several other couples who have savored treatments all over the world, and each of them volunteered that their massages were the best they had ever experienced. Some praise!
As for the golf, only members and guests of the St. Regis and neighboring Four Seasons hotels are allowed to play the two Jack Nicklaus Punta Mita golf courses that adjoin and surround the St. Regis. There is typically no congestion on the course and they compare to the best resort offerings you will find anywhere. When you put everything together, it makes The St. Regis the best golf resort hotel in North America in my opinion.
Below is a gorgeous Pacific sunset view captured from my outdoor dining table.