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Ivy’s trip to Mexico at the Grand Velas Resort Rivera Nayarit

For starters arriving at the Puerto Vallarta International Airport was an interesting surprise because it appears that they completely renovated the airport so it felt more like I was walking through an Ikea with marble floors as opposed to an airport.

  The driver for my transfer to the airport was ready and waiting with a clearly marked sign, bottle of water, a cool scented towel for my hands, and was very attentive to taking care of my bags.

When I arrived at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit I was warmly greeted by the staff with smiles and a hibiscus iced tea.   I was joined and seated in the courtyard by my hostess who had my check in information ready for me to sign after I had received a five minute shoulder and neck massage by one of the masseuses from the Spa.   You can already tell that the last thing Grand Velas Resort wants you to do after you arrive is lift a finger and that you came to the right place for relaxation with luxury.

I was guided to my room iced tea in hand by a bellman carrying my bags and an iPad.  He gave me a brief explanation of where everything was located on the property and the amenities available in my room as well as the amenities offered by the resort.  The rooms were decorated with a subtle elegance, upscale amenities such as L'Occitane en Provence body & bath products, spa inspired bath robes, and a gorgeous hand woven beach bag to use while staying at the resort.

After settling down in my room and taking what seems like a million pictures of the view from my private balcony I made my way down to the poolside bar and infinity pool where I ordered a glass of champagne and a bite to eat.  Even though the menu at the poolside bar was quite extensive I chose a simple cheeseburger, and that cheeseburger is the best I have ever had, even better than the cheeseburgers in Kauai.  If I were to describe the food at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit and Casa Velas as phenomenal it would be an understatement.  I dined at the French restaurant Piaf where the food was so amazing it inspired me to take a cooking class there the very next day.  The cooking class was led by executive chef Claudio Hotter and I was taught how to prepare stuffed mushrooms topped with scallops and a red wine bacon reduction sauce, red snapper baked in philo dough with vegetables, and chocolate lava cake, all of which were wine paired perfectly.

In the mornings I joined in the LaBlast dance fitness classes that were led by ‘Dancing with the Stars’ Louis Van Amstel.  The LaBlast fitness classes are aerobic classes based on various styles of dance and the music varies from pop, rock, hip hop, country, and even disco.   The class was a great experience because it was outdoors in a pavilion right next to the beach and very conveniently located next to the breakfast buffet at Azul.

  I spent an afternoon experiencing the tranquil environment and escape of the Grand Velas Spa which for all too obvious reasons is a winner of the Condé Nast “Most Excellent Spa Hotel” Award.  The spa offers an extensive hydrotherapy area with hot and cold plunge pools, hydrotherapy spa, reflexology spa, dry sauna, herbal steam room, high pressure showers, and a relaxation area that features fresh flower petal mandalas floating in water with herbal aromas.  Spa edibles like fresh pineapple, various melons and berries along with refreshments are offered to you by your own personal spa butler at the time you arrive and leave the spa.

It wouldn’t be a trip to Mexico without doing the most luxurious thing of all….absolutely nothing.   I dedicated an entire afternoon to doing just that, nothing by the pool and beach, and it was AMAZING.  Grand Velas has an incredible offering of things to do and see, but I think that they have absolutely perfected the vacation art of allowing their guests to relax completely.  Poolside near the beach is where I posted up with my fabulous borrowed beach bag and sun tan lotion.  The waiters and staff of the pool area are phenomenal, I never once felt bothered or watched but at the same time I never had to ask for anything, everything was always offered without a worry and taken care of immediately.  When you leave Grand Velas you leave relaxed, full of gratitude, and happy, which is why I plan on returning in the future with more friends and family.
Ivy Nielsen-Jones