Property Spotlight: One&Only MandarinaCSB Travel
In November 2020 the One&Only Mandarina opened in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico. It’s a secluded eco haven set between the Sierra del Vallejo Mountains and Pacific Ocean. Our own Cristina Buaas attended the opening this fall after serving on the property’s advisory board for almost two years and shared her thoughts below.
One&Only Mandarina is a coastal sanctuary hidden among the rainforest’s edge in Monteón. With an emphasis on sustainability and connecting with nature, this property offers authentic outdoor experiences, tropical relaxation, and chic resort living. It’s the perfect mix of effortless opulence and total solitude. We recommend staying here for three or four nights; if you want a week in Mexico it combines well with the Four Seasons or St. Regis, both in nearby Punta Mita.
Traveling to the resort is relatively easy: with nonstop or one-stop flights from most major US cities, you can land in Puerto Vallarta (Licenciado Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport/airport code PVR), in as few as 2.5 hours. From there it’s a 75-minute drive, but the resort can arrange private transfers for a fee.
When To Go
November to early June tends to be the best time to visit, with travelers escaping cold temperatures and spending their spring breaks. Nayarit gets its fair share of rain during the summer, so heat and humidity are constant. On the flip side, Mother Nature is at her best in the summer: the area gets incredibly lush and green. Animal lovers would be wise to go September to March, as they’ll get a first-row seat to the sea turtle releases.
What Room To Book
The accommodations here are treehouses and clifftop villas, and they do not disappoint. They’re designed to maximize their surroundings: floor-to-ceiling windows, glass walls, outdoor terraces, and plunge pools serve to seamlessly blend the resort with the natural word. Even the entry-level treehouse has superb jungle views, but if you value an ocean view it’s worth the upcharge! Another pro: guests must be 18 years or older to book a treehouse, so they’re ideal for honeymoons and couples’ getaways. But families, don’t fret! There are multiple spacious one- and two-bedroom villas.
What To Do
It’s easy to stay busy here! The beach is beautiful with soft, white sand and a swimmable beach. Spend the day in the water kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving, swimming with whale sharks, boating… the list goes on and on. The Jetty Beach Club features a family-friendly infinity pool, restaurant, and pavilion for morning yoga classes. There is also an adults-only pool and a 26,000-square-foot spa with many wellness–focused rituals. Moreover, the resort offers an outdoor water therapy pool and expansive kids club (free for kids ages 4-12; fee for teens 13-17). The outdoor treehouse village is incredible, and a polo club and equestrian center are opening soon. Hike or bike through the jungle or take a cooking class and discover authentic Mexican cuisine.
The food and drinks here are exquisite and excite all your senses. One&Only Mandarina strives to use sustainably sourced local ingredients. There are three restaurants onsite; one is Carao by famed Mexican chef Enrique Olivera and we highly recommend it! Private dining is also available for intimate meals anywhere on the property (we suggest a candlelit dinner on the beach or in the jungle).
If you’re looking to go off property, we recommend a day trip to Islas Marieta, a national park in Mexico reachable by boat or ferry. A group of uninhabitable islands, this park offers unrivaled snorkeling and kayaking. Additionally, archeology buffs can visit Careyeros Hill, an ancient ridgetop archaeological site dated back to 800 AD. Lastly, the charming village of Sayulita is a short 30-minute drive away. Shop ‘til you drop as you stroll along the street markets, tuck in a locally sourced meal, or hang out on the beach and watch the surfers.
With multiple treehouse suites featuring breathtaking jungle and ocean views, One&Only Mandarina is well suited for honeymooners. They also have multiple villas (the largest sleeps eight) suitable for groups of friends or multigenerational families. Clients who prefer meticulously manicured properties should look elsewhere. It’s important to note on this property is that you must call a golf cart to get to the beach, restaurants, and spa. You could walk, but it’s very hilly and takes 15 minutes to get anywhere. For clients who value proximity to beach or are very independent this might be an issue. Also note that some accommodations have many stairs to enter, so request ones without stairs if that’s an issue.