Travel

By Kim Taylor

Imagine an all-inclusive yoga retreat on Mexico’s gold coast in a magnificent Leading Hotel of the World and Leading Spas resort. Then add world-renowned yoga-ayurveda authority Mas Vidal, award-winning gourmet spa food, meditation, lively dinners, and an abundance of daily pampering treatments for seven days. This is all part of the personalized Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit yoga retreat experience, and more — in an extraordinary setting that far exceeds all expectation. By the time you leave Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit (and trust me, you won’t want to leave), your mind and body will be lighter, you’ll feel more relaxed, and you’ll definitely be healthier.

If health is wealth, then Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit is the gold standard for transcendent retreats. Yoga twice a day, fresh juice blends, swimming, beach strolls, spa treatments and artisanal vegetarian fare will keep you active and energized. If you’re not a vegetarian, you can savor fresh fish and other non-vegetarian gourmet dishes too. The Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit is the recipient of Conde Nast’s Most Excellent Spa Hotel Award, and is on the Forbes 10 Coolest All-Inclusive Resorts list. We understand why. Pack your yoga clothes along with your fine dining attire, because you’ll use both. Mexico’s former president Fox was a guest at the end of last month, which speaks to the quality and caliber of the resort’s spacious 1,750 sq-ft Duplex Penthouse Suite accommodations (note: you’ll have your own Jacuzzi, too).

Mas Vidal

Ayurveda-yoga master Mas Vidal, the Director and Founder of the lauded Dancing Shiva Yoga and Ayurveda Studio in Los Angeles, meets with each guest to offer a personal dosha assessment that includes appropriate foods, a vedic natal chart reading, and initiatives to support personal goals. Each morning yoga-veda retreat guests greet the sunrise with meditation, followed by yoga. As someone who hasn’t willingly greeted the sunrise in nearly a decade, I can confirm that the experience is well worth the early rise; a purple and salmon-colored sky over the Pacific in the Banderas Bay, with a panorama of the majestic Sierre Madre Mountains on the horizon, is something you’ll never forget. It inspires awe, meditation, serenity and gratitude. After a morning workout, there’s an array of fresh juice blends created for each dosha to be enjoyed near the ocean at the open-air Azul restaurant buffet. Azul’s fare is rife with fresh fish, vegetables and fruits, local dishes and international cuisine for breakfast and lunch.

Afternoons are devoted to spa treatments in the well-conceived, spacious and uplifting spa. Treatments begin with an array of hydrotherapy options: sauna, herbal eucalyptus steam room, Swiss water massages, and a variety of temperate pools and Jacuzzi baths to soothe and rejuvenate. Juices flavored with anise and delivered in champagne flutes with a smile are a thoughtful touch. After hydrotherapy, guests receive tailored restorative treatments inspired by the area’s Huichol Indians, including Tukipa massage, Shirodhara massage, a Diamond Magnetic Body Wrap, Gold Bath Therapy, The Cure Facial, a Four-Hand Samunpria massage (administered on the guest’s private terrace, if preferred) and much more. There’s not a sore muscle in the entire resort by the end of each day.

Dinner is savored in one of three elegant restaurants: Piaf (French cuisine), Frida (Mexican) or Lucca (Italian), and the décor in each is stunning. The resort’s Director of Image & Interior Design, Melin Castro, is masterful – every single design detail in the entire resort seems unusually artful and lovely. Suites are filled with light and space, flat-screened TVs, luxurious beds and bedding, marble floors, flowers, artwork, books, verandas and Jacuzzis. Wifi is provided, food is delivered upon request around the clock, snacks and chocolates are left out as surprises, and the morning paper is delivered along with coffee or breakfast.

While soaking in a hot tub during hydrotherapy, I met a woman who was at the resort on her honeymoon, as a gift from her new mother-in-law. I made a mental note of what could quite possibly be the best wedding gift ever. It’s the type of place where you’ll transform yourself, and then you’ll want to bring your loved ones and friends for many years to come, since it’s such a warm, welcoming and unforgettable experience. The retreat is wonderful for a variety of reasons: Mexico’s lush, tropical, sun-drenched terrain, the genuinely nice people on staff, the dynamic Mas Vidal, the uniqueness of the resort itself, and from the myriad ways you’ll bloom from the inside out while there.

Read more at http://vallarta.grandvelas.com/, and make reservations for the ayurveda yoga retreat at spa@velasresorts.com or visit http://www.luxuryspamexico.com (or call 1-877-418-3067). Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit is a AAA Five Diamond resort. Start packing!

Originally published October 2012
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