Aspen & Beyond

The Birthday Girl!

MAY 2021 – One and Only Mandarina

There is almost nothing I love more than planning the perfect trip for a special occasion. Fortunately, my mom’s birthday provided a great excuse for me to start exploring new destinations that would meet all of our requirements.

• Location
• Warm weather
• Swimmable beach
• 5-star service
• No need to leave

After spending way too much time searching for the “perfect” vacation spot, Jacqui Matthews of Andavo Travel, @jacquiaspen, suggested the One and Only Mandarina, @oomandarina. This hotel checked all of the boxes so we booked our tickets, packed our Capricho travel bags, and set off to celebrate my mom’s birthday!

Location… it was important that this trip be fairly easy to get to with no drastic time change. The One and Only Mandarina is a little over an hour north of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Mandarina is picturesquely set in the jungle on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. The setting is incomparable. While exploring the property, one can’t help but feel a deep sense of peace and connection with nature.

Weather…delightfully warm and shaded by the lush coastal rainforest. There was a slight breeze when we were there in May, and when it gets too hot the cool waters of the Pacific are waiting for you. Jetty Beach is a protected little cove with soft white sand, clear water and a sandy bottom. No need to worry about stepping on sea urchins or stingrays! Depending upon the tide, there can be fun but gentle waves to play in. Paddle boards, canoes and boogie boards are on hand for anyone desiring a bit more activity.

Service and accommodations…the rooms are treehouse style sprinkled throughout the jungle. Each room comes with its own dipping pool and a jungle or ocean view. I took note that room 323 and those on either side of it, offer spectacular sunrise and sunset views. Each guest has access to a personal butler who is ready to attend to all of your whims and wishes. This One and Only amenity never fails to make you feel like you are the one and only guest on the property.

No need to leave…there is plenty to do without going off property. Horseback riding was our activity of choice. My cowgirl mom was especially impressed with the state of the art barn and polo grounds. The horses were well taken care of and eager to step out. There are hiking trails, mountain bike trails and surfing, depending upon swell, in front of one of the beaches. If there is no swell in front of the hotel, the well-known surf outfitter, Tropic Surf @tropicsurf, is on hand to take you to one of the many nearby surf breaks. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the tribal yoga class offered in the middle of the rainforest. The beauty, humidity, and sounds of the jungle turned this class into an almost religious experience. I left feeling lighter, happier and one with the nature surrounding me.

Daily visits to the gorgeous One and Only Spa were mandatory in making this trip exceptional. We tried almost all of the exotic unique treatments offered with each one being better than the next. Who knew that the cold brew coffee and the chia pudding offered after each treatment would be such a delightful end to the spa experience?

There are 4 restaurant options along with the Treetop Bar, all of them offering delicious food and gorgeous views. The Treetop bar was our favorite! Make sure to try the T + T!

You would never know One and Only Mandarina opened November 2020 during the height of Covid-19. The pride and excitement of the team was obvious. My mom, sister and I have already decided Mandarina will be an annual mother/daughter/daughter trip. We can’t wait to return to one of our new favorite destinations ever!  www.oneandonlyresorts.com

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