Head South For The Big Smoke—The Big Smoke Miami

Cigar Aficionado

Four Seasons Punta Mita, Nayarit, Mexico

Combine the grandeur of the Bahia de Banderas, on which Puerto Vallarta is located, and the hospitality genius of the Four Seasons hotel chain, and it would be hard to come up with anything but a winner. The Four Seasons Punta Mita is not only an outstanding hotel, but it preserves the bayside setting on Mexico's Pacific Coast, where the natural wonders are seemingly woven into the land by sensitive architecture that doesn't overwhelm the surroundings.

Most of the hotel's 135 guest rooms and 30 suites have views of the ocean. The grand 13,000-square-foot, five-bedroom Arena Suite opens directly onto the beach and includes two plunge pools and a private host for the duration of your stay. Each bedroom has its own marble bathroom, and the suite is fully modernized with flat-screenTVs and high-speed Internet connection.

The two main restaurants provide a dining assortment. The Aramara features a fusion of Latin and Chinese cuisines, serving entrées such as garam masala—crusted red snapper, Tequila flamed shrimp and cilantro- and lime-marinated grilled chicken breast. The Bahia Beach Grill is a casual daytime location for lunch, but at night it becomes a more elegant seaside-dining venue.

One of the biggest attractions at Punta Mita is the Jack Nicklaus—designed golf course. With its island green, an optional 19th hole that during high tide requires a boat to reach, it has been acclaimed as one of the premier resort golf courses in Latin America. Recent play showed that it is truly a first-class course that is quite difficult, especially with the distraction of scenic views of the Pacific Ocean, over which you are constantly looking. More good news is coming for golfers in the form of a second Nicklaus course slated to open in 2008.

Like all of today's good beach-resort hotels, the Four Seasons Punta Mita has a full range of spa and fitness facilities. The spa offers a number of massage specialties at its main location and will even provide massage service on the beach into the twilight hours in a cabana big enough for couples. The fitness center includes treadmills, stationary bikes and free weights.

The resort accommodates family visits with kids' programs that are second to none. The on-site game room is always staffed with counselors to keep the kids busy. Of course, the beach is very friendly to children, but adults will find a number of activities there—including sailing—that go beyond just lying in the sand.

And for guests who consider lying in the sun all day, playing golf and stretching their legs on the tennis courts a mundane routine, the hotel keeps a 55-foot yacht. You can take day excursions around Banderas Bay or book the boat for a sunset sail.

Visit www.fourseasons.com/puntamita/ or call 52 (329) 291-6000.