Although the cruise ship motif creates a realistic ambiance of being aboard and at sea, there's no worry about rough seas at the Iberostar Playa Mita Resort. The all-inclusive beach, spa and golf destination sits on terra firma, along a long stretch of sandy Pacific shoreline. It showcases an open-air top deck, ship railings, and ventilation shafts replicating smokestacks that add to the ocean liner atmosphere. The "deck" is abustle with people enjoying places to eat and drink, swimming in pools, soaking in hot tubs, participating in yoga and dance classes, and much more.
All 452 rooms and suites are below this deck, presenting beachfront ground units with patios and additional floors of oceanfront rooms that offer a panorama of the sea, sunsets and whales, which frequent the seas near here, particularly during the winter and spring. Elevators and stairs deliver guests topside for food, fun and entertainment. Restaurants and activities are also available on level two near the lobby and are accessible via a wide, open-air promenade.
The culinary options are many, including four quiet, out-of-the-way à la carte restaurants—gourmet Pacific Express, Tsuba Japanese, La Bahia steak house and Mexican Cuate Pancho. The eight bars located throughout the resort include a delightful cigar bar.
Star Cigar, situated along the promenade, is a cool and refreshing oasis, out of the tropical sun and away from the crowds. The spacious area is designed with high-ceilings, well-appointed decor, comfortable lounge chairs and barstools, and a walk-in humidor supplying an assortment of premium stogies. For your drink, there is also a full-service bar. The cigar menu includes several popular Cubans, among them the Bolivar Belicoso Fino; Cohiba Lancero and Siglo VI; Partagás Serie D No. 4; Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2, and Montecristo No. 2. Prices range from $5 to $45.
Iberostar is the newest addition to Playa Litibu, a project sponsored by Fonatur, Mexico's Tourism Development Authority. Fonatur initially invested $67 million to establish the golf course and resorts at the 593-acre property on Mexico's Pacific Coast, 45 minutes northwest of Licenciado Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport. The plan incorporates the Greg Norman designed 18-hole, public Litibu Golf Club.
The pleasurable layout of well-crafted holes is spread out over 168 rolling acres that amble through a mix of open and jungle landscapes. Salt-tolerant Paspalum grass runs from tee-to-green and is broken up by 130 bunkers. Many inland holes rival the three (Nos. 3, 4 and 18) that boast ocean views. The picturesque 13th hole, a 483-yard par 4, is framed by Monkey Mountain in the background, adorned with a green complex presenting six amoeba-shaped bunkers, accented by huge gumbo-limbo and parota trees. It represents a striking symbol of golfing at Litibu, an artistic design amid a tropical Mexican wonderland.
The opening of the Iberostar Playa Mita in 2013 has invigorated development of Fonatur's tourism initiative to bring additional resorts, boutique hotels, spas, and golf courses along more than 100 miles of pristine shoreline north to San Blas. The region is changing, but still abounds with authentic culture in coastal towns and villages under a backdrop of the Sierra Madre Mountains. The area remains a vision of brilliant sunsets, white sand beaches, resident and migratory wildlife, unspoiled fishing communities and a history dating back to the Aztecs.
Star Cigar, Iberostar Playa Mita Resort
Comercial Camino Ingreso a Litibú, Lote 15
63734, Higuera Blanca, Mexico
+(52) 329 2984280
Open daily from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Bill Nestor explores the world to write about travel, food, nature and golf.