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Riviera Nayarit, Mexico / One&Only Mandarina

Well and truly leaning into Mexico’s spiritual aura, flower children both junior and senior find balance within the spaciously scattered treetop and cliffside sanctuaries of this all-villa hippie hotspot.

When the car stops at the doors of One&Only Mandarina, its location sprawled on the 200 mile coastline of lesser-known Riviera Nayarit makes sense. A hotel focused on self-improvement and inner zen needs all that serene space, especially to house their impeccably private villas, so it couldn’t be better positioned. Not many places perform a personalised “smudging” ritual when guests enter their villa, and this space-cleansing ritualistic herb burning sets the tone for time spent here. Trust us, even the sceptics can’t help but embrace a bit of mystical woo-woo. It’s the spa – snuggled in a volcanic rock garden, its layout inspired by sacred Huichol geometry – where all the mind and body healing goes down. Therapeutic prehispanic ceremonies are performed by resident curandero, Benjamin, in the Temazcal (the ‘house of heat’); where hot stones, herbs and indigenous chanting are used to stimulate detoxification. And Mandarina’s spiritual guide, Steffy, is on hand to teach centuries-old energy practices within the spa or the comfort of a villa lounge. While skincare brand Tata Harper provides the products and a unique-to-Mandarina wellness journey to heighten the senses and transform the skin.

Grown-ups adore a bit of pampering, however, it’s no secret that tiny travellers can find it somewhat difficult to settle into a spa day. But, never ones to leave anyone out of their A-grade properties and forever-talked-about service, One&Only have come up with the solution – a bespoke family-focused three day itinerary; introducing the ancient spirit of La Abuela – the 500-year-old sacred ‘Grandmother’ tree, the challenge of surfing Sayulita’s waves, and the artistry of horse riding that the Mexican Charros are known for.

Travel notes:

  • 105 Treetop, Cliff and Grand Villas; all with private pools
  • Dining options include celebrity-chef-lead Carao, the lively Jetty Beach Club, flavour-fusions in Alma, and conscious cocktails at aptly named The Treetop
  • Some of Mexico’s best and under-the-radar spots are within easy reach including San Blas’ ruins, Downtown Puerto Vallarta landmarks and San Sebastian del Oeste's historic fiestas
  • Accessible by panga boat, the biodiverse and uninhabited Islas Marietas are just down the coast
  • It’s 90% sunshine in these parts, so this resort is great year-round
  • Puerto Vallarta airport is an hour drive away

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When to visit Mexico

Riviera Maya is enjoyable year-round, but October to May is generally the most pleasant time to visit. Humidity is at its highest from July to September, with occasional showers more likely to occur on the Gulf Coast. November to May are the most popular months to visit Baja Peninsula, characterised by warm, generally dry days, whilst July to October tends to be hotter and more humid with the possibility of tropical storms. Mexico City is best visited between March to May; winter brings cool temperatures, whilst June to October can be more humid with a daily short burst of showers.

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