“This is fun”
my masseuse said in an endearing Mexican accent, as she held my arm, making sure I didn’t slip over. Crushing plump grapes with your bare feet in a wooden barrel is not really something you associate with a regular luxury spa treatment, but this is exactly what I was doing in my Italian styled treatment room at the Marival Spa in Riviera Nayarit Mexico. I had been booked in for the Italian Vendimia’ Wine Spa treatment, and even though I initially had no idea what that entailed, it turned out to be one of the best spa treatments I’ve had…..ever!
Marival Residence is a luxury resort in the up and coming area of Riviera Nayarit. Right next door you might recognise the name of it’s more famous sister – Puerto Vallarta. If you’ve ever been to this region of Mexico you’d know that it’s known for its beautiful waters, it’s luxury all-inclusive accommodation and it’s breathtaking sunsets.
Unlike other parts of Mexico we have visited, we noticed that Riviera Nayarit offers visitors the best of both worlds, of course, you have it’s glistening shorelines, but turn around 180 degrees and you get rich green mountains. At the Marival Residences, we had the luxury of waking up to mist coming off the mountains in the mornings, to watching the sunset over the ocean while sipping wine in our private penthouse infinity pool in the evenings. That’s right – private infinity pool!!! Oh la la, I know…but it’s something that should absolutely be added to your vacation goals list!
Goal number 1 – experience relaxing in your own private infinity pool
Goal number 2 – have a luxury Melange World Spa wine treatment
The thing that is super cute about the Marival Spa is the fact that each treatment room has it’s own theme. We had the Italian Vendimia’ Wine treatment but you can also choose from Japan Shiatsu, Russia Banya, Thailand Bodywork and more. Travel around the world by experiencing the unique massages of different regions.
I should state that the Italian Vendimia wine treatment room is for one person only, we were a little disappointed that we couldn’t do the spa together – but as it was such a great experience all disappointment was soon forgotten. Upon entering the room and meeting your masseuse you are given a nice chilled glass of white wine and a small bruschetta to eat while the masseuse washes and dries your feet (honestly, wine and food in the first 5 minutes! You’ve already won me over).
Then it’s time to head on over an crush the grapes with your feet. Tom and I had differing experiences with this, he said his lady just kind of watched him as he crushed the grapes which felt a little weird as he was doing it by himself, I on the other had a different masseuse who (as I mentioned before) held my arm, made sure I didn’t slip over, and was giggling along with me as I squelched the grapes between my toes. I’m guessing it’s the old girl/boy getting different massages story…it happens a lot on our travels.
After pulverizing the grapes with your feet it’s time for a nice long soak in a tub that looks like a giant oak barrel….and another glass of wine! Montepulciano is apparently the ideal wine for a nice long bubble bath – but that’s not all! The masseuse then begins to pour red wine into the tub with you and then pours it all over your shoulders and chest. I have to say, being in a rather warm bath and having the cool wine poured over the top of me felt ah-maz-ing. I really, really, enjoyed it.
If you are a little worried about your bathing suit being stained no need to fear they supply you with a little (and I mean little) paper bikini top and bottoms. You are then left alone for 15 minutes to enjoy the bubbles, relax in the soothing water and enjoy your chilled glass of wine.
After that, the masseuse returns and it’s time for you to dry off and have your full body massage. The whole treatment takes about 85 minutes and once the massage is over it’s time to put your dressing gown back on, head to the relaxation room where you are given your final glass of wine and some grapes to nibble on as well.
I came out of this Marival Spa treatment feeling amazing. The experience in itself was unique, fun, and also totally relaxing. When I met up with Tom afterwards he completely agreed with me – the Marival Spa had given us one of our most memorable spa treatments we’ve had so far.
Marival Residences Review
The Marival Spa treatment and our residence at the Marival Residences were certainly some highlights to our stay. You just can’t beat having you own infinity pool. Marival Residences has also just opened up their brand new beach club “Mozza Mare” so that guests of the Marival Residences can enjoy easy beach side access. The hotel itself is not beachfront, though it is just a couple of minutes walk away, and Mozza Mare is a fantastic solution close to the Residences.
Choose to swim in the ocean, use the complimentary non motorized water gear, swim in the infinity pool with a cocktail in hand or sit in the restaurant and have a relaxing meal with a view of the ocean. We even had the awesome experience of watching a pod of wild dolphins frolicking right in front of the beach club.
That evening we were also treated to their ‘special events’ experience. The kind of experience you would have for a wedding, or special occasion, and I have to say the setting was spectacular. With the sun slowly setting, throwing pinks across the Mozza Mare infinity pool, and our perfectly laid out table waiting for its guests to arrive, it was certainly a moment that made both of us stop and say “wow”. Marival Residences had truly created the perfect atmosphere for a special dining experience.
During dinner, we were also treated to a spectacular fire twirling display and one of the best mariachi bands I think we’ve ever heard – way beyond the regular all-male guitar and bass quartets that walk around town, our mariachis included violin and female vocals too. It really was a perfect setting.
While the setting and all of the aesthetics of the resort are simply superb I do need to speak a little about the food at Marival Residence. Sadly the food, in general, was very hit and miss. We really did want to enjoy it, but there were just too many disappointments not to mention it in this review.
We did enjoy the international tapas selection at the Insu Sky Lounge. This is also a great place to go and enjoy the sunset. The bar offers a perfectly located infinity pool for all guests to enjoy the views of a beautiful Riviera Nayarit sunset, where you can enjoy snacks like roasted duck spring rolls, beef sliders and more. And of course, don’t forget your cocktail!
Also absolutely try the fish tacos and the calamari at the beach club which was fresh and crunchy and not oily at all, we had it twice it was so good.
But when it came to the other dining experiences, as we said before it was a bit hit and miss. Scallops that were served a bit too raw and thus chewy and fishy tasting, a roast vegetable wrap that was lacking in any flavour at all and room service that was consistently cold and visually unappetizing, just to name a few. If you are a hardcore foodie (like us) you might find this hotel to be a bit disappointing when it comes to the food.
But if you are after luxury surroundings and not obsessed with food then you should have a good stay. Plus all the residences feature a full kitchen if you are wanting to cook for yourself instead.
On a positive note, we loved Riviera Narait. The food we experienced while out exploring the beach town of Sayluita was superb and we are truly excited to discover more local dishes that are unique to this area. Here’s an interesting fact: This region actually has a strong Asian influence thanks to the trading routes of the Spanish fleets. This means there’s loads of fusion food around, so if you see something on a menu with an Asian flare – give it a try, you might find the mix quite satisfying!
At the end of the day, we really enjoyed our time in Riviera Nayarit and we hope to go back and explore the true authentic dishes of the region. As with the Residences, we really loved the Marival Spa our penthouse residence and new beach club… but sadly there were just too many inconsistencies in the food quality and service. We do truly believe that with a few slight adjustments that Marival Residences could be a perfect all-inclusive experience – it’s really so close!
So, go enjoy the surroundings, the beach, the views, the sunsets and the perfect luxury residences, but plan to head out and explore the local food scene of Nayarit for more local authentic flavors.