Review: Four Seasons Naviva, Mexico (AMAZING!)

Review: Four Seasons Naviva, Mexico (AMAZING!)

NAME: Four Seasons Naviva
LOCATION: Punta Mita, Mexico
DATE: January 2023
REVIEW RATING:
BEN SAYS: The Four Seasons Naviva is an incredible new concept, and it's executed flawlessly, with perfect service, delicious food and drinks, a relaxing vibe, and amazing activities. If you can swing it, you won't be disappointed.
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EXTRA PERKS AVAILABLE Enjoy breakfast, upgrades, & more

Want to take advantage of Four Seasons Preferred Partner benefits, including a space available room upgrade, complimentary breakfast, a hotel credit, and more? Contact Ford ([email protected]) for more details. He may even be able to help if you already have a stay booked.

After a few nights at the Four Seasons Punta Mita, it was time for something we were both indescribably excited about — a few nights at the Four Seasons Naviva. The Four Seasons Naviva opened in December 2022, and it’s a completely new concept for Four Seasons.

While I’ll have a lot of details below, let me just say upfront that this place is beyond spectacular. I think this might just be the best new resort in North America, and I suspect that within a year it will be hard to get a reservation here, given how few rooms there are.

For now the Four Seasons Naviva’s problem is that people don’t really know what it is, or what to expect. Four Seasons is known for its amazing, well-run resorts (some with hundreds of rooms), not for 15-key, tented wellness camps.

So I’m delighted to be able to publish what I think is the first actual review of the property. Even if this resort isn’t in your price range (which applies to 99.99% of us), I hope you enjoy getting a glimpse at an amazing new hospitality concept from Four Seasons.

What is the Four Seasons Naviva?

The Four Seasons Naviva consists of 15 luxury tents (they’re really glam — there’s no roughing it here). It’s an incredibly intimate, adults-only resort that really redefines the way Four Seasons delivers hospitality, but in a good way.

Four Seasons Naviva is ultimately a wellness resort, in the sense that there are all kinds of activities, from meditation, to yoga, to sound healing, to a traditional temazcal (which… is wild). But the truth is that even if you’re not into spirituality, you’ll still love this place. You could have just as good of a time skipping all of those activities, and instead lounging at the pool, doing tequila tastings, and eating amazing food.

But the unique service concept of the property goes way beyond that. You’re literally intended to feel like you’re at home. For example, there are no menus, but rather you can order what you want when you want. You’ll never have to sign for anything while on-property. And the staff take a much more informal approach toward service than at other Four Seasons properties, by design.

Four Seasons Naviva is built right next to the Four Seasons Punta Mita, but it feels a world away. For some context on how this property came to be, back in 2002 there were plans for a 70-room Rosewood Punta Mita to be built on this lot. Long story short, the project stalled for a long time, then sat empty, and then finally a couple of years ago, an agreement was made for Four Seasons to develop it for this new concept.

What’s included with stays at Four Seasons Naviva?

Rates at the Four Seasons Naviva aren’t cheap, but they offer an “inclusive experience.” Among other things, rates at Naviva include:

  • All meals, snacks, and drinks
  • Daily community activities, mind and body practices, and “unscripted moments”
  • A complimentary spa treatment for two guests once per stay

So unless you want additional massages or want to book private experiences, you’ll likely depart Four Seasons Naviva without spending a dime on-property. I’m usually skeptical of all-inclusives in terms of quality (after all, there’s an incentive to cut costs when not generating incremental revenue), though the Four Seasons Naviva delivers.

The food is some of the best I’ve had anywhere, and no expenses are spared with drinks either, from great wine, to innovative cocktails.

Booking the Four Seasons Naviva

The Four Seasons Naviva has a two-night minimum stay, with all rates getting you the inclusions listed above. While I’m sure rates will fluctuate over time, currently pricing is pretty consistent for most of the year. There are two room categories — Tent and Grant Tent — with the former typically costing $3,950 per night, and the latter typically costing $4,950 per night.

Obviously that’s expensive, though I’d point out that standard rooms at the Four Seasons next door can sometimes be half of that in high season. And here you’re getting a completely different kind of experience, with a lot more inclusions.

The best way to book any Four Seasons hotel is through a travel advisor affiliated with the Four Seasons Preferred Partner program. The Preferred Partner amenities here are modified a bit since so many things are already included, though this will be how you get the best value.

Ford is happy to help book Four Seasons properties through Preferred Partner, and can be reached at [email protected].

In the interest of full disclosure, Ford books a lot of people at Four Seasons properties, and got a travel agent rate for our stay. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

Four Seasons Naviva location

The Four Seasons Naviva is located in the gated Punta Mita development, on a private peninsula overlooking Bahía de Banderas. This area has the Four Seasons, Naviva, the St. Regis, a golf course, and lots of residences.

The Four Seasons Naviva is located on its own 48-acre property, with lots of forested land overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

The closest airport to the hotel is Puerto Vallarta Airport (PVR), which has nonstop flights from many gateways in the United States, so it’s easy to get to. From the airport to the resort, you can expect that the transfer will take somewhere around 45 minutes, depending on traffic.

In our case we were coming from the Four Seasons, which is just a short drive away. We could already tell it would be a different kind of experience when the resort manager, Ronny, picked us up personally in a Ford Bronco — not your typical hotel transfer car, but this is what Naviva uses for transfers around the complex.

Four Seasons Naviva Ford Bronco

Four Seasons Naviva service

Usually I talk about service at the end of my reviews, but in this case I think it’s worth starting with that. Service at the Four Seasons Naviva is different than you might be used to at other Four Seasons properties, yet totally flawless.

The whole experience is intended to make you feel like you’re a guest in someone’s home. I wondered if the service would feel different than at other Four Seasons properties, and it did… in the best way possible (and I think Four Seasons has really high service standards elsewhere).

Where do we even begin?

  • Honestly I’m not sure if anyone working here has the word “no” in their vocabulary; you’re given so much flexibility to do what you’d like, whether that’s a spa treatment at 10PM, a dip in the pool at 2AM, or breakfast at 7PM (not that you’d necessarily want to do any of those, but…)
  • Service here is much more informal than at other Four Seasons properties; guests are addressed by their first names, the staff don’t have uniforms, and I’m told that staff can even drink with guests (though, in fairness, I didn’t see that happening)

As you’d expect, the staff to guest ratio here is incredible. During our stay there were at most three other accommodations occupied (and on our last day there was only one other tent occupied), so we really felt like we had the place to ourselves. Even if this resort were at capacity, you’d still feel like you had your own palace in the jungle, since the property is so spread out, with at most 30 guests.

But it’s not just the training that’s great here, but the staff were just incredible across the board. They took such pride in their jobs, were genuinely warm and friendly, and were also so professional. From the constantly present resort manager, to all the staff in the restaurant and at the pool, to the wellness team, this place couldn’t have better service.

Usually throughout a hotel stay I take notes on my phone with the names of specific employees who were especially professional, so I can give them the credit they deserve. There’s only one problem at this property — by the end of our stay, just about everyone’s name was on the list.

Four Seasons Naviva lobby & check-in

You can tell from the moment you check-in that a stay at the Four Seasons Naviva will be a bit different. There’s a beautiful open-air welcome pavilion as you arrive at the resort.

Four Seasons Naviva lobby area
Four Seasons Naviva lobby area
Four Seasons Naviva lobby area

Rather than being given a specific welcome drink, you’re asked what you’d like to have as a welcome drink. While there’s a tray with some options, you can have whatever you’d like, so we chose some mezcal on ice.

Four Seasons Naviva welcome drinks

At this point we were given our room keys, which are unconventional. They’re wristbands you can keep on throughout your stay, which are also waterproof.

Four Seasons Naviva room key

We were then driven in a golf cart to our room. You can of course be driven around all you want during your stay, though the property is quite walkable.

Four Seasons Naviva golf carts

Reception is located at the very top of the resort, and then everything else is underneath that.

Four Seasons Naviva property signage

The paths at the Four Seasons Naviva are stunning. We were told that during construction, they tried to leave trees and all the other nature as intact as possible, so you really feel like you’re in some sort of a nature reserve. No trees at the resort were cut down in order to create ocean views.

Four Seasons Naviva property paths
Four Seasons Naviva property paths
Four Seasons Naviva property paths

Four Seasons Naviva Grand Tent

We were assigned room 12, which was a grand tent with the name Cleofas (each tent has a name).

Four Seasons Naviva tent entrance
Four Seasons Naviva tent exterior

Grand tents are marketed as being 1,604-1,722 square feet (149-160 square meters), and that includes both indoor and outdoor space. As I said above, while these are technically “tents,” there’s no roughing it here. Inside the entrance is the bedroom, which features a signature Four Seasons king bed, and a couch along the wall.

Four Seasons Naviva tent bedroom
Four Seasons Naviva tent bedroom
Four Seasons Naviva tent bedroom sitting area

There’s lots of cool art on the walls, plus binoculars and even a telescope.

Four Seasons Naviva tent art
Four Seasons Naviva tent binoculars
Four Seasons Naviva tent telescope

Also in this room was the minibar, where everything was complimentary.

Four Seasons Naviva tent minibar

The drink selection was pretty basic, but that’s by design, since you can order whatever you’d like. Want a bottle of wine or a couple of cocktails delivered to your room? That can be taken care of within minutes, 24/7.

Four Seasons Naviva tent minibar

There was also a coffee and tea kettle setup.

Four Seasons Naviva tent coffee selection

We never ended up using it, since we just ordered our morning coffee via room service.

Four Seasons Naviva morning coffee

There was also a welcome amenity in this area, consisting of some delicious apple turnovers, and a traditional Mexican drink with coconut.

Four Seasons Naviva tent welcome amenity

To the side of the bedroom was the bathroom, which might just be one of the all-around most beautiful bathrooms I’ve ever seen. The bathroom had double sinks, a soaking tub, an indoor shower, an outdoor shower, and a toilet in a separate room.

Four Seasons Naviva tent bathroom
Four Seasons Naviva tent bathroom
Four Seasons Naviva tent toilet

Does this bathtub view look like it’s out of a postcard, or what?

Four Seasons Naviva tent bathtub

The attention to detail with the design really impressed me. For example, the below shower is nice enough as is…

Four Seasons Naviva tent indoor shower

…but then you look up and see an incredible circular skylight looking at a palm tree.

Four Seasons Naviva tent indoor shower

Many will appreciate the outdoor shower, as it’s not often you can shower outdoors with a view like this…

Four Seasons Naviva tent outdoor shower
Four Seasons Naviva tent outdoor shower views

I should mention that the entire indoor space is well air conditioned, in case that’s a corner you may have about this property.

Off the bedroom and in the opposite direction was the living room, which had a unique indoor/outdoor concept. The living room was exposed to the outdoors in the sense that it didn’t have air conditioning, but it was screened in so that there weren’t any bugs. You could then open the door between the bedroom and living room.

The living room had an “L” shaped couch and a rocking chair.

Four Seasons Naviva tent living area
Four Seasons Naviva tent living area

There was also a kit on the living room table for making your own smoked & spicy cocktail. You could even scan a QR code to get exact instructions.

Four Seasons Naviva tent welcome amenity

As impressive as the indoor space was, the outdoor space was arguably even more impressive. It had a dining table with seating for four, two loungers, a huge couch area with a fire pit, and a pool.

Four Seasons Naviva tent outdoor space
Four Seasons Naviva tent outdoor space
Four Seasons Naviva tent outdoor space
Four Seasons Naviva tent outdoor space
Four Seasons Naviva tent outdoor space
Four Seasons Naviva tent outdoor pool

The views from the outdoor space were just gorgeous.

Four Seasons Naviva tent view

Four Seasons Naviva pool

The Four Seasons Naviva has a main pool area, with three tiered pools. Rather than going with an infinity-edge pool right on the water, the designers instead decided to build the pool in the middle of the jungle, which I think is super fun (though there are still Pacific Ocean views).

Four Seasons Naviva pool

Honestly, what a ridiculously gorgeous pool…

Four Seasons Naviva pool
Four Seasons Naviva pool
Four Seasons Naviva pool
Four Seasons Naviva pool
Four Seasons Naviva pool
Four Seasons Naviva pool

There was also endless seating around the pool, from cabanas, to couches, traditional loungers.

Four Seasons Naviva pool seating
Four Seasons Naviva pool seating
Four Seasons Naviva pool seating
Four Seasons Naviva pool seating

Service at the pool was attentive, so whether you want an iced coffee, a cocktail, or lunch, you can enjoy that here.

My only criticism of the pool area is that I wish there were a hot tub.

Four Seasons Naviva beach

The Four Seasons Naviva has one of the most magical beaches I’ve ever seen. Specifically, it’s located between two huge sets of rocks, so no one can really access this, other than Naviva guests. Having this beautiful of a stretch of beach all to yourself is a dream.

The beach is also set up in such a way that you kind of feel like a castaway. There are no rows of seats along the beach, but rather just different areas have a few cabanas. As you’d expect, you can have anything served down at the beach, from drinks to a meal.

Four Seasons Naviva beach
Four Seasons Naviva beach
Four Seasons Naviva beach
Four Seasons Naviva beach
Four Seasons Naviva beach

Four Seasons Naviva spa

The Four Seasons Naviva has two spa tents, each of which can accommodate couples treatments. The spa doesn’t operate with any set schedule, so you can schedule a treatment for whenever you’d like, pending availability. You can find the Naviva spa menu here, and as a reminder, all stays here include one spa treatment per person.

Four Seasons Naviva spa pathway

The spa treatment rooms do a great job blending the indoors and outdoors. While the treatment rooms are “open,” they also have air conditioning, which is pretty awesome.

Four Seasons Naviva spa exterior
Four Seasons Naviva spa hut

There’s also a beautiful outdoor space, with a table with two chairs, a daybed, and a hot tub.

Four Seasons Naviva spa outdoor seating & hot tub
Four Seasons Naviva spa outdoor seating
Four Seasons Naviva spa hot tub

We each had a 60-minute customized massage, and the treatments were exceptionally good.

Four Seasons Naviva gym

The Four Seasons Naviva has a unique outdoor gym. Often wellness resorts try to do these but they’re not actually good. Well, this one is pretty awesome, and I appreciate the thought that went into it. For example, the free weights were created by carving stone found on the property.

Four Seasons Naviva gym
Four Seasons Naviva gym
Four Seasons Naviva gym
Four Seasons Naviva gym
Four Seasons Naviva gym
Four Seasons Naviva gym
Four Seasons Naviva gym

It’s not very day you can exercise outdoors with a view like this…

Four Seasons Naviva gym view

It’s also worth mentioning that if you want a more “traditional” workout, Four Seasons Naviva guests have access to all the facilities at the Four Seasons Punta Mita, including the gym.

Four Seasons Naviva activities

All stays at the Four Seasons Naviva include access to daily activities. Having recently visited Miraval Arizona, I have to say that the quality of the included activities here put Miraval to shame. For example, below you can find a listing of the activities during our stay. I appreciate how they’re mostly in the mornings and afternoons, so you can then relax during the day.

Four Seasons Naviva activities

As you can see, these activities include everything from fishing, to sound healing, to street corn tasting.

Four Seasons Naviva meditation & sound healing

Before I talk too much about our meditation and sound healing sessions, let me mention that this kind of stuff isn’t necessarily up my alley. However:

  • I love learning about things that others are passionate about, so even if I don’t feel anything, I consistently enjoy the learning aspect of it
  • Even if a meditation or sound healing doesn’t make me “feel” anything, I find them relaxing, if nothing else
  • With any sort of spiritual matter, I believe human minds are powerful, and we can train ourselves to believe certain things and feel certain things
  • I always approach this with an open mind, hoping to feeling the power of something

With that in mind, I think the first thing to note is that the Four Seasons Naviva might just have the most beautiful meditation and yoga pavilion that I’ve ever seen. How unreal is this view?!

Four Seasons Naviva yoga & meditation pavilion

Over the course of our stay we did three different meditations and sound healings, including the shamanic sound healing, sunset sound journey, and transcendental & ancestral meditation.

I particularly enjoyed the two sessions with Bart. Four Seasons chose some really amazing, inspirational people. He gave up his life in the Netherlands and decided to move to the nearby town of Sayulita to pursue what he loves, and his passion was evident.

During the transcendental & ancestral meditation I felt something that I still can’t actually describe. It was very strange, because I usually struggle to relax, but I drifted off into a different world I’ve never experienced before. Even over a week later, I’m still thinking about this. I was nearly crying at the end, for some odd reason.

Four Seasons Naviva yoga & meditation pavilion
Four Seasons Naviva yoga & meditation pavilion

The evening sunset sound journeys were equally magical, since they’d start shortly before sunset, and would end after sunset.

Four Seasons Naviva yoga & meditation pavilion
Four Seasons Naviva yoga & meditation pavilion views

I can’t recommend these sessions enough. Even if you don’t usually do meditation or sound healing, come into it with an open mind, and you’ll really enjoy it.

Four Seasons Naviva temazcal

Without a doubt the wildest thing we did at the Four Seasons Naviva was the temazcal. This is a traditional ceremony led by a shaman, during which you enter a sweat lodge (essentially an igloo-shaped sauna). It’s intended to signify going back into the womb.

During this ceremony, the shaman places hot stones in the center of the sweat lodge, and then makes it completely dark. There are four separate parts to this ceremony, each of which involves staying in there for around 15 minutes, during which time you sing, chant, and talk.

Then after each session, more hot stones are placed inside the sweat lodge, making it progressively hotter and hotter.

Four Seasons Naviva temazcal
Four Seasons Naviva temazcal
Four Seasons Naviva temazcal
Four Seasons Naviva temazcal

What a unique experience. I can’t say I quite “felt something” in the same way as during the meditation, but it was really cool to learn about this practice, and experience it firsthand. Make sure you hydrate well both before and after the ceremony, because it’s an endurance test.

Four Seasons Naviva street corn tasting

Just to give a further example of an additional activity, the Four Seasons Naviva had a street corn tasting one afternoon, so we took part in that. Yum.

Four Seasons Naviva street corn
Four Seasons Naviva street corn

Four Seasons Naviva hiking

The Four Seasons Naviva has extensive hiking trails. There are guided hikes around sunrise, though alternatively you could just do it on your own. You really feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere, in the best way possible.

Four Seasons Naviva hiking trails
Four Seasons Naviva hiking trail views
Four Seasons Naviva hiking trail views

Four Seasons Naviva dining

The Four Seasons Naviva has the most flexible dining concept imaginable. You can have what you want, when you want, where you want, with no real limits. So whether you want to eat in the restaurant, or via in-room dining (I suppose in-tent dining, in this case), or at the pool, or at the beach, or while hanging upside down in a hammock, the choice is yours.

And to take it a step further when it comes to customization, there are no menus. The resort has an amazing culinary team led by Chef Sofia (who is a total rockstar, by the way), and every day they propose something based on your preferences and dietary restrictions.

However, you absolutely don’t have to eat what they propose, and you can order whatever you’d like, and they’ll make it for you. If there’s something very specific you want, I’m sure you can let the team at the hotel know before your stay, and they’ll make it happen.

Four Seasons Naviva restaurant & bar

We ended up having virtually all of our meals at the restaurant, because it’s so ridiculously nice, and is the heart of the resort. Heck, even if you’re not eating, this is a great place to grab a drink, or get some work done on your laptop. The restaurant and bar area are entirely open-air, with direct views of the water.

Four Seasons Naviva restaurant exterior
Four Seasons Naviva restaurant entrance

As you can see, this area is more than just a dozen dining tables. There’s also an area for lounging, a bar area where you can sit, a foosball table, board games, and more.

Four Seasons Naviva restaurant
Four Seasons Naviva restaurant
Four Seasons Naviva restaurant
Four Seasons Naviva restaurant
Four Seasons Naviva restaurant
Four Seasons Naviva foosball table
Four Seasons Naviva bar

There’s also an open kitchen, so you can see everything being prepared.

Four Seasons Naviva open kitchen

There’s also lovely seating outdoors, ranging from daybeds, to seats by the cliff with a fire pit, to swings.

Four Seasons Naviva restaurant

Four Seasons Naviva outdoor path
Four Seasons Naviva outdoor seating
Four Seasons Naviva outdoor seating view
Four Seasons Naviva outdoor seating

This area becomes even more beautiful when the sun sets and at night, if that’s even possible.

Four Seasons Naviva restaurant at night
Four Seasons Naviva restaurant at night
Four Seasons Naviva outdoor seating at sunset
Four Seasons Naviva view at sunset

Four Seasons Naviva breakfast

Breakfast at Four Seasons Naviva was a treat, with excellent fresh juices and cappuccinos (though I do think the cold brew could be improved, as it was much better at the Four Seasons Punta Mita).

Four Seasons Naviva breakfast
Four Seasons Naviva breakfast

There was always a bread basket with all kinds of options. On two mornings it was specifically mentioned that the chef had freshly prepared certain sweets, so that seemed like a good excuse to try them. 😉

Four Seasons Naviva breakfast
Four Seasons Naviva breakfast
Four Seasons Naviva breakfast

For breakfast you were encouraged to get something to start, whether that’s a fruit plate, or a chia bowl with strawberries and granola.

Four Seasons Naviva breakfast
Four Seasons Naviva breakfast

Each morning a different breakfast was proposed, and there’s not one that I didn’t love. My favorite was probably the short rib avocado eggs benedict, which was sinfully delicious. I’m getting hungry just looking at the picture of it.

Four Seasons Naviva breakfast

There were other excellent options as well, ranging from baked eggs and veggies with quesadillas, to avocado toast.

Four Seasons Naviva breakfast
Four Seasons Naviva breakfast
Four Seasons Naviva breakfast

Four Seasons Naviva lunch

There are limits to how much we can eat, so I’m sorry for letting OMAAT readers down, but our lunch data points were fairly limited. Between the huge breakfasts and amazing dinners, it was hard to have anything else.

We did order some guacamole with crudité and plantains at the pool one day, which was tasty.

Four Seasons Naviva lunch

It was so good that we ordered more guacamole the next day.

Four Seasons Naviva lunch

Another day we decided to split a burger that was recommended, which was a cheeseburger with turkey bacon. I’m not usually a burger person, but yum.

Four Seasons Naviva lunch

Sitting at the pool, all kinds of treats were constantly brought out, from refreshing blended drinks, to ice cream.

Four Seasons Naviva lunch
Four Seasons Naviva lunch

Four Seasons Naviva dinner

Each night, a different menu was proposed, though you could of course customize it however you’d like (or even reject it). Dinner always consisted of an amuse bouche, followed by a starter, main course, and dessert (though again, you can customize that however you’d like, and you could have that structured differently if you wanted to).

One of the downsides of Naviva not having menus, as well as Naviva being very generous with drink refills, is that I’m not sure I can actually tell you everything I ate. However, I can tell you it was delicious across the board.

Our first evening we had an amuse bouche with eggplant and olive, an appetizer with smoked chicken, an amazing fish main course, and then a selection of desserts.

Four Seasons Naviva dinner
Four Seasons Naviva dinner
Four Seasons Naviva dinner
Four Seasons Naviva dinner
Four Seasons Naviva dinner

Our second evening we had an amuse bouche with avocado, a starter of a salad with avocado and quail egg, a main course with beef short rib, and a little dessert sampler (note: we always tried to get out of ordering dessert, but the lovely team here insisted).

Four Seasons Naviva dinner
Four Seasons Naviva dinner
Four Seasons Naviva dinner
Four Seasons Naviva dinner

For our last evening, the team set up a special dinner for us in the sand. Funny enough, at this point there was only one other guest at the hotel, and he was out for the evening, so the restaurant was totally empty.

Four Seasons Naviva dinner

This dinner consisted of an amuse bouche with chicken empanadas, a starter with octopus, a main course with mahi mahi, and then another incredible dessert.

Four Seasons Naviva dinner
Four Seasons Naviva dinner
Four Seasons Naviva dinner
Four Seasons Naviva dinner
Four Seasons Naviva dinner

The food here blew me away. While the ability to customize is nice, I actually loved how relaxing it was not to have to make any decisions. We quickly realized the chefs here are amazing, so if they’re aware of your dietary restrictions and preferences, then I’m thrilled to let them make the hard choices for me.

Four Seasons Naviva drinks

I don’t think alcohol at inclusive resorts gets better than at the Four Seasons Punta Mita. Of course the staff here can make you traditional cocktails, like a negroni, dirty martini, and aperol spritz.

Four Seasons Naviva drinks
Four Seasons Naviva drinks

However, what I really loved was all the cocktails that they proposed, including many traditional Mexican ones (and we’re not just talking margaritas, though those were great as well!).

Four Seasons Naviva drinks
Four Seasons Naviva drinks
Four Seasons Naviva drinks

I also found the wine selection to be very good. I never saw a wine list (I think it’s part of Naviva not having any menus), but rather we just told the wonderful staff here what we’d like, and they made a few suggestions. I always enjoy consuming wines from whatever country I’m visiting, and we had some really great Mexican wines here (which you don’t otherwise see on the menu much internationally).

Four Seasons Naviva drinks

When we ordered champagne, we were served A Margaine Brut, which we enjoyed. I’m not sure what the selection is beyond that, but you should be very well taken care of in terms of drinks.

Four Seasons Naviva drinks

Access all Four Seasons Punta Mita facilities

It’s worth noting that guests at the Four Seasons Naviva have access to all the amenities of the Four Seasons Punta Mita, though the inverse isn’t true. You can be driven between properties for free any hour of the day or night, whether you want to use the gym there, visit one of the pools, or dine at one of the restaurants.

If you have more than just a weekend for your trip, I think a great strategy could be to spend a few nights at the Four Seasons Punta Mita and then a few nights at the Four Seasons Naviva, so you can enjoy the different vibes of the resorts. But if you’re just going for a weekend, being able to escape to a place like the Four Seasons Naviva is pretty awesome, and I’d recommend spending all your time taking advantage of what the property has to offer.

Is the Four Seasons Naviva worth it?

Understandably, the topic of value often comes up in the comments section when discussing luxury resorts. This property starts at around ~$4K per night, so of course I’m not going to say “oh yeah this place is definitely worth it, you should deplete your bank account to stay here.”

That being said, I think Four Seasons Naviva will have no issues getting people to pay these rates, and I imagine they’ll only go up over time:

  • Base rooms at the Four Seasons Punta Mita start at $1,000-2,000 per night, depending on the season; for that matter, competing properties in the area (like the St. Regis) charge similar rates, while even properties like the Conrad Punta Mita are charging $700+ per night on many dates
  • All accommodations at the Four Seasons Naviva are more like executive suites in terms of the space and amenities they offer, and these typically retail for at least twice as much as base rooms
  • If you’re staying at a luxury resort in Mexico, you could easily spend $1,000 per day on meals, drinks, activities, spa treatments, etc. (easily… often more)
  • At the end of the day, in Mexico you’re paying for close proximity to the United States and major wealth centers, and easy access to a weekend getaway; in the past few years we’ve seen luxury hotel rates in North America increase greatly, while that hasn’t been true to the same extent in places like the Maldives, Thailand, etc.

If you’re in a financial position to stay here, and if you like the general vibe this property offers, I can’t recommend the resort enough. I’ve never been to a resort where I felt so much like I was in a the most impressive private residence imaginable, rather than feeling like I was at a hotel. Best of all, you can experience this all by taking just a short flight from the United States.

Bottom line

Prior to our stay at Four Seasons Naviva, I said to Ford “either this place is going to be really good and wildly popular, or Four Seasons is going to be reconsidering this concept pretty quickly.” Well, I’m happy to report that I’m confident the former is the case.

The Four Seasons Naviva is really, really good. This is a totally new concept for Four Seasons, with ridiculously luxurious accommodations, genuine service, amazing food, and some surprisingly substantive wellness activities.

This property can appeal to all kinds of travelers, from those looking to relax by the pool, to those looking for a spiritual journey, to everyone in between. I’d say the only types of travelers who shouldn’t consider this property are those looking for a really lively atmosphere, who want to party.

It’s so cool to see a brand as respected as Four Seasons try a completely new hospitality concept. It’s my understanding that this is a test concept for the brand, and if it works out well, we could see more of these types of properties in the future.

What do you make of the Four Seasons Naviva?

EXTRA PERKS AVAILABLE Enjoy breakfast, upgrades, & more

Want to take advantage of Four Seasons Preferred Partner benefits, including a space available room upgrade, complimentary breakfast, a hotel credit, and more? Contact Ford ([email protected]) for more details. He may even be able to help if you already have a stay booked.

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  1. Jittery Eric Guest

    Not to take the conversation of flagellating Ben for disclosing potential conflicts and not strictly sticking to points, but a small correction. The Punta Mita resort doesn't have "a" golf course -- it has two, the Pacifico and Bahia! The Pacifico is more scenic and the Bahia is more challenging. If only playing one most folks prefer the Pacifico as it has the only natural island green in the world, "The Tail of the Whale."...

    Not to take the conversation of flagellating Ben for disclosing potential conflicts and not strictly sticking to points, but a small correction. The Punta Mita resort doesn't have "a" golf course -- it has two, the Pacifico and Bahia! The Pacifico is more scenic and the Bahia is more challenging. If only playing one most folks prefer the Pacifico as it has the only natural island green in the world, "The Tail of the Whale." An attendant brings you across the water in an amphibious vehicle -- good fun.

    Before flaming me for posting off topic I bring it up for travelers who may have some more sound bath/smoke lodge sorts combined with others who prefer to hit the links to underscore the versatility of this destination.

  2. LeonR Member

    I just came back from Naviva for three nights. I have been a huge fan of Ben and OMAAT for many years and I based my decision largely on this review. I can’t believe I’m stating this but I can’t imagine how Ben’s opinion wasn’t extremely biased writing this. I understand the possibilities of different experiences but the level of service was so far removed from what I read about here that it’s very hard...

    I just came back from Naviva for three nights. I have been a huge fan of Ben and OMAAT for many years and I based my decision largely on this review. I can’t believe I’m stating this but I can’t imagine how Ben’s opinion wasn’t extremely biased writing this. I understand the possibilities of different experiences but the level of service was so far removed from what I read about here that it’s very hard to imagine alternative scenarios. A hotel at $5K a night (with taxes) that has a lot to learn from other Mexican destinations at $800/night. Great hotel, yes. But at that price point it needs to be a near once-in-a-lifetime experience. And that it was not

  3. I'm a fan Guest

    I always find Ben's reviews a pleasure to read. I've also booked travel with Ford. Both are great guys and if you don't find the blog as valuable as you once did, a simple solution would be to stop visiting this site.

  4. Alpha Golf Member

    For that much money, they should spell "equilibrium" correctly (on the spa menu)

  5. gstork Guest

    As a very long-time reader of this blog, I am finding myself conflicted about this review. I really only use points to supplement my travel experiences, as I have no problem paying for domestic first or international business flights; and I will consider higher end points properties, but I also frequently stay at Four Seasons-level properties when I travel, regardless of points earning or redemption opportunities.

    So, when Ben started reviewing non-points properties, I was...

    As a very long-time reader of this blog, I am finding myself conflicted about this review. I really only use points to supplement my travel experiences, as I have no problem paying for domestic first or international business flights; and I will consider higher end points properties, but I also frequently stay at Four Seasons-level properties when I travel, regardless of points earning or redemption opportunities.

    So, when Ben started reviewing non-points properties, I was actually happy to get an "upgrade" from the usual focus limited to what could be achieved only using points. Yes, Ben has some habits that I don't share (he loves super early mornings, he enjoys big breakfasts, and is not so much of a beach or pool person), yet he is quite thorough in covering the main areas that most guests would be interested in reading about.

    I think this is where the disconnect emerged in my view. Ben is a points-focused blogger whose aim is to rate and review the best air and hotel products out there using points, which implies a priority on cost-consciousness. So, when Ben started adding non-points property reviews, I couldn't help but sense a conflict with someone so cost-focused staying at Amans or other non-points high-end properties (unless they were a very special occasion splurge). Now it has shifted into travel industry-subsidized reviews thanks to the rates to which Ford has access, and it doesn't have the same authenticity I would hope for (again, the conflict with cost consciousness).

    So, seeing this review of a property that looks lovely, but not life-changing, starting at pre-tax rates of $4k/night, in Mexico no less, really seems like someone on Instagram using really really heavy filters. They look familiar, but not quite real... know what I mean?

    Thankfully, I have found other bloggers who exclusively focus on luxury travel to be better suited to my interests and needs when I am planning upcoming trips.

    This really isn't intended to be a knock on Ben, but rather it's just me trying to work through my discomfort when I saw the prices at this property, and who ultimately Ben has emerged as in the travel blogging world.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ gstork -- I appreciate you reading for a long time, and I also respect and value your feedback, and will take it into account.

      A few points:
      -- I have still been reviewing lots of aspirational points properties (just in the past year, Miraval Arizona, Alila Jabal Akhdar, Alila Hinu Bay, Park Hyatt Zurich, Park Hyatt Auckland, the Dubai EDITION, Hotel Grande Bretagne, King George Athens, etc.), so to me it doesn't have...

      @ gstork -- I appreciate you reading for a long time, and I also respect and value your feedback, and will take it into account.

      A few points:
      -- I have still been reviewing lots of aspirational points properties (just in the past year, Miraval Arizona, Alila Jabal Akhdar, Alila Hinu Bay, Park Hyatt Zurich, Park Hyatt Auckland, the Dubai EDITION, Hotel Grande Bretagne, King George Athens, etc.), so to me it doesn't have to be one or the other
      -- The reality is that if you take points out of the equation, value has been a really hard thing to judge since the start of the pandemic; just look at the cash rates at many points hotels, like the Andaz Maui having rates of $1,500+ per night, and a vast majority of guests are paying with cash and not redeeming points
      -- I understand that these kinds of reviews might not appeal to all readers, but there's a significant percentage of readers who use points for business class airfare, so they can then spend more on hotels
      -- If nothing else, I know many people do enjoy the "travel porn" aspect of some really high end hotels, even if they'd never stay at them

      I totally get if that doesn't appeal to you. And if this makes my reviews of points hotels (which I consistently pay full price for, with cash or points) useless, then I respect that too. But I hope you can also see how I'm trying to balance things.

    2. gstork Guest

      Thanks Ben. I'm still a fan. Yes, you have reviewed many aspirational points properties, which I appreciate. And I too have been shocked at the extreme increase in room rates during (and since) the pandemic, perhaps that is something that really stings especially when many properties are still not back at the full service level they offered before the world turned sideways.

      Value has always been highly subjective to the individual. However, the same costs...

      Thanks Ben. I'm still a fan. Yes, you have reviewed many aspirational points properties, which I appreciate. And I too have been shocked at the extreme increase in room rates during (and since) the pandemic, perhaps that is something that really stings especially when many properties are still not back at the full service level they offered before the world turned sideways.

      Value has always been highly subjective to the individual. However, the same costs of properties and flights apply to nearly all of us (whether through points, cash, or special booking programs). And while I appreciate getting some "travel porn" of this new FS offering through your extensive review, I can't see anything there that justifies 4x the cost of the FS property next door. Maybe that's what was primarily lacking for me... I needed a little outrage at the room rate. lol

      P.S. I'd rather have a suite at the FS George V in Paris (but that's just me).

    3. Veit Guest

      Dear Ben,
      I really love your reviews and I am very happy for your success with the blog. But: do you really think anyone spending 5k a night for several nights at that resort bothers about tips and tricks and deals using points for airfare so they can "afford" the 1k-5k per night resorts you are now reviewing?

  6. Harold Guest

    OMG, it's a travel blog and not a conflict of interest disclosure filing. The blog's author clearly discloses two possible conflict-of-interest factors relevant to this post: (1) that there's a family connection to the property's parent company, and (2) that they received a travel-agent rate. Additional details, such as the specific rate paid, aren't relevant.

    FWIW #1 - I love reading about properties I'll most likely never visit, like Cheval Blanc Maldives. What's the...

    OMG, it's a travel blog and not a conflict of interest disclosure filing. The blog's author clearly discloses two possible conflict-of-interest factors relevant to this post: (1) that there's a family connection to the property's parent company, and (2) that they received a travel-agent rate. Additional details, such as the specific rate paid, aren't relevant.

    FWIW #1 - I love reading about properties I'll most likely never visit, like Cheval Blanc Maldives. What's the harm in some escapism and fodder for daydreams?

    FWIW #2 - It would be naive to think Ben doesn't receive special consideration given his prominence as a blogger, but it's not as if high-end hotels only seek to impress bloggers and celebrities and leave the rest of us out in the cold, right? I mean, in the scheme of things I'm a nobody but I have elite status at some hotel chains, and when I've booked aspirational visits, I've found GMs who've gone above and beyond to make sure I have a wonderful stay. Likewise, longtime readers of OMAAT know that Ben's had some terrible experiences, which seems to balance things out a bit and should reassure readers that there are limits to special consideration.

  7. Jake B New Member

    Out of curiosity, any idea if part of the business model is to host high-end executive retreats? I have to imagine the whole setup being attractive for something like that and it’s a good way to fill the hotel.

    Absolutely shocked to see the negativity in the comment section (which I usually avoid). I love reading OMAAT and posts like this bring me joy as I sit at my desk job at 4pm. Thank you!

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Jake B -- Thanks for the kind words and feedback! Yes, I absolutely imagine this could be a great destination for a corporate retreat or even wedding. The challenge is booking far enough in advance, before other guests book the same dates.

  8. eric Guest

    Thought FS was to classic for my taste. This one looks nice though. Will keep Ford in mind when we are in the neighbourhoud.

  9. Donna Diamond

    Clearly, this is an exceptional property. I’ve never been a fan of all inclusive resorts given that things like Gong Meditation and Sound Healing are not activities I’d be remotely interested in utilizing especially with the time constraints of a two day stay with other activities available. If the high cost is not an issue it’s a solid choice. For the rest of us, there are probably better value propositions.

  10. ArnoldB Guest

    This is how a tropical resort should look like, and not barebones mowed-down like the FS Punta Mita. Looks really great, even if insanely priced.

  11. Tcdtcd Guest

    I’d splurge at a place like this — in a great location like Polynesia/certain Africa Asia locations. Mexico? NO!

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Tcdtcd -- Fair, but I don't think that's the market the hotel is going after. If you have a couple of weeks off and want a once-in-a-lifetime experience, by all means travel to the other side of the globe. Meanwhile if you just want to escape for a weekend and have an epic time, this is a lot more practical.

    2. Matt Guest

      I hear what you are saying but there are those of us who suffer from severe jet lag when crossing many time zones. It makes vacationing in those far away places not so much fun unless I am able to go for two weeks. Mexico and Caribbean are wonderful for short vacations for some US based travelers.

  12. Jen Guest

    For everyone complaining that Ben has traded up from the days of points hotels in his youth and 20s:

    “Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”

    Now that he has a young kid and has openly stated the shift in how he values his time, when you can get a way for a...

    For everyone complaining that Ben has traded up from the days of points hotels in his youth and 20s:

    “Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”

    Now that he has a young kid and has openly stated the shift in how he values his time, when you can get a way for a period of time and can afford the Four Seasons, I’d imagine it makes opting for the Conrad a lot less attractive.

    His dedication to the points world is how, as the comments have scolded, he built his following; but with that following came financial success - now that he’s made money, he can’t spend it? In a way the irony is how he made his money is also why it has become no longer necessary.

    He has also pledged that the bulk of his hotel reviews will be points-based, so we shall see how the ratio between points and non-points evolves…

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Jen -- I'm committed to continuing to review points hotels. And to be clear, this trip wasn't in place of any points trip I'd otherwise take. Rather the whole purpose of this trip was to check out the Four Seasons Naviva. If it weren't for this interesting new property, we would have stayed home.

      As you can see, I'm publishing this while I'm also publishing a cool Aeroplan points adventure, and I have plans to take another review trip in the next two weeks.

    2. Jen Guest

      Speaking of blog commitments, I also appreciate your longstanding commitment to allowing any and all civil feedback. Super admirable and rare.

      I think we as your readership should also keep in mind that the alternative is you not posting reviews of non-points hotels and staying at them anyway — clearly that is not preferable. These reviews are a lot of fun, and at the end of the day, they are a net benefit to us...

      Speaking of blog commitments, I also appreciate your longstanding commitment to allowing any and all civil feedback. Super admirable and rare.

      I think we as your readership should also keep in mind that the alternative is you not posting reviews of non-points hotels and staying at them anyway — clearly that is not preferable. These reviews are a lot of fun, and at the end of the day, they are a net benefit to us if they are not becoming substitutes for points hotels.

    3. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Jen -- Thanks for reading, Jen! And I promise there will continue to be lots of reviews of aspirational points hotels in the near future as well.

  13. AC Guest

    Don't forget the mandatory 30% tax and added 12% service fee so expect to add at least 40% on top of the nightly rate. Ben's Grand Tent nightly rate is US$4,950 and after all the tax and service fees, it's around US$6,500 all said and done!

    1. Pete Guest

      I get it, that's not cheap, but we paid a similar rate for a villa at One and Only Reethi Rah last year, and had to eat and drink (apart from breakfast) on top of that.

  14. JetSetFly Guest

    What bothers me about this part of the world is the crazy tax they charge on top of room rates. They charge you 36% of tax!! So if your room rate comes out to be $7500 total, be prepare to shelve out 10k! I just find that crazy.

    With that said, I find it interesting that they are basically competing with Amangiri of the world. This past year, it was impossible to find anything at...

    What bothers me about this part of the world is the crazy tax they charge on top of room rates. They charge you 36% of tax!! So if your room rate comes out to be $7500 total, be prepare to shelve out 10k! I just find that crazy.

    With that said, I find it interesting that they are basically competing with Amangiri of the world. This past year, it was impossible to find anything at Amangiri….it had been sold out night after night with 4K price tag and up which includes food and non-alcoholic drinks (but with typical 25% hotel tax NOT 36%).

    Personally when spending money at this level, I prefer something more unique like Singita’s Kwitonda lodge. Yes, it’s even pricier and type of experience is totally different. But I surmise the unique proposition is much much higher than these type of also ran beach resorts where you can find all over the world. Yes, this Four Seasons’ offering is very good according to Lucky’s review and typical Four Seasons or Marriott (St Regis/ Ritz Carlton) also runs won’t come close in terms of experience, I just don’t find this unique to a tune of $5440-$6732 per night inclusive of tax. I know of course hotel owners in this part of the world hold wealthy Californians captive. Not unlike high prices at St Barts holding New Yorkers captive. Luckily I don’t have to play along with them but I do understand there are plenty of people don’t want to deal with jet lag and flying halfway around the world to vacation.

    For those complaints about Lucky moving away from points hotels… maybe you shouldn’t be so mean to Ford when he wrote his luxury hotel reviews on Lucky’s blog years ago. All those ridicules means we only get luxury hotel reviews from Lucky on his blog. I think it would had been lovely to have Ford write his own hotel blog that’s linked to this blog so that people who wants to read Four Seasons and Mandarin Orientals of the world don’t have to come across certain types of negative comments.

  15. Omar Guest

    Prediction: this place will have to drop their prices significantly. They might have gotten away with this pricing in 2021 but that super high end demand is waning. Very few properties in the world can command such a high price and it certainly won't be able to in Mexico IMO.

  16. Richard Guest

    I had sentiment similar to other readers. I appreciated Ben and this blog where I got lots of useful info, and it's ok to see some cross promotion. However, even if I read through this post, it was hard to get excited. Honestly I did not see it was worth the $4K per night price tag.

  17. Boise Ding Guest

    I would appreciate seeing an equally detailed and comprehensive review of the Conrad and the St Regis in Punta Mita which are resorts in the Punta Mita area which I believe would be of most interest to the original core audience of this blog who are looking for opportunities for outsize value from points, particularly in comparison to properties such as this which are cash only. This original focus seems to have been lost a...

    I would appreciate seeing an equally detailed and comprehensive review of the Conrad and the St Regis in Punta Mita which are resorts in the Punta Mita area which I believe would be of most interest to the original core audience of this blog who are looking for opportunities for outsize value from points, particularly in comparison to properties such as this which are cash only. This original focus seems to have been lost a bit. In comparison to this review I don't think I have seen such a detailed review of a points property.

    I have stayed at Four Seasons Punta Mita in the past and agree it is a great resort but wouldn't probably pay the premium again when there are great points properties available in the same area.

    Having just returned from the Waldorf Maldives on points I really felt I hit a home run on value after your reviews of the various Maldives properties including it and the Four Seasons which you directly compared.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Boise Ding -- My reviews of points hotels are regularly 3,000-4,000 words. This one is 5,000 words, and that's because it's a completely new concept for Four Seasons, so I think it's worth covering in a bit more detail. There's not as much background needed for a stay at my sixth Thompson, or tenth St. Regis.

  18. Anthony Diamond

    Another comment on the appropriateness / independence debate - if people are going to be booking luxury hotels via cash, maybe some people will prefer to book via Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts and earn 5x points, or the new Capital One hotel booking service and earn 10x points rather than booking with a travel agent like Ford? It’s not obvious that Preferred Partner is “better” for everyone in all of these circumstances (though I...

    Another comment on the appropriateness / independence debate - if people are going to be booking luxury hotels via cash, maybe some people will prefer to book via Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts and earn 5x points, or the new Capital One hotel booking service and earn 10x points rather than booking with a travel agent like Ford? It’s not obvious that Preferred Partner is “better” for everyone in all of these circumstances (though I am sure Ford and other agents provide great service).

    1. Boise Ding Guest

      Excellent point. I also see that Am Ex FHR frequently has third, fourth and fifth night free promotions which together with the guaranteed 4 pm checkout can provide fantastic value. Do advisors always have the same promotion access? Would love to know. Also many of us still have the Citi Prestige Card which offers 4th night free on many otherwise cash only lux properties, including many Four Seasons properties and it sometimes may be the...

      Excellent point. I also see that Am Ex FHR frequently has third, fourth and fifth night free promotions which together with the guaranteed 4 pm checkout can provide fantastic value. Do advisors always have the same promotion access? Would love to know. Also many of us still have the Citi Prestige Card which offers 4th night free on many otherwise cash only lux properties, including many Four Seasons properties and it sometimes may be the best way to book Four Seasons properties if booking a 4 night stay. I would love to see analysis on this as well.

    2. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Anthony -- In the case of the Four Seasons Naviva, it doesn't even yet belong to any other programs, like Amex FHR, so it's a moot point. More generally speaking, I do mention in Four Seasons reviews that they can be booked via Amex FHR as well.

      The main benefit of booking through Amex FHR is guaranteed late check-out and the potential to earn some bonus points. However, the benefit of booking through Preferred...

      @ Anthony -- In the case of the Four Seasons Naviva, it doesn't even yet belong to any other programs, like Amex FHR, so it's a moot point. More generally speaking, I do mention in Four Seasons reviews that they can be booked via Amex FHR as well.

      The main benefit of booking through Amex FHR is guaranteed late check-out and the potential to earn some bonus points. However, the benefit of booking through Preferred Partner is the ability to stack promotions, priority for upgrades, a potentially larger property credit, and the choice of room service or restaurant breakfast.

  19. snic Diamond

    Well, let's put it this way. If I get diagnosed with a terminal illness, the silver lining is that I'll go spend a week at this resort.

  20. Motion to Dismiss Gold

    I am swooning over this review.

    It reminds me a lot of Four Seasons Tented Camp in Thailand, where I had the fortune to stay in 2016. It was utterly mesmerizing in every way.

    I’m now thinking about when it makes sense for me to get to Naviva. Am intrigued by the guest that was off property for a dinner—what in the area could possibly have been better??

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Motion to Dismiss -- Hah, definitely not better, but he headed over the Four Seasons Punta Mita for dinner. He was staying at the property for a long time, so I think he wanted to experience something different.

  21. Tony Guest

    “Ford is happy to help book Four Seasons properties through Preferred Partner”

    I bet Ford is more than happy! I’ve noticed this for a while Ben, but I’m getting increasingly uncomfortable with the cross-promotion that’s spreading throughout this blog. Not sure if it’s intentional or not, but more of your hotel reviews seem to be for properties that include a plug for Ford’s travel services. And of course less to do with the miles and...

    “Ford is happy to help book Four Seasons properties through Preferred Partner”

    I bet Ford is more than happy! I’ve noticed this for a while Ben, but I’m getting increasingly uncomfortable with the cross-promotion that’s spreading throughout this blog. Not sure if it’s intentional or not, but more of your hotel reviews seem to be for properties that include a plug for Ford’s travel services. And of course less to do with the miles and points world.

    You’re losing a lot of your editorial independence by (1) not paying full rates, (2) by encouraging readers to stay at properties from which you as a family earn commission and (3) because staying on a travel agent rate, you are presumably flagged by the hotel and it would be in their interests to go the extra mile to give you an especially excellent experience.

    I also agree with comments that you should be disclosing the travel agent rate here.

    You’ve done well with this blog over many years Ben, but I think it’s worth pausing to remember what made you our favorite blogger. It was independence, which you’re now monetizing in a way that’s a lot more prominent than before. Does that diminish your trustworthiness?

    1. Demetrius Guest

      Who cares how he’s been able to stay. No other blogger offers reviews of nicer places. And if you’ve never booked through Ford you’re missing out. He works his arse off on all my nitpicky requests while saving me money.

    2. Mary Guest

      Agreed! The cross promotion has taught me about programs I never knew existed and I’ve had a great experience booking though them.

    3. lhs323 Member

      Unfortunately I have to 100% agree with Tony. The number of reviews you've done in the last year at Four Seasons properties (which don't even have a loyalty program or points earning/redemption possibility) is starting to get absurd as long as you claim to be a points and miles blogger. And it's getting even worse, as you're going from $600 to $1000 a night properties to now a $4000 a night property. I congratulate you...

      Unfortunately I have to 100% agree with Tony. The number of reviews you've done in the last year at Four Seasons properties (which don't even have a loyalty program or points earning/redemption possibility) is starting to get absurd as long as you claim to be a points and miles blogger. And it's getting even worse, as you're going from $600 to $1000 a night properties to now a $4000 a night property. I congratulate you on your blog's success and being able to afford such properties (although again we have no idea how much you're actually paying), but it just doesn't jive with being a points and miles blogger.

    4. Demetrius Guest

      I can cash out my TY, UR, MR points out 1:1 and pay for FS and appreciate non-point hotels. Way less riff-raff.

    5. Jimmy’s Travel Report Diamond

      I don’t have any problem with Ben and Ford’s cross branding. Why not take advantage strong promotion tool. If someone truly doesn’t believe what a blog says (for whatever reason) don’t read it. Good grief of all the things to criticize and comment about.

    6. Pete Guest

      Yeah, nah. I don't think any of us are unaware that this blog is how Ben earns a living, and he's very up front with reminders about that. It's also a no-brainer that he would use his high-profile website to promote his husband's business.

      For sure, the number of trip reports has diminished somewhat in quantity, but not in quality, and I think that's entirely reasonable given the guys have a baby son to...

      Yeah, nah. I don't think any of us are unaware that this blog is how Ben earns a living, and he's very up front with reminders about that. It's also a no-brainer that he would use his high-profile website to promote his husband's business.

      For sure, the number of trip reports has diminished somewhat in quantity, but not in quality, and I think that's entirely reasonable given the guys have a baby son to consider now. Kids are only babies once, and no parent wants to be missing too many important milestones. I'm sure that once the little guy is more portable we shall see a return to the far-flung airline and hotel reviews.

    7. John T Guest

      Ben surely you make more money from a hotel review of a property that can be booked with points (and include links to the cards that earn those points), than a Four Seasons that can't be booked with points and the only money you would make for this is if someone chooses to book through Ford.

      If you really wanted to stay here for a treat, why review it? Why not leave your camera in your suitcase and just enjoy the experience?

    8. Never In Doubt Guest

      “If you really wanted to stay here for a treat, why review it? Why not leave your camera in your suitcase and just enjoy the experience?”

      What? And spend after tax dollars?

      That’s now how this works.

    9. Seriously Guest

      Errr… Because some of us enjoy the content, and maybe just maybe Ben is thinking that those who don’t are free to skip it.
      Sheesh…

    10. JetSetFly Guest

      @John T, I’m not sure how much referral fees Lucky makes when one of his reader apply for a credit card. I would assume $50-$150. A travel agent gets at least 10% of the cost of your hotel stay pretax. So a place like this where people typically stays at least three nights, you are looking at a much more lucrative dollar than those credit card referral fees. Sure, there are a lot less people...

      @John T, I’m not sure how much referral fees Lucky makes when one of his reader apply for a credit card. I would assume $50-$150. A travel agent gets at least 10% of the cost of your hotel stay pretax. So a place like this where people typically stays at least three nights, you are looking at a much more lucrative dollar than those credit card referral fees. Sure, there are a lot less people who can drop 10k plus per hotel stays. But if you just look at rates at Hawaiian four seasons, they are all 1k plus and up and fully booked. There are plenty of people who can afford to pay 1k if not 4K per night at various resorts. Why wouldn’t Lucky and Ford widen their nets? They have a kid they need to put through college! Have you seen tuition cost these days? I say they are being smart! People who roll their eyes at Four Seasons and Mandarin Oriental of the world are free not to click on these types of article on lucky’s blog. After all, title of the article already tell you what it is about. No one is forcing you to click or read the whole thing. He publishes plenty of stuff related to redemptions of points hotels. Maybe go read those instead so you don’t get outraged by people who wants to pay cash and stay at Four Seasons? Just a thought.

    11. jetset Diamond

      I find huge value in these reviews as there aren’t many reviews of FS properties that aren’t paid promotional articles in Travel and Leisure or similar websites.

      It’s more important to have detailed reviews to me when you may be shelling out 1,000’s of dollars vs more reliable points redemptions that are low “cost”, high value.

      Additionally I’ve found through Ford that we get the same benefits Ben talks about. We stayed at...

      I find huge value in these reviews as there aren’t many reviews of FS properties that aren’t paid promotional articles in Travel and Leisure or similar websites.

      It’s more important to have detailed reviews to me when you may be shelling out 1,000’s of dollars vs more reliable points redemptions that are low “cost”, high value.

      Additionally I’ve found through Ford that we get the same benefits Ben talks about. We stayed at the Four Seasons Cabo and received an upgrade to a plunge pool, all of the same resort credits, and had exceptional treatment just as described in the blog.

    12. Schar Diamond

      so what? at the end of the day this is also his business and how he makes his money. if hes able to monetize while also delivering us with great content, then hes being smart. I feel like this blog has a great balance of ALL kinds of content: points/miles reviews, luxury cash paid $ experiences, which yes, may include cross promotion for Ford's services. If you've been reading Ben's blog for a while you...

      so what? at the end of the day this is also his business and how he makes his money. if hes able to monetize while also delivering us with great content, then hes being smart. I feel like this blog has a great balance of ALL kinds of content: points/miles reviews, luxury cash paid $ experiences, which yes, may include cross promotion for Ford's services. If you've been reading Ben's blog for a while you know he is never swayed by "sponsored" things, but always delivers honest reviews.

  22. Anthony Diamond

    This may be just me… But is anyone else turned off by how empty some of these resorts look? I know some of it is a function of how early Ben wakes up to take pictures, but this resort only has a few rooms. One of the more fun aspects of nice resorts, at least for me, is people watching and interacting with fellow guests. I never understand if that is even an option when...

    This may be just me… But is anyone else turned off by how empty some of these resorts look? I know some of it is a function of how early Ben wakes up to take pictures, but this resort only has a few rooms. One of the more fun aspects of nice resorts, at least for me, is people watching and interacting with fellow guests. I never understand if that is even an option when reading some of the reviews here. Lucky - could you maybe include more comments / pictures of the “scene” at some of these places so we can get a better picture?

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      Pretty sure the lack of people in Ben’s photos isn’t going to change.

      Is your imagination so limited as to be unable to imagine people there?

    2. Anthony Diamond

      No - but it is relevant to understand whether the restaurant and bar were totally empty during the stay, or whether there were other guests. One of section mentioned they were the only guests at the hotel - I view that as kind of a negative. I do think the reviews could include more information about this - I have mentioned it before

    3. Pete Guest

      Sometimes an empty resort can be a lot of fun. We went to Bali at the end of 207 when Mt Agung was intermittently erupting, and it was pretty much deserted. We parked ourselves in the beachfront bar at the Laguna and had all the staff, and the trio of musicians, to ourselves. The rum punch cocktails were presented in larger and larger glasses each round, and we had a fantastic time interacting with the...

      Sometimes an empty resort can be a lot of fun. We went to Bali at the end of 207 when Mt Agung was intermittently erupting, and it was pretty much deserted. We parked ourselves in the beachfront bar at the Laguna and had all the staff, and the trio of musicians, to ourselves. The rum punch cocktails were presented in larger and larger glasses each round, and we had a fantastic time interacting with the staff. A big difference to the next trip, when the place was packed and they were run off their feet.

  23. C. Wesley Guest

    I guess if you can make it there alive after travelling though very dangerous Mexico, it could be fun, if you live to make it back.

    1. Sel, D. Guest

      PV is much much safer than many destinations in the US.

    2. Never In Doubt Guest

      And your only time in PV is at the airport if you go to a Punta Mita resort.

      C. Wesley just talking out of his ass.

  24. RobASFO Guest

    The beach looks a bit rough and dangerous to swim in.
    Might be the reason why it looks deserted.
    Just saying.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      Or the fact that there was almost no one at the resort and Ben gets out early to take photos?

      Just a wild guess.

  25. DEE Guest

    Looks sooo amazing and a super experience but the price is WOWOWO for most..Any other way to get a discount?

  26. Luke Guest

    What is with you and avocado's?

    I swear I can guess your menu meals just by what a place serves.

    Breakfast. Anything with avocado's. If not, a vegetarian omelet. Lunch and dinner, some type of fish.

    Every menu, every hotel, every airline. It's always the same.

    As for this hotel. Looks nice. 5k? That's insane.

    1. JetAway Guest

      Yes, I've noticed that too. Lots of avocado toast in breakfast reviews. Many boring "healthy" choices. And a wide variety of alcoholic drinks

    2. SR Guest

      Are people not allowed to like certain things now?

    3. JetAway Guest

      Of course. But if reviewing a property for a broad audience meal reviews and photos should also appeal to a broad audience.

    4. Luke Guest

      I know Ben doesn't eat pork. That's fine.

      To each there own. How many posts could one do about bacon anyway? Lol

      I love Ben. His reviews (all the credit card stuff, not so much)

      Most of these places I'll never go to. I'm sure as hell not spending 5k a night, no matter how good the views are.

      Eat some turkey sausage, some steak, anything? The fish and avacado? Come on man. Give us something, anything different.

    5. JS Guest

      Oh yes, there is ALWAYS a requisite, boring picture of avocado toast in every trip/hotel review. Why the picture every single time?? We get it, you like avocado toast! :)

    6. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Luke -- Hah, yes, I do love avocados. And in fairness, Mexico is a good place to enjoy them. I'm a pretty predictable person when it comes to food, so it's not too tough to guess what I'm going to eat. A lot of this stems from me having been a vegetarian when I was a kid, so there are some things I still generally try to avoid.

      But hey, one avocado toast picture out of dozens of pictures of food isn't so bad, is it? ;-)

  27. Jim Guest

    It looks great but did you ever feel lonely there? For example the deck outside your room has seating for at least 10 people but it would never be more than 2 staying there. Or going to a restaurant where you are the only guests.

    I guess I would feel kind of weird with all these staff around in this huge place, all there to serve just me.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Jim -- The staff weren't at all obtrusive (which does otherwise sometimes happen when the staff to guest ratio is very high). They'd check on you frequently, but you by no means felt like you were being watched.

      As far as the overall vibe goes, everyone will have a different take on that. As much as I enjoy a fun party vibe in some places (like Mykonos), for a place like this, I loved...

      @ Jim -- The staff weren't at all obtrusive (which does otherwise sometimes happen when the staff to guest ratio is very high). They'd check on you frequently, but you by no means felt like you were being watched.

      As far as the overall vibe goes, everyone will have a different take on that. As much as I enjoy a fun party vibe in some places (like Mykonos), for a place like this, I loved having it nearly to ourselves. I honestly felt like I had the most epic private getaway on the Pacific Ocean.

      As the hotel fills up, I imagine the atmosphere will also be a bit more social. For example, we ended up talking to a few of the other guests and having some interesting conversations, and that was with only a few other people there. Once the hotel is busier, I imagine there will be a lot more socializing.

  28. Eli Guest

    Ben, Do you think it's worth a visit without being able to eat most of the food? And BTW I am really looking forward for your virgin atlantic review:) was to obvious for me

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Eli -- Hah, stay tuned. ;-) As far as visiting without the food goes, that's a toughie. The food really was one of the highlights of the property. You can of course have a great time without it as well, so I guess it really depends what the alternatives are, and how expensive they are.

  29. Jimmy’s Travel Report Diamond

    I’m assuming the 4 to 5K rate is per room based on double occupancy.
    I’m not “rolling in the dough” per se, but we could afford to visit this place as a “splurge” trip if we really wanted to. My problem would be the value proposition, and is it really worth 8-10k for two evenings and part of three days for good food and nice weather in Punta Miita Mexico? That would really have...

    I’m assuming the 4 to 5K rate is per room based on double occupancy.
    I’m not “rolling in the dough” per se, but we could afford to visit this place as a “splurge” trip if we really wanted to. My problem would be the value proposition, and is it really worth 8-10k for two evenings and part of three days for good food and nice weather in Punta Miita Mexico? That would really have to be really incredible food, and idyllic surroundings. I do appreciate the review and taking one for the team, Ben. The stay looked fun. One other comment, “tents” my as#.

    1. Veit Guest

      EXACTLY, thanks a lot. Thats the whole point.

  30. Robert Fahr Guest

    I agree with a few other posts. In full disclosure, state the actual rate you paid.

    1. Sel, D. Guest

      He probably can’t, and even if he can it would anger the powers at be. Also, keep in mind it’s likely a write off for him as well.

    2. SR Guest

      Typically about 30% of standard daily rate.

  31. Clem Diamond

    I doubt I'll ever be able to go, but that looks absolutely stunning! I love the flexible dining concept (not having to stress out to make it to breakfast before it ends hah!), and the property looks incredible. Love the type of activities they offer too. One day, maybe!

  32. Shawn Guest

    If you visit Four Seasons Punta Mita regular, is your meals and drinks included there also, when staying at Naviva?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Shawn -- Nope, I believe you still have to pay for any purchases there. That might be an opportunity for the resort, as it would be nice if food & beverage purchases there were included as well.

  33. Pete Diamond

    Looks great but I have to echo some of the other comments:
    1. Even with the Punta Mita resorts I don’t view this area as having the need for such “luxury” as compared with US (HI, FL,CA) Caribbean, or even Cabo. And I can spend a fraction of the price and get similar lodging in Asia (with nicer beaches).
    2. Also I notice the highest-end non-point hotels seem to get your best reviews....

    Looks great but I have to echo some of the other comments:
    1. Even with the Punta Mita resorts I don’t view this area as having the need for such “luxury” as compared with US (HI, FL,CA) Caribbean, or even Cabo. And I can spend a fraction of the price and get similar lodging in Asia (with nicer beaches).
    2. Also I notice the highest-end non-point hotels seem to get your best reviews. No doubt they are some of the world’s best hotels but you are also getting a travel agent discount.

  34. JoePro Guest

    "which applies to 99.99% of us"

    ....are you saying you classify as with most people in not being able to afford somewhere like this?

    I already have my two bucket list properties: Time & Tide Miavana and Laucala Island. Not places I could afford on a daily basis, but certainly something attainable in retirement. I'm maybe slightly younger than you, and my net worth must be at least 1/4 of yours. You might be trying...

    "which applies to 99.99% of us"

    ....are you saying you classify as with most people in not being able to afford somewhere like this?

    I already have my two bucket list properties: Time & Tide Miavana and Laucala Island. Not places I could afford on a daily basis, but certainly something attainable in retirement. I'm maybe slightly younger than you, and my net worth must be at least 1/4 of yours. You might be trying to excercise modesty, but don't do that at the expense of honesty.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ JoePro -- My point was that I think this property isn't within the price range for 99.99% of people (which is different than not being able to afford something). I think it's fair to say that a vast majority of people aren't looking to drop $4K+ per night at a resort, and it's a very small crowd willing to pay that much.

      Am I saying I classify in that 99.99%? Well, I think it...

      @ JoePro -- My point was that I think this property isn't within the price range for 99.99% of people (which is different than not being able to afford something). I think it's fair to say that a vast majority of people aren't looking to drop $4K+ per night at a resort, and it's a very small crowd willing to pay that much.

      Am I saying I classify in that 99.99%? Well, I think it really depends. For a very special occasion (like my dad's 70th birthday, when we went on an amazing safari), I could see myself dropping that much. If I had a desk job that I hated and had less than two weeks vacation per year, I could also see myself spending that much. I think people tend to underinvest in peak experiences, and travel is the prime example of that.

      However, the reality is that I have a lot of schedule flexibility, and I travel a lot. So would I personally spend $5K per night on a trip that's just a weekend getaway, when I travel monthly? Well, that would probably be a major line item in my budget, so probably not.

      Just my two cents...

    2. JoePro Guest

      "Well, that would probably be a major line item in my budget, so probably not."

      Fair enough. I take it then that I shouldn't be expecting reviews of the two I mentioned, anytime soon

      Cheers.

    3. Never In Doubt Guest

      Ben’s paying a discounted rate with pre-tax dollars (since it’s a business expense).

      That’s a *very* different calculation than for the rest of us.

    4. JoePro Guest

      I think you're missing the point of my question, Never In Doubt... just because he paid the discounted rate doesn't mean he can't afford it anyways, which is why I asked whether he considers himself part of the 99% he mentioned.

    5. Never In Doubt Guest

      @JoePro,

      Unless travel blogging is *way* more lucrative than I imagined, that’s a silly question.

      Ben’s not spending $10k in after tax money for a two night stay.

  35. R B Guest

    "One Mediation At A Time" coming soon :)
    Great review (out of my budget though)

  36. Never In Doubt Guest

    “you’re paying for close proximity to the United States and major wealth centers”

    More specifically, short (likely private) flights from LA and San Francisco.

    The more accessible a place is to LA/SF the more out of whack the pricing is for what you get.

  37. Sel, D. Guest

    At those rates (and much less) in Mexico you can get a fully staffed massive beachfront villa (as in an actual villa, not a resort room category) on a secluded beach and drink Krug every night with caviar. Very different experience, but it would definitely be an alternative to consider.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Sel, D. -- For sure villas are an alternative that make sense for many. Of course villas come with their own issues as well. They have more security issues (especially if they're super high end and not in a gated community), there's no assurance of how good the service will be, there's little recourse if the villa doesn't meet your expectations, and you're still on the hook for planning many activities. Then there's the...

      @ Sel, D. -- For sure villas are an alternative that make sense for many. Of course villas come with their own issues as well. They have more security issues (especially if they're super high end and not in a gated community), there's no assurance of how good the service will be, there's little recourse if the villa doesn't meet your expectations, and you're still on the hook for planning many activities. Then there's the whole wellness aspect of Naviva, which you won't get at a villa.

      There's value to be had there, but I think for certain types of travelers, the ease of staying at a property like the Four Seasons Naviva makes it pretty attractive.

  38. Santastico Diamond

    "The Four Seasons Naviva has one of the most magical beaches I’ve ever seen." Hummmmm.... I guess you haven't traveled to many beach locations.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Santastico -- Hah, it might not look it, but what was so magical was how private it was. Aside from being on a private island, most other beautiful beaches can get pretty crowded, while here we never saw anyone else on it.

      Sure, you can find a postcard or snap a picture of a beach that might appear nicer, but how secluded this beach felt was really something special to me.

  39. Lou Guest

    Looks incredible. There are just so many comparable options in Asia at 1/5th the price. Looking forward to staying at Capella Ubud soon.

    1. Alicia Guest

      Capella Ubud is like nothing you’ve ever experienced. Bill Bensley’s designs are my favorite and GM Mark Swinton is a wonderful fellow. Try to check out Honey&Smoke and Locavore (both concepts are fabulous). Enjoy!

    2. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Lou -- For sure, if you have the time off, you can of course get better bang for your buck in Southeast Asia. Ultimately people from the United States vacation in Mexico (and are willing to pay a premium for it) because of how easy it is to get to. If you just want a weekend getaway from the United States, traveling to Asia isn't practical (well, aside from us miles & points junkies). ;-)

  40. seanp78 Gold

    Looks stunning - especially the food/drinks! At that price point, I don't think I'll get to experience it, but appreciate the thorough and glowing review.

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Tony Guest

“Ford is happy to help book Four Seasons properties through Preferred Partner” I bet Ford is more than happy! I’ve noticed this for a while Ben, but I’m getting increasingly uncomfortable with the cross-promotion that’s spreading throughout this blog. Not sure if it’s intentional or not, but more of your hotel reviews seem to be for properties that include a plug for Ford’s travel services. And of course less to do with the miles and points world. You’re losing a lot of your editorial independence by (1) not paying full rates, (2) by encouraging readers to stay at properties from which you as a family earn commission and (3) because staying on a travel agent rate, you are presumably flagged by the hotel and it would be in their interests to go the extra mile to give you an especially excellent experience. I also agree with comments that you should be disclosing the travel agent rate here. You’ve done well with this blog over many years Ben, but I think it’s worth pausing to remember what made you our favorite blogger. It was independence, which you’re now monetizing in a way that’s a lot more prominent than before. Does that diminish your trustworthiness?

9
lhs323 Member

Unfortunately I have to 100% agree with Tony. The number of reviews you've done in the last year at Four Seasons properties (which don't even have a loyalty program or points earning/redemption possibility) is starting to get absurd as long as you claim to be a points and miles blogger. And it's getting even worse, as you're going from $600 to $1000 a night properties to now a $4000 a night property. I congratulate you on your blog's success and being able to afford such properties (although again we have no idea how much you're actually paying), but it just doesn't jive with being a points and miles blogger.

5
Harold Guest

OMG, it's a travel blog and not a conflict of interest disclosure filing. The blog's author clearly discloses two possible conflict-of-interest factors relevant to this post: (1) that there's a family connection to the property's parent company, and (2) that they received a travel-agent rate. Additional details, such as the specific rate paid, aren't relevant. FWIW #1 - I love reading about properties I'll most likely never visit, like Cheval Blanc Maldives. What's the harm in some escapism and fodder for daydreams? FWIW #2 - It would be naive to think Ben doesn't receive special consideration given his prominence as a blogger, but it's not as if high-end hotels only seek to impress bloggers and celebrities and leave the rest of us out in the cold, right? I mean, in the scheme of things I'm a nobody but I have elite status at some hotel chains, and when I've booked aspirational visits, I've found GMs who've gone above and beyond to make sure I have a wonderful stay. Likewise, longtime readers of OMAAT know that Ben's had some terrible experiences, which seems to balance things out a bit and should reassure readers that there are limits to special consideration.

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