Featured in Vallarta Lifestyles Magazine, Spring/Summer 2009 issue.

Seemingly a million miles from everything and tucked into the lush emerald forest of the Sierra Madre, Sierra Lago is a unique mountain getaway and member of the Mexico Boutique Hotels collection. Stop and smell the pines along the edge of the Juanacatlan Lagoon; unplug yourself from the real world and soak in the tranquility.

After traveling approximately 90 km inland from Puerto Vallarta to Mascota, another 16.5 km into the mountains brings you to Sierra Lago, within the crater of an extinct volcano. Constructed 10 years ago by Fernando Gonzalez Corona as a family hacienda, Sierra Lago opened as a hotel in April 2003. Its 24 suites offer a tasteful blend of rustic Mexican style and the elegance and pampering of a five-star hotel. 

Although it’s possible to arrive by helicopter, the most common route is a narrow but continually maintained cobblestone road from Mascota that can be navigated by an ultra-compact two-door car in about 40 minutes. Pick-up is also available from the Puerto Vallarta airport or the town of Mascota.

Although this serene wonderland is perfect for an adults-only getaway, it’s also great for the family that likes to play together, the activities at Sierra Lago endless. Imagine cycling along the shores of the lagoon on mountain bikes available in child and adult sizes or navigating the waters by kayak, sailboat or pedal boat. Fishing gear is also available for your use.  Impressive stable facilities house 18 beautiful Spanish Colonial horses, so it’s easy to find a horse that matches your riding experience. Novices can receive free instruction from the stable manager in the arena. Or if a horse-drawn carriage is more your style, plan for a romantic ride with an experienced driver at the reins. Tennis and basketball courts await, and a games room complete with air hockey, pool table, Texas Hold’em table and lounging area is open in the late afternoon and evening.

But if you’ve come to Sierra Lago to relax, don’t worry, as you need not do anything but sit back, take a deep breath and enjoy the view or read a book. The bar in the main lodge offers fine home-brewed tequila, beer and a full range of cocktails, and there are a variety of indoor and outdoor seating areas that morph into your own slice of privacy. You won’t hear a phone ring, as there is no cellular signal; however, if you wish to stay connected, complimentary wi-fi is offered in the public areas and a phone in the office is available for emergencies. A micro convenience store offers toiletries, souvenirs, light jackets and even home preserves made from their orchard fruit.

Don’t you deserve some extra pampering? The spa offers a variety of massages and body treatments, including a decadent couples massage. Or experience the unique and arrange for a massage under a beautiful gazebo on the shores of the lagoon. And close to the spacious outdoor hot tub, the inviting steam room is especially satisfying after a busy day of activities.

All that fresh mountain air certainly stimulates the appetite, and the chef is ready to impress you with his culinary magic. Most guests choose the all-inclusive plan, including meals, beverages and activities. An extensive breakfast menu is available, including plenty of steaming coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice, served in La Laguna in the main lodge. Lunch and dinner are full of decadent surprises, with homemade soup, salad, a choice of various entrees and dessert. The menu evolves daily, based on the freshest ingredients the chef can purchase and those grown on site, such as apples and peaches. Lunch is served at either the La Laguna or La Terraza dining rooms, located toward the stables, and dinner is presented at a massive table in the main dining room in the lodge.

The suites are spacious and come standard with top-quality mattresses and luxury bedding, including plush feather-light comforters to keep you toasty. Unique Mexican art and furnishings provide color and style. And the spacious bathrooms with antique claw-foot bathtubs invite a long soak, in delicious contrast to the chilly air. The cabana suites have a larger soaking tub, stone fireplace and private terrace to create a secluded honeymoon atmosphere within your private utopia.

One of the most memorable attributes of this fine property is the polite and impeccably trained staff members, who hail from local mountain towns. Their country hospitality and kind nature ensures requests are met expediently and that your visit is memorable.

As the soft colors of the lingering twilight permeate the evening sky, brilliant stars emerge, thanks to the lack of ambient lighting found in larger centers such as Vallarta. Certainly a star gazers delight, and even if astronomy was never your specialty, the night sky is impressive while strolling along the lagoon by moonlight or soaking in the steamy depths of the outdoor hot tub with that someone special.

Sierra Lago has it all. Maybe it’s time to create your own glorious memories. • www.mexicoboutiquehotels.com/sierralago