Living the vida loca in Puerto Vallarta sure is fun - and a little tiring after a while. So, it's nice knowing that in just 2-1/2 hours you can be contemplating uncontrived nature along with your navel at this pampering hideaway designed to put the bounce back into your step.

The leisurely, safe and easy drive there is a pleasure in itself, following some beautiful coastline before heading into the mountains where the air is fresh and cool.
When you arrive and a valet whisks your car keys out of one hand and an icy welcoming drink is placed into the other, you begin to understand that all there is for you to do here is whatever you want.

For me this place was love at first sight, my first instinct - thanks to the astute use of tiny indigenous stones on the lobby floor, its design as intricate and tactilely intriguing as a Persian carpet - was to kick off my shoes. And I even briefly considered the illusory possibility of walking on the tempting and seemingly floating oasis-spiked pool. Swimming in it instead, a pretty, poolside treasure chest proffered my beach towel.

Views from the tangerine-hued, hacienda-style hotel to the vividly blue Careyes Bay are spellbinding, endangered species taking refuge in the surrounding, uncommonly dense virgin jungle.

Nothing about this exclusive retreat, which feels like a spirited pueblo with a Mexican-Mediterranean mood, distracts from the all-out appreciation of nature in this biologically diverse area.

Even workouts are more appealing thanks to the stellar vistas from the fully equipped gym, the pristine full-service spa offering a plethora of rejuvenating treatments.
Room amenities are fabulous, all-natural products like creamy cucumber body lotion as invigorating as the sea breezes. And the rooms don't disappoint either, everything about them spacious, fresh and comfortable - especially the all-white and cushiony Heavenly Beds. And suites boast private, petal-strewn plunge pools.

At the evening cocktail hour guests get free margaritas. And you'll feel as carefree and safe as a kid curled up on one of the huge couches on the beach toasting the sunset. After dark, candles guide you to the excellent restaurant, serving well-known Mexican chef Patricia Quintana's inspired "cuisine of the water gods."

It seems there's only one problem at this peaceful, secluded playground: You won't want to leave.