Ranch & Coast Magazine

March 2024

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I started to question my preconceived notions after a pre-arrival call, when the Naviva team was eager to learn about me — not just the obvious things like meal preferences and food allergies, but also more personal elements like hobbies, interests, and openness to trying various experiences (more on this later). It felt not like an interrogation but simply a friendly getting-to-know-you conversation between new friends. e sensation was akin to when you suspect someone might be planning a surprise party in your honor. Naviva was already unlike anything I'd ever experienced, and I hadn't even left my house yet. I arrived at Mexico's crowded Puerto Vallarta airport on a muggy day and the Four Seasons service instantly separated me from the masses. I was ushered from the main pickup curbside crowds to a wonderfully cool awaiting car, and off we departed for our roughly 40-minute drive to the resort. After winding through the exclusive, gated Punta Mita, we arrived at a rather nondescript large wooden gate, then wound down a short, steep path to an equally modest circular driveway at the resort entrance. My hosts, including Naviva General Manager Eduardo Sampere, welcomed me warmly as we entered the resort through a lattice tunnel of sorts that he explained is meant to be a conduit to both enter the resort and leave the rest of the world on the other side, almost like a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis. I selected a drink from a welcome tray of beverages waiting just for me, and we were off for a quick property tour and then to my tent. e first thing to note is the unparalleled level of privacy here. Only guests of the resort have the privilege of even glimpsing what is on the other side of the entrance "tunnel," let alone setting foot. Just 15 double-occupancy tents comprise the entire adults-only property, so even if the resort is completely sold out, you are among the very exclusive company of no more than a maximum 30 guests. e restaurant that serves the entire property is not a traditional restaurant at all. Copal is instead the proverbial dining room and kitchen of a friend — if that friend had a breathtaking, open-air dining room and open chef 's kitchen: no menu, no set hours, no formal host, and everyone there greets you like they're welcoming you into their own home. is is another aspect of Naviva that sets it apart from not just the traditional Four Seasons experience, but most other luxury destinations. ere is zero formality. Naviva staffers wear shorts and short-sleeved shirts, and address you by your first name. All guests are treated like friends because, in almost an instant, they genuinely become them. is is just part of the magic here. Meanwhile, remember that pre-visit call? Everyone here knows exactly who you are, what you like, and how you like it. So, when you walk into Copal, you are offered your favorite drink, and though there are fresh daily chef 's selections offered, what ends up on your plate is entirely up to you. ere is no such thing as "top shelf," and nearly any cocktail you can dream of will be made for you or, if you prefer, you're welcome to walk behind the bar and craft it yourself. Now for the tent. It is, in fact, a structure with some tent elements but all the elegance of an exquisite standalone guest house. Hardwood floors, sliding glass doors with panoramic ocean views, and a generous bath are complemented by an attached screened porch that opens to a gorgeous wooden deck with a hammock, lounge chairs, a plunge pool, and outdoor shower for a full indoor-outdoor experience. A canvas ceiling and zip-up-and-down window coverings in the >> << ranchandcoast.com 80 MARCH 2024 RANCH & COAST MAGAZINE BREAKFAST: PHOTO BY DEANNA MURPHY ALL OTHER PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF NAVIVA

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