I don’t even know where to begin! We just returned from a week’s stay at Villa Mandarinas and it was everything we hoped it would be and more, much more. Our party of 16 family members (8 adults and 8 kids) ranged in age from 3 to 65.
Not only is Villa Mandarinas one of the most beautiful homes we had all ever seen, but the staff (Lety, Miguel, Chef Miguel, Lety Dos, Alberto, Manuel, etc.) were amazing. We were greeted by everyone when we arrived late afternoon (about a 30 minute drive from the Puerto Vallarta airport through narrow “city” streets and then a winding coastal road) and given a tour of the property, cool towels to wash our hands and faces, welcome drinks (lemonade for the children, margaritas for the adults) and selected our rooms (there are now 10 rooms at the Villa, we used 6 bedrooms and the others were locked off).
From the time we arrived until the time we left, Miguel (also known as Miggy) was there to get us whatever we needed and help with anything that needed help. I think his official title is butler or bartender/waiter, but really he did EVERYTHING. The kids especially took to him quickly and it was so cute when he interacted with them (often). The last day my 3 year old son even commented: I love you Miguel!
Chef Miguel cooked us the most delicious meals (I think my most favorite food he prepared was the ceviche that was served upon arrival) . Breakfast (served in the dining room) started with fruit, oatmeal, yogurt and pancakes (for the kids) and then finished with made to order eggs or the daily egg special (which was always tasty). Fresh squeezed juice, cheerios for any kids who wanted it, you name it they had it covered.
We spent mornings hanging out at the pool (a lovely infinity pool, with a small shallow section, a good-size deep section and a built-in jacuzzi at one end) or on trips in the local area: zip-lining, snorkeling, fishing, the Vallarta zoo, the town of Mismaloya, and a local sandy beach (all within a 10 minute drive or boat ride, we did have a rental car but I have a feeling we could have arranged for taxi service rather easily as well).
Lunch was served by the pool and varied daily: pizza, hamburgers, different salads, fish tacos, gourmet sandwiches etc. Afternoons were spent again playing in the water, tanning ourselves, drinking by the pool and exploring the area.
One thing to mention, the ocean directly at the Villa was mostly too-rough for the kids and even the adults. Access is really only from the long pier. We managed to jump off the pier one day when the tide was high but the ocean was calm and it was absolutely amazing. We wanted to do this again, but the conditions just weren’t good for that. There is a lovely man-made “beach”, although there is no sand. And the setting would make for a gorgeous wedding!
Late afternoon everyone retreated to their bedrooms to rest and shower. The rooms were all different but equally as beautiful with the most interesting part being each private bathroom. Rooms offered plenty of privacy and were all air conditioned, each had it’s own balcony, except the mural and the orange rooms.
Chef Miguel truly outdid himself each night at dinner: grilled ahi tuna, mexican lasagna, a traditional mexican dinner with roast chicken and stuffed peppers, a later than usual lobster dinner just for the adults served under the palapa, steak grilled and served in the garden, shrimp with pasta, everything was served by the Villa staff and presented so beautifully. With 3 vegetarians and a peanut allergy in our group, Chef Miguel catered to our every need. Delicious desserts were the icing on the cake!
Rooms were cleaned daily by Lety Dos and her staff. Manuel is the gardener / night watch-man who walks the guarded property throughout the night, we always felt safe. Lety is a manager who was there when we arrived as well as the last evening and our day of departure. Alberto came to help with dinner service daily and helped arrange our trips to El Eden for zip lining and chartering a boat for fishing.
We truly felt at home in this beautiful house and are already pondering our future return. The house and the staff lends itself to all sorts of guests: a group of couples celebrating a special milestone birthday, a wedding, or large family vacations - Villa Mandarinas, while expensive, was worth the money and ranks as one of our best vacations to date! We departed feeling we were leaving part of our family (the Villa staff) behind.