Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A luxury boutique right on the beach in scruffy Anclote
The back story on Punta Mita: A few decades back the powers-that-be chased a village of fishermen off the point at Punta Mita, fenced it off, and turned it into a luxe enclave, now home to upscale hotels, homes, and two of the best golf courses in Mexico (and one of the best surfing waves). The villagers moved down the road a mile or so, into a new location they called Anclote (anchor). Until a few years ago, inside the fence was posh, outside -- not so posh. But eventually everybody woke up and realized that the beach is the same on both sides of the fence. And so development of all sorts hit scruffy little Anclote. Perhaps the finest Anclote development is the Hotel Cinco, a four-story, 12-suite boutique hotel sitting atop its own gourmet restaurant, which offers what is by far the best and most sophisticated menu on Anclote's beachfront restaurant row.
Not that this is a fancy line-up, this restaurant "row" --aside from the Café des Artistes, it's just a bunch of seafood joints under palapas, all sharing the same wonderful views of Bahia Banderas and the Marietta Islands. However, with all the water sports you can imagine available, including surfboards for rent, surfing lessons on some of the most user-friendly surfing waves in Mexico, and the great snorkeling around the Mariettas Islands Marine Preserve (15 minutes away by boat), fancy doesn't really matter: The ocean is the highlight here. And if you like greens better than blues, a pair of first-rate, Jack Nicklaus-designed golf courses -- one of which has been ranked among the best in the world -- are five minutes away, on the other side of the fence.
Anclote is not your typically picturesque Mexican town. The beachfront restaurants and the water activities are pretty much all there is, for visitors, unless you head through the security gates to play a round of golf or dine at one of the restaurants on the grounds of the upscale hotels inside the enclave.
Punta Mita, historically known as Punta de Mita, is at the northwestern point of the deep, horseshoe-shaped bay called Bahia Banderas, on Mexico's central Pacific coast. Puerto Vallarta sits in the curve of the horseshoe, and the road-less, remote, more or less empty Cabo Corriente forms the southwestern end of the bay.
The hotel is on the beach in the town of Anclote, often called Punta Mita due to its proximity to the actual Punta Mita, which is close by but behind a security fence, and is inaccessible to all but residents of the homes therein, guests of the hotels, or visitors to the hotels' destination restaurants or golf courses.
The nearest town to the north is Higuera Blanca, and beyond that, Sayulita, about 20 minutes from Anclote on a paved road that often washes out in the summer rainy season. Going southeast along the shore of Bahia Banderas, the nearest towns are La Cruz de Huanacatle, which has a good boat marina, and Bucerias. Puerto Vallarta is well over an hour away by car, cab, or bus.
The suites at Hotel Cinco are large and luxurious, with an airy, beachy feel -- marble tile floors, wicker furniture, wood accents, and lots of white (bedding, most walls, and dining chairs). The hotel has nine two-bedroom suites, called Beach Club Suites, and three three-bedroom suites, called Deluxe Beach Club Suites, which are 700 square feet larger. Each bedroom has its own private full bathroom, and every suite also has a separate powder room. The kitchens have high-end appliances, granite countertops, dishes, and cutlery.
One of Mexico's best restaurants is on-site
The hotel is home to the renowned Café Des Artistes del Mar, operated by chef Thierry Blouet, whose original Café Des Artistes in Puerto Vallarta ranks as one of Mexico's finest restaurants. The Punta Mita branch, with its focus on local seafood and produce, has already attained similar status. For gourmands, the presence of this restaurant alone may be enough to warrant a few nights at the hotel.
There are two Punta Mitas: inside the fence and outside the fence. Inside the fence are five-star hotels, multi-million dollar homes, and Jack Nicklaus-designed links. Outside the fence is a scruffy little town called Anclote, with a few high-end properties. One such property is the Hotel Cinco (formerly, the Hotel des Artistes), a 12-suite luxury boutique hotel on the beach, with two pools, a gym, and the Punta Mita branch of Puerto Vallarta's finest restaurant, the Café Des Artistes, on the ground floor. For those seeking a luxurious Punta Mita vacation without fencing themselves off from Mexican reality, this is a great spot.