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I Found The Perfect Mix Of Wellness And Balance In Mexico At This Puerto Vallarta Retreat
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I Found The Perfect Mix Of Wellness And Balance In Mexico At This Puerto Vallarta Retreat

We all live for a good hot girl summer, and there's always a time and place for turning up, especially when on vacation. On the flip side, wellness is a priority for many Black millennial women. And you know, the older you get (hey, geriatric millennials!), the more you'll need a good turn down (via relaxation, meditation, and self-care) to match the turn up. On a recent trip to Puerto Vallarta, I was able to enjoy the perfect itinerary for you to embrace both wellness and balance on your next trip to Mexico.


Puerto Vallarta, located on Mexico's Pacific Coast, is a key vacation hotspot for many who enjoy watersports, nature adventures, and nightlife. It's also home to The Westin Resort & Spa, Puerto Vallarta, a beautiful property nestled among the shade and serenity of 14 acres of palm trees and accented by a 410-foot private beach.

And after quite a bit of traveling that included more late, lit nights and early, groggy mornings than I care to admit, my recent visit to the resort was just what the doctor ordered. It's the perfect base for your Puerto Vallarta itinerary.

Photo by Bronwyn Knight/The Westin Resort & Spa


A Rustic, Tranquil Room Infused With Luxury

Located just five minutes from Licenciado Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport, downtown Puerto Vallarta, and upscale shops in the marina district, The Westin is located central to all that makes the beach town a must-visit for anyone planning a trip to Mexico. You get the best of both worlds, with serenity just outside your suite doorstep and a bustling oceanfront community just a short walk or drive away.

This was important to me since I'd never been to Mexico before and really wanted to experience not only the beautiful landscapes, amazing food, and culture but be in a central location where I could get a diverse preview of what the region had to offer.

Courtesy of The Westin Resort & Spa

The true gem of this trip was my stay at The Westin, because, well, seeking balance and relief from constant travel was at the top of my priority list. From the moment I stepped into my suite, I was welcomed by the scent of white tea and the sticky cool breeze circulated by the palm trees---letting me know that rejuvenation was literally just around the corner.

I had a view of the pool and ocean on the 7th floor, allowing me the chance to catch the sunrise in the morning from my private patio. The warm earth tones in my room were offset by the colorful Santa Fe vibes of the resort's exterior buildings and artwork---a contrast I greatly enjoyed.

I also enjoyed amenities like the full-size soaking tub, open shower, marble vanity with more than enough counter space for all my toiletries, a plush robe, and branded slippers (which were offered in plastic). I especially enjoyed The Westin's signature "Heavenly Beds" with linens that were actually soft and relaxing and weren't tucked tight as a mummy's wrap. (Y'all know what I'm talking about. At some hotels, you literally wake up with leg cramps after fighting to get out of hard sheets in the morning, but not in this case.)

Janell Haelwood/xoNecole

Good Eats... Whether Plant-Based Or Craving Mexican Flavors

The property has six main options for food, drinks, and snacks (along with your resident Starbucks), including three of my favorites: the Arrecifes Seafood & Steakhouse, El Palmar Restaurant, and La Cascada Restaurant & Bar.

Since this trip was all about balance and self-care, I especially loved the option of The Westin's "Eat Well" menu, which featured tasty dishes and plant-based options like the ensalada de salmon ahumado con quinoa (quinoa salad with smoked salmon), enchiladas de tofu (red or green tofu enchiladas), and the matcha hot cakes (matcha pancakes).

Guests can also choose the “Detox For a Better You” package (which includes special "detox menu" items like fresh juices and energizing shots) or the "Vitamin Sea, D + Me” package, which includes a healthy starter and poke bowl.

I also enjoyed a few Mexican-infused staples like the chicharron de rib eye (rib-eye chicharron appetizer), tacos (tacos, and more tacos), the huevos motuleños (sunny side up eggs in a delish ranchero sauce, served with plantains, refried beans, and potato wedges---a favorite Mexican breakfast of mine when I'm in the States) and the filete de dorado a la parrilla (a creamy fish dish with risotto and asparagus). Because, balance.

The 24-hour room service was amazing in that food service was actually available into the wee hours of the night and was prompt. And, of course, there were plenty of opportunities to enjoy a snack along with authentic tequila, a Modelo beer, a refreshing mocktail, or simply a carton of purified water by the pool or at the beach.

Photo by Bronwyn Knight/The Westin Resort & Spa

Seaside Yoga...For Even The Most Distracted Mind

Another high point of my visit was the early-morning seaside yoga session, where the two instructors guided us through an hour of meditation to the sounds of the ocean and their soundtrack of soothing chimes. I'd always fantasized about doing this after seeing people in movies enjoy outdoor group yoga sessions with the backdrop of paradise, and it was definitely worth it. While I often can't concentrate or stay in the positions long enough to really relax during a traditional yoga session (I'm more a HIIT or bootcamp type of girl), being among the natural elements in an environment that forced me to clear my mind and zone out a bit did the trick.

If yoga isn't really your thing when it comes to a deliberate activity of self-care, they have a workout studio where you can use cardio and weight-training equipment or enjoy tennis courts, cocktail/mocktail classes, and nearby golf courses.

Courtesy of The Westin Resort & Spa

Spa Experience

The customized experience here took this spa experience up a notch. I wanted specific attention paid to my cramped hands (from lots of typing and computer work), my feet (from lots of walking through airports in the past three months), and my neck and back (where I hold most of my stress kinks). She did not disappoint.

I rarely rave about spas because oftentimes, even the "luxury" ones fall short for someone like me---who battles with anxiety and whose whole experience can be ruined by small details like a dirty mirror, slightly musty towels, or a masseuse who just doesn't have a good bedside manner. But at The Westin, each element fit like a well-coordinated dance of pampering. It was divine!

Every element of the experience complimented the other. The oil used wasn't sticky or greasy and smelled divine--- complementing the aromatherapy elements emanating through the room--- and the music matched the vibes. She didn't talk me to death or press too hard or too softly. I've been to spas where you can hear the outdoor noise of other guests, the music is distracting, the masseuse is too chatty, or the overall experience from entrance to finish just was not as calming as intended.

The spa also offers facials, manicures, pedicures, a steam room, and waxing services, and you can book a couple of sessions with your bae or get a massage in your suite.

Janell Hazelwood/xoNecole

More Must-See Activities

The resort's location is super-convenient, so if you want to see a bit more in terms of tourist attractions, food, shopping, and culture, you can venture off within walking distance or a short drive and enjoy. Be sure to take some time to visit Puerto Vallarta's infamous Malecon Boardwalk, with its sand sculptures, colorful bars, street shops, and art galleries, and explore Zona Romantica (Romantic Zone), with its cobblestone streets, boutique hotels, and local flair, and enjoy a boat ride from Puerto Magico to Playa Majahuitas, where there's a trendy beach club and options for snorkeling. (We even had a visitor by the name of Coda, a seal who offers smiles and kisses!)

I'll definitely be adding the Westin Resort and Spa in Puerto Vallarta to the list of my go-to spots to visit in the world when I need to rejuvenate and refresh.

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Featured image by Gary John Norman/Getty Images

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