Nuevo Vallarta–Pevonia Spa

For those of you who know me or read most of my blog posts, you probably know that I love going to the spa–massages, facials, manicures, pedicures, etc.–I love all of it. I especially love heading to the spa when I’m on vacation and a lot of the resorts we visit have one. During our trip to Dreams Villamagna Nuevo Vallarta in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico, we were lucky to have a Pevonia spa. Pevonia spas have many locations both stateside and in most of the destinations that we visit, and since I’ve used their services before, I couldn’t wait to check them out at Dreams.

Hubby and I decided that’s how we would spend our Valentine’s Day, since we didn’t have any excursions lined up for that day. When we went to the spa to set up our appointment, we were impressed to hear that they also had a hydrotherapy circuit we would have the use of. We are BIG FANS of hydrotherapy. If you’ve never used a hydrotherapy circuit you should try it out.

Hydrotherapy is the use of water to relieve physical discomfort and promote well-being. The circuit usually has multiple hot, warm, and cold water treatments that when alternated can help reduce inflammation and heal injuries, relax the body, and just make you feel a whole lot better. I know when I finish a circuit, I’m usually more than ready to go relax for the rest of the day.IMG_1778We arrived at the spa more than an hour early so that we could use the hydrotherapy circuit before the massages we had scheduled. We started off by showering in a warm shower and then moved into the sauna. After 10 minutes in the sauna, we took a cold shower and then headed for the steam room for another 10 minutes. Once we emerged from the steam room, we were ready for the Jacuzzi, but it hadn’t yet been filled all the way for the day.

So, we took a dip in the immersion pool instead. The pool had a few stations of pressure jets that you could turn on to run for 2-minutes at a time. The foot bath was next and was actually more like a small pool itself. It was my favorite because it was just the right degree of warm for me and had strong jets that were focused on your legs and feet. I could have stayed in that pool all day.

Finally, the Jacuzzi finished filling and we were able to soak in it. A nice touch added by the spa staff was that they brought out a few ice-cold cucumber slices and placed them over our eyes while we relaxed. Afterwards, it was recommended that we relax in the lounge chairs and consume a lot of fluids until it was time for our massages.

IMG_1774Right next to the circuit was a nice little snack bar that had fruits, nuts, flavored waters –chlorophyllo (water infused with mint) was my favorite–hot teas and small cookies. Because it was Valentine’s Day, spa staff also brought us a small plates of sweets to nosh on while we waited. From there, we were taken to the massage suite. Our massages were incredible! We had signed up for the 80-minute, wine-infused oil massage and it was worth all 80 minutes.

While our entire time at the spa was pure, relaxing bliss, I couldn’t get over the fact that there were no other clients there. WE HAD THE ENTIRE PLACE TO OURSELVES. Granted, the price, even with the promotional Valentine’s rate we got,  was a little high I still never figured out why no one was there. It was Valentine’s Day for crying out loud! I thought it was a perfect way to spend the day, I just wonder why no one else thought the same.

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Let’s Talk Soup–Nuevo Vallarta

I’ll bet you thought this would be a recipe posting.  Ha! It’s not. However, it is a food posting of sorts. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d go to Mexico and enjoy eating soup so much. I had it for lunch, and frequently had it at the a la carte restaurants for dinner while we were in Nuevo Vallarta.

We arrived to Dreams Villamagna in the late afternoon close to the end of the lunch time for some of the restaurants and we were waiting for our room to become available, so we headed to the buffet which would be quick and keep us close to the lobby so we could get our room key after eating. Now, I’m not usually the biggest fan of buffets in an all-inclusive resort, but it made sense logistically since it was the closest restaurant to the reception area.

Trying to keep it light, since we were getting closer to dinner time, I opted for a bowl of soup and a salad. The soup was a Cream of Chicken and Vegetable and man, it was incredible! You’d think in Mexico that a spicier option would have been more appropriate, but the cream soup was spot on.IMG_1785As the week proceeded, I sampled a lot of soup. Despite the warm weather, that first bowl had won me over and started a quest for my favorite.  First up, was lunch the next day, which was a Chicken and Vegetable. This was a basic take on Chicken Noodle soup without any noodles.  I was amazed at how flavorful the broth was.IMG_1786Later that evening, which was Valentine’s Day, we went to Portofino, the Italian restaurant. Just when I thought I had been eating some pretty tasty soups, they really impressed me with a Cream of Asparagus soup. It was off the chain and even came with a small, crunchy breadstick as garnish.

The next night we had dinner at the Seaside Grill, which would lead you to think we were dining at a seafood place. It was not. It was what I would consider to be the Steakhouse, since the majority of options on the menu were grilled beef selections. Considering I’m not a fan of creamed corn back home, I had low expectations for liking this one. To my surprise, I had a Corn Cream soup that would have knocked my socks off had I been wearing any. This stuff was delish! I hope someday to go back to Dreams and get a hold of this recipe!IMG_1913Oddly enough, the next night’s dinner was a Mexican BBQ in the courtyard of the pool area. This was also the location of my least favorite soup selection, which was a Chicken Tortilla soup. Granted, I didn’t add the tortilla garnish or cheese to the soup, which may have been what was needed, but this soup just wasn’t hitting the mark for me. It was ok, but not “knock my socks off” good.IMG_2003Basically, I was completely taken off guard by the quality of the soups at Dreams Villamagna Nuevo Vallarta. I had no idea I would end up sampling a bunch of soup at an “unlimited luxury” All Inclusive resort. But now that I have, I tip my hat to whoever they have on their kitchen staff that is making these soups. They have a real gem right there!

Riviera Nayarit It Is!

I’m cold. It’s winter and I’m cold. Yesterday, we saw the temperature hover between 2 (-16C) and 12 (-11C) degrees Fahrenheit with wind chill factors of -10F (-23C.) For those of you who live in warmer climes, you have no idea how cold that is. When you walk outside even for a brief moment, you lose your breath!winter-3088579_1920

Thinking warm thoughts and listening to the reggae station are not warding off the cold. There’s not enough hot cocoa. We’re just going to have to head to the beach for a brief respite and to rejuvenate enough to get through the rest of winter.

I found a really good deal to Dreams Villamagna Nuevo Vallarta in Mexico. I know it seems like we spend a lot of time going to Mexico, but we can be there non-stop from St. Louis in 4 hours. Nuevo Vallarta is in the Mexican state of Nayarit, which is on the Pacific side and is a part of the country we’ve not yet visited before. The closest we’ve been on that coast is Huatulco which is 547 miles away, so not even very close.

I don’t yet know much about Nuevo Vallarta but I plan to do some research before we get there. It seems to be an up and coming area located between Puerto Vallarta and Bucerias, that is attracting the crowd that’s not interested in the hustle and bustle of Puerto Vallarta, but would like all the luxuries of a resort area.

It looks like there’s a lot to do in the area on land or in the sea. There are numerous small villages to be explored and shopped all within a 30 minute drive, and there are a lot of beach areas in Banderas Bay. Whether we want to spend the day on a secluded beach, check out some of the “walking beaches”, or even try our hand at surfing, there’s a beach for it. I’m also hoping that we can see some of the humpback whales who winter there, frolicking with their babies. (I just loved seeing the whales in Alaska, check out Juneau, Alaska.)

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Whale in Alaska

While the resort touts itself as an unlimited luxury all inclusive, which to me usually means great food, some of their Trip Advisor reviews beg to differ. Even though I only take the reviews with a  grain of salt, there is usually a bit of truth to them. I’m trying to keep in mind that the people who did not have a great experience tend to write reviews more frequently, and I’m hopeful the resort has worked out whatever kinks were getting in the way.

Would we cancel the trip or change resorts because of negative reviews? Probably not. Maybe if this were an important wedding, anniversary, or group trip I would reconsider going there. But this is just a mid-winter vacay for hubby and I. We’re pretty laid back and will roll with whatever we find at the resort.

If you have ever stayed at this Dreams and have anything negative to say, please post a review on Trip Advisor, don’t comment on this post. I’d rather go in as uninfluenced as possible and form my own opinion based on what we experience. If you have anything positive to say, feel free to do so in the comments.

Regardless, I’m cold. All I am really worried about is getting out of this cold and taking a break on the beach and seeing some of that side of Mexico. After that, winter won’t seem quite as long and I’ll be able to get through it better upon our return.