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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Huatulco, Mexico

Until the 1980s, Huatulco, (Oaxaca) Mexico was little more than a small coffee-growing area. In 1984, the National Fund of Tourism decided to begin development of the area to develop a tourist development similar to Cancun, but on the Pacific coast of Mexico. So far, I would have to say they are succeeding.  Thankfully, Huatulco is a bit more spread out than Cancun giving the resorts a more secluded, laid back feel than in Cancun.

We found a bargain on FunJet–non-stop from St. Louis to Huatulco for an entire week. Having never heard of Huatulco, we did minimal research on the place and decided the price was right for a week. What a great decision!

We stayed at Secrets, which is considered an Unlimited Luxury All Inclusive Resort and was adult-only. At first I was a little bummed–we were planning to book a swim out suite–and I literally watched the last one sell out on FunJet. We ended up in a regular room that was beautifully decorated and overlooked the pool and beach, but my next trip to Secrets will be in a swim out. They looked incredibly fun and the pool waiters served drinks to the private pools which were connected to each room.IMG_0860This resort is more compact because it’s set into the hills, so it’s more up and down than sprawled out. We loved riding the glass elevator up to the sky bar each evening and hanging out there until we decided where to go for dinner.

Usually at an AI resort, hubby and I go to the spa at least once for a couples massage. Secrets had a Pevonia spa that had a hydrotherapy circuit–which we had never experienced before.  If you ever get the chance for a hydrotherapy massage, go for it. This was one of the best massages we had ever had and we now search out resort spas that have hydrotherapy.

There were lots of very reasonably priced excursions to take in Huatulco as well.  Because it’s a relatively “young” tourist area, the tour companies basically give the excursions away.  We took a mountain excursion that lasted all day, took us up in the mountains, hiking to the Llano Grande waterfall, providing a wonderful lunch, and stopping at local shops on our way back to the resort.

Another excursion we went on was a boat tour/snorkeling excursion of five local bays and coastline of Huatulco. The snorkeling was decent even though the currents were pretty strong and we got to see some neat rock formations and smaller towns along the coast.

Luckily we were there during the “dry” season. Apparently, during the rainy season, which is June through September, it rains non-stop for most of every day. The locals we talked with in the mountains were telling us about how during the last rainy season, which had just ended, they had been trapped in the mountains for days because most of the roads were too waterlogged or completely washed out and they couldn’t drive them.  It’s a little more rustic way of life than I’m accustomed to.

Back at the resort, we had some incredibly good restaurants. We found a seafood restaurant that was so good, we went to it twice. I enjoyed some delicious salmon one night, after some seafood soup. Thank goodness there was a little walk back to the resort from the seafood restaurant because I definitely ate too much.

We also enjoyed that we had a Japanese/Sushi restaurant at the resort. My favorite part of that dinner was that they served sake.  (I know most people don’t like the stuff, but for some reason, I love it.) I liked it so much, our waiter gave me a small carafe to take with me back to the lobby.

The best thing of all about this particular trip was that we met some really awesome people, Meg and Jason were a lot of fun, and Jacki and Josh were like our oldest besties straight out of the gate. We hung out with them for a lot of the trip, relaxing at the pool bar and going to dinner together a couple of evenings. I sure hope we get to see them soon on another fun vacation!