I travel around the world and across the street looking for wow moments and I find them in a variety of places. On a recent visit to Puerto Vallarta with three girlfriends, I stayed at Hotel Mousai—the only AAA Five Diamond resort in Puerto Vallarta—and I found so many wow moments at the hotel that I wasn't ready to leave on my last day. Come along and let me share a few of the luxury wow moments I discovered at Hotel Mousai in Mexico.
Hotel Mousai in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
I will admit that I didn't make this trip to explore Puerto Vallarta. That is for the next visit. This time I was in Mexico to hole up in the hotel, luxuriate by the pool and enjoy the all-inclusive offerings at Hotel Mousai. But getting to Puerto Vallarta is easy from just about anywhere because they have a modern airport served by most major airlines—there are even seasonal direct flights from Europe and Canada. I live in Arizona, so it was an easy flight directly from Phoenix.
Puerto Vallarta is a charming resort town on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. It is a popular Spring Break getaway, with beautiful expanses of beaches. It is also a lovely town with cobblestone streets, boutique shops, a beachfront promenade with beautiful sculptures and some lively bars and nightclubs. But I chose to spend my days at Hotel Mousai and I discovered one wow moment after another.
A Suite Stay at Hotel Mousai
Hotel Mousai is a hotel-within-a-hotel concept located high on the hillside within Garza Blanca Resort. So, while Hotel Mousai itself is limited to guests 18 and over, the offerings of the entire resort are available if you want them.
My stay started with a definite wow moment when I was escorted to my suite. Hotel Mousai is an all-suite hotel and my Mousai Suite, the “basic” suite at the five-diamond resort, was more than 1,000 square feet of luxury. I love the red, purple and gold tones of the room. It's chic, fun and comfortable without being over the top. With one wall of windows looking out over Banderas Bay and the Pacific Ocean beyond that, it was a wow moment from the start.
The rooms are modern, with automated lighting, window coverings, air conditioning and even music. The room service menu and all of the hotel's offerings are on an iPad by the bed. And yes, that's a hammock you see on the balcony. How can something so simple feel so luxurious? I grew to love that balcony and that hammock.
The balcony also had a jetted hot tub, which became my favorite spot for relaxing. I realized it was so convenient that there was no excuse for not stepping into the hot tub for a quick soak several times a day.
All-Inclusive Stays at Hotel Mousai
The best way to experience Hotel Mousai is to purchase an all-inclusive package. It makes staying at the hotel worry free. All alcoholic drinks and wines by the glass are included (along with the bottles in the mini-bar in the room).
Since drinks are included, I started off with a delicious margarita on the roof. I preferred the Margarita Corazon with tequila, cointreau and hibiscus syrup and my girlfriend ordered a guava colada with white rum, guava and coconut cream. What a way to start a trip to Mexico!
The all-inclusive plan also includes 24-hour room service, which I took advantage of several times. I had the option of going to The Terrace for breakfast—or hopping on the free trolley that would take me to Blanca Blue or Bocados STK at Garza Blanca—but I ordered room service for my balcony. What a treasure to start each day with the salt air blowing across my face, gazing out at the ocean and breathing in the fresh air.
As part of the all-inclusive plan, you can get lunch at the Rooftop pool, Bocados STK or Aquazul, snacks all day at the pool and then dinner at Blanca Blue, Bocados STK or Hiroshi Restaurant. Hiroshi is located inside Hotel Mousai and dinner there is a pure delight for all the senses.
We arrived at Hiroshi just at sunset and it was spectacular. The sun cast a beautiful golden sheen over the restaurant and the salt air had me again saying, “Wow!” Hiroshi serves contemporary Asian cuisine and the fish was incredibly fresh. My favorite dish of the evening was the Tuna Wonton Tostada with a touch of citrus that added such a delightful freshness to the tuna.
Drinks at Hiroshi are fresh and flirty. We also ordered them on several other nights at the adjacent bar. I enjoyed the Geisha (Chambord, berries caviar and sparkling wine) and the Melrose (champagne, raspberry Absolut vodka, lemon and rose petals).
I also discovered that when four girlfriends are famished at night and want to enjoy their private balcony, having 24-hour room service in an all-inclusive resort is perfect. We ordered in almost every dish on the menu—plus dessert. After we ate, we spent a couple of hours sipping bubbly in the hot tub with the sound of the ocean below us. Another unforgettable wow moment at Hotel Mousai!
Rooftop Pool is a Wow Moment at Hotel Mousai
Despite how much I loved my private balcony and the hot tub, the Rooftop Pool at Hotel Mousai had to be the most amazing wow moment of the trip. The breath caught in my throat as I got off the elevator and looked out across Banderas Bay at the view. The white lounge chairs stretch across the rooftop, surrounding an infinity pool. You can pick a seat in the sun, find a shady cabana, or just spend the day in the pool. What a magical paradise.
The rooftop bar serves up food and drinks all day, starting off with coffee, tea and mimosas then transitioning over to great cocktails. For nibbles, I enjoyed guacamole, steak tacos and ceviche.
Standing at the edge of the pool, I realized how the jungle of Puerto Vallarta comes right down to the edge of the water. Sitting there in the pool, I felt as if I was perched on the edge of the world. The sea breeze kept things cool and the vantage point shows off why Puerto Vallarta is protected from the hurricanes that plague other parts of Mexico. The sheltered bay make this an ideal vacation spot.
When day turns into evening, the lights come on in the pool, the music goes up a notch and the drinks seem a bit stronger. Hotel Mousai is a small hotel, so there aren't huge crowds here, even on the busiest nights. This is still a relaxing way to spend an evening and looking out across that water is pretty special.
Fun and Relaxation at Hotel Mousai
As if all of that wasn't relaxing enough, I had a spa day booked at Spa Imagine during my stay at Hotel Mousai. I had one of my best ever massages during my stay and the overall spa experience is delightful. It starts with the relaxation room open to the ocean below.
There is an optional hydrotherapy ritual you can enjoy either before or after your treatment and the attendants will help you through a series of relaxing stations. I had a deep tissue massage with a custom oil treatment that put me in such a perfect state of relaxation. I was putty the rest of the day.
Following my spa treatment, I returned to my room to chill on my balcony. I loved looking down at the rest of the resort. It was colorful and well-maintained. The photo below shows the pool at the mid-point between Hotel Mousai and the beach. What a tropical paradise.
After a day of relaxing at the spa, the next day was about fun in the sun. We got up early and jumped on the trolley for a quick 5-minute ride to the beach. Making our way across the main lobby at Garza Blanca, it's just a few steps to the beach. Lounge chairs and towels await at Garza Blanca Beach and you can rent kayaks and standup paddleboards.
The beach is sheltered from the waves, so this isn't the place for surfing, but it is ideal for relaxing. You won't be dodging any motorized vehicles here, either. It's all about letting go and enjoying the surf and sun.
The wow moments just kept on coming throughout my entire trip. Such endless blue skies and expanses of water made it hard at times to find that spot where sky and land meet. I made this trip with my girlfriends, but it is definitely a place I'd like to revisit with my husband. It can be fun, quirky, and magical. Since it's all-inclusive, it is easy—which is important to me when I get away.
Sometimes I find those wow moments quite by accident. But Puerto Vallarta is filled with them and Hotel Mousai is over the top. I discovered so many amazing luxury wow moments at Hotel Mousai in Mexico. The day after I left the hotel, I woke up missing my balcony, my private hot tub and my breakfast with the salt air bringing me a peace of mind that comes only in paradise.
Note: As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with accommodations, meals and other compensation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.