• Dylan Clements - Experienced Travel Planner

Detailed Review: Come Inside The Newly Opened One&Only Mandarina

Words and photography by Dylan Clements

Where: Carretera Federal Libre, 200 Tepic-Puerto Vallarta, Municipio de Compostela El Monteón, 63779 Lo de Marcos, Nay., Mexico


Occasion: Birthday celebration


Date of Stay: November 2020


Who: Couples Trip


On the 1st of November, I checked into the One & Only Mandarina, which was their actual opening day. During this time I stayed for two nights as a paying guest on their property and toured it extensively.


It is located in a unique part of Mexico with rain forest and a swimmable beach which has clear water.


While many parts of the hotel are still under construction, we liked what we saw and there is no reason at all why this property couldn't be one of the best resort properties in Mexico once it's fully completed.


Currently, the property has three restaurants, a spa, and a kids club in operation with a separate beach club about to be opened next door - so there is no reason to not go and visit it now. In fact, it is currently a great time to book due to the many opening offers available.

HOW TO BOOK THE ONE AND ONLY MANDARINA:

Booking your stay through a Virtuoso agent such as myself will afford you the following added benefits, at no extra cost:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability

  • Complimentary a la carte breakfast daily for two guests per bedroom

  • USD 100 equivalent Resort or Hotel credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)

  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability

  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

What’s more, they also have a promotion with most of their room categories where you can book four nights and only pay for three. A guaranteed upgrade is also on offer at the moment.


Message me for a complimentary quote today. I am ABTA and ATOL bonded and do not charge booking fees.


Further ways to add value to your stay:

  • Pay with a points-based credit card to earn points on your stay – points can be put towards upgrades, complimentary hotel stays in the future.

  • Try to be as flexible as possible with your dates as some are cheaper than others.

  • Avoid booking during the school holidays and Christmas and New Year’s when prices are at a premium.

GETTING TO THE ONE & ONLY MANDARINA:

The closest airport is Puerto Vallarta (PVR) which has direct flights to and from the US and European major cities on most days. The 49-mile ride to the hotel is a comfortable 1-hour journey along the Pacific coast in which you will pass through picturesque rainforests and surfing towns.


NOW TIME FOR THE REVIEW


We traveled by car from Guadalajara, passing tequila fields and traditional Mexican villages, The hotel is located down a driveway, where the signage could be improved – we did get lost and ended up at a very much under construction Rosewood hotel. A tour guide working nearby ended up giving us directions to the property.

Due to unexpectedly crossing a time zone we arrived at the hotel earlier than planned which meant we were the very first guests to ever check-in. Many of the staff came out to greet us including the general manager Serge Ditesheim (ex Aman and Banyan Tree). Cold face towels and a refreshing passion fruit cocktail. One staff member also bought a bowl of water out for our small dog which was a much-welcome detail!


Immediately we were blown away by the beautiful lush green rainforest setting of the property.

Check-in was smooth, there are no desks, instead, you are seated in the lobby while the necessary formalities were undertaken. As this was happening our suitcases were unloaded from the car and it was then valet parked. Parking was complimentary for the duration of the stay.

After this process, we were then taken in an electric motorized cart to our room which was an Oceanview Treehouse.


OUR TREEHOUSE WITH OCEANVIEW WAS OUT OF THIS WORLD:

As with all other rooms and suites on the property, our Treehouse was fully detached. We were upgraded from a flora and fauna view to an oceanview room.


Our Tree House was located a good 40 feet from the ground, with an expansive balcony and small infinity pool. Understandably, due to the height, the property does not allow children under 18-years old in this room category for safety reasons.

A wooden path linked the road to our treehouse. The advantage of being so high up from the forest floor was the beautiful view of the treeline and of course, the added oceanview was a bonus. You can put a rope across this path if you don't want to be disturbed. Each villa has two umbrellas should it start to rain - which thankfully it didn't during our stay.


The dark wood walls and floors gave the room a look of sophistication and luxury while blending into the surrounding environment

When entering the room, you pass through a small foyer to get to the main part of the bedroom - consisting of a king-sized bed (extremely comfortable), a desk, and a coffee table with two chairs. There is a minibar but it wasn't overly stocked due to current government regulations.


What we did like most about the interior of the room was the sunbed/daybed which had a skylight above it. The skylight could be covered at night to prevent morning light from coming into the room.

There was a working desk, with power points and stationary.


A pair of binoculars came with the room which was a fun addition. On day two we were able to spot a pod of dolphins in the ocean below using these. Several bird species call the surrounding forest home.


Huge, floor-to-ceiling windows surround the whole room where beautiful views can be had throughout the day - especially at sunset (sunsets on the Pacific Coast are always something special).


The doors between the bedroom and balcony open right up for the near entirety of the room which provides open plan living. The blackout curtains did their job well.

We spent a lot of time enjoying the balcony. As I mentioned earlier it was very large - maybe as big as the room itself. We ordered a few cocktails to the room which we sipped on while enjoying the views and peacefulness of the forest.


There was a double sun lounger on one side and a dining table for two to the other. The centerpiece is a small infinity pool. The pool's temperature could be adjusted to your liking. While my photos don't pick up the oceanview clearly, do trust me when I say it was there.

The oversized bathroom has a vanity constructed out of black marble. There was a lot of space to layout toiletries and double basins. Points need to be given for having the water in the bathroom in glass bottles instead of plastic.


Toiletries consisted of soap, conditioner, shampoo, and body lotion - all of which came in a pump bottle format. Manufactured by Mexican company 'X I N U' they are made out of natural herbs, citruses, and oils. I was very impressed by them and will visit the X I N U showroom next time I am in Mexico City.

What we loved most in the bathroom was the double head rain shower. The shower led to an outdoor bathtub. While outside it was completely private with views of the forest. I would have appreciated some bath salts to go with the bathtub.


Note: Not allroom types do not have an exterior bath.

Not the most exciting pic but I did want to include it to show the incredible amount of closest storage that the room had - which would be handy for longer stays.


There are two different robes types housed in the wardrobe - fluffy style and kimono style.


WORKING NOTES:

  • Our room came with a butler, who we could call by phone to help us with whatever we needed. It would be great if the hotel offered guests an in-house smartphone app that could be used as another way to contact them.

  • Obviously, there were a few service issues as we were at the hotel on opening week. What was great is that the management took care of any issues straight away and genuinely appreciated the feedback we provided.

  • Wi-Fi is excellent - I did do a speed test and the speeds were sitting at around 75MBPS is above standard compared to many hotels.

  • A sanitary pack of hand sanitizer, gloves, and facemasks are put in the room for each guest.

  • Our dog got bowls and toys as part of his stay which was much appreciated. I will talk more about the pet policy in part two of my trip report.

  • We had no problem with mosquitos in the room area. If there was a problem then the room has a sliding mosquito screen door. There were one or two places in other parts of the resort where we did, which is unsurprising as technically we were in the jungle. The hotel does provide repellent but it is not that strong. As a resident of Mexico, I strongly recommend Johnson & Johnson 'Off' brand as the best to use.

OVERALL VERDICT:

We looked at other rooms on the property and feel that the Treehouse is the right size for a 'couple trip'. For families, I would suggest a one-bedroom villa that is obviously larger but has more practical space - such as a kitchenette, more seating and so on.


We thoroughly enjoyed our stay and are already planning for our second.


Stay tuned for the next - Dining, Spa, and Kids Club.


If you are interested in booking this stunning property then please email me directly - dylan@clements.travel.


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