Last updated: 08:42 AM ET, Sat March 21 2015

New Hotels, Airline Routes and Attractions Spur Riviera Nayarit’s Growth

Destination & Tourism | Claudette Covey | March 20, 2015

New Hotels, Airline Routes and Attractions Spur Riviera Nayarit’s Growth

Coming off a highly successful 2014, and with a slate of new hotels, airline routes and attractions coming online, Riviera Nayarit tourism officials believe the destination is poised for still more growth over the year several years. “Looking at 2015 and beyond, I am confident that Riviera Nayarit will continue to see a rise in the number of travelers visiting the destination,” said Richard Zarkin, public relations manager for the Riviera Nayarit Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The new routes being offered by Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines, hotel debuts like One&Only Mandarina and new attractions like Cirque de Soleil help illustrate the rising popularity of this Pacific Coast destination.” 

In 2014, the number of travelers visiting Riviera Nayarit increased 17 percent over 2013. “Last year, we welcomed a total of 2.42 million people to the destination and saw an eight percent increase in tourism revenue to $1.8 billion,” said Zarkin, adding that the boom in business is continuing undiminished this year.

As Riviera Nayarit’s star continues to rise, its tourism infrastructure is becoming increasingly more sophisticated, with new hotels coming online and existing properties undergoing major renovations.

For starters, ground is expected to break by year’s end on the ultra-luxury One&Only Mandarina, which will house 145 villas nestled in a rainforest, with accommodations ranging from ocean cliff villas, tree house villas and mountain villas.

The Matlali Hotel in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle recently opened its doors, featuring 40 villa-style accommodations with ocean and mountain views, fully equipped kitchens, and separate living and dining areas.

The Grand Palladium Vallarta Resort & Spa in Northern Banderas Bay, meanwhile, put the finishing touches on a four-year renovation of its guestrooms and lobby areas. The facelift also included an expanded roster of family amenities, including new facilities for kids, as well as new restaurants and wedding locations.

The Marival Resort & Suites in Nuevo Vallarta has completed a renovation that restyled rooms with a Mediterranean ambiance, new furnishings and remodeled bathrooms.

The Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit in Nuevo Vallarta has embarked on a $20 million facelift that is scheduled for completion in 2016. The property’s 131 Master, Parlor and Governor suites will be outfitted with modernized amenities and décor, and two suites will be reconfigured to accommodate guests with disabilities. The resort’s spa and Azul oceanfront restaurant will undergo overhauls as well.

Grand Velas is one four Riviera Nayarit properties that have awarded with AAA’s prestigious Five Diamond award, the highest level in the AAA ratings system. Other AAA Five Diamond properties include the Four Season Punta Mita, St. Regis Punta Mita, and most recently, the Grand Luxxe Nuevo Vallarta.

One of the most eagerly awaited developments in Riviera Nayarit is the 2018 opening of a 300-acre Cirque du Soleil theme park, featuring a water park, nature park and an outdoor evening show for 3,000 to 5,000 audience members. The theme park is the result of a joint venture between the resort developer Grupo Vidanta and Cirque du Soleil. Late last year, the two companies debut opened Joya in Riviera Maya, Cirque’s first permanent production outside of Las Vegas and Orlando.

In the beach town of Bucerías, work is scheduled to begin at year’s end on a boardwalk with shops restaurants and bars designed to enhance the new marina. Bucerías will also soon be the recipient of an artificial reef that will extend nearly 100 feet.

In still more developments, Riviera Nayarit is about to become more accessible, with a new swath of 30-plus miles of highway between Jala and Compostela set to open this summer.

Air connectivity to the destination has been enhanced as well. Southwest Airlines received approval for flights from Houston to Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport in Puerto Vallarta, with service scheduled to commence in October. On June 7, Southwest will add flights to Puerto Vallarta from Santa Ana, Calif. Alaska Airlines plans to add thrice-weekly between Santa Ana and Puerto Vallarta, pending Department of Transportation approval.

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