As a travel writer, I love -- and need -- to be on the road exploring new places. Of course, being a mother, and having a husband who runs a small hotel in Tuscany that is packed during the summer makes getting on the road a bit of challenge. But every winter, La Bandita, has closed for the winter, and my husband and I have taken a long extended trip, checking out the hot new hotels and restaurants, visiting up and coming destinations as well as stopping back through some beloved favorites. This year, despite the addition of our mellow but extremely curious son Jacopo, is no different. In fact, the trip is even more ambitious that previous years: a four months round the world jaunt from New York with stops in Mexico, LA, Hawaii, Japan, China, Taiwan, Cambodia and Singapore, all with an 11 month old (mostly) smiling piece of hand luggage.
My goal: to continue to still have an adventurous time and check out stylish new things while spending time with the baby and making sure he is happy in each spot. We have planned on spending about a week in each destination, moving exclusively west, slowly moving through time zones to ease the transition.
Our first notable hotel stop on the tour was the new Imanta Resort in Punta de Mita. I have come to this part of Mexico north of Puerta Vallarta a number of times and think the resorts on this coast are among the best in the country. But Imanta has given the area a new standard: the location is spectacular, sitting on 250 acres between the rainforest and a pristine miles long private beach; the villas look like architectural showcases with a striking mix of glass, natural stone and local wood; and the service was the best I have had in Mexico from the great general manager to the servers and cleaners. There are only twelve villas, ours, the Tayau had a beautiful private heated pool, and the perfect position between the beach and the main restaurant. The resort exemplified one of my favorite new trends in travel: places that feel like a private villa but that have five star hotel services and an approach to tourism that is sustainable and low impact (just 8 villas set in 250 acres). Just hoping the kid doesn't get too used to $1000-plus a night luxe.