Wanna know why you should stay at lesser-known, non-name-brand hotels for an equally wonderful, if not better, experience? Read about my amazing experience at Casa de Mita, one of many hotels in Punta De Mita, Mexico…
We’re creatures of habit. We frequent the Starbucks of the world because we know what we’re getting. We know the prices, we know the quality, we know what the place will look like. We go to the same yoga studios, the same restaurants, the same surf breaks, the same stores, because we like feeling certain. We stick to name brands. We avoid newness.
While I can be a creature of habit, I still love adventure. A new place, a new culture, no plan: sign me up! But that doesn’t mean my eagerness and willingness to explore doesn’t come with a bit of fear. Will I like it? Will I find hotels that will welcome Monkey? Will I be safe? Will it be clean? Will I have fun? All these thoughts cross my mind.
And so this is why, no matter how much we may love adventure, traveling to the unknown often scares us. And so we lean toward guarantees, the name-brand hotels so to speak. Booking rooms at these establishments quell some of our uncertainty. It’s easier to do what we know and trust. We assume it’s better.
But over the last year, I’ve challenged this mindset. I’ve reconsidered the value in stepping out of the norm when it comes to hotels. What new treasures, that may be better, might be just around the corner?
When I drove down the dirt road to Casa de Mita for the first time, I was apprehensive. There was no sign pointing you in the right direction, there wasn’t an intimidating entrance gate with security guards like you find at major name-brand hotels in Punta De Mita, Mexico. But, a mile down the road, when the car stopped, we knocked on the carved wooden door draped in purple and pink flowers and entered and were welcomed energetically. Within hours I realized upon what magic we by chance stumbled. Within days I fell in utter love with this beachfront hotel.
In Punta De Mita, a part of Nayarit Rivieria, north of Puerto Vallarta, Casa de Mita is what you’d hope every hotel would be like. With wait staff who say yes to every request, every room and every corner thoughtfully designed to harness your power of relaxation. You feel like you’re in your home with around-the-clock service. Not among a sea of people, in outdated hotel accommodations as we saw, for example, at the coveted Four Seasons down the street. While the beachfront was gorgeous there, the property lacked energy, the calming excitement you want from a luxury hotel. When I toured the hotel, I was met with hesitation, inquisition as to why I was at the security gate, a sense of unease, waiting to be told I was doing something wrong. I couldn’t wait to return to Casa de Mita.
Each morning I woke to waves crashing on the shore, the morning light slowly peering through the floor-to-ceiling glass door. I took Monkey on the beach so she could do her thing, I grabbed a couple bananas on my way out to surf. I returned for a shower and to sit by the pool writing and working. The staff brought me whatever food I wanted: sautéed potatoes and veggies, watermelon and bananas, decaf iced coffee, chips and guac, guac and veggies, more watermelon and bananas. “Puedo tener sandia?” I worked and then played and then worked some more, and the days strolling by easily, with no stress, no one to rush you. (Most other guests spent their days playing and relaxing, doing everything they don’t have time to do back home.)
Though you may earn bragging rights when you tell your friends you stayed at a more well-known hotel, you may miss out on an even better vacation. One of high-class amenities and peaceful, unmatched service. So venture out next time. Don’t always let the abandoned dirt roads deter you.