An hour outside Puerto Vallarta’s International Airport along the western coastal state of Nayarit, Mexico, is the future site of Mandarina, a new, exclusive resort that will feature hotel suites, one of the world’s first collections of One&Only branded residences and other world-class amenities. Unique Homes was able to get a behind-the-scenes look at the site of this future resort.

Entering the site of Mandarina is like stepping directly into a tropical jungle, surrounded by the sounds of native creatures and the crashing waves along the Pacific coast. The road leading toward Mandarina is outlined by plots of farmland owned by local farmers from the region. Fields of fruits and vegetables dictate the way, the spikes of the rising pineapple plants standing tall like knights in verdant green armor. Even taller than the pineapples are the amazing mountains that serve as the natural border of the valley, as well as a nature sanctuary for hundreds of jaguars, a nationally protected animal of Mexico.
Up through the mountains, we walk through an almost prehistoric forest with deep-rooted trees that stretch high into the jungle canopy. This area, a soon-to-be Kid’s Club, will host educational programming for children and families to learn about nature, geography and history with the inclusion of tribal markings on stones throughout the mountains. Eventually we make our way to The Point, a high ridge on one of the main mountains and the future site of an adult-only destination on the resort with exquisite indoor-outdoor dining experiences. From here the entire landscape is laid out perfectly in front of us, from the Jetty that will extend in front of the One&Only Majahua Beach Club for residents to harbor and set off on sea-faring endeavors. On the one-mile stretch of beachfront between the One&Only and Rosewood resorts will be the Canalan Beach Club with a beachside swimming pool and casual dining.

“It is very rare to find a landscape with so many unique and diverse ecosystems,” says our host Ricardo Santa Cruz, RSC president and CEO. RSC Development was enlisted by RHL Properties to oversee the sales of the developments on Mandarina, including the collection of One&Only Private Homes and Rosewood Mandarina residences.

“Mandarina was shaped thousands of years ago by a long-dormant volcano, creating dramatic cliffs amongst a dense rainforest, long stretches of sandy, swimmable beaches, flatlands and a natural estuary all in one place.” Juan Bremer, deputy CEO of RHL Properties, notes that one of the resort’s most unique and exceptional offerings is the world-class Polo and Equestrian Club that will sit within the flatlands of the property. “Capturing the equestrian spirit that is deeply rooted in Mexican culture, Mandarina’s facility will be a place where riders of all ages will gather, learn, practice and compete,” says Bremer.

Top photo: Rendering of Majahua Beach Club; Bottom photo: Rendering of The Jetty.

Apart from certain sections of the site that are already under construction, a large part of the property is waiting to be developed, which according to Santa Cruz will be done in stages, coinciding with the sales of the 55 One&Only Private Homes. Santa Cruz has been working and negotiating with citizens and authorities within the region for more than 10 years to acquire the land for Mandarina, an endeavor that has formed a closer relationship between Mandarina and the local towns along the coast. These relationships are a deeper reflection of RHL and RSC’s focus on the land and keeping the resort and residences as authentic to the region as possible.

Authenticity was a main priority to Santa Cruz and the development team, so much so that the resort’s amenities consistently reference the land’s history and natural beauty. For example, the fertile plots of farmland lining the road to the property will offer locally grown produce for a farm-to-table experience at the restaurants at The Point and beach clubs.

“We have set out to create a destination that is at once, respectful of the past and mindful of the future,” Santa Cruz affirms. “Through careful, very low-density land planning, Mandarina will preserve the topography, native flora, wildlife and ecosystems that currently thrive here.”

Rendering of the lounge area of The Plateau.

The architect of Mandarina, Rick Joy of Rick Joy Architects, has had a hand in every meticulous detail throughout the design process to ensure this sense of authenticity, with climate responsibility and landscape sensitivity also in mind. “At Mandarina, the design stems from a detailed site analysis, investigating the geology, climate, views, availability of local materials and ‘the building culture of place.’ The result is architecture that is at one with the site and its heritage,” says Santa Cruz.

Renderings from the One&Only Mandarina villas.

In Mandarina, every terrain you set foot on and every view your eyes capture is different from the next, a variety that is not only unique but engaging. RHL and RSC understand the need for unique experiences and tailored luxury and aim to prove with One&Only Mandarina how to engage not only in luxury, but with the physical world around us.

Top left photo: Rendering of One&Only Mandarina villa ; Bottom left photo: Rendering of the Plateua ; Right photo: Rendering of The Point.

All images courtesy Hayes Davidson and Mandarina.