A look inside Mexico's first all-inclusive Marriott resort: Travel Weekly

As Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit continues to evolve and expand, so does its all-inclusive scene. For years, the bulk of all-inclusive resorts were clustered in Nuevo Vallarta. But as tourism continues to move north from Puerto Vallarta, so, too, do trusted brands bringing their loyal followers to the region. Enter Delta Hotels by Marriott Riviera Nayarit, an All-Inclusive Resort.

Turning off Highway 200, 30 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta, guests arrive at a landscaped community made up of several hotels whose rooms climb up the jungle-covered hillsides. Delta Hotels by Marriott Riviera Nayarit is one of the first resorts in the complex. It’s a small resort, which means it won’t be long from check-in to poolside.

After checking in at the open-air lobby, we were taken by golf cart up a steep, winding hill to our room building, whose balcony had a sweeping view of the mountains and out to the Bay of Banderas. Though not on the beach, the property offers a quiet, tucked-away setting with lovely jungle-meets-ocean views. The resort is not necessarily large enough to warrant the use of golf carts — it’s certainly walkable — but the steep hills may mean guests would be more comfortable moving around by golf cart.

Rooms at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Riviera Nayarit are spacious and comfy if a bit nondescript.

Rooms are spacious and comfortable if a bit nondescript. The buildings themselves are topped with palapa-style roofs, but the interiors swing minimalist and a bit spartan. Still, the air conditioning is strong and the beds cozy.

• Related: Taking stock of Marriott’s all-inclusive strategy

Marriott’s first all-inclusive resort in Mexico opened in the hills behind the small fishing village of La Cruz de Huanacaxtle exactly a year ago. The opening was part of a Marriott plan announced in 2019 to grow its all-inclusive footprint in Mexico. The Delta Hotels by Marriott, Riviera Nayarit is a conversion of what used to be the Grand Matlali Hills Resort and Spa.

The majority of the 117 rooms are up the hillside, close to the resort’s main focal point, its turquoise infinity pool. Around the pool is the casual grill and snack bar, serving everything from fajitas to burgers and salads. Closer to the lobby is the Huichol Cocina Artesanal Mexican restaurant as well as Komorebi Teppanyaki, which is a must for dinner. New to the resort is a food truck that serves a different menu every night of the week.

Delta Hotels by Marriott also feature a 24-hour Delta Pantry. This snack station is always stocked with a variety of grab-and-go food and beverages, from breakfast pastries to healthy fruit, coffee and sandwiches.

No beach. But a beach club

While the resort may not be directly on the beach, it did open a new beach club on July 3. The Tonati Beach Club is located across the highway in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle and serves a casual dining menu of ceviches, aguachile and tostadas as well as vegetarian options. The club has a thatched palapa rooftop, bright turquoise walls and plenty of electrical outlets so those who are on a working holiday will find ways to both unplug and stay connected. The club is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the resort offers a complimentary shuttle to and from the resort.

One of the highlights at Delta is its intimate Tzicuri Spa, with 10 treatment rooms and a relaxation area with its own private pool. We were treated to a wonderful couples’ massage, complete with soaking tub experience and a bottle of sparkling wine.

Still to come …

The resort is in the process of expanding to include an additional 83 guestrooms, which would bring the count up to 200. Guests staying at the resort right now may experience some of the construction noise, but the promise of what is to come is really quite exciting. (And by the way, the noise isn’t that bad. Still, I’d recommend rooms on a higher floor in either of the two buildings up by the pool.)

• Related: What’s on tap for the Riviera Nayarit for 2022

Not only will the resort have the new rooms, it will also have one of the largest waterparks on Mexico’s Pacific coast. The park will have cascading pools and hot tubs and a lazy river as well as sections that are reserved for adults only. For anyone who has ever visited the Tolantongo caves in the state of Hidalgo, the design of the waterpark will instantly look familiar. The park is expected to open in the first quarter of 2023. The addition of guestrooms will begin after the waterpark is finished.

Komorebi Teppanyaki is a must for dinner.

While the hotel is all-inclusive, its location at the beginning of the Riviera Nayarit means it’s a wonderful home base from which to explore the other towns in the area. It’s less than an hour from iconic destinations like Punta Mita, Sayulita and San Pancho. And, of course, it is just half an hour from the energy and entertainment of Puerto Vallarta.

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