Conrad Punta de Mita Resort travel review
I first heard the ‘advice’ from a colleague when I was pregnant: the old cliché that once you have children, you no longer have ‘holidays’, but ‘trips ‘. The implication is that rest and relaxation from your previous life as a childless person on vacation is no longer a thing, and instead those getaways you lovingly and painstakingly plan for your family would become a little less carefree, to say the least.
Now, as a mother of a three-year-old, I’ve found that to be absolutely true. There are several silver linings, however, not the least of which is building my daughter’s first positive memories of those trips. But what about me? I crave the release of a trip to somewhere relaxing, self-care that a great vacation can be, but I haven’t taken that kind of vacation in quite a long time.
As Editorial Director of Motherly, I know firsthand all the ways mums need self-care but don’t understand them, whether it’s because we don’t have the time, money or space to that, or the myriad other priorities that occupy our mental space. In this year’s State of Motherhood Survey, 38% of Millennial and Gen Z mothers said they felt exhausted, while 67% said they had less than an hour of alone time that was not work or family oriented (Read that: less than an hour.) This is all close to home, as a busy working parent, so when I was approached to try a wellness retreat in Mexico this summer, it was a welcome invitation.
For four days, Hilton invited me to Conrad Punta de Mita to test the experiences designed to add a more explicit layer of well-being to a holidayincluding sunrise yoga, morning walks on the beach, massage at the hotel spa and the Temazcal experience which promised a “healing ceremony to cleanse the body and heal the mind through heat, herbal steam, chanting and meditative moments. I said yes to everything – what exhausted mother wouldn’t? Of course, I know I wouldn’t be able to do all of this without the support of a partner who can look after our child while I’m gone. My husband gave his blessing and assured me that he and our daughter would be fine without me for four days.
Apart from these events, the sheer lure of traveling alone spoke to my soul. I only had to prepare myself for this trip, I would navigate through airports (and immigration and customs) and ground transportation to the hotel, on my own. No one else to take care of but myself. I set out on my journey, with bags full of stuff just for me.
Located in the state of Nayarit, Punta Mita is on the west coast of Mexico, about 24 miles from Puerto Vallarta (and about a 45-minute drive from the airport). The relatively new Conrad Punta de Mita (Conrad being Hilton’s brand of modern luxury hotels and resorts) is directly on the beach, as is my room. The stylish yet comfortable resort has 265 rooms, ranging from king and queen rooms with balconies to suites with private pools.
Once installed in my room, I repeat: only— I expired.
With a group of fellow journalists, I experienced what the Conrad Punta de Mita had to offer: the spa’s “melting, relaxing” massage (no lies detected), three swimming pools (an infinity pool, an adults-only one with a swim-up bar, and one with a slide, which of course I had to try several times, for research), and the crown of the whole trip: the Temazcal experience.
I had never done anything like Temazcal (apart from a steam room, which really only has steam in common with Temazcal). After explaining that the structure itself represents the earth and the mother, and that entering it is like entering the womb, a shaman read our energies. We each wrote down things we were trying to let fall on one piece of paper, along with things we wanted to let in on the other side. I didn’t have to dig deep to prioritize what I wanted to let go of, writing down the daily fears and anxieties I have raising my child in today’s world. What did I want to let in? The opposite of anxiety: peace. We then ceremoniously burned the paper.
Once inside, the four-part ritual included guided meditation, chanting, and lots and lots of steam, which deeply enlightened me. I’m sweating buckets (the intention). I cried. I shared my fears with the group, symbolically dropping everything. I purged toxins, tears and sweat.
My other wellness experiences may have been less profound than the Temazcal, but they were no less rejuvenating. Although I had given myself permission to sleep during the trip (any mother knows how much sleep = well-being), I surprised myself getting out of bed before the sun rose on the first day to participate at sunrise yoga on the beach. My massage was just as relaxing as one might think. The sunsets and sunrises were stunning.
After being taken away for some pampering, a funny thing happened after all that alone time.
I missed my family.
I looked around my plush bedroom just for me and imagined them there; I could imagine them enjoying the view and the fresh air in person. I could see my daughter sliding down the waterslide. For all the features of the Conrad that make it the perfect getaway for single moms, it has just as many family attractions, including the myriad of pools, a gorgeous beach, pickleball, paddle boarding, restaurants with tailored menus for children, a games room, and even babysitting on site. (Although the Conrad Punta de Mita is not all-inclusive, several of Conrad’s resorts in Mexico are all-inclusive.)
Of course I’m on vacation alone, I miss my family, I thought. I smiled to myself, thinking of that other cliche that matched – how you can’t pour from an empty cup. I had filled mine, and now I was ready to go home.
It was most definitely a vacation, but on reflection, I don’t think traveling with children is anything to dread. Are they over work? Usually, especially if you are the default parent.
Since my trip to Punta Mita, I have been thinking about how to incorporate elements of my wellness retreat into future family trips. I could get up for a sunrise walk, find a yoga class, or maybe just sleep in, letting my husband know that these little excursions are important to me. They might not make a family trip the laid-back vacation of my kidless days, but that’s okay. I’ll take the memories any day.
This trip was paid for by Hilton but all opinions expressed here belong to the author.