I enter my room at this Autograph Collection Hotel in the Marriott family, going straight to the balcony and open the doors. What I see makes me giggle with delight. This is going to be an amazing stay.
I’d already been impressed by the welcoming staff in the Buenaventura’s breezy lobby, as I gratefully accepted a refreshing drink while I admired the vivid indigenous art decorating the downstairs walls and tables.
Upstairs, the beachy feel of my spacious room — with its pale greens and yellows softening the dark woods — immediately puts me in the holiday mood. The sunny balcony ushers me to a spectacular view of a curving lagoon complete with the relaxing sound of fountains. A few small bridges connect the lagoon to a treed-area where I can see the turquoise of several swimming pools peeking through palm fronds. Further out, past villas, is the deep blue of the Pacific. Bathing suit on, I go out to get a closer look.
Over a boardwalk bridge, I stroll past a small cocktail bar, with the enticing sound of ice being shaken inside. At the first pool I find, I’m tempted to crawl onto one of the canopied beds, but push on. Past more trees than I can name, I find tennis courts and follow the curving path towards a lighthouse. Next to an elegant restaurant are more pools — I quickly lose count at how many.
And then I arrive at the beach. The pale grey sand looks like it has diamonds sprinkled on it, as everywhere I look I see flashes of tiny light. The gentle waves beckon and I’m delighted to find the temperature neither too cold nor too warm. Indeed this is going to be an amazing stay.
I’m delighted at every turn at the Buenaventura. Though not a golfer, I admire the iconic trees, vast fairways, water features and landscaped sand gardens of the 18-hole Nicklaus-design golf course. I take photos at the animal rescue centre, giggling at the bearded goats and frolicking monkeys. I bliss out at the spa, wishing I had time for a second treatment.
And I eat, boy do I eat! And drink a fair bit too. The Buenaventura’s many bars and restaurants, both on-site and in the nearby residential community, are fantastic. Master mixologist Miguel treats me with a shaken passionfruit cocktail at the Palapa bar; I gorge myself on ceviche overlooking the pool and ocean at El Faro; I eat barbeque and paella on the beach at Bar Chiringuito; I breakfast on all my favourite fruits at lagoon-side Criollo. And I can’t resist any of the sweets, including the popsicles from the cart by the pool. There’s a traditional Japanese restaurant, a tapas bar, and so much more too.
My stay comes to an end before I can try it all, but I leave the Buenaventura happy, relaxed and eager to return.