Insert: Paradise, The Hidden Gems Of Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

by on Tuesday, June 25th, 2019 with


IBN BATTUA SAYS: “Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” Here’s my story…

LAST BEACH, GET LOST VACATION: August 4th, 2012 (Yes 2012, you read this correctly, pass me the kleenex)

WHY: Because I haven’t thought I deserved one. The 2 car and insurance payments, mortgage, groceries, all the things my 2 pet rescues need ~ not just food, but constant attention ~ the yoga classes I want to avoid subbing out, the clients looking forward to their facials with me. The idea… I’m spending money to go on vacay and now not making money those days I’m away on the trip. It’s become a bit of a self defeating, vicious cycle wouldn’t you say? I figured no one noticed the rabbit hole I’ve plummeted down. But 2 people did.

WHO: My best friend, Romy, and another friend/colleague I’ve worked with for years now in the beauty and lifestyle space. Laura Filipowicz of ConnectHer Media and ConnectHer Travel, is building a network brick-by-brick that aligns the best and brightest, the most aspirational bloggers, vloggers, experts, You Tubers and influencers into a collective that’s sharing ideas on life about taking the best care of yourself.  She collaborated with the Riviera Nayarit, Mexico’s board of tourism and the Distinct All Inclusive Hotel Group to bring a group of ladies and teens to Riviera Nayarit for the adventure of a lifetime. Someone was unable to go last minute, and the opportunity to travel to Mexico landed square in my lap. Despite being down the proverbial rabbit hole, I didn’t hesitate to text Laura back 3 letters: YES! And with that one text… my travel instantly drought ended!

A Few Of The Influencers Of ConnectHer Travel! Romy Schorr, Me and Sharon Garofalow out on the ocean w/Vallarta Adventures

WHERE’S RIVIERA NAYARIT, MEXICO? The easiest way to get to Riviera Nayarit is by plane.  Think: Approx 3 hours from Los Angeles International Airport, as an initial point of reference. You’ll land in Puerto Vallarta and then grab a shuttle for a quick 30 minute ride north, out of the state of Jalisco into the adjacent state, Riviera Nayarit. RN has over 200 miles of pristine pacific coastline. But beyond the coast are lush mountains and nature sanctuaries to explore. You don’t have to choose here… you’ll have an opportunity to discover this luxurious spot by land, sea and air if you desire. I desired, I desired I exclaimed as I got off the plane covered head to toe in clothing. Worth noting less is MORE: Pack less, wear less and stay longer is my advice.


  1. THE PEOPLE: The souls/staff I interacted with at the hotels, on adventures, shopping around town where truly some of the warmest, dearest folks I’ve crossed paths with EVER. It’s the first thing I wanted to tell you about as I wrote this blog.
  2. THE ACCOMMODATIONS: Make you feel like it’s a way more luxurious version of your own home.
  3. THE ADVENTURES: You get the opportunity to get lost… down streets, on hidden beaches, in the jungle and not only lose yourself BUT re-meet yourself along that journey as it comes to a close. It gives you a  sense of freedom, a light heart and and uplifted spirit.  It delivers a fresh perspective through a new lens (More about #3 in my dedicated Riviera Nayarit Adventure Blog next).


This is the internal conversation that played over and over in my head as I walk through the front doors of my Marival Distinct residence. It’s not a hotel room, nope! It’s a RESIDENCE! The 169 room property boasts a number of accommodations that are 1400 square feet with a long, huge balcony and ocean front view. Lets by crystal: this is bigger than my house back in Los Angeles. The furnishings were elegant, the kitchen well appointment (not that I planned on cooking, the restaurants on the property are divine) and the bathroom tub had a huge sliding window that opened up onto the master suite. I walked out on the balcony and inhaled the fresh ocean air and suddenly that laundry list of stress and responsibilities began to evaporate – just like that. Mainly because of a text that said “Yes.”  Then I noticed a bottle on wine, plate of chocolate covered strawberries and a welcome note saying “Hey glad you made it.” Dear Management, I made it and am never checking out! Love, Stacy”


The great thing about Marival Distinct and Marival Armony (which I’ll touch upon a moment) is you don’t need to walk about with a heavy wallet and purse. All inclusive means your food and beverages are included in your stay. So it’s one less thing to have to budget for when planning this type of  beach adventure. There are 4 restaurants at Distinct helmed by Chef Alfredo who loves to mix local flavors with his knowledge of international ingredients. Whether you’re a meat eater, vegetarian, pescatarian or vegan… you’ll never be hungry and your glass never empty. The team of waiters and waitresses were “game on” start to finish. Gracious, helpful and kind are the 3 adjectives I’d use to describe them.


Have you been to a resort a spa before? I have! As an esthetician celebrating 20 years in my craft, I’ve been to spas on a somewhere regular basis to vet them and see what new treatments and technologies are entering the anti-aging, relaxation space. So I’d normally tell you… “I’ve seen it all, tried it all!” Well this is until Marival Distinct’s General Manager, took us all on a tour of “Melange.” Yeah, I about died and went to heaven. Why? What was so different here? Melange is French for “Mixture Of Components.” Translation? This spa is building it’s treatments from around the world. And each treatment room is designed around a country and it’s ancestral spa traditions for you to immerse yourself in. For example, want a quick to trip Italy? You’ll have it right here in Riviera Nayarit with a lesson in the tradition of grape crushing followed by a wine-infused bath therapy in an original wooden barrel while they deliver you a wine tasting in your private spa suite. Can you say decadent?


  1. GOLF: Tee off as many times as you want? Really? Yes Really at the Flamingos Championship golf course just a stone’s throw from Distinct. (some extra cost may be involved but the Concierge will guide you)
  2. HAVE KIDS: Their Marival Kids Program works with kids from ages 4 to 12 and delivers more entertainment options than your kids will be able to do in one visit. And it gives you the freedom to take a nap or escape for a few hours to yourself.
  3. READY FOR AN ADRENALINE RUSH? The Distinct staff will help you map out a plan of action whether you want to zip line, thriller jet boat (gulp), inspect a pirate ship or go whale watching. The options are pretty limitless! In my next post I’ll fill you in on my off roading ATV trip, buckle yourself in.


The Marival family isn’t one to rest on their accomplishments thus far. They strive, they push envelops, they want to reign supreme not just in Mexico but world wide as a premiere destination for travelers. For this reason alone, THIS is why I’ve decided to plan my future vacays with them. I can relate to the company at our shared core values. So It I’m putting my money on them in 2 weeks when (drum roll…) Marival Armony opens it’s heart and soul, infinity pool, cabanas and sexy sandy beach up to the world for the first time ever. The ConnectHer Travel team and I got a preview of the brand new rooms, suites and social enclave at the pool and beach. Accommodations were, well in a word “sexy!” Dark rich wood accents, deep purple and blue hues throughout, plush, high tread count sheets, L’Occitane bath products… no expense was spared. By the time I jumped into the overside bathtub in one suite I was completely in the zone. Their Kids/Teen Club was, in a thought? Like the BUT the spot to hang? The infinity pool with swim up bar. That’s where the community spirit was running high and everyone was listening to music engaging each other and socializing to no end. And this brings me to the Armory Beach. It’s off the chain. One half of it, you could drop yourself into a lounge chair and chill. OR you could head off to your right and it felt deserted! So hey when in Rome… Photographer Amanda San Martin coached me through my very first “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model” photo shoot. I was nervous… I think it goes without saying, especially if you know me. But I took a deep breath and allowed myself to be cradled by the warm ocean water, breeze, sunshine and Amanda’s encouragement and just go for it. What do you think for a first try? Marival Armony is short for “Harmony” and I definitely felt the oneness with the energy and spirt of this resort. World watch out Riviera Nayarit has been experiencing a renaissance over the last decade, but bigger than this it’s about to blow up on the map of top 10 most sought after tickets to ride the world over.


Conjour up this image with me of the Marival Distinct Bellman and my suitcase going back and forth as he tries to load it on the luggage trolly and me trying to pull it off. He’s telling me “Ms. Cox you’ll miss your flight back to LA!” Okay maybe it wasn’t this dramatic L.O.L. but I sure was more ready to stay in Riviera Nayarit than travel back home. I think a couple more days would have done the trick. My advice is give yourself a fill week to decompress and live it up. It was just so relaxing and fun at the same time. Your “cup” was never empty from the moment you checked in but your heart was even fuller as you headed home.  I’m bustingout of my “rabbit hole” once and for all. ConnectHer Travel and my new Marival Family have proven to me there’s a happier, healthier way to live life! Vamos a hacerlo!

DISCLOSURE: I was NOT monetarily compensated for this blog post. The opinions, thoughts and ideas I’m presenting you are my own as a result of this journey.  Riviera Nayarit and the Marival Resorts did provide me hotel accommodations, meals and transportation throughout and clearly I appreciate the kindness. Hope you love and share this blog around, plan your own trip and promote a little good will and tourism in a state of Mexico that’s doing the work everyday to earn our support.

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