For those people who remember the 1950’s (not me, of course, other than what my grandparents have told me), one of the distinguishing features was the inordinate number of abrasive and annoying commercials on television. Who can forget, even with therapy, the Wisk laundry soap ad with its “ring around the collar” jingle that can still bring zombies out of their graves on moonless nights.
The commercial that inspired the title of this post is the Certs commercial that always involved a spirited argument between two dweebs as to whether Certs is a breath mint or a candy mint. Mercifully, the announcer eventually intervenes to declare the both are right because Certs is “two (click), two (click), two mints in one”. If you need some enamel removed from your teeth, just click on the video link above and revisit yesteryear.
For some reason that not even my therapist can seem to fathom, my recent visit to Secrets Vallarta Bay in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico brought back memories of those Certs commercials. Certainly not because the resort was abrasive or annoying. Quite the contrary, it was wonderfully soothing and relaxing. I think it was because on several levels, the property is really two resorts in one.
Take the two pictures above. When you drive into the property from the airport, you would never guess the property sat on a mammoth, picturesque bay. The picture on the left is the view of Puerto Vallara from one side of the property. The picture on the right shows the view from the lobby with the bay stretching out across the horizon.
Granted the proximity to town produces some early morning rooster crowing and the occasional dog barking, not something you will hear at most resorts. On the other hand, it is within ten minutes walking distance of the Malecón. To quote my friend Suzanne Barbezat, “This wide waterfront promenade is lined with palm trees and dotted with bronze sculptures and other art.” I encourage you to read her excellent article here.
Secrets Resorts are famous for their Pevonia Spas. On this occasion I spent two very idyllic hours there. The first hour, I was guided through various stations (steam bath, sauna, ice bucket shower) which was not unlike being transported from Hell to Sweden to the polar caps over a fifteen minute span. This session culminated with a hydro therapy session consisting of jet-propulsed streams of water pummeling me with such force I found myself desperately clinging to my swimsuit with both hands. This area of the spa is co-ed and I had no interest in sparking an international incident over accusations of gringo exhibitionism.
The entire second hour I was stoned. Whoa, Nellie. Don’t jump to conclusions. I had a fifty minute spa treatment that included being pummeled by hot stones. I know, it sounds like an antiquated form of capital punishment but somehow it was quite soothing . . . in a barbaric sort of way.
The other aspect of the resort’s duality is quite literal. When you gaze at the picture at the very top of this post, you are actually looking at two separate resorts: Secrets Vallarta Bay and Now Amber Puerto Vallarta. The Now brand within AMResorts (the parent company of both properties) permits families and is a little more trendy / hip / chic than Secrets which probably explains me being discretely escorted back to my hotel where I was told I would “feel more comfortable”. (And here I thought my plaid shorts, stripped shirt and sandals with white socks were quite dapper.) I will save a more detailed description for another post.
To further confuse matters, the picture above was not taken at either property but at an offsite event at the Dreams Villamagna (another AMResorts brand) located a little further north in Riviera Nayarit. AMResorts has more brands that a Texas cattle ranch although I have yet to find one called , an actual Fort Worth cattle brand having nothing to do with the TV show Dallas. I have included the picture because it captures perfectly, for me at least, the exuberant hospitality that is Mexico. If you are looking for a stellar resort in a magnificent destination, Secrets Vallarta Bay is a great choice!