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W Hotel Opens a New Puerto Vallarta Luxury Resort

W Hotel Opens a New Puerto Vallarta Luxury Resort

The W Punta de Mita officially opened this month and is set to cause waves as it brings the W’s upscale experience to the Nayarit coast. That means a stunning lobby (called the living room) designed by Mister Important Design, a 2016 worldwide finalist in the Gold Key Awards for Best Resort. Decor inspiration is derived from the local Huichol civilization and also designed by local artists. Nightly DJs play tunes around the large outdoor pool and wet area, and there’s a pervasive sense of elegance sans ceremony on the property.

Most guests at W Punta de Mita come from the Unites States by flying into Puerto Vallarta International Airport and getting a taxi or shuttle to take them the 20 miles to the resort. The drive takes about 45 minutes. The resort is situated in an upscale development named Los Veneros. After passing through the manned entry gate, the resort is set back about a half mile down a secluded lane.

Rooms and Suites

W Punta de Mita offers three types of accommodations among its 130 rooms and suites. All have a private patio or balcony, a deep bath large enough for two, a separate shower, high speed Wi-Fi (free if you book via the W web site), TV with satellite channels (English, Spanish, and German), the W Signature Bed, free bottled water, pay minibar, and opening windows. The most numerous room type, and the one that I had on a media trip, is an Ocean View Guestroom. I unlocked the door to reveal a patio (complete with a hanging chair) that led to the room, entered via floor-to-ceiling sliding doors.

A technicolor standing shelving unit separates the main part of the room, containing the bed, coffee table, and couch, from the bathroom section that was split into three with a toilet room, a vanity with two bowls, and a room with a rain shower and the deep, square bath. At the back of the room is floor-to-ceiling glass with a door that opens onto a small patio with sun loungers that overlook an elaborate terraced lake system. Regarding the room, I especially liked the tub-to-ceiling window in the bathroom, providing an impressive view of the Pacific.

The Spa

The 4,000-square-foot Away Spa at Punta de Mita is set in a jungle environment and is built with an indoor/outdoor use in mind. After a refreshing massage, step out onto the patio for a plunge in a cold pool. In addition to massages, the spa offers a full range of services and is also the area used for yoga classes.

Nearby is the 24-hour, fully equipped, smartphone-ready gym with personal trainers available.

Dining

Dining at W Punta de Mita is set in one of two restaurants. The casual option is Venazú, a take on modern regional Mexican with a healthy number of American favorites such as a burger. This is also where breakfast is served. Each day, the self-service tables groan under the weight of the kind of things you normally only find at a weekend brunch. I got into a routine of smoked salmon with fixings, then a charcuterie plate, followed by scrambled eggs and bacon. Illy coffee is a welcome touch, too.

The slightly more formal (in that resort wear is the universal norm at W Punta de Mita) is Spice Market. This Jean-Georges Vongerichten concept, already in New York and Doha, is based around Asian food of the Gulf of Thailand rim (Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam). Food is served family-style, continuously throughout the meal. Look for soy cured salmon, spicy chicken samosas, and roasted bass.

The most spectacular dining experience is to dine on an island at the center of the lake, accessible only by electrically powered steps that rise out of the water. For one couple, the churros arrived via drone.

Water

There is, of course, a large pool and wet area (with a ceviche bar). But my favorite before-breakfast swim was in the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean. Step out of the resort straight onto the white sand beach and less than 100 yards away are rolling breakers up to about three feet high. They provide exhilarating stress relief and the occasional thrill. There are surfing classes available here, too, weather permitting.

W Insider Program Gets Me to a Tequila Distillery

One special advantage of the W Punta de Mita over other resorts is the “W Insider” program. It is an extension of the traditional concierge. The “Insider” is a staff member responsible for having deep local knowledge for questions that a guest might ask. For example, where can I rent a horse? Or, I want to propose to my girlfriend with a message delivered by drone; do you know anyone in the area who can do that? My requests were simpler: I wanted to tour a tequila distillery (since Puerto Vallarta is in Jalisco, ground zero for tequila), and I wanted to do a taco tour of Puerto Vallarta. W Insider on premises, Jose Manuel Amaro, nailed both (reported on in related articles).


Elevated Cuisine: This Mexican Resort Offers Dinner in the Sky

At Casa Velas in Puerto Vallarta, dinner is served 150 feet in the air.

Imagine you’re on vacation in Puerto Vallarta, home to one of the most gorgeous beaches in Mexico, and after a long, hard day of sipping margaritas by the Bah໚ de Banderas, a renowned chef makes you a delicious four-course dinner from local ingredients—which you enjoy while seated 150 feet above the ocean. No, this is neither a dream nor a children’s book nor the result of drinking ayahuasca. It’s called Dinner in the Sky, and, in line with the recent trend of over-the-top resort programs, it’s a luxury dining experience that brings you face-to-face with the moon.

Dinner In The Sky started eleven years ago in Belgium, when a communications firm specializing in gourmet food teamed up with an amusement park installation company to create a magical airborne culinary event: A chef and guests are strapped to a crane like roller coaster riders and hoisted into the sky for dinner.

The table rises slowly from its platform on the grass. The mountains stand silhouetted black against the dark-blue sky. Downtown Puerto Vallarta twinkles below. Pop music rings out and everyone cheers and takes selfies and chatters about not looking down.

“When we were little,” says co-founder David Ghysels, “we liked to climb trees and build tree houses. We liked to see without being seen. We liked to play chef and eat cake. That’s how we came up with this idea. Dinner In The Sky speaks to the kid brain.” Since 2006, Dinner In The Sky has made its way around the world, most recently to Casa Velas in Puerto Vallarta, a high-end, all-inclusive resort that offers this experience to its guests for an extra $50 per person. (For non-resort guests, the price is $171 per person.)

The evening begins in a small ballroom. Employees in tuxedos stand behind blackjack tables, in case you want to gamble with pretend money. Waiters come around to take your drink order�use after all, if you’re going to be suspended 150 feet in the air, it’s not unreasonable to down a cocktail first. The Dinner In The Sky specialty drink, the Sky High Signature Cocktail, is blue—like the sky!𠅊nd made of Skyy Vodka, lemon soda, grapefruit juice, and blue curacao (just shake it with ice and strain it into a chilled glass). Someone also comes around with release forms, in case you fall out of the crane (which, the employees will assure you, is very unlikely). After an hour, everyone walks or golf-carts down a tiki torch-lit path to the canopied dinner table, which is ringed by twenty-two high-tech swivel chairs. It’s dusk. Waiting in line, guests are a little bit nervous, a little bit excited. Let’s just say you’ll hear a lot of jokes about falling out of the crane (really, you probably won’t fall out of the crane).

For obvious reasons, safety precautions are a big deal, so it takes a while for the staff to strap each person in and, equally necessary, get everyone set up with a shot of tequila. And then you’re off. Or rather, up. The table rises slowly from its platform on the grass. The mountains stand silhouetted black against the dark-blue sky. Downtown Puerto Vallarta twinkles below. Pop music rings out and everyone cheers and takes selfies and chatters about not looking down. Here’s the thing about looking down: You realize just how high up you are, and that there’s nothing under your feet.

There’s a new chef every couple of days, but for my Dinner In The Sky experience, I have Chef Massimo Fongaro of the Guadalajara Italian restaurant Sagrantino. Once we’re airborne, he announces the menu: a scallop raspberry aguachile appetizer, lobster lasagna, beef fillet with corn polenta and fresh truffles (the polenta and the truffles, unavailable in Mexico, are the only imported ingredients), and passionfruit tiramisu. He’s prepared everything in advance, but the crane comes equipped with a six-tray oven and two electric stovetops for heating the sauces. After the chef’s announcement, everything happens pretty quickly�use, really, for how long can you keep twenty-odd people who are swilling drinks 150 feet in the air without a bathroom? The meal itself lasts about an hour. During the lobster lasagna (which is, like the other courses, as delicious as it sounds), the table starts making slow rotations, giving everyone a panorama view. During the beef fillet, the fireworks go off. It’s a little awkward trying to eat while constrained by a safety harness, but even that is part of the fun.

If you’re acrophobic, this might not be the dinner event for you, but if heights just make your stomach tingle, the experience is exhilarating. It’s the kind of thing that’s hard to imagine, the kind of thing you have to just do, like public speaking or cannon-balling into a cold mountain stream, but the combination of being way up in the air while drinking alcohol and eating gourmet food is a drug. Everyone is smiling and laughing, high on being…well, high. Even once we finish dessert and are lowered back to the grass, there’s a buzzy reluctance to let the party end.

After all, Dinner In The Sky is a brief escape from life. That’s what luxury hotels and resorts are peddling these days—not just relaxation, but fantasy. Amid pressure to stay competitive, resorts like Casa Velas offer everything from pillow menus𠅊t Conrad Bali, you have twelve pillows to choose from, including the 𠇌uddle ‘U’ Pillow,” a U-shaped pillow for cuddling if you’re spending the night alone—to free Bulgari beauty products, to personalized flower selections. Sometimes the efforts feel embarrassing, or at least unnecessary: Do we really need free rubber duckies, a private garden tub, or bamboo-lined outdoor showers? Probably not. But every now and then, a hotel comes up with something cool. Something that gets you so high, the real world and its attendant heartbreaks become tiny enough to forget.


Elevated Cuisine: This Mexican Resort Offers Dinner in the Sky

At Casa Velas in Puerto Vallarta, dinner is served 150 feet in the air.

Imagine you’re on vacation in Puerto Vallarta, home to one of the most gorgeous beaches in Mexico, and after a long, hard day of sipping margaritas by the Bah໚ de Banderas, a renowned chef makes you a delicious four-course dinner from local ingredients—which you enjoy while seated 150 feet above the ocean. No, this is neither a dream nor a children’s book nor the result of drinking ayahuasca. It’s called Dinner in the Sky, and, in line with the recent trend of over-the-top resort programs, it’s a luxury dining experience that brings you face-to-face with the moon.

Dinner In The Sky started eleven years ago in Belgium, when a communications firm specializing in gourmet food teamed up with an amusement park installation company to create a magical airborne culinary event: A chef and guests are strapped to a crane like roller coaster riders and hoisted into the sky for dinner.

The table rises slowly from its platform on the grass. The mountains stand silhouetted black against the dark-blue sky. Downtown Puerto Vallarta twinkles below. Pop music rings out and everyone cheers and takes selfies and chatters about not looking down.

“When we were little,” says co-founder David Ghysels, “we liked to climb trees and build tree houses. We liked to see without being seen. We liked to play chef and eat cake. That’s how we came up with this idea. Dinner In The Sky speaks to the kid brain.” Since 2006, Dinner In The Sky has made its way around the world, most recently to Casa Velas in Puerto Vallarta, a high-end, all-inclusive resort that offers this experience to its guests for an extra $50 per person. (For non-resort guests, the price is $171 per person.)

The evening begins in a small ballroom. Employees in tuxedos stand behind blackjack tables, in case you want to gamble with pretend money. Waiters come around to take your drink order�use after all, if you’re going to be suspended 150 feet in the air, it’s not unreasonable to down a cocktail first. The Dinner In The Sky specialty drink, the Sky High Signature Cocktail, is blue—like the sky!𠅊nd made of Skyy Vodka, lemon soda, grapefruit juice, and blue curacao (just shake it with ice and strain it into a chilled glass). Someone also comes around with release forms, in case you fall out of the crane (which, the employees will assure you, is very unlikely). After an hour, everyone walks or golf-carts down a tiki torch-lit path to the canopied dinner table, which is ringed by twenty-two high-tech swivel chairs. It’s dusk. Waiting in line, guests are a little bit nervous, a little bit excited. Let’s just say you’ll hear a lot of jokes about falling out of the crane (really, you probably won’t fall out of the crane).

For obvious reasons, safety precautions are a big deal, so it takes a while for the staff to strap each person in and, equally necessary, get everyone set up with a shot of tequila. And then you’re off. Or rather, up. The table rises slowly from its platform on the grass. The mountains stand silhouetted black against the dark-blue sky. Downtown Puerto Vallarta twinkles below. Pop music rings out and everyone cheers and takes selfies and chatters about not looking down. Here’s the thing about looking down: You realize just how high up you are, and that there’s nothing under your feet.

There’s a new chef every couple of days, but for my Dinner In The Sky experience, I have Chef Massimo Fongaro of the Guadalajara Italian restaurant Sagrantino. Once we’re airborne, he announces the menu: a scallop raspberry aguachile appetizer, lobster lasagna, beef fillet with corn polenta and fresh truffles (the polenta and the truffles, unavailable in Mexico, are the only imported ingredients), and passionfruit tiramisu. He’s prepared everything in advance, but the crane comes equipped with a six-tray oven and two electric stovetops for heating the sauces. After the chef’s announcement, everything happens pretty quickly�use, really, for how long can you keep twenty-odd people who are swilling drinks 150 feet in the air without a bathroom? The meal itself lasts about an hour. During the lobster lasagna (which is, like the other courses, as delicious as it sounds), the table starts making slow rotations, giving everyone a panorama view. During the beef fillet, the fireworks go off. It’s a little awkward trying to eat while constrained by a safety harness, but even that is part of the fun.

If you’re acrophobic, this might not be the dinner event for you, but if heights just make your stomach tingle, the experience is exhilarating. It’s the kind of thing that’s hard to imagine, the kind of thing you have to just do, like public speaking or cannon-balling into a cold mountain stream, but the combination of being way up in the air while drinking alcohol and eating gourmet food is a drug. Everyone is smiling and laughing, high on being…well, high. Even once we finish dessert and are lowered back to the grass, there’s a buzzy reluctance to let the party end.

After all, Dinner In The Sky is a brief escape from life. That’s what luxury hotels and resorts are peddling these days—not just relaxation, but fantasy. Amid pressure to stay competitive, resorts like Casa Velas offer everything from pillow menus𠅊t Conrad Bali, you have twelve pillows to choose from, including the 𠇌uddle ‘U’ Pillow,” a U-shaped pillow for cuddling if you’re spending the night alone—to free Bulgari beauty products, to personalized flower selections. Sometimes the efforts feel embarrassing, or at least unnecessary: Do we really need free rubber duckies, a private garden tub, or bamboo-lined outdoor showers? Probably not. But every now and then, a hotel comes up with something cool. Something that gets you so high, the real world and its attendant heartbreaks become tiny enough to forget.


Elevated Cuisine: This Mexican Resort Offers Dinner in the Sky

At Casa Velas in Puerto Vallarta, dinner is served 150 feet in the air.

Imagine you’re on vacation in Puerto Vallarta, home to one of the most gorgeous beaches in Mexico, and after a long, hard day of sipping margaritas by the Bah໚ de Banderas, a renowned chef makes you a delicious four-course dinner from local ingredients—which you enjoy while seated 150 feet above the ocean. No, this is neither a dream nor a children’s book nor the result of drinking ayahuasca. It’s called Dinner in the Sky, and, in line with the recent trend of over-the-top resort programs, it’s a luxury dining experience that brings you face-to-face with the moon.

Dinner In The Sky started eleven years ago in Belgium, when a communications firm specializing in gourmet food teamed up with an amusement park installation company to create a magical airborne culinary event: A chef and guests are strapped to a crane like roller coaster riders and hoisted into the sky for dinner.

The table rises slowly from its platform on the grass. The mountains stand silhouetted black against the dark-blue sky. Downtown Puerto Vallarta twinkles below. Pop music rings out and everyone cheers and takes selfies and chatters about not looking down.

“When we were little,” says co-founder David Ghysels, “we liked to climb trees and build tree houses. We liked to see without being seen. We liked to play chef and eat cake. That’s how we came up with this idea. Dinner In The Sky speaks to the kid brain.” Since 2006, Dinner In The Sky has made its way around the world, most recently to Casa Velas in Puerto Vallarta, a high-end, all-inclusive resort that offers this experience to its guests for an extra $50 per person. (For non-resort guests, the price is $171 per person.)

The evening begins in a small ballroom. Employees in tuxedos stand behind blackjack tables, in case you want to gamble with pretend money. Waiters come around to take your drink order�use after all, if you’re going to be suspended 150 feet in the air, it’s not unreasonable to down a cocktail first. The Dinner In The Sky specialty drink, the Sky High Signature Cocktail, is blue—like the sky!𠅊nd made of Skyy Vodka, lemon soda, grapefruit juice, and blue curacao (just shake it with ice and strain it into a chilled glass). Someone also comes around with release forms, in case you fall out of the crane (which, the employees will assure you, is very unlikely). After an hour, everyone walks or golf-carts down a tiki torch-lit path to the canopied dinner table, which is ringed by twenty-two high-tech swivel chairs. It’s dusk. Waiting in line, guests are a little bit nervous, a little bit excited. Let’s just say you’ll hear a lot of jokes about falling out of the crane (really, you probably won’t fall out of the crane).

For obvious reasons, safety precautions are a big deal, so it takes a while for the staff to strap each person in and, equally necessary, get everyone set up with a shot of tequila. And then you’re off. Or rather, up. The table rises slowly from its platform on the grass. The mountains stand silhouetted black against the dark-blue sky. Downtown Puerto Vallarta twinkles below. Pop music rings out and everyone cheers and takes selfies and chatters about not looking down. Here’s the thing about looking down: You realize just how high up you are, and that there’s nothing under your feet.

There’s a new chef every couple of days, but for my Dinner In The Sky experience, I have Chef Massimo Fongaro of the Guadalajara Italian restaurant Sagrantino. Once we’re airborne, he announces the menu: a scallop raspberry aguachile appetizer, lobster lasagna, beef fillet with corn polenta and fresh truffles (the polenta and the truffles, unavailable in Mexico, are the only imported ingredients), and passionfruit tiramisu. He’s prepared everything in advance, but the crane comes equipped with a six-tray oven and two electric stovetops for heating the sauces. After the chef’s announcement, everything happens pretty quickly�use, really, for how long can you keep twenty-odd people who are swilling drinks 150 feet in the air without a bathroom? The meal itself lasts about an hour. During the lobster lasagna (which is, like the other courses, as delicious as it sounds), the table starts making slow rotations, giving everyone a panorama view. During the beef fillet, the fireworks go off. It’s a little awkward trying to eat while constrained by a safety harness, but even that is part of the fun.

If you’re acrophobic, this might not be the dinner event for you, but if heights just make your stomach tingle, the experience is exhilarating. It’s the kind of thing that’s hard to imagine, the kind of thing you have to just do, like public speaking or cannon-balling into a cold mountain stream, but the combination of being way up in the air while drinking alcohol and eating gourmet food is a drug. Everyone is smiling and laughing, high on being…well, high. Even once we finish dessert and are lowered back to the grass, there’s a buzzy reluctance to let the party end.

After all, Dinner In The Sky is a brief escape from life. That’s what luxury hotels and resorts are peddling these days—not just relaxation, but fantasy. Amid pressure to stay competitive, resorts like Casa Velas offer everything from pillow menus𠅊t Conrad Bali, you have twelve pillows to choose from, including the 𠇌uddle ‘U’ Pillow,” a U-shaped pillow for cuddling if you’re spending the night alone—to free Bulgari beauty products, to personalized flower selections. Sometimes the efforts feel embarrassing, or at least unnecessary: Do we really need free rubber duckies, a private garden tub, or bamboo-lined outdoor showers? Probably not. But every now and then, a hotel comes up with something cool. Something that gets you so high, the real world and its attendant heartbreaks become tiny enough to forget.


Elevated Cuisine: This Mexican Resort Offers Dinner in the Sky

At Casa Velas in Puerto Vallarta, dinner is served 150 feet in the air.

Imagine you’re on vacation in Puerto Vallarta, home to one of the most gorgeous beaches in Mexico, and after a long, hard day of sipping margaritas by the Bah໚ de Banderas, a renowned chef makes you a delicious four-course dinner from local ingredients—which you enjoy while seated 150 feet above the ocean. No, this is neither a dream nor a children’s book nor the result of drinking ayahuasca. It’s called Dinner in the Sky, and, in line with the recent trend of over-the-top resort programs, it’s a luxury dining experience that brings you face-to-face with the moon.

Dinner In The Sky started eleven years ago in Belgium, when a communications firm specializing in gourmet food teamed up with an amusement park installation company to create a magical airborne culinary event: A chef and guests are strapped to a crane like roller coaster riders and hoisted into the sky for dinner.

The table rises slowly from its platform on the grass. The mountains stand silhouetted black against the dark-blue sky. Downtown Puerto Vallarta twinkles below. Pop music rings out and everyone cheers and takes selfies and chatters about not looking down.

“When we were little,” says co-founder David Ghysels, “we liked to climb trees and build tree houses. We liked to see without being seen. We liked to play chef and eat cake. That’s how we came up with this idea. Dinner In The Sky speaks to the kid brain.” Since 2006, Dinner In The Sky has made its way around the world, most recently to Casa Velas in Puerto Vallarta, a high-end, all-inclusive resort that offers this experience to its guests for an extra $50 per person. (For non-resort guests, the price is $171 per person.)

The evening begins in a small ballroom. Employees in tuxedos stand behind blackjack tables, in case you want to gamble with pretend money. Waiters come around to take your drink order�use after all, if you’re going to be suspended 150 feet in the air, it’s not unreasonable to down a cocktail first. The Dinner In The Sky specialty drink, the Sky High Signature Cocktail, is blue—like the sky!𠅊nd made of Skyy Vodka, lemon soda, grapefruit juice, and blue curacao (just shake it with ice and strain it into a chilled glass). Someone also comes around with release forms, in case you fall out of the crane (which, the employees will assure you, is very unlikely). After an hour, everyone walks or golf-carts down a tiki torch-lit path to the canopied dinner table, which is ringed by twenty-two high-tech swivel chairs. It’s dusk. Waiting in line, guests are a little bit nervous, a little bit excited. Let’s just say you’ll hear a lot of jokes about falling out of the crane (really, you probably won’t fall out of the crane).

For obvious reasons, safety precautions are a big deal, so it takes a while for the staff to strap each person in and, equally necessary, get everyone set up with a shot of tequila. And then you’re off. Or rather, up. The table rises slowly from its platform on the grass. The mountains stand silhouetted black against the dark-blue sky. Downtown Puerto Vallarta twinkles below. Pop music rings out and everyone cheers and takes selfies and chatters about not looking down. Here’s the thing about looking down: You realize just how high up you are, and that there’s nothing under your feet.

There’s a new chef every couple of days, but for my Dinner In The Sky experience, I have Chef Massimo Fongaro of the Guadalajara Italian restaurant Sagrantino. Once we’re airborne, he announces the menu: a scallop raspberry aguachile appetizer, lobster lasagna, beef fillet with corn polenta and fresh truffles (the polenta and the truffles, unavailable in Mexico, are the only imported ingredients), and passionfruit tiramisu. He’s prepared everything in advance, but the crane comes equipped with a six-tray oven and two electric stovetops for heating the sauces. After the chef’s announcement, everything happens pretty quickly�use, really, for how long can you keep twenty-odd people who are swilling drinks 150 feet in the air without a bathroom? The meal itself lasts about an hour. During the lobster lasagna (which is, like the other courses, as delicious as it sounds), the table starts making slow rotations, giving everyone a panorama view. During the beef fillet, the fireworks go off. It’s a little awkward trying to eat while constrained by a safety harness, but even that is part of the fun.

If you’re acrophobic, this might not be the dinner event for you, but if heights just make your stomach tingle, the experience is exhilarating. It’s the kind of thing that’s hard to imagine, the kind of thing you have to just do, like public speaking or cannon-balling into a cold mountain stream, but the combination of being way up in the air while drinking alcohol and eating gourmet food is a drug. Everyone is smiling and laughing, high on being…well, high. Even once we finish dessert and are lowered back to the grass, there’s a buzzy reluctance to let the party end.

After all, Dinner In The Sky is a brief escape from life. That’s what luxury hotels and resorts are peddling these days—not just relaxation, but fantasy. Amid pressure to stay competitive, resorts like Casa Velas offer everything from pillow menus𠅊t Conrad Bali, you have twelve pillows to choose from, including the 𠇌uddle ‘U’ Pillow,” a U-shaped pillow for cuddling if you’re spending the night alone—to free Bulgari beauty products, to personalized flower selections. Sometimes the efforts feel embarrassing, or at least unnecessary: Do we really need free rubber duckies, a private garden tub, or bamboo-lined outdoor showers? Probably not. But every now and then, a hotel comes up with something cool. Something that gets you so high, the real world and its attendant heartbreaks become tiny enough to forget.


Elevated Cuisine: This Mexican Resort Offers Dinner in the Sky

At Casa Velas in Puerto Vallarta, dinner is served 150 feet in the air.

Imagine you’re on vacation in Puerto Vallarta, home to one of the most gorgeous beaches in Mexico, and after a long, hard day of sipping margaritas by the Bah໚ de Banderas, a renowned chef makes you a delicious four-course dinner from local ingredients—which you enjoy while seated 150 feet above the ocean. No, this is neither a dream nor a children’s book nor the result of drinking ayahuasca. It’s called Dinner in the Sky, and, in line with the recent trend of over-the-top resort programs, it’s a luxury dining experience that brings you face-to-face with the moon.

Dinner In The Sky started eleven years ago in Belgium, when a communications firm specializing in gourmet food teamed up with an amusement park installation company to create a magical airborne culinary event: A chef and guests are strapped to a crane like roller coaster riders and hoisted into the sky for dinner.

The table rises slowly from its platform on the grass. The mountains stand silhouetted black against the dark-blue sky. Downtown Puerto Vallarta twinkles below. Pop music rings out and everyone cheers and takes selfies and chatters about not looking down.

“When we were little,” says co-founder David Ghysels, “we liked to climb trees and build tree houses. We liked to see without being seen. We liked to play chef and eat cake. That’s how we came up with this idea. Dinner In The Sky speaks to the kid brain.” Since 2006, Dinner In The Sky has made its way around the world, most recently to Casa Velas in Puerto Vallarta, a high-end, all-inclusive resort that offers this experience to its guests for an extra $50 per person. (For non-resort guests, the price is $171 per person.)

The evening begins in a small ballroom. Employees in tuxedos stand behind blackjack tables, in case you want to gamble with pretend money. Waiters come around to take your drink order�use after all, if you’re going to be suspended 150 feet in the air, it’s not unreasonable to down a cocktail first. The Dinner In The Sky specialty drink, the Sky High Signature Cocktail, is blue—like the sky!𠅊nd made of Skyy Vodka, lemon soda, grapefruit juice, and blue curacao (just shake it with ice and strain it into a chilled glass). Someone also comes around with release forms, in case you fall out of the crane (which, the employees will assure you, is very unlikely). After an hour, everyone walks or golf-carts down a tiki torch-lit path to the canopied dinner table, which is ringed by twenty-two high-tech swivel chairs. It’s dusk. Waiting in line, guests are a little bit nervous, a little bit excited. Let’s just say you’ll hear a lot of jokes about falling out of the crane (really, you probably won’t fall out of the crane).

For obvious reasons, safety precautions are a big deal, so it takes a while for the staff to strap each person in and, equally necessary, get everyone set up with a shot of tequila. And then you’re off. Or rather, up. The table rises slowly from its platform on the grass. The mountains stand silhouetted black against the dark-blue sky. Downtown Puerto Vallarta twinkles below. Pop music rings out and everyone cheers and takes selfies and chatters about not looking down. Here’s the thing about looking down: You realize just how high up you are, and that there’s nothing under your feet.

There’s a new chef every couple of days, but for my Dinner In The Sky experience, I have Chef Massimo Fongaro of the Guadalajara Italian restaurant Sagrantino. Once we’re airborne, he announces the menu: a scallop raspberry aguachile appetizer, lobster lasagna, beef fillet with corn polenta and fresh truffles (the polenta and the truffles, unavailable in Mexico, are the only imported ingredients), and passionfruit tiramisu. He’s prepared everything in advance, but the crane comes equipped with a six-tray oven and two electric stovetops for heating the sauces. After the chef’s announcement, everything happens pretty quickly�use, really, for how long can you keep twenty-odd people who are swilling drinks 150 feet in the air without a bathroom? The meal itself lasts about an hour. During the lobster lasagna (which is, like the other courses, as delicious as it sounds), the table starts making slow rotations, giving everyone a panorama view. During the beef fillet, the fireworks go off. It’s a little awkward trying to eat while constrained by a safety harness, but even that is part of the fun.

If you’re acrophobic, this might not be the dinner event for you, but if heights just make your stomach tingle, the experience is exhilarating. It’s the kind of thing that’s hard to imagine, the kind of thing you have to just do, like public speaking or cannon-balling into a cold mountain stream, but the combination of being way up in the air while drinking alcohol and eating gourmet food is a drug. Everyone is smiling and laughing, high on being…well, high. Even once we finish dessert and are lowered back to the grass, there’s a buzzy reluctance to let the party end.

After all, Dinner In The Sky is a brief escape from life. That’s what luxury hotels and resorts are peddling these days—not just relaxation, but fantasy. Amid pressure to stay competitive, resorts like Casa Velas offer everything from pillow menus𠅊t Conrad Bali, you have twelve pillows to choose from, including the 𠇌uddle ‘U’ Pillow,” a U-shaped pillow for cuddling if you’re spending the night alone—to free Bulgari beauty products, to personalized flower selections. Sometimes the efforts feel embarrassing, or at least unnecessary: Do we really need free rubber duckies, a private garden tub, or bamboo-lined outdoor showers? Probably not. But every now and then, a hotel comes up with something cool. Something that gets you so high, the real world and its attendant heartbreaks become tiny enough to forget.


Elevated Cuisine: This Mexican Resort Offers Dinner in the Sky

At Casa Velas in Puerto Vallarta, dinner is served 150 feet in the air.

Imagine you’re on vacation in Puerto Vallarta, home to one of the most gorgeous beaches in Mexico, and after a long, hard day of sipping margaritas by the Bah໚ de Banderas, a renowned chef makes you a delicious four-course dinner from local ingredients—which you enjoy while seated 150 feet above the ocean. No, this is neither a dream nor a children’s book nor the result of drinking ayahuasca. It’s called Dinner in the Sky, and, in line with the recent trend of over-the-top resort programs, it’s a luxury dining experience that brings you face-to-face with the moon.

Dinner In The Sky started eleven years ago in Belgium, when a communications firm specializing in gourmet food teamed up with an amusement park installation company to create a magical airborne culinary event: A chef and guests are strapped to a crane like roller coaster riders and hoisted into the sky for dinner.

The table rises slowly from its platform on the grass. The mountains stand silhouetted black against the dark-blue sky. Downtown Puerto Vallarta twinkles below. Pop music rings out and everyone cheers and takes selfies and chatters about not looking down.

“When we were little,” says co-founder David Ghysels, “we liked to climb trees and build tree houses. We liked to see without being seen. We liked to play chef and eat cake. That’s how we came up with this idea. Dinner In The Sky speaks to the kid brain.” Since 2006, Dinner In The Sky has made its way around the world, most recently to Casa Velas in Puerto Vallarta, a high-end, all-inclusive resort that offers this experience to its guests for an extra $50 per person. (For non-resort guests, the price is $171 per person.)

The evening begins in a small ballroom. Employees in tuxedos stand behind blackjack tables, in case you want to gamble with pretend money. Waiters come around to take your drink order�use after all, if you’re going to be suspended 150 feet in the air, it’s not unreasonable to down a cocktail first. The Dinner In The Sky specialty drink, the Sky High Signature Cocktail, is blue—like the sky!𠅊nd made of Skyy Vodka, lemon soda, grapefruit juice, and blue curacao (just shake it with ice and strain it into a chilled glass). Someone also comes around with release forms, in case you fall out of the crane (which, the employees will assure you, is very unlikely). After an hour, everyone walks or golf-carts down a tiki torch-lit path to the canopied dinner table, which is ringed by twenty-two high-tech swivel chairs. It’s dusk. Waiting in line, guests are a little bit nervous, a little bit excited. Let’s just say you’ll hear a lot of jokes about falling out of the crane (really, you probably won’t fall out of the crane).

For obvious reasons, safety precautions are a big deal, so it takes a while for the staff to strap each person in and, equally necessary, get everyone set up with a shot of tequila. And then you’re off. Or rather, up. The table rises slowly from its platform on the grass. The mountains stand silhouetted black against the dark-blue sky. Downtown Puerto Vallarta twinkles below. Pop music rings out and everyone cheers and takes selfies and chatters about not looking down. Here’s the thing about looking down: You realize just how high up you are, and that there’s nothing under your feet.

There’s a new chef every couple of days, but for my Dinner In The Sky experience, I have Chef Massimo Fongaro of the Guadalajara Italian restaurant Sagrantino. Once we’re airborne, he announces the menu: a scallop raspberry aguachile appetizer, lobster lasagna, beef fillet with corn polenta and fresh truffles (the polenta and the truffles, unavailable in Mexico, are the only imported ingredients), and passionfruit tiramisu. He’s prepared everything in advance, but the crane comes equipped with a six-tray oven and two electric stovetops for heating the sauces. After the chef’s announcement, everything happens pretty quickly�use, really, for how long can you keep twenty-odd people who are swilling drinks 150 feet in the air without a bathroom? The meal itself lasts about an hour. During the lobster lasagna (which is, like the other courses, as delicious as it sounds), the table starts making slow rotations, giving everyone a panorama view. During the beef fillet, the fireworks go off. It’s a little awkward trying to eat while constrained by a safety harness, but even that is part of the fun.

If you’re acrophobic, this might not be the dinner event for you, but if heights just make your stomach tingle, the experience is exhilarating. It’s the kind of thing that’s hard to imagine, the kind of thing you have to just do, like public speaking or cannon-balling into a cold mountain stream, but the combination of being way up in the air while drinking alcohol and eating gourmet food is a drug. Everyone is smiling and laughing, high on being…well, high. Even once we finish dessert and are lowered back to the grass, there’s a buzzy reluctance to let the party end.

After all, Dinner In The Sky is a brief escape from life. That’s what luxury hotels and resorts are peddling these days—not just relaxation, but fantasy. Amid pressure to stay competitive, resorts like Casa Velas offer everything from pillow menus𠅊t Conrad Bali, you have twelve pillows to choose from, including the 𠇌uddle ‘U’ Pillow,” a U-shaped pillow for cuddling if you’re spending the night alone—to free Bulgari beauty products, to personalized flower selections. Sometimes the efforts feel embarrassing, or at least unnecessary: Do we really need free rubber duckies, a private garden tub, or bamboo-lined outdoor showers? Probably not. But every now and then, a hotel comes up with something cool. Something that gets you so high, the real world and its attendant heartbreaks become tiny enough to forget.


Elevated Cuisine: This Mexican Resort Offers Dinner in the Sky

At Casa Velas in Puerto Vallarta, dinner is served 150 feet in the air.

Imagine you’re on vacation in Puerto Vallarta, home to one of the most gorgeous beaches in Mexico, and after a long, hard day of sipping margaritas by the Bah໚ de Banderas, a renowned chef makes you a delicious four-course dinner from local ingredients—which you enjoy while seated 150 feet above the ocean. No, this is neither a dream nor a children’s book nor the result of drinking ayahuasca. It’s called Dinner in the Sky, and, in line with the recent trend of over-the-top resort programs, it’s a luxury dining experience that brings you face-to-face with the moon.

Dinner In The Sky started eleven years ago in Belgium, when a communications firm specializing in gourmet food teamed up with an amusement park installation company to create a magical airborne culinary event: A chef and guests are strapped to a crane like roller coaster riders and hoisted into the sky for dinner.

The table rises slowly from its platform on the grass. The mountains stand silhouetted black against the dark-blue sky. Downtown Puerto Vallarta twinkles below. Pop music rings out and everyone cheers and takes selfies and chatters about not looking down.

“When we were little,” says co-founder David Ghysels, “we liked to climb trees and build tree houses. We liked to see without being seen. We liked to play chef and eat cake. That’s how we came up with this idea. Dinner In The Sky speaks to the kid brain.” Since 2006, Dinner In The Sky has made its way around the world, most recently to Casa Velas in Puerto Vallarta, a high-end, all-inclusive resort that offers this experience to its guests for an extra $50 per person. (For non-resort guests, the price is $171 per person.)

The evening begins in a small ballroom. Employees in tuxedos stand behind blackjack tables, in case you want to gamble with pretend money. Waiters come around to take your drink order�use after all, if you’re going to be suspended 150 feet in the air, it’s not unreasonable to down a cocktail first. The Dinner In The Sky specialty drink, the Sky High Signature Cocktail, is blue—like the sky!𠅊nd made of Skyy Vodka, lemon soda, grapefruit juice, and blue curacao (just shake it with ice and strain it into a chilled glass). Someone also comes around with release forms, in case you fall out of the crane (which, the employees will assure you, is very unlikely). After an hour, everyone walks or golf-carts down a tiki torch-lit path to the canopied dinner table, which is ringed by twenty-two high-tech swivel chairs. It’s dusk. Waiting in line, guests are a little bit nervous, a little bit excited. Let’s just say you’ll hear a lot of jokes about falling out of the crane (really, you probably won’t fall out of the crane).

For obvious reasons, safety precautions are a big deal, so it takes a while for the staff to strap each person in and, equally necessary, get everyone set up with a shot of tequila. And then you’re off. Or rather, up. The table rises slowly from its platform on the grass. The mountains stand silhouetted black against the dark-blue sky. Downtown Puerto Vallarta twinkles below. Pop music rings out and everyone cheers and takes selfies and chatters about not looking down. Here’s the thing about looking down: You realize just how high up you are, and that there’s nothing under your feet.

There’s a new chef every couple of days, but for my Dinner In The Sky experience, I have Chef Massimo Fongaro of the Guadalajara Italian restaurant Sagrantino. Once we’re airborne, he announces the menu: a scallop raspberry aguachile appetizer, lobster lasagna, beef fillet with corn polenta and fresh truffles (the polenta and the truffles, unavailable in Mexico, are the only imported ingredients), and passionfruit tiramisu. He’s prepared everything in advance, but the crane comes equipped with a six-tray oven and two electric stovetops for heating the sauces. After the chef’s announcement, everything happens pretty quickly�use, really, for how long can you keep twenty-odd people who are swilling drinks 150 feet in the air without a bathroom? The meal itself lasts about an hour. During the lobster lasagna (which is, like the other courses, as delicious as it sounds), the table starts making slow rotations, giving everyone a panorama view. During the beef fillet, the fireworks go off. It’s a little awkward trying to eat while constrained by a safety harness, but even that is part of the fun.

If you’re acrophobic, this might not be the dinner event for you, but if heights just make your stomach tingle, the experience is exhilarating. It’s the kind of thing that’s hard to imagine, the kind of thing you have to just do, like public speaking or cannon-balling into a cold mountain stream, but the combination of being way up in the air while drinking alcohol and eating gourmet food is a drug. Everyone is smiling and laughing, high on being…well, high. Even once we finish dessert and are lowered back to the grass, there’s a buzzy reluctance to let the party end.

After all, Dinner In The Sky is a brief escape from life. That’s what luxury hotels and resorts are peddling these days—not just relaxation, but fantasy. Amid pressure to stay competitive, resorts like Casa Velas offer everything from pillow menus𠅊t Conrad Bali, you have twelve pillows to choose from, including the 𠇌uddle ‘U’ Pillow,” a U-shaped pillow for cuddling if you’re spending the night alone—to free Bulgari beauty products, to personalized flower selections. Sometimes the efforts feel embarrassing, or at least unnecessary: Do we really need free rubber duckies, a private garden tub, or bamboo-lined outdoor showers? Probably not. But every now and then, a hotel comes up with something cool. Something that gets you so high, the real world and its attendant heartbreaks become tiny enough to forget.


Elevated Cuisine: This Mexican Resort Offers Dinner in the Sky

At Casa Velas in Puerto Vallarta, dinner is served 150 feet in the air.

Imagine you’re on vacation in Puerto Vallarta, home to one of the most gorgeous beaches in Mexico, and after a long, hard day of sipping margaritas by the Bah໚ de Banderas, a renowned chef makes you a delicious four-course dinner from local ingredients—which you enjoy while seated 150 feet above the ocean. No, this is neither a dream nor a children’s book nor the result of drinking ayahuasca. It’s called Dinner in the Sky, and, in line with the recent trend of over-the-top resort programs, it’s a luxury dining experience that brings you face-to-face with the moon.

Dinner In The Sky started eleven years ago in Belgium, when a communications firm specializing in gourmet food teamed up with an amusement park installation company to create a magical airborne culinary event: A chef and guests are strapped to a crane like roller coaster riders and hoisted into the sky for dinner.

The table rises slowly from its platform on the grass. The mountains stand silhouetted black against the dark-blue sky. Downtown Puerto Vallarta twinkles below. Pop music rings out and everyone cheers and takes selfies and chatters about not looking down.

“When we were little,” says co-founder David Ghysels, “we liked to climb trees and build tree houses. We liked to see without being seen. We liked to play chef and eat cake. That’s how we came up with this idea. Dinner In The Sky speaks to the kid brain.” Since 2006, Dinner In The Sky has made its way around the world, most recently to Casa Velas in Puerto Vallarta, a high-end, all-inclusive resort that offers this experience to its guests for an extra $50 per person. (For non-resort guests, the price is $171 per person.)

The evening begins in a small ballroom. Employees in tuxedos stand behind blackjack tables, in case you want to gamble with pretend money. Waiters come around to take your drink order�use after all, if you’re going to be suspended 150 feet in the air, it’s not unreasonable to down a cocktail first. The Dinner In The Sky specialty drink, the Sky High Signature Cocktail, is blue—like the sky!𠅊nd made of Skyy Vodka, lemon soda, grapefruit juice, and blue curacao (just shake it with ice and strain it into a chilled glass). Someone also comes around with release forms, in case you fall out of the crane (which, the employees will assure you, is very unlikely). After an hour, everyone walks or golf-carts down a tiki torch-lit path to the canopied dinner table, which is ringed by twenty-two high-tech swivel chairs. It’s dusk. Waiting in line, guests are a little bit nervous, a little bit excited. Let’s just say you’ll hear a lot of jokes about falling out of the crane (really, you probably won’t fall out of the crane).

For obvious reasons, safety precautions are a big deal, so it takes a while for the staff to strap each person in and, equally necessary, get everyone set up with a shot of tequila. And then you’re off. Or rather, up. The table rises slowly from its platform on the grass. The mountains stand silhouetted black against the dark-blue sky. Downtown Puerto Vallarta twinkles below. Pop music rings out and everyone cheers and takes selfies and chatters about not looking down. Here’s the thing about looking down: You realize just how high up you are, and that there’s nothing under your feet.

There’s a new chef every couple of days, but for my Dinner In The Sky experience, I have Chef Massimo Fongaro of the Guadalajara Italian restaurant Sagrantino. Once we’re airborne, he announces the menu: a scallop raspberry aguachile appetizer, lobster lasagna, beef fillet with corn polenta and fresh truffles (the polenta and the truffles, unavailable in Mexico, are the only imported ingredients), and passionfruit tiramisu. He’s prepared everything in advance, but the crane comes equipped with a six-tray oven and two electric stovetops for heating the sauces. After the chef’s announcement, everything happens pretty quickly�use, really, for how long can you keep twenty-odd people who are swilling drinks 150 feet in the air without a bathroom? The meal itself lasts about an hour. During the lobster lasagna (which is, like the other courses, as delicious as it sounds), the table starts making slow rotations, giving everyone a panorama view. During the beef fillet, the fireworks go off. It’s a little awkward trying to eat while constrained by a safety harness, but even that is part of the fun.

If you’re acrophobic, this might not be the dinner event for you, but if heights just make your stomach tingle, the experience is exhilarating. It’s the kind of thing that’s hard to imagine, the kind of thing you have to just do, like public speaking or cannon-balling into a cold mountain stream, but the combination of being way up in the air while drinking alcohol and eating gourmet food is a drug. Everyone is smiling and laughing, high on being…well, high. Even once we finish dessert and are lowered back to the grass, there’s a buzzy reluctance to let the party end.

After all, Dinner In The Sky is a brief escape from life. That’s what luxury hotels and resorts are peddling these days—not just relaxation, but fantasy. Amid pressure to stay competitive, resorts like Casa Velas offer everything from pillow menus𠅊t Conrad Bali, you have twelve pillows to choose from, including the 𠇌uddle ‘U’ Pillow,” a U-shaped pillow for cuddling if you’re spending the night alone—to free Bulgari beauty products, to personalized flower selections. Sometimes the efforts feel embarrassing, or at least unnecessary: Do we really need free rubber duckies, a private garden tub, or bamboo-lined outdoor showers? Probably not. But every now and then, a hotel comes up with something cool. Something that gets you so high, the real world and its attendant heartbreaks become tiny enough to forget.


Elevated Cuisine: This Mexican Resort Offers Dinner in the Sky

At Casa Velas in Puerto Vallarta, dinner is served 150 feet in the air.

Imagine you’re on vacation in Puerto Vallarta, home to one of the most gorgeous beaches in Mexico, and after a long, hard day of sipping margaritas by the Bah໚ de Banderas, a renowned chef makes you a delicious four-course dinner from local ingredients—which you enjoy while seated 150 feet above the ocean. No, this is neither a dream nor a children’s book nor the result of drinking ayahuasca. It’s called Dinner in the Sky, and, in line with the recent trend of over-the-top resort programs, it’s a luxury dining experience that brings you face-to-face with the moon.

Dinner In The Sky started eleven years ago in Belgium, when a communications firm specializing in gourmet food teamed up with an amusement park installation company to create a magical airborne culinary event: A chef and guests are strapped to a crane like roller coaster riders and hoisted into the sky for dinner.

The table rises slowly from its platform on the grass. The mountains stand silhouetted black against the dark-blue sky. Downtown Puerto Vallarta twinkles below. Pop music rings out and everyone cheers and takes selfies and chatters about not looking down.

“When we were little,” says co-founder David Ghysels, “we liked to climb trees and build tree houses. We liked to see without being seen. We liked to play chef and eat cake. That’s how we came up with this idea. Dinner In The Sky speaks to the kid brain.” Since 2006, Dinner In The Sky has made its way around the world, most recently to Casa Velas in Puerto Vallarta, a high-end, all-inclusive resort that offers this experience to its guests for an extra $50 per person. (For non-resort guests, the price is $171 per person.)

The evening begins in a small ballroom. Employees in tuxedos stand behind blackjack tables, in case you want to gamble with pretend money. Waiters come around to take your drink order�use after all, if you’re going to be suspended 150 feet in the air, it’s not unreasonable to down a cocktail first. The Dinner In The Sky specialty drink, the Sky High Signature Cocktail, is blue—like the sky!𠅊nd made of Skyy Vodka, lemon soda, grapefruit juice, and blue curacao (just shake it with ice and strain it into a chilled glass). Someone also comes around with release forms, in case you fall out of the crane (which, the employees will assure you, is very unlikely). After an hour, everyone walks or golf-carts down a tiki torch-lit path to the canopied dinner table, which is ringed by twenty-two high-tech swivel chairs. It’s dusk. Waiting in line, guests are a little bit nervous, a little bit excited. Let’s just say you’ll hear a lot of jokes about falling out of the crane (really, you probably won’t fall out of the crane).

For obvious reasons, safety precautions are a big deal, so it takes a while for the staff to strap each person in and, equally necessary, get everyone set up with a shot of tequila. And then you’re off. Or rather, up. The table rises slowly from its platform on the grass. The mountains stand silhouetted black against the dark-blue sky. Downtown Puerto Vallarta twinkles below. Pop music rings out and everyone cheers and takes selfies and chatters about not looking down. Here’s the thing about looking down: You realize just how high up you are, and that there’s nothing under your feet.

There’s a new chef every couple of days, but for my Dinner In The Sky experience, I have Chef Massimo Fongaro of the Guadalajara Italian restaurant Sagrantino. Once we’re airborne, he announces the menu: a scallop raspberry aguachile appetizer, lobster lasagna, beef fillet with corn polenta and fresh truffles (the polenta and the truffles, unavailable in Mexico, are the only imported ingredients), and passionfruit tiramisu. He’s prepared everything in advance, but the crane comes equipped with a six-tray oven and two electric stovetops for heating the sauces. After the chef’s announcement, everything happens pretty quickly�use, really, for how long can you keep twenty-odd people who are swilling drinks 150 feet in the air without a bathroom? The meal itself lasts about an hour. During the lobster lasagna (which is, like the other courses, as delicious as it sounds), the table starts making slow rotations, giving everyone a panorama view. During the beef fillet, the fireworks go off. It’s a little awkward trying to eat while constrained by a safety harness, but even that is part of the fun.

If you’re acrophobic, this might not be the dinner event for you, but if heights just make your stomach tingle, the experience is exhilarating. It’s the kind of thing that’s hard to imagine, the kind of thing you have to just do, like public speaking or cannon-balling into a cold mountain stream, but the combination of being way up in the air while drinking alcohol and eating gourmet food is a drug. Everyone is smiling and laughing, high on being…well, high. Even once we finish dessert and are lowered back to the grass, there’s a buzzy reluctance to let the party end.

After all, Dinner In The Sky is a brief escape from life. That’s what luxury hotels and resorts are peddling these days—not just relaxation, but fantasy. Amid pressure to stay competitive, resorts like Casa Velas offer everything from pillow menus𠅊t Conrad Bali, you have twelve pillows to choose from, including the 𠇌uddle ‘U’ Pillow,” a U-shaped pillow for cuddling if you’re spending the night alone—to free Bulgari beauty products, to personalized flower selections. Sometimes the efforts feel embarrassing, or at least unnecessary: Do we really need free rubber duckies, a private garden tub, or bamboo-lined outdoor showers? Probably not. But every now and then, a hotel comes up with something cool. Something that gets you so high, the real world and its attendant heartbreaks become tiny enough to forget.


Elevated Cuisine: This Mexican Resort Offers Dinner in the Sky

At Casa Velas in Puerto Vallarta, dinner is served 150 feet in the air.

Imagine you’re on vacation in Puerto Vallarta, home to one of the most gorgeous beaches in Mexico, and after a long, hard day of sipping margaritas by the Bah໚ de Banderas, a renowned chef makes you a delicious four-course dinner from local ingredients—which you enjoy while seated 150 feet above the ocean. No, this is neither a dream nor a children’s book nor the result of drinking ayahuasca. It’s called Dinner in the Sky, and, in line with the recent trend of over-the-top resort programs, it’s a luxury dining experience that brings you face-to-face with the moon.

Dinner In The Sky started eleven years ago in Belgium, when a communications firm specializing in gourmet food teamed up with an amusement park installation company to create a magical airborne culinary event: A chef and guests are strapped to a crane like roller coaster riders and hoisted into the sky for dinner.

The table rises slowly from its platform on the grass. The mountains stand silhouetted black against the dark-blue sky. Downtown Puerto Vallarta twinkles below. Pop music rings out and everyone cheers and takes selfies and chatters about not looking down.

“When we were little,” says co-founder David Ghysels, “we liked to climb trees and build tree houses. We liked to see without being seen. We liked to play chef and eat cake. That’s how we came up with this idea. Dinner In The Sky speaks to the kid brain.” Since 2006, Dinner In The Sky has made its way around the world, most recently to Casa Velas in Puerto Vallarta, a high-end, all-inclusive resort that offers this experience to its guests for an extra $50 per person. (For non-resort guests, the price is $171 per person.)

The evening begins in a small ballroom. Employees in tuxedos stand behind blackjack tables, in case you want to gamble with pretend money. Waiters come around to take your drink order�use after all, if you’re going to be suspended 150 feet in the air, it’s not unreasonable to down a cocktail first. The Dinner In The Sky specialty drink, the Sky High Signature Cocktail, is blue—like the sky!𠅊nd made of Skyy Vodka, lemon soda, grapefruit juice, and blue curacao (just shake it with ice and strain it into a chilled glass). Someone also comes around with release forms, in case you fall out of the crane (which, the employees will assure you, is very unlikely). After an hour, everyone walks or golf-carts down a tiki torch-lit path to the canopied dinner table, which is ringed by twenty-two high-tech swivel chairs. It’s dusk. Waiting in line, guests are a little bit nervous, a little bit excited. Let’s just say you’ll hear a lot of jokes about falling out of the crane (really, you probably won’t fall out of the crane).

For obvious reasons, safety precautions are a big deal, so it takes a while for the staff to strap each person in and, equally necessary, get everyone set up with a shot of tequila. And then you’re off. Or rather, up. The table rises slowly from its platform on the grass. The mountains stand silhouetted black against the dark-blue sky. Downtown Puerto Vallarta twinkles below. Pop music rings out and everyone cheers and takes selfies and chatters about not looking down. Here’s the thing about looking down: You realize just how high up you are, and that there’s nothing under your feet.

There’s a new chef every couple of days, but for my Dinner In The Sky experience, I have Chef Massimo Fongaro of the Guadalajara Italian restaurant Sagrantino. Once we’re airborne, he announces the menu: a scallop raspberry aguachile appetizer, lobster lasagna, beef fillet with corn polenta and fresh truffles (the polenta and the truffles, unavailable in Mexico, are the only imported ingredients), and passionfruit tiramisu. He’s prepared everything in advance, but the crane comes equipped with a six-tray oven and two electric stovetops for heating the sauces. After the chef’s announcement, everything happens pretty quickly�use, really, for how long can you keep twenty-odd people who are swilling drinks 150 feet in the air without a bathroom? The meal itself lasts about an hour. During the lobster lasagna (which is, like the other courses, as delicious as it sounds), the table starts making slow rotations, giving everyone a panorama view. During the beef fillet, the fireworks go off. It’s a little awkward trying to eat while constrained by a safety harness, but even that is part of the fun.

If you’re acrophobic, this might not be the dinner event for you, but if heights just make your stomach tingle, the experience is exhilarating. It’s the kind of thing that’s hard to imagine, the kind of thing you have to just do, like public speaking or cannon-balling into a cold mountain stream, but the combination of being way up in the air while drinking alcohol and eating gourmet food is a drug. Everyone is smiling and laughing, high on being…well, high. Even once we finish dessert and are lowered back to the grass, there’s a buzzy reluctance to let the party end.

After all, Dinner In The Sky is a brief escape from life. That’s what luxury hotels and resorts are peddling these days—not just relaxation, but fantasy. Amid pressure to stay competitive, resorts like Casa Velas offer everything from pillow menus𠅊t Conrad Bali, you have twelve pillows to choose from, including the 𠇌uddle ‘U’ Pillow,” a U-shaped pillow for cuddling if you’re spending the night alone—to free Bulgari beauty products, to personalized flower selections. Sometimes the efforts feel embarrassing, or at least unnecessary: Do we really need free rubber duckies, a private garden tub, or bamboo-lined outdoor showers? Probably not. But every now and then, a hotel comes up with something cool. Something that gets you so high, the real world and its attendant heartbreaks become tiny enough to forget.


Watch the video: Sunscape Puerto Vallarata - walk around (December 2021).