First, a bit about Puerto Vallarta. The stretch of perfect beach on Mexico's west coast was once a sleepy fishing village--but when word of it's beauty got it, it became a favorite vacation spot. Wonderfully, it remains as laid back as it as in the old days and is still full of quirky shops and local flavor. And it's spectacularly pretty--nothing really beats a sunset o the west coast). Non-stop flights from NYC are just under 6 hours; it's about 3 hours from LAX.
Fifteen minutes from the airport, Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit commands a gorgeous stretch of beach on the north end of Bahía de Banderas. There’s little reason to leave the all-inclusive property, with a wonderful spa, activities galore and a staff that must have a magic ball predicting even your most trifling desires. But, championship golf courses are a 5- to-15-minute drive away and Puerto Vallarta's historic downtown—where brightly colored shops line the famous boardwalk and everyone tries to get a good shot of Los Arcos—is a half an hour away.