Steep approach makes walking to the beach difficult
Perched atop the posh precincts of Conchas Chinas -- whose winding cobbled streets evoke Spanish roadways -- the Grand Miramar Club & Spa is a 32-room timeshare that doubles as a hotel. Because of its location, beautiful ocean views are accessible through most of the hotel -- with the downside being that the beach is a tiresome walk down the steep hillside. But the modern fitness center, three pools, a luxurious spa, and an on-site gourmet restaurant are the real highlights of this somewhat-removed, cozy property. The hotel did recently complete its 80-unit expansion, so on-site sales pitches can be more than most guests want to handle on their Puerto Vallarta getaway.
Hilltop location with stunning views offers a reprieve from the party scene (but not from construction noise)
With construction on the new 80-unit tower completed, you may be able to find some sun-soaked relaxation here without the construction commotion (though sales pitches continue). Thanks to its hillside location perched above Conchas Chinas (the "Beverly Hills of Puerto Vallarta"), views of Bahia Banderas are stunning from nearly every angle. Three pools prevent any one area from becoming too crowded, and a spa offers further reprieve -- all a nice getaway from some of the crazier party-centric spots in Puerto Vallarta.
Because the property occupies the side of a mountain, you'll likely be riding an elevator almost everywhere on-site. And now that the new tower is completed, there will be many more sites to visit -- another restaurant, an infinity-edge pool, a sundeck, and new rooftop gym -- and thus many more guests to fill the once quiet spaces.
Conchas Chinas is a small, pretty beach on Vallarta’s south shore -- and it is also the name of this posh, verdant neighborhood of condos and homes on the hilly southern edge of town. It's an older, wealthy neighborhood, with mature plantings, well-tended streets, and plenty of lovely homes to admire as you wind uphill to the hotel entrance. To trek between the hotel, the beach, and downtown, the hotel offers a scheduled shuttle service.
Currently the property contains just 38 rooms (ranging from one-, two-, and three-bedroom suites, as well as a studio and a few penthouses). The suites all come furnished with the same softly colored contemporary furnishing against pale marble and light finishes. There is plenty of space in every suite, including a good-size balcony overlooking the pools or a garden and beyond across Bahia Banderas.
The lower-level rooms overlook a green hillside, much quieter than those above the pool. The 80 new standard rooms in the adjacent tower were finished in late December 2011.