Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Urban beachfront setting with a lively scene
This part of Puerto Vallarta, about halfway between the airport to the north and downtown to the south, is busy, with cars, buses, and people bustling about, and the hectic environment extends right into the lobby of the Holiday Inn -- it's common to see buses loading and unloading crowds of guests, people coming and going, and a general atmosphere of go-go activity. But that’s to be expected in this location, encircled on all sides except the beach by other hotels (this is the heart of the Northern Hotel Zone, after all), apartments, shopping centers, and other commercial buildings.
The centrally positioned free-form pool, with swim-up bars, is a lively hangout during day, as is the lobby bar at night. The beach is a little on the scruffy side, with many passing vendors and hawkers of everything from hammocks to parasail rides and fishing trips -- though if you stay within the hotel's roped-off area, guards should keep the riffraff away from you. The point is, everything from the vendors to the bustling activity to the guests themselves (lots of young folks) give the hotel a sort of party atmosphere.
In the heart of the Northern Hotel Zone, a busy resort neighborhood
Here, just 10 minutes north of downtown Puerto Vallarta, are dozens of hotels, apartment houses, commercial buildings, shops, and restaurants lining the beach. The Hilton controls its own little stretch of beach, but not all the way to the water’s edge -- meaning vendors and hawkers are free to try to sell to you (an annoyance for some). Part of the beach is roped off, though, so if you stay within that area you will be left alone. Many guests appreciate the convenience of having a Wal-Mart and a Sam's Club in the area.
Puerto Vallarta is one of Mexico's most picturesque beach destinations, with historic white-washed buildings, and cerulean seas set against a rugged mountain skyline. The massive Banderas Bay alone offers over 25 miles of seashore. With all this ocean comes a variety of water sports, like scuba diving with manta rays off Islas Marietas, boating around Los Arcos' reefs, and parasailing off of the popular Playa Los Muertos.
Newly renovated rooms are clean and attractive, all with private terraces
All guest rooms have private balconies big enough for sitting and eating. The newly renovated rooms are contemporary and attractive, with marble floors, blond wood furniture, and pops of red on the beds. Flat-screen TVs and iPod docks are standard, and the bathrooms are modern, with walk-in showers. Kids’ Suites are also available with bunk beds and X-Box consoles in the kids’ bedroom.
A lively pool and decent healthy activities
Kids eat free at the hotel's many restaurants
This Holiday Inn delivers pretty much everything you could expect from a mid-range hotel in the middle of Hotel Zone. It isn't fancy, secluded, or exclusive, but is simply a well-run, medium-scale (220 rooms and suites) urban beachfront resort hotel. The rooms are contemporary and spacious, with private balconies. Guests looking for a romantic private getaway could probably do better, but friends or families looking for comfort and value should consider it.