Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
On a pretty beach -- that's popular with loud, rowdy spring breakers
The Krystal is a sprawling property housing 512 rooms in two main buildings and a number of standalone villas. It offers all the amenities expected of an all-inclusive resort (though guests can choose different meal plans), including several pools and restaurants, a sandy beach, and activities galore. But food quality is sub-par, most rooms could use an update and better maintenance, and it can get really loud during spring break.
With rooms that can sleep between three and ten guests; a kids’ club with daily activities; a playground, and a kiddy pool, the hotel does cater to families, but those traveling with kids might want to avoid certain vacation periods such as spring break, when the hotel can get packed with college students looking to party for cheap.
Overall, this hotel is a decent pick for those on a budget or for travelers who prefer a great beach over a fancy room, but there are somewhat nicer hotels in the same area, so it might be worth comparing prices.
In the northern part of Hotel Zone, convenient to Old Town and the airport
This stretch of the Hotel Zone North is just far enough out of town to not be traffic-crazy, but close enough to hit downtown quickly. It's just 10 minutes from downtown, another minute or two to Old Town, and 10 minutes from the airport. It's on a busy street -- Highway 200, the main drag on Mexico’s west coast, lined with beaches, hotels, restaurants, bikini shops, fast food, and banks. You can catch a cab quickly to anywhere, or take a bus for $3-$4.
Puerto Vallarta stays awake when the sun dips below the horizon. Steamy salsa clubs light up the streets, and rowdy local bars supply a steady stream of cerveza for the thirsty traveler. Downtown Puerto Vallarta is the most happening and diverse area, and has a few gay clubs (Puerto Vallarta is arguably Mexico's most gay-friendly destination).
All rooms have balconies or terraces, but most feature dated decor and few amenities.
The property is divided into two sections: One area with a three-story building built around a lush courtyard with two pools, and the section closest to the beach with a four-story building known as the Tower and a few other pools and whirlpools. The main building houses Standard and Family Rooms, which are dated and inconsistent in terms of maintenance and services (some come with stocked minibars, others with empty mini-fridges). The Tower is where the Deluxe Rooms are, and is the only building that has an elevator. Rooms here were renovated in 2009, and feature more contemporary decor and amenities, including flat-screen TVs and rainfall showerheads. Standalone Villas can sleep up to ten guests and are the best pick for groups, but it's worth noting that they do not feature kitchens.
Krystal Club Rooms feature a couple of extra perks for those not on the all-inclusive plan, such as free continental breakfast and free Wi-Fi. These rooms also come with slightly nicer decor and marble floors instead of tiling.
A wide and long sandy beach with umbrellas and loungers
The beach is the highlight of the hotel: It is wide and long, and has fine golden sand. There are a few loungers and umbrellas that guests can use free of charge.
Six pools and six whirlpools
The main pool area is located by the beach. It features several large pools-- some of which are interconnected -- and a bar under a huge palapa, which is also the buffet restaurant. There are two additional pools and six whirlpools located in the courtyard next to the main building.
Large fitness center with natural light and variety of equipment
Small, inexpensive spa offering salon services and massages
The hotel features a small spa located in the Tower building. It offers inexpensive treatments and massages, and is very popular among guests, so reservations are recommended.
The resort has a few great features for kids -- but it can get really loud and rowdy
With a kids’ club, children’s menus, and spacious rooms that can sleep up to ten guests, this could be a great pick for families. But note that during Spring Break and other vacation periods, the property can get very loud and rowdy with late-night partiers.
Mediocre food and limited options
The Krystal Puerto Vallarta offers several dining options -- but many close at least a couple of days a week, and food in all of them is mediocre.
Free meals and drinks, but extra fees for certain alcohol brands
Entertainment and activities by the pool during the day, plus shows at night
With a fabulous beach, several pools, and an inexpensive day spa offering a wide array of treatments, the Krystal has the potential to be a great budget pick. However, mediocre food, dated rooms (except for the contemporary Deluxe Rooms in the Tower building), and inconsistent maintenance make this a less desirable hotel than some of the neighboring properties in the same price range.