Krystal Puerto Vallarta Rating: 3.0 Pearls
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • On a beautiful, sandy beach a short drive from downtown Puerto Vallarta
  • Several nice pools; some with ocean views
  • Family Rooms and Villas are great for groups
  • Inexpensive day spa with salon services and steam rooms
  • Bright fitness center with up-to-date equipment
  • Poolside activities and nightly entertainment
  • Free Wi-Fi

Cons

  • Mediocre food and limited options
  • Inconsistent in-room amenities and services
  • Dated decor in most rooms (Tower Deluxe Rooms are nicer)
  • Loud and rowdy during Spring Break

Bottom Line

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.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

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.

 Location

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).

  • 10-minute drive to airport
  • 10-minute drive to downtown Malecon
  • 12-minute drive to Old Town

 Rooms

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.

  • Balconies or terraces
  • Sitting areas
  • Old tube TVs in most rooms (Deluxe Rooms feature flat-screen TVs)
  • Minibars or empty mini-fridges
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Two day beds in Family Rooms; one sofa-bed in Standard Rooms
  • Hotel-brand toiletries

 Beach

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.

  • Volleyball net
  • Small cordoned-off area that beach vendors can’t access
  • Free kayaks and boogie boards available
  • Bar service available

 Pool

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.

  • Bar service
  • Poolside music and activities daily
  • Loungers and a few umbrellas
  • Shallow kiddy pool

 Fitness Center

Large fitness center with natural light and variety of equipment

  • Wide array of machines, including weight training equipment, treadmills, and recumbent bikes
  • Floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the resort
  • Free bottled water and towels

 Spa

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.

  • Aromatherapy treatments available
  • Salon services
  • Whirlpools and steam rooms
  • Solarium
  • Men and women’s locker rooms
  • Guests on the all-inclusive plan get 30 percent off all treatments

 Family

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.

  • Family Rooms have two day beds.
  • Villas can sleep up to ten guests (but don’t have kitchens).
  • Kids’ club with activities and a playground (fees apply)
  • Kid-friendly options at the buffet and a la carte restaurants
  • Great beach with shaded areas
  • Kiddy pool
  • Poor soundproofing

 Food

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.

  • Las Velas is the hotel’s main buffet, and is a decent pick for dinner only -- food quality for breakfast and lunch is lacking.
  • Kamakura serves sushi and other Japanese dishes for dinner only; reservations required.
  • Cinque Terre is a Mediterranean restaurant open for dinner only; reservations required.
  • Crazy Crab offers snacks and drinks poolside; opens after breakfast and closes before dinner.
  • Sports Bar features TVs and a pool table; opens after dinner and closes late at night.
  • Le Caffe is located in the lobby and serves coffee, beer and drinks all day.
  • Room service is available 24 hours, but costs extra between meals and after dinner.

 All-Inclusive

Free meals and drinks, but extra fees for certain alcohol brands

  • All meals included, plus midnight snacks and room service
  • Alcoholic drinks from the bars and restaurants included, but certain brands cost extra
  • Free use of kayaks and boogie boards
  • Access to tennis and racquet courts
  • Minibar items not included
  • Free access to nightclub (but drinks not included)
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout
  • 30 percent off all spa treatments
  • Tips and taxes included in the price
  • Free bottled water

 Services

Limited services

  • Free Wi-Fi throughout
  • Tennis and racquetball lessons available for a fee
  • Poolside drinks service
  • Daily entertainment and nightly shows
  • 24-hour room service -- but costs extra between meals and after dinner

 Entertainment

Entertainment and activities by the pool during the day, plus shows at night

  • Poolside entertainment during the day
  • Nightly shows and activities
  • Mexican Folkloric dinner show once a week
  • Music at the beach

 Bottom Line

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.

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Hotel Features

Pool: N/A
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: N/A
Pets Allowed: N/A
Cribs: N/A
Kids Club: N/A
Jacuzzi (in room): N/A
Casino: N/A
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Hotel Information

Location: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Address: Avenida de las Garzas, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico 48300
(See Map)
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