Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
An older property with an unpretentious vibe and decent amenities
Older and more economical than the two adjacent Pelican properties, this hotel is the only one of the three sister resorts without a beachfront location. The no-frills decor in the lobby and guest rooms looks dated -- and the use of fluorescent bulbs makes for harsh lighting throughout. Get a ground-floor room if you want a patio. Otherwise, all you get is a look out the window at a garden or the courtyard pool, since rooms on the upper levels don't have balconies.
Although lacking amenities found at fancier resorts, the hotel does have a well-maintained courtyard pool with an even tinier kids' pool next to it, a funky little blue-lit sports bar, a karaoke room (behind a closed door), and an unpretentious vibe.
Its standout feature is the Beach Club, which has a second, larger pool with a swim-up bar and a little stretch of sand in front. En route to the beach is a tennis court shared with the two sister hotels.
In the South Hotel Zone, a short walk from the beach
The hotel stands on a cobblestoned road that is one block away from the busy main road into downtown Puerto Vallarta. It is just a few minutes walk from the beach and neighbors its sister properties Plaza Pelicanos Grand Beach Resort and Sunset Plaza Beach Resort and Spa.
The South Hotel Zone ends about here, turning into the North Hotel Zone that stretches north to the Marina. This is one area that was developed during the first wave of Puerto Vallarta tourism a few decades back, and the hotels are for the most part like this one -- older, smaller, and less elaborate than those farther north. You can walk into town and onto the lively Malecon boardwalk from here, although you’ll have to either walk on the side of a very busy road or pick your way around and behind the many jetties that jut out from the beach along here. Many guests opt for a two-minute cab ride instead.
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.
Other popular daytime activities include shopping -- not just the annoying beach vendor kind -- at Puerto Vallarta's mazelike markets. One of the best, Rio Cuale Flea Market, has multiple vendors selling wood carvings, handmade jewelry, and glass and beadwork (among many other items). But be prepared to haggle down those prices!
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.
Small rooms with dated decor and older furnishings
Guest rooms are small and no-frills, with older furnishings and generic decor that looks somewhat dated. No high-tech luxuries here -- just tube TVs and a fee for Wi-Fi. Tiny bathrooms have just enough room to squeeze in toilets and shower/tub combinations. The artificial lighting is harsh throughout, as fluorescent bulbs are used in all the fixtures.
Beach Club with oceanfront pool, snack bar
El Huerto serves up breakfast buffets and Mexican cuisine for all-inclusive meals
The hotel has three restaurants, plus a snack bar. Guests are given coupons for a la carte dining, number determined by length of stay. All-inclusive meals are otherwise at El Huerto.
This mid-range hotel offers small rooms with generic decor, older furnishings, and drab walls that provide little soundproofing, so noise complaints are common. Most rooms offer views of a small, well-maintained pool, since the hotel does not have an oceanfront location. It features several restaurants and a beach club that is a short walk away on Las Glorias Beach, with plenty of things to do and people to look at -- along with slightly grubby sand, somewhat murky water, and a lot of vendors crowding the shore.