Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit Rating: 4.5 Pearls
This luxurious, 267-room all-inclusive resort in Nuevo Vallarta is a sophisticated and serene option in the greater Puerto Vallarta area. Every room here is a suite, offering extra living space, a balcony, ocean views, and luxurious touches such as Nespresso machines. The impressive features include an infinity pool with three levels overlooks the beach, a decadent spa with 20 treatment rooms, and four upscale (and pricey) restaurants. There's little wrong with it, except for the fee for Wi-Fi.
Marival Residences & World Spa Rating: 4.5 Pearls
A half-hour drive from downtown Puerto Vallarta and a half-mile from the beach, the Marival Residences & World Spa is the place to go for laid-back luxury, residential-style suites, modern amenities, and an impressive array of all-inclusive features. Comprised of 169 suites, penthouses, or private villas, ranging from one to four bedrooms (and all featuring spacious terraces with garden, pool, or ocean views), Marival Residences is an excellent option for families and couples alike seeking a little sun-soaked spoiling.
Casa Velas Hotel Boutique Rating: 4.5 Pearls
There are neighborhoods in Puerto Vallarta that feel like Palm Springs or Beverly Hills, and the all-inclusive Casa Velas inhabits one of them. Lush, manicured gardens and streets, high-priced, terra cotta tile-roofed houses and condos, and the green grass of a well-tended golf course define the locale. The 80-room adults-only hotel is perfectly situated amidst this quiet luxury. With a gated entry, a friendly, (mostly) bilingual staff, and gorgeous public spaces and rooms that more than meet the challenge posed by the posh ambience, Casa Velas is a great pick for those who like it luxe but informal.
Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Booking a room at an all-inclusive in Nuevo Vallarta -- the high-end “suburb” north of Puerto Vallarta -- can be hit or miss, given the dozens of properties to choose from here. The beachfront Vallarta Palace is a hit for most. Some might find the minimalist architecture of this 348-guestroom hotel a little too stripped down, particularly in the vast atrium lobby. But beyond that empty, soaring space are lush gardens, inviting pools, and elegant restaurants offering a range of cuisines. Rooms are on the small side, but feature luxe details like double Jacuzzis.
Dreams Villamagna Nuevo Vallarta -- All-Inclusive Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The Dreams is a solid all-inclusive resort, with a sleek, ultra-modern design, several restaurants --including an outstanding rooftop sushi and cocktail bar--, a spa, multiple pools, and a stretch of beach. The rooms here are attractive -- cool, with hip furniture, freestanding deep bathtubs, and Jacuzzis on private decks. But you have to specify you want an ocean view, or you may be looking at the mountains (which isn't necessarily a bad thing).