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 white-sand beach, a decadent spa with 20 treatment rooms (and beachside treatment cabanas), and four upscale (and pricey) restaurants. There's little wrong with it, except for the fee for Wi-Fi.
Garza Blanca Preserve, Resort & Spa Rating: 5.0 Pearls
This luxury resort stands on a secluded stretch of beach on Bahia Banderas’ south shore, which offers stunning views of the ocean and jungle-covered hills that surround it. Built on the site of a former hotel that was the playground of Hollywood stars in the 1960s, the Garza Blanca features spacious guest rooms, an exquisite pool, private beach, and a gourmet restaurant with extensive wine cellar and tequila tasting room.
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.
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 not the place to go if you're in the mood for a beach-lounging, party-hopping Mexican getaway. It is, however, 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.
CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Much like the other sprawling resorts that line the long, sandy beach in the swanky Marina Vallarta golf community, the CasaMagna Marriott features top-notch restaurants, pools, and meeting rooms, as well as lovely guest rooms and suites that feature modern amenities and contemporary furnishings. Housed in two towers, this upscale hotel is memorable primarily for its sumptuous Ohtli Spa and adjacent fitness center with indoor lap pool. Somewhat removed from Puerto Vallarta's nightlife scene, it is a great spot for travelers who want to unwind away from the hustle and bustle of downtown.
Dreams Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa Rating: 4.0 Pearls
This upscale Dreams property sits on a sweet private cove on Banderas Bay, making it a great romantic spot. Every single room and suite has an amazing ocean view (some with private balconies and Jacuzzis outside), but the rooms in the Old Tower have not been updated and are showing wear and tear. It's a true all-inclusive -- you won't be slapped with any surprising mini-bar fees -- but beware of staff trying to upsell you, especially when you check in.
Villa Premiere Hotel & Spa Rating: 4.5 Pearls
Open only to guests ages 16 and older, Villa Premiere offers the best of two Puerto Vallarta worlds: it’s both beachfront all-inclusive and urban boutique. One of the few beaches near town -- Playa Camarones -- is directly in front of the hotel, and downtown Puerto Vallarta is just seven blocks away. Even with its small size, the 89-room Villa has an attractive all-inclusive package -- a compact but still luxurious version of what you get at many of the mega-sized resorts several miles north, out of town. An added bonus: it’s a pretty little place with whimsical artwork throughout.
Secrets Vallarta Bay Rating: 4.5 Pearls
Secrets Vallarta Bay is a luxurious, adult-only, all-inclusive resort right on the beach in tourist-friendly Puerto Vallarta. With 271 suites, it's not the biggest resort around -- the smaller size means less of a wait and better service. This property does a lot of things right: luxe rooms with butler service, unlimited premium alcohol, and gorgeous pools -- however, the vibe can get rowdy (blame the combination of all-inclusive booze and a swim-up bar). Guests should also note that some of the restaurants and daily entertainment are next door at the family-friendly Now Amber Puerto Vallarta. Still, Secrets is a quick drive to the airport and downtown, making it a convenient spot for an upscale couples getaway on the beach.
Now Amber Puerto Vallarta Rating: 4.5 Pearls
The 327-room Now Amber Puerto Vallarta is a family-friendly, four-and-half-pearl oceanfront property. The location is right on the beach and 15 minutes from the airport and downtown Puerto Vallarta. Seven restaurants and bars are all-inclusive, including premium alcohol. All of the spacious, sleek rooms are suites with private balconies. There's a huge spa, gorgeous pools, and separate clubs for kids and teens. The hotel doesn't nickel-and-dime guests with extra charges: everything from parking to Wi-Fi to towels and minibars are included. Note that some of the hotel's facilities (a few restaurants and the spa) are actually located next door at the sister property, Secrets.
Velas Vallarta Suite Resort All-Inclusive Rating: 3.5 Pearls
Velas Vallarta Suite Resort was likely one of the finest in Vallarta a couple of years ago, and no doubt, if management continues to put time and money into the ongoing upgrade, this all-inclusive resort will be top-notch again soon. The gardens and grounds are still charming, the pools (with a lazy river) and recreational options are excellent, and the restaurants are hitting on all cylinders. However, the suites are not quite up to modern-day snuff (drab furnishings and old tube TVs are standard). Upgraded rooms, though, feature flat-screen TVs and nicer furnishings -- while most rooms (renovated or not) feature stunning ocean views
The Westin Resort & Spa Puerto Vallarta Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Think pink. Well, yellow, too, and a few other intense shades that add more than a splash of color to this 280-room hotel. The Westin is also distinctive architecturally, as it is housed in a cluster of buildings with varying heights and sizes. This beachside property takes a bit of getting used to, as its sprawling scale and bright color scheme may seem overwhelming at first. Some standout features include the free-form pool complex and the property's extensive art collection. It offers all the amenities expected at an upscale resort, but be prepared to pay fees for most of them.
Costa Sur Resort & Spa Rating: 3.5 Pearls
The 202-room Costa Sur Resort and Spa is a multi-story property that offers guests a lot of bang for their peso: a private beach, spacious suites with kitchens and ocean views, optional all-inclusive meal packages, and a fun kids' club. Located 10 minutes outside of Puerto Vallarta's main strip, this hotel is distanced from noise and pollution but still well placed for exploring with a car. Rooms could use a refresh, but there is a peaceful adults-only pool, a separate big pool for families, fitness center, and water sports all on-site.