Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Elegant yet slightly aged convention hotel with a great beachfront location
The well-established Marina Vallarta hotel strip, close to the airport and not far from downtown, is home to dozens of hotels, most of them fairly high end. The Velas group owns several of these properties including, of course, this one. Though it is a bit worn and perhaps in need of some updating -- especially in the suites -- the 20-year-old property possesses a certain distinct elegance that is rarely evident in many of the newer hotels. Unique artistic details such as the murals flanking the entry passage, and the many streams and ponds with dozens of Koi fish, enhance this hotel’s singular quality, as does the visually varied appearance of the Spanish-style building, with its myriad arches, setback, and rooflines.
There are perhaps too many time-share people doing their business here, but that’s the nature of Puerto Vallarta and the nature of this hotel, which does sell fractional ownerships. Nevertheless, for beach- and pool-loving golfers or tennis enthusiasts, this is a dream come true: a fine, somewhat-luxurious beachfront hotel minutes from several fine courses, with tennis courts on-site.
In the heart of Marina Vallarta, on the beach, by the marina and the airport, just steps away from a golf course
On the beachfront side of a wide, well-groomed Marina Vallarta boulevard, between the beach and the Marina Vallarta golf course, the Velas possesses an ideal Marina Vallarta location. The proximity to the airport, five minutes away, may be a source of some noise distraction in the high season, but it sure is convenient. Downtown Vallarta is 10 or 15 minutes away via car, the boats and restaurants of the marina are close at hand, and the beach is right there in front of the hotel. The waters of Bahia Banderas along this stretch can run a little murky, however, due to the nearby Ameca River, which pours its muddy waters into the bay.
Spacious rooms, most with great views
Velas Vallarta's rooms and suites are spacious, with nice balconies offering fine views (except the small, viewless studios), but many of them have not yet been remodeled and thus feel a little worn.
Rooms sizes include studios and one-, two-, and three-bedroom suites, which can be joined together and/or locked off in various combinations. The suites have kitchenettes with different set-ups -- full-size or mini-fridges, two or four burner cooktops, various counter and dining table options, and appliances -- but the overall impression is that the kitchens are not really set up for serious cooking -- this may be because, under the newer time-share contracts, owners are required to sign up for the all-inclusive package. The suites that are due for a remodel have old tube TVs and drab furnishings, while the renovated ones offer a nice dose of color and unique artwork.
Beachfront location with beautiful gardens, nearby golf, and tennis
Three restaurants, snack bar, and 24-hour room service
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 price is a bit high considering the needed upgrades -- for nicer rooms and similar amenities in the Marina area, consider lower-priced Melia Puerto Vallarta.