Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Expansive Hotel Zone property with an agressive sales staff
The trick with any all-inclusive hotel in this “older” neighborhood of Vallarta hoteldom is to ignore the heavy-handed marketing -- but it's hard to do here. The lobby has a lot of signage about selling timeshares, tours, and other stuff, and guests say marketing staff is pretty aggressive.
This place is expansive. The entire property houses 560 rooms, three pools, gardens, tennis courts, a fitness center, a spa, three restaurants, and more. There's nothing especially interesting about the building itself, but the grounds are kept nice and it is an attractive property in general.
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 or 4 bucks (there's a bus stop right by the hotel).
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 maze-like 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, and has a few gay clubs (Puerto Vallarta is arguably Mexico's most gay-friendly destination).
With 560 rooms, you'll find some that are worn -- but every room will get you a balcony and a kitchen.
The 560 rooms are spread out among 10 buildings and share a light, resort-y design feel -- all pale yellows, beiges, and whites, and hints of colonial Mexico in the mix. There are four different room categories, but even the cheapest have balconies, which is great though most overlook pools or tennis courts rather than the ocean. Another plus is that all rooms have either a kitchenette or a full kitchen. As far as being modern goes, these rooms could use some TLC. There is no Wi-Fi, and Internet usage comes with a fee -- but most rooms have flat-screen TVs. The white-painted furniture in the rooms is comfortably functional if a little worn here and there. Bathrooms all have marble shower/tub combos, and offer Lavarino toiletries.
Impressive pools are the highlight here, but the hotel offers everything you'd expect in the Hotel Zone
No standout restaurants here, but you can get food whenever you want it.
The three Villa properties, including this one, are timeshares first and hotels second -- so be prepared for an aggressive sales pitch upon checking in. Get past the lobby and you'll find a typical upper-middle-range beach resort with multiple pools, a few dining options, tennis courts, a spa and fitness center. Be warned: Some of the rooms are outdated, and guests say the food is sub-par. But the location -- right by a bus stop that takes you downtown in minutes, and close to the airport -- is prime.
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