Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Upscale all-inclusive with luxe amenities and lush grounds
The Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta (formerly the Vallarta Palace) is a fun alternative to the many upscale all-inclusive resorts in the area. It is funky, contemporary, and lively, with several bars and restaurants, a hopping pool area with daily entertainment, an amphitheater with live shows, and appealing rooms with red accent walls and music memorabilia.
The double-jetted bathtubs found in every room might make it seem like the hotel is geared exclusively to couples, but it offers a wide array of features for groups and families as well. It is also a popular spot for corporate events, and business travelers will find a well-equipped fitness center, expansive meeting space, free Wi-Fi throughout the property, and great bars to unwind at after work.
Oceanfront location in the ritzy enclave of Nuevo Vallarta, a 20-minute drive from Puerto Vallarta's bustling downtown
The HRH Vallarta sits right on the beach in the leafy enclave of Nuevo Vallarta. Located north of Puerto Vallarta’s international airport, the resort is a 20-minute drive or more from downtown Vallarta, depending on traffic. It may not seem far, but the difference in atmosphere is huge; wide, quiet streets, lavish homes with private docks and bobbing yachts, high-end hotels, and other signs of wealth are everywhere evident in Nuevo Vallarta. It is a great spot for those who seek a tranquil beach vacation, far from downtown's busy streets.
For those who want nightlife, a taste of urban Mexico, or a natural adventure -- whale watching, jungle biking, hiking, horseback riding, surfing lessons, sailing, or a dolphin swim -- it's possible to hire a car, cab, or boat with the help of the concierge. Meanwhile, this serene, luxurious hideaway has plenty to offer right on-site -- all-inclusive rates cover use of kayaks on the beach, the liquor dispensers in the TV cabinet, and the free Wi-Fi.
Traffic can be heavy in and around Puerto Vallarta, so what should normally be a 20-minute drive to downtown can take up to 45 minutes with traffic.
Standard rooms are smaller than at other upscale resorts, but all feature decadent details such as double-jetted tubs
Standard rooms are a little smaller than those found at other upscale resorts in the area, but they have attractive decor: bright accent walls, crisp white linens, dark wood furniture, and music-inspired artwork. Stocked minibars and liquor dispensers are provided. All rooms have double-jetted tubs by the bed as well as walk-in showers in the bathroom. They also have French balconies -- most are too tiny for chairs, but they do provide views of the ocean or resort grounds.
Diamond Level Rooms offer a few special amenities, such as spa massages, aromatherapy menus, iPod docks, free beach bags, and upgraded liquor brands.
Four restaurants specializing in international, Asian, Italian, and Brazilian cuisines
This all-inclusive hotel contains four distinct restaurants, as well as 24-hour room service and a couple of snack and beverage options. As at many all-inclusives, breakfast and lunch are served buffet-style; the buffet cuisine here gets mixed reviews.
None of the restaurants take reservations, and they all offer wine, beer, liquors, and non-alcoholic beverages as part of the all-inclusive package. The remarkably diverse wine list (for an all-inclusive) includes 14 options on the all-inclusive menu and 17 premium options that can be purchased.
Sprawling ocean-view pool area
The Hard Rock has two large free-form pools, a kiddy pool, and three whirlpools, and a poolside outdoor pizza oven.
Big fitness center
The well-equipped fitness center has a sauna and steam rooms. Cardio machines lack individual TVs, but there is a separate spinning studio.
An ocean-view spa
Rock Spa offers massages, facials, and salon services with ocean views.
An ampitheater with live entertainment and a kids' club
One of the most striking elements of the Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta (formerly the Palace Resort Vallarta) is its soaring lobby, with two huge installations made with LP covers and instruments. However, the rest of the resort is no less attractive, with two free-form pools, a spa featuring ocean views, and several restaurants offering a range of cuisines. The hopping bars, nightly entertainment and contemporary rooms with high-tech amenities, funky rock-inspired decor, and double-jetted tubs attract young couples and groups, while the lively pools (including a shallow one for kids), varied dining options, and pretty beach draw families. There’s free Wi-Fi, purified water on tap, and a wide array of amenities, but rooms are a tad smaller than those found in other resorts in the area.