Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
The striking ocean views are the highlight at this quiet resort.
Rancho Banderas is a small upper-middle-range resort with a quiet, laid-back vibe. Many guests are returning time-share owners drawn by the spacious, well-equipped villas and gorgeous ocean views -- but families, groups, and couples looking to spend some relaxing days on a pretty beach will probably also find plenty of reasons to consider this property.
The hotel is perched atop a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, a position that allows for breathtaking views from almost half the rooms and most common areas. Both the restaurant and the pool jut out over the ocean, and so boast the most striking views -- but almost 50 percent of the rooms, as well as the spa and the tiny gym, also offer great ocean vistas.
Despite the inexpensive all-inclusive rate, there have been some complaints about food variety and service at the restaurant. Most guests choose to cook in their rooms, as all villas offer fully equipped kitchens with stainless steel appliances and dishwashers.
The most common complaints here are about the pushy time-share sales team, which will drill guests with their sales pitches. However, the resort is laid-back and quiet overall and features all the basics for a relaxing vacation, including a stunning pool and a pretty beach, as well as a small spa complete with a massage hut overlooking the ocean.
On a pretty beach on the northern shore of Banderas Bay
Rancho Banderas has a wonderful location on a bluff overlooking the ocean. It is in a small oceanfront community located off the highway connecting Punta Mita and La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, so those planning on exploring the area might feel a little removed from the action. However, La Cruz, Punta de Mita, and Bucerias offer a wide array of restaurants and shops, and there are beautiful, relatively off-the-beaten-path beaches a short drive away.
Well-equipped multi-room suites with terraces and kitchens
All units here are spacious one-, two- or three-bedroom suites. They feature full kitchens with stainless steel appliances, dining rooms with seating for at least four, and furnished terraces.
All rooms were renovated between 2011 and 2012, and while some still have outdated prints on upholstered furnishings and bedspreads, most have contemporary beach style, with wood and glass tables, brown wicker accents, and dark wood sliding shutters instead of curtains.
Older tube TVs are still found in some bedrooms, but all rooms feature at least one flat-screen TV and up-to-date sound systems.
Stunning cascading pool overlooking the ocean
With a cascading design and an infinity edge overlooking the Pacific, the hotel’s pool is one of the most attractive features in the resort. It has several small levels, so it is not ideal for swimming long laps, but it is a great place for a refreshing dip and a pleasant spot for watching the sunset (and the whales during the migration season!).
Tiny, barebones gym -- but with nice ocean views
The fitness center at Rancho Banderas is nothing to write home about – it’s got three decent machines, a set of free weights, and little else. The large windows let in tons of light and offer unobstructed ocean views, and there is a flat-screen TV and two ceiling fans. It's enough for a quick workout, but it’s lacking some of the basics for a more comprehensive exercise routine.
A small one-room spa complete with an open-air massage hut on a bluff
The spa here is housed in one of the One-Bedroom Villas adapted to offer basic spa amenities, including salon services and massages.
Multi-room suites offer tons of space for families.
A restaurant with striking ocean views and an adjacent bar
Beautiful stretch of fine sand on the northern shore of Banderas Bay
The hotel is located right on a beautiful beach on the northern end of Banderas Bay. There’s a small area with a few straw umbrellas and loungers, as well as a volleyball net and a few kayaks. The sand is fine and light brown, and the waves are generally fairly gentle. The beach is narrow yet long, which allows for relaxing strolls along the water, and the hotel offers free non-motorized water sports.
After a rock formation that can be reached on foot, there’s another tiny beach, which is mostly empty due to its difficult access.
Rancho Banderas has a privileged location on a bluff above a beautiful sandy beach on the northern shore of Banderas Bay. It features 49 one-, two- and three-bedroom suites with kitchens and furnished terraces, almost half of which have great ocean views. The restaurant boasts gorgeous views of the Pacific, but many guests feel that the all-inclusive option, though inexpensive, isn't worth the money. This property is a solid pick for families and groups, and offers great whale-watching December through March. But there’s a fee for Wi-Fi and those who plan on exploring beyond the resort should note that there’s nothing within walking distance.