Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators.
Commanding Art Deco-style building with basic grounds and fanciful interiors
The grand, white Art-Deco building keeps its era-specific design scheme consistent throughout public zones -- with surprisingly colorful decor popping up in unexpected places. The lobby, for instance, is a formal experience with its black-and-white checkered floors, stained-glass accents, and towering atrium with dazzling chandelier. The attention-grabber, though, is the regal-esque tufted-purple upholstered round bench -- which kids tend to love running circles around as they wait for their parents to finish check-in.
This sort of formality-meets-playfulness continues throughout the property. Beyond the lobby, which is encased by the two guest wings, a deco-style fountain centers the hotel's plaza -- a lively designed central gathering place ringed with multiple restaurants, bars, and the Riu's signature live-performance theater. Further along, perfectly groomed garden paths lead guests to the resort's biggest draw -- the two pools. It's a constant party around these areas, for adults and kids alike, with features like a swim-up bar with nearby in-pool bistro tables, a pool volleyball net, and three large slides. For a more serene setting, guests can head to the expansive, clean beach, featuring plenty of shaded and sun-soaked lounge chairs for a little beach-side R&R.
Located on pretty Playa de Flamingos in Nuevo Vallarta
Seemingly a world away from the bustling party destination of Puerto Vallarta, Nuevo Vallarta is a sleepier resort locale with no real downtown -- just big resorts and upscale homes surrounded by a leafy enclave, pristine beach, or manicured golf courses. This is the area to head if you're on the hunt for a relaxing beach getaway with some golfing or spa treatments thrown in. To experience the culture, dining, nightlife, and shopping of Puerto Vallarta, you'll need to catch a cab for a 25-minute drive.
Basic rooms with full or partial ocean views
Only a slight step up from the economy Riu Jalisco a few doors away, the Riu Vallarta's rooms are clean and comfortable, but nothing special. All rooms come standard (even the pricey suites) with old tube TVs, basic mini-fridges, and handy liquor dispensers.
Deck furniture is of the uncomfortable plastic variety, but every room features either full or partial ocean views, which is a plus.
24-hour room service and diverse dining option, from casual to gourmet
The Spanish hotel company Riu offers three classes of all-inclusive (there's one of each in Nuevo Vallarta), with this one being the mid-priced option. Compared with its more budget-friendly sister property, grounds aren't nearly as immaculate or impressive, and although the rooms have slightly nicer decor they're not much of a step up (plus, the Master Suites at Jalisco feature flat-screen TVs, while tube TVs come standard here). Jalisco even has slightly more varied dining options, though the ones offered here are varied enough to prevent standard all-inclusive-dining boredom. But the expansive beach and the two large play-inducing pools (with in-pool lounge seating, bistro tables, swim-up bar, and slides) are clearly in a class above., though, certain areas are lacking. For instance, the