Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators.
A 30-room property near a noisy highway, but right on tranquil Banderas Bay
Though close to a noisy highway, and hemmed in on both sides by condo complexes, the proximity to the tranquil waters of Banderas Bay makes the 30-room Starbay Suites an attractive, affordable option for a resort getaway. It's at the edge of town and the edge of the sea, literally, so there's not much going on except sitting by the pool or sitting on the beach; since the ocean is warm and welcoming here, and the pool is a good size, divided into kids' and grown-ups' sections, that isn't such a bad thing.
Banderas Bay is rich in marine and bird life, and so, even though there's a busy highway at your back and a city, Puerto Vallarta, not so far away, the ocean before you is very much alive with dolphins, countless varieties of fish, myriad species of birds, and even whales. Humpbacks winter here, and in season, occasionally can be seen cavorting offshore. Boats or yachts for cruising, sailing, whale watching surfing, fishing, or anything else in the way of sea-going fun can be chartered with a phone call.
On the beach, 30 miles north of Puerto Vallarta
The hotel is located on the beach on the northern edge of Bucerias, a lively little town about 30 miles north of Puerto Vallarta in Bahia Banderas, a deep, horseshoe-shaped bay on Mexico's Central Pacific coast.
For those taking a taxi to Bucerias from the airport should note cabs right at the airport will charge about 500 pesos ($40); if you walk over Highway 200 on a pedestrian bridge, you can catch a cab for 250 pesos ($20), or take the bus for 14 pesos ($1.5). Cabs from the hotel back to the airport charge about 220 pesos ($18).
All the times below are assuming normal traffic flow. Cheap, frequent, and reliable buses connect all these destinations.
Plain mid-range rooms, with a little Mexican flair
The hotel's moderately sized rooms are decorated with heavy, dark-stained wooden furnishings described as Mexicano Rustico by the management. These dark wood chairs, tables, and beds, (whitewash-stained in a few suites), are balanced by pale stone tile floors and a light palette of paint and fabrics, and brightened by the flood of daylight coming in through the sliding glass doors that open onto balconies. Ultimately, however, the effect is rather bland and utilitarian, as there is no art and the colors are decidedly neutral.
A kid-friendly pool complex and a quiet beach
An on-site restaurant serves three meals a day
Situated under a palapa close to both beach and pool, the Star Bay Restaurant (under new management as of mid-2011) serves standard Mexican and American fare for three meals a day. If you don't like the menu, you can cook in your room, and the Mega supermarket is a five-minute drive away. At least a dozen restaurants in every price category can be found in Bucerias itself, a 20-minute walk or 2-minute drive.
The three-story, 30-room Starbay is a bland time-share property sandwiched between a noisy highway and the tranquil waters of Banderas Bay on Mexico's Pacific coast. Aside from the enormous, traditional-style palapa rising high above the lobby and reception area, there is little about the look of this U-shaped hotel that says "Mexico" -- but the nearness of the beach and the great ocean views from every room help compensate.