Pros

  • All-inclusive resort on Banderas Bay with sandy beach and calm water
  • Nice ocean-facing pools (one is just for adults) and two hot tubs
  • No-frills rooms include balconies and some ocean views
  • Dining variety on-site including three restaurants and two bars
  • Outdoor kids' club on the sand offers organized activities
  • Small spa does massages by the beach and beauty treatments
  • Located two miles from the airport -- transfers are available
  • Free Wi-Fi and parking
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Cons

  • Noisy and crowded pools
  • Complaints of noise and cigarette smoke
  • Older hotel -- could use a refresh in the rooms and public spaces
  • Wi-Fi is spotty
  • Complaints of unsanitary buffet food
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Bottom Line

The 218-room Friendly Vallarta Resort is an all-inclusive three-pearl property on the beach. Prices are on the high side, especially when you factor in the crowds, noisy rooms, and reported sanitary issues with the buffet food. College kids and young families like the three on-site restaurants and two bars -- one of which is located near the sandy beach. There are nice ocean-facing pools and hot tubs, including one pool just for adults. The Costa Sur Resort and Spa offers many of the same amenities with larger suites in a quieter location, though it's farther from the airport.

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Oyster Hotel Review

Friendly Vallarta All Inclusive Family Resort

Scene

Multistory tower on the beach

The Friendly Vallarta Resort's main scene takes place outdoors. Sure, there's a courtyard-like interior lobby with natural light from overhead skylights and green foliage hanging from the balconies, but the pool deck is where the restaurants, pools, and beach access are located -- and so are all the guests. Guests mostly consist of party-all-night college kids but families with young kids stay here too. The pools are flanked by blue sun loungers and statuesque palm trees. The sandy beach is a short walk from the sun deck. The atmosphere is no-frills and often noisy.

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Location

On Banderas Bay

The resort is located on Banderas Bay and a strip of sandy beach, surrounded on both sides by other hotels. It's about a five-minute drive to downtown Puerto Vallarta and only two miles from the airport -- meaning guests have fast access to the sand after touching down. Airport transfers are available and parking at the hotel is free.

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Rooms

Basic rooms sleep four.

There are 218 Standard Superior rooms at Friendly Vallarta Resort, that come with either a single king bed or two double beds, sleeping four people at the most. The rooms are in need of an update and past guests have complained about nocturnal noises and cigarette smoke smells from neighboring rooms. Decor consists of tiled floors, white walls, and simple light wooden furniture. Bathrooms are fairly spacious with tiled shower/tub combos and single sinks in a large vanity. Free bottles of water are set near the sink. The best rooms overlook the ocean from the top floor. Balconies are furnished with plastic patio furniture.

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Features

Beach, pools, and all-inclusive meals

All-inclusive meals and drinks are served poolside at Villalinda Restaurant, including a late-night menu. There are a buffet breakfast and dinner at Sunset Grill, and Gourmet Restaurant offers romantic a la carte dinners with a formal dress code. Note that there's no air-conditioning in any of the open air restaurants and past guests have complained about sanitary issues with buffet food being left out in the heat. Fiesta Bar offers drinks and snacks on the beach. Lobby Bar provides light meals and cocktails with evening entertainment such as karaoke.

Kids like the huge family pool and a kids' club with a playground on the sand and organized activities such as bracelet making and something called "crazy hour" -- which might explain the excessive noise by the pool that past guests have commented on. A wildlife expert occasionally brings an owl for guests to marvel at. For grown-ups, there are an adults-only pool overlooking the ocean (but still close to the chaos) and a small spa for beauty services or al fresco massages. Spotty Wi-Fi is free throughout the resort.

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Best Rates

Amenities

  • Air Conditioner

  • Airport Transportation

  • Babysitting Services

  • Balcony / Terrace / Patio

  • Basic Television

  • Beach

  • Business Center

  • Cable

  • Concierge

  • Cribs

  • Dry Cleaning

  • Fitness Center

  • Internet

  • Jacuzzi

  • Kids Allowed

  • Meeting / Conference Rooms

  • Pool

  • Poolside Drink Service

  • Rental Car Service Desk Onsite

  • Room Service

  • Separate Bedroom / Living Room Space

  • Spa

  • Supervised Kids Activities

  • Swim-Up Bar

  • Tennis Court

Disclaimer: This content was accurate at the time the hotel was reviewed. Please check our partner sites when booking to verify that details are still correct.