This luxury resort stands on a secluded stretch of beach on Bahia Banderas’ south shore, which offers stunning views of the ocean and jungle-covered hills that surround it. Built on the site of a former hotel that was the playground of Hollywood stars in the 1960s, the Garza Blanca features spacious guest rooms, an exquisite pool, private beach, and a gourmet restaurant with extensive wine cellar and tequila tasting room.
This beachfront luxury resort feels remote, but it's a 10-minute drive from downtown Puerto Vallarta
From the multi-hued, polished stone finishes of the daylight-saturated atrium lobby to the gorgeous infinity pool with its rock formations and fountains, this 73-unit resort feels like a posh cradle of contemporary oceanfront luxury. From the hotel windows, the beach and sea feel close enough to touch, as does the jungle draped densely on the hills behind the resort. Striking views abound, even from the windows of the small fitness center.
The pool and adjacent restaurant and bar areas overlook two hundred yards of sandy beach, with waters calm enough for great swimming, snorkeling, and stand-up paddleboarding. For additional snorkeling, the enchanting Los Arcos diving rocks are a 20-minute paddle down the beach. Hammocks, lounge chairs, and cabanas dot the shore, providing plenty of spots to rest and soak up the ocean views. For additional relaxation, the Hamara Spa offers a diverse array of treatments and therapies in a serene setting with Buddhist-inspired decor.
The property includes a large piece of land -- the preserve --on the jungle-draped mountain behind the hotel and across the highway. Up there, the hotel has plans to build seven towers that will add 200 or more guest rooms and suites, to be marketed as condos and hotel rooms. The first of the seven towers was opened in fall 2012, featuring 24 rooms and 2 penthouse suites, a mountain-top pool, and a restaurant, BocaDos STK.
A couple of miles south of downtown Puerto Vallarta on the winding road to Manzanillo, the hotel is positioned between the road and the ocean, with its own private stretch of beach. It feels remote, but downtown is just a 10-minute taxi ride away.
35- to 40-minute drive from Licenciado Diaz Ordaz International Airport ($40 by hotel VIP service, $25 by taxi)
Luxurious rooms with ocean-view balconies -- but only wired Internet
A luxe, contemporary style pervades the 73 guest rooms and suites, which feature travertine tile floors, modern hardwood furnishings, throw rugs, and granite finishes. The brown and beige color scheme is punched up by jewel-toned draperies, pillows, and artwork. All rooms and suites feature balconies with beautiful ocean views, as well as lavish touches like walk-in closets, pillow menus, and flat-screen TVs. This luxe styling carries over to the Panorama Tower, opened in 2012, which is the first of seven towers built on the preserve in the hills behind the original building. These 24 rooms and two suites start at 985 square feet and feature an earthy color palate punctuated with lime greens and bright reds. Marble bathrooms have whirlpool tubs and double sinks.
Blanca Blue Restaurant & Lounge overlooks the ocean from behind the lobby, with a lounge linking it to the lobby. It features a gourmet international menu, plus a 3000-bottle wine cellar and more than 100 brands of tequila for tasting. A curving glass wall overlooks the ocean, and every table has a perfect view. An unforgettable spot for a high-end dining experience.