Extensive convention space plus gardens for outdoor events
Free Wi-Fi in lobby (though it's slow)
Some wear and tear visible throughout the building
Beach a bit narrow and rocky (typical for area)
Pool could use maintenance
Fee for in-room Wi-Fi (except for guests in Family Rooms)
Food quality gets mixed reviews; some dishes cost extra
Restaurant reservations must be made in the morning
Fees for room service, mini-golf, and access to kids' club
Children's spa only for girls, and fee to access
Some restaurants have limited or unusual hours
Fees if you lose all-inclusive bracelets or towel cards
Bed types requested not guaranteed
Elevators slow and sometimes broken
This upper-middle-range, family-friendly resort is one of the most affordable all-inclusive options in the Marina Vallarta area. The 318 rooms have balconies, and many have views out onto the ocean. However, it's the amenities that really shine here, and there are all sorts of daily activities available along with a pool, tennis courts, an archery range, and a mini-golf course, plus unexpected extras including a rock-climbing wall and a children's spa. Though the Melia is an all-inclusive, guests may be surprised to find extra fees for Wi-Fi and room service. The beach is a bit narrow and not the highlight. Those looking for a location closer to downtown should compare rates with Villa del Palmar and Buenaventura Grand Hotel & Great Moments.
All-inclusive resort with a heavy focus on a family-friendly environment
The Melia Puerto Vallarta All Inclusive is an all-inclusive resort that's especially popular with families, including many locals (American guests can expect to often be in the minority). It caters to kids with unexpected kid-friendly extras, such as mini-golf and a children's spa for girls. Families will also probably appreciate the huge landscaped gardens, meandering pathways, and especially the ponds with fish, turtles, and ducks; fish food is available through coin-operated dispensers. Guests are also likely to encounter friendly iguanas on the grounds.
The Melia Puerto Vallarta is definitely a good value, but guests do get what they pay for. There are plenty of the hassles that are often typical for all-inclusive resorts in the price range -- mediocre food, a la carte restaurant reservations that must be made in the morning (expect to line up before 9 a.m. in the lobby), lots of extra fees (for in-room Wi-Fi, lost towel cards, extra dishes, room service...), bed types that can't be guaranteed, and more. And the main draws at most tropical resorts -- the pool and the beach -- are a bit lacking here, as the pool could use better maintenance (we saw leaves accumulating along the edge of the zero-entry section) and the beach is narrow (typical for the area).
Though the hotel does have some impressive design cred -- it was designed by renowned architects Oriol Bohiga and Josep Martorell, who also designed the Olympic Village and Port in Barcelona -- today, this older property is showing some wear. The massive lobby is attractive enough, with marble floors, blue-and-brown ceramic tiles on the walls, winged statues, and concrete pillars. Rooms are located in side wings, while the restaurants, pools, and massive gardens sit at the heart of the resort. While the bulk of the hotel’s activities are hosted outside, the main building also hosts a lobby bar and VIP waiting areas, complete with massive wooden tables.
On the beach near the marina, between the airport and the city center
The Melia Puerto Vallarta is located off Avenida Paseo de la Marina Sur, the main highway that runs along the coast. The property is located in the Marina Vallarta golf community, situated directly on the beach, with views out over the Pacific and the marina just at its back. The airport is around a six-minute drive from the hotel (without traffic), and it's about 10 minutes to the city center; guests will need to drive or take a taxi.
Marina Vallarta is north of downtown, just south of the airport, and has its own yachting scene, golf club and courses, and multiple posh apartment buildings, condominiums, and big resort hotels. The beaches here are not the region's best, but many guests enjoy watching cruise ships arrive in the mornings (some dock in the marina), and sunsets are also spectacular. There are a number of restaurants by the marina within a 10- to 15-minute walk.
Simple, airy, and slightly worn rooms, some with ocean-view balconies or bunk beds for kids
The 318 rooms and suites at the Malia have a similar decor scheme to what's found in common areas, with marble tile floors and a mix of red, orange, yellow, and brown fabric accents. These include the entry-level Melia Rooms, which have 407 square feet (124 square meters) of space; each comes with a single king-sized bed or two doubles along with furnished private balconies with garden or ocean views. (Note that some garden-view rooms do have partial ocean views, an in general, higher floors mean better views). Two-room Family Suites have 818 square feet (249 square meters) and can sleep three adults or two adults and two children. Families may also want to consider the Kids & Company Family Rooms, each of which has two double beds and a bunkbed plus a private balcony with garden view, and special gifts and toys for kids upon arrival. Some guests have complained of getting the wrong room type upon check-in, and the resort doesn't guarantee bed configurations. Standard amenities include flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges refilled daily with water, beer, soft drinks, and snacks, plus coffeemakers and safes. Note that internet is not included in most room types, with the exception of Kids & Company Rooms and Family Suites.
Huge range of activities including a kids' club, fitness facilities, and a spa
There’s no shortage of features at the Melia, and guests of multiple ages can take advantage of a rock-climbing wall, an archery range, a shooting range, batting cages, two tennis courts, ping-pong, and mini-golf. There's even a spa specifically for girls ages 12 and under, the Kids & Company Children’s Spa, offering scrubs, manicures, pedicures, and salon services. For adults, there's a well-equipped fitness center, a beauty salon, and Yhi Welless Spa, which offers a variety of treatments. The main pool is huge and has a swim-up bar, and there's a smaller kids' pool for younger guests.
Public computers are available for guests and there's Wi-Fi available throughout the hotel. It's free -- but slow -- in the lobby, and for a fee in most rooms. There's also convention space for up to 600 guests, and roughly 16 percent of the hotel’s annual occupancy is driven by on-site for weddings and conventions. In addition to the interior space, there’s also room for up to 700 people in the exterior gardens and terraces.
A range of restaurants, but an annoying reservation system and mediocre food
The hotel has a solid selection of restaurants and bars. La Palapa is an outdoor restaurant with views out over the beach and bay and offers a lunch buffet and grilled specialties at night. Reservations are required. La Palapita is the pool snack bar, but it's only open during the afternoons and early evenings. Quetzal is set on the outdoor terrace and focuses on buffet breakfasts and themed dinners, but is only open twice per week depending on the weather.
Los Azules serves a la carte Mexican cuisine, with reservations and a casual dress code required. It stays open well into the wee hours of the night, but only serves snacks after the dinner service ends. Reservations are required at Vitrales, the Italian dinner restaurant, but there's no dress code. The resort also has three bars, and room service is available for a fee (but hours are limited). Food quality gets mixed reviews, and a la carte reservations must be made in the morning in the lobby.
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