Taking a Spring Break vacation to Puerto Vallarta, but need a hotel suitable for kids? When Oyster visits properties around the world, we evaluate how every feature stacks up against the competition, from the rooms to the pools to the restaurants. So if you’re planning a family trip for Spring Break and need a place to start, you’ve come to the right place. Take a look at our top family-friendly picks in Puerto Vallarta, and get inspired!
The 327-room Now Amber Puerto Vallarta is a family-friendly, four-and-half-pearl oceanfront property. The location is right on the beach and 15 minutes from the airport and downtown Puerto Vallarta. Seven restaurants and bars are all-inclusive, including premium alcohol. All of the spacious, sleek rooms are suites with private balconies. There's a huge spa, gorgeous pools, and separate clubs for kids and teens. The hotel doesn't nickel-and-dime guests with extra charges: everything from parking to Wi-Fi to towels and minibars are included. Note that some of the hotel's facilities (a few restaurants and the spa) are actually located next door at the sister property, Secrets.
Curvaceous and bright, this upscale sister of the two older Pelican resorts nearby features fabulous views, as this 15-story hotel looms modern and colorful over the low-rise properties around it. Guest rooms and suites are contemporary, stylish, and comfortably spacious -- and allhave balconies that overlook the beach below. The hot tub decks and poolside lounge areas also offer spectacular ocean views, with some guests preferring these serene spaces to the narrow beach that is often crowded with vendors.
Featuring gorgeously groomed jungle grounds and blue-tiled pools with beautiful bay views, this all-inclusive resort towers above the secluded Mismaloya Beach, which was made famous as the location for the Ava Gardner movie, "Night of the Iguana." Packed with spacious suites and numerous amenities, the sheer massiveness of this upscale Barcelo property may make its beachside location feel a bit crowded. (Some may feel its presence ruins what made Mismaloya Beach special in the first place.)
A true all-inclusive in the prestigious Marina Vallarta area, this place does kids well. With special family rooms, and tons of activities to keep the kids busy -- adults will have time to take part in their own fun, and there is lots to be had. A huge pool, a climbing wall, karaoke, volleyball, and nightly shows are just the beginning. Rooms are spacious and well decorated, and all have furnished private balconies. But beach lovers may be disappointed by the stretch of sand/sea this hotel lives on.
This Holiday Inn delivers pretty much everything you could expect from a mid-range hotel in the middle of Hotel Zone. It isn't fancy, secluded, or exclusive, but is simply a well-run, medium-scale (220 rooms and suites) urban beachfront resort hotel. The rooms are contemporary and spacious, with private balconies. Guests looking for a romantic private getaway could probably do better, but friends or families looking for comfort and value should consider it.
Compared to the many massive hotels at the north end of Nuevo Vallarta, the Samba Vallarta’s 183-room, four-story Spanish colonial-style building feels pleasantly small-scale -- and the pools and beach tend to be less crowded than elsewhere. The clean rooms have basic, contemporary beach decor (light woods, turquoise bed skirts and runners), and the general ambience of the property is family-friendly and relaxed. For those who want to go the all-inclusive route but don’t want a megaresort experience, this affordable mid-range property is a fine choice.
The 259-room, all-inclusive Hilton Puerto Vallarta Resort is priced at the higher end of resorts in the Hotel Zone of Puerto Vallarta, and it scores on some counts but fails on others. The rooms are modern and spacious with some gorgeous ocean views (plus coffeemakers and minibars). Restaurants are varied from an above-average buffet to fine French dining. The infinity edge adults-only pool and a luxe spa are havens from the family-centered kids' club. However, with charges for spotty Wi-Fi and short staffing at the bars, the high price point can be hard to justify.
With 475 guest rooms distributed across 15 stories on a beachfront near downtown, the Sheraton Buganvilias is a big, busy operation -- yet it's invitingly tranquil in places as well. There is ample lounge seating dotting the lush grounds, and a nice spa offers a relaxing reprieve. With an attractive free-form pool, multiple restaurants, expansivemeeting space, and easy access to the charms of Vallarta, this is a great spot for those who like the action close at hand, but also feel the need to escape the hustle. Just don't expect to escape the hustle with a serene beachfront -- the beach here is rocky, public, and teeming with vendors.
Much like the other sprawling resorts that line the beach in the swanky Marina Vallarta golf community, the CasaMagna Marriott features top-notch restaurants, pools, and meeting rooms, as well as lovely guest rooms and suites that feature modern amenities and contemporary furnishings. Housed in two towers, this upscale hotel is memorable primarily for its sumptuous Ohtli Spa and adjacent fitness center with indoor lap pool. Somewhat removed from Puerto Vallarta's nightlife scene, it is a great spot for travelers who want to unwind away from the hustle and bustle of downtown.
The 253-room Vamar Vallarta All-Inclusive Marina and Beach Resort is a low-key, mid-range hotel, located on Banderas Bay and the scenic marina. Website photos (and the hotel's name) might lead guests to believe that this property is located directly on the beach, but it isn't. The hotel is built on Banderas Bay with manmade rock walls that prevent direct access to the water. Views are pretty, but to get to the sand guests have to walk next door to the public beach. Renovated rooms and villas are a great fit for large groups or couples. All-inclusive dining and drinking options include a buffet, two swim-up bars, an Italian restaurant for dinner, and a snack bar for casual food. The location is a bit far from Puerto Vallarta's center, but all-in-all Vamar Vallarta is an excellent option for those who want low rates, spacious rooms, and outdoor pools.