Some travelers head to Puerto Vallarta to relax on a sandy beach, while others are more interested in the nightlife the city has to offer. After staying at over 40 hotels throughout the city, we’ve compiled a list of those that are best for partiers. Here are our top picks for party-centric properties.
Secrets Vallarta Bay is a luxurious, adult-only, all-inclusive resort right on the beach in tourist-friendly Puerto Vallarta. With 271 suites, it's not the biggest resort around -- the smaller size means less of a wait and better service. This property does a lot of things right: luxe rooms with butler service, unlimited premium alcohol, and gorgeous pools -- however, the vibe can get rowdy (blame the combination of all-inclusive booze and a swim-up bar). Guests should also note that some of the restaurants and daily entertainment are next door at the family-friendly Now Amber Puerto Vallarta. Still, Secrets is a quick drive to the airport and downtown, making it a convenient spot for an upscale couples getaway on the beach.
One of the most striking elements of the Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta (formerly the Palace Resort Vallarta) is its soaring lobby, with two huge installations made with LP covers and instruments. However, the rest of the resort is no less attractive, with two free-form pools, a spa featuring ocean views, and several restaurants offering a range of cuisines. The hopping bars, nightly entertainment and contemporary rooms with high-tech amenities, funky rock-inspired decor, and double-jetted tubs attract young couples and groups, while the lively pools (including a shallow one for kids), varied dining options, and pretty beach draw families. There’s free Wi-Fi, purified water on tap, and a wide array of amenities, but rooms are a tad smaller than those found in other resorts in the area.
With a fabulous beach, several pools, and an inexpensive day spa offering a wide array of treatments, the Krystal has the potential to be a great budget pick. However, mediocre food, dated rooms (except for the contemporary Deluxe Rooms in the Tower building), and inconsistent maintenance make this a less desirable hotel than some of the neighboring properties in the same price range. Those traveling with kids might want to avoid certain vacation periods such as spring break, when the hotel can get packed with college students looking to party for cheap.
Los Arcos benefits from a prime location: It's planted on Puerto Vallarta's main beach, Playa del Sol, and is right smack in the middle of the Romantic Zone. The mid-range boutique style looks like a throwback to another time and emits a true Mexican personality. But many rooms in this mid-range hotel are worn, and on the small side. It's a relatively small property, and perhaps a little short on amenities, but for those who want an authentic Mexican urban resort experience, this is great choice. There is a lively scene here, with late-night entertainment and partying going on all around.
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. Guests mostly consist of party-all-night college kids but families with young kids stay here too.