I like the Hotel Cervantes and also the PortoBello hotel. The Cervantes is in the gay area so there are always lots of people around which is nice because I usually walk to 7-11 about four blocks away for a decaf coffee late at night. (I am a 5 foot tall woman)
I usually go to GDL alone- and I am never scared. I go about once a month or so from PV on the ETN or Primera Plus bus.
I love Plaza Andares Mall but that is because I live in Mexico so it feels like I am in the States and I get to eat at PF Chang's and get a Krispy kreme! For tourists, it is probably just another "mall" although this one is LUXURY and very nice with some great restaurants. Some great restaurants are on Ave, Vallarta and Lopez Cotilla. Pretty high end....otherwise in Centro, there is a Chinese Buffet on just about every block! (I kid you not!)
Long story short, GDL is awesome- go, have fun! And stay at least a night in Tlaquepaque!