Two of my friends and myself used my timshare through RCI exchange to schedule a week stay at Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay. I chose the resort based on the gushing comments from RCI owners and the beautiful pictures of the resort. The fact that it has two swim-up bars in 2 of the 3 pools helped my decision as well!
We stayed June16-23, 2010. The weather that time of year was hot and humid, but not unbearably so. The resort is located right on the water, in a bay (which I can only imagine is called "emerald bay")... The first thing we noticed about the resort was how beautifully landscaped it was. It was filled with lush green plants, beautiful flowers, waterfalls and ponds everywhere. There were peacocks, flamingoes, koi, and iguanas roaming the grounds.
The resort is located right on the beach. The ocean water was warm, but we didn't swim in the water because of the fear of jellyfish. Apparently June is jellyfish breeding month and the water is infested with jellyfish. So, we dunked our feet in the ocean, but we didn't swim in it. No matter, though--the pool was AMAZING! The resort has two finished pools and has part of a third pool completed and is still completing construction on the remaining part of this pool. The main pool has three shallow beach-like sections where you can drag their lounge chairs and tables in and enjoy relaxing in the water. There is an infinity pool section and a lower section with a swim-up bar. The pool is probably well over 4000 square feet. This is the activity pool and they schedule activities throughout the day from 11Am until 4PM--games like water volleyball, bingo, TV trivia, water polo, etc. The pool is 4.5 ft deep everywhere (except the beach-like areas), so it's safe for those who aren't good swimmers. The swim-up bar is great to have in the pool and happy hour is daily from 12-1PM. The drinks made at the bar are much stronger than those which you order from a server, so if you decide to get an alcoholic beverage, I suggest you swim over to the bar yourself! :) Also, they have daily "drink-of-the-day" which are usually frozen flavored margaritas. These are $60 pesos all day (and 2-for-1 during happy hour), which is about $5.10 USD, currently. The other completed pool is an adults-only pool which also has a swim-up bar. We didn't hang out at this pool, but it is quieter and plays "spa-like, relaxation" music all day. It also has a shallow area and a jacuzzi.
The staff is probably the best part about this resort. They are always smiling, friendly, attentive, and more than willing to bend over backwards to make your stay amazing. Our bartender for the week was Samuel (he worked the main pool's bar). He was amazing. Always hooking us up with strong drinks, getting our order quickly, etc. Amazing! The check-in staff was also very prompt and friendly. I didn't have to stand in line long to check in. They also have bell hops that bring you and your luggage in a golf cart to your room since the grounds are rather large and spread out.
We opted to participate in the timeshare tour, which (as always) lasted longer than the promised 90 minutes. However, unlike many timeshare presentations, this one was not at all pushy. It was nice to get a tour of the grounds as well. My friends decided to buy there (it was incredibly cheap--especially considering that you own red time at a gold crown resort). Anyways, this gave us $200USD in food and beverage to spend at the restaurants and bars, which of course we made use of . In the end, we ended up having a total room charge bill of only $500USD, which meant each of us only had to pay $100USD since the $200 credit left us with only $300 to pay. It was a great deal.
The rooms at the resort were great. The kitchenette in our 1bdr room had a toaster, blender, coffee maker, microwave, and hot plate with 2 burners. Of course it also had a sink with dishwashing fluid and a sponge as well as utensils, mixing bowls, and dishes. Don't worry about bringing a wine key or beer cap remover--they have one in each room! :) There were 2 full bathrooms and the bedroom had 2 queen size beds. The linens were very comfortable, but the pillows were a bit lumpy. However, this was our fault since it wasn't until the night before we left that we found the "pillow menu" that allows you to request different types of pillows from the staff. Had we found that earlier, we would have chosen different pillows. (FYI-it's located in the drawer in the nightstand.)
All of the rooms have an ocean view and a balcony or patio with lounge chairs.
There are also hammocks located at different places around the grounds which i used one afternoon to read a book and relax in the cool evening breeze.
It isn't in the middle of Mazatlan and is about a 20-minute drive from downtown, but you can take the shuttle to the Pueblo Bonito Mazatlan for free. It runs every hour, on the hour, but be sure to sign up early because it does get full around dinner time. If you miss it, the taxi to the golden zone area is $100 pesos (about $9USD) or the taxi to downtown will cost you about $180 pesos ($16 USD).
Some places to check out: Plaza Machada in downtown--has resturants, some shopping, and on weekend nights, free entertainment. We were there on a Saturday night and there were dancers doing a "Michael Jackson" tribute.
Las Brujas is a restaurant located on the beach very close to the hotel. A taxi there will cost you $60 pesos. Drinks are cheap, strong, and 2-for-1 every day from 5-9PM. We walked in and stumbled out!! The food was okay, but the drinks are good--a good place to start a night out. We also liked going to the Hotel Freeman in downtown--it has a rooftop pool and patio where you can order drinks from the bar just one floor below. We watched the sunset from there. You have a great view of the ocean and all of Mazatlan from the top of this hotel. Also, we went to Joe's Oyster Bar--it's a local bar right on the water, next to the Ramada in the golden zone. It's a locals hangout with cheap beer and 2-for-1 drinks. Beer is only like $40 pesos each. Basically, if you are in the city and you pay more than $40 pesos for a drink, you're getting ripped off. God I love Mexico. :)
Overall, I can't wait to go back!
All in all, this resort was spectacular! I can't wait to go back. If I didn't already own several other timeshares, I would have bought here as well.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.