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“Hate to tell every about this place but the hotel and staff deserve it” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Garza Blanca Preserve, Resort & Spa

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Garza Blanca Preserve, Resort & Spa
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Km 7.5 a Barra de Navidad, Puerto Vallarta 48390, Mexico   |  
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Ranked #14 of 121 Hotels in Puerto Vallarta
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Fort Mcmurray
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
“Hate to tell every about this place but the hotel and staff deserve it”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2012

Trip date Feb 24-Mar 2 2012. 4 people.Cost 6500.00 US for all inclusive,room and air fare from Edmonton to Puerto Vallarta.Make sure your paperwork that the airline gives you when you are entering is filled out properly and signed before you get to customs.Once customs stamp your paperwork keep it safe because you will need this paperwork to leave the country.Dodge all the sharks when you come out of customs. Just say NO Gracia(no thanks) and walk through them.The cheapest way to get to Garza Blanca is to get a taxi across the street. When you exit out the front of the building go left and walk across the foot bridge to the other side of the hi-way and flag down a taxi. It cost $20.00 US to take us to Garza or 200 peso,s. If you have several bags this option might not be attractive and the cabs out side the airport can be had for $30.00.The exchange rate at the airport was 10 peso,s per US dollar from the booths that do exchanges. The rate is better from the interact machines but the exchange was 12.2 pesos at the Garza resort. We were met by Samantha, the concierge at the hotel. We were greeted with Cucumber Margaritas and damp hand towels(would have been nice if they were warm) to wash up with. Nice touch after a long trip. Samantha did a perfect job explaining the all inclusive, the shuttle times and info about the grounds. She mentioned to us about the residency(time share) program but was not to pushy about it which we all liked. I have stayed at several places that had time share options but this was the one place I would not have minded it if had taken it. She also arranged a little birthday desert plate at the new restaurant for our daughters birthday which she will remember the rest of her life. The room we booked was the deluxe room with 2 queen beds. It equated to a 4 star.Due to having 4 people (Mom,Dad,Son and a Daughter) we had to take this room our other option was a 2 bedroom with a sofa. All rooms have an ocean view and a hammock. We all took a turn snoozing in the hammock and it was a pretty good sleep.We checked out the Junior suite with hot tub as well as a one bedroom suite and they were 5 star quality. It is true about the charge for coffee after the first day, I can,t figure that one my self so just plan for it and bring coffee. Our fridge was stocked every day with beer and pop and water . The nice thing about the inclusive here almost everything is fair game to eat other then a couple of items in the Blanca Blue restaurant.The teenagers ordered room service several times and it was quick and no automatic gratuities were added.I will mention this now before I forget, you can get DVD's from the hotel as there is a DVD player in each room however there is a RENTAL CHARGE which they do not tell you about ($2 a day). The room has an ironing board and iron as well as a hair dryer, bath robes and slippers. Our room also had a do not disturb sign to put on the door. We always left a minimum $5.00 tip for the maid. We also saw whales from our balcony of our room.The beach is white sand. The infinity pools are beautiful and warm. The pool activity centre has games, books and magazines. They also supply suntan lotion, bug spray and reading glasses.They have volley balls, foot balls,kayaks, towels etc. There was always plenty of loungers to use. We only saw one child the whole time we were there. The grounds are stunning and well looked after. The staff and the service people were always friendly and ready to serve(thanks Jaime and his helper). I had no problems with service. One of our guests had a severe peanut allergy and they looked after him with out any issues.Here is a tip. I would tip the waiter $5.00 when we first sat down by the pool. A little while later I would give another $5.00 tip and $5.00 more towards the end of the day.Worked out to about $100.00 for 7 days.We also left $20 to $30 tips($140-$180.00 in 7 days at the Blanca Blue restaurant.Tips were shared between the two families as we always sat together. You may think this is not right to do at a all inclusive but this is Mexico and tips are appreciated and earned. The extra two hundred fifty dollars in tips made it worth while. Now the food. I read other reviews about food being good or OK or not that great.I don,t know where some of these people ate before they came here to form this opinion. I have stayed in $1000.00 a night hotels in Greece, Hotel Mcdonald in Edmonton, Banff Springs hotel in Banff, and the food here would be comparable if not better then those places I just listed. Don't get me wrong, I am no judge from Iron Chef or a Sweet Genius but the food was 5 star all the way. Where do you go where the pool menu has Lobster salad or Filet Mignon (which was cooked perfectly) that did not disappoint. Our teenage son and his cousin said the hamburgers were some of the best he has ever eaten and I had to agree with them. The presentation was 5 star quality also. When ordering remember it takes extra time to prepare these meals in this fashion, which might answer some of the slow service comments. If you are not familiar with fine cuisine it is an eating experience and as much time goes into the preparation as the cooking of the food. We never had a bad meal. There is a hour in the morning where you can not order food from the pool area and the restaurant. It is from 11:00 to 12:00 so if you are a late riser its something to consider. I read at least 50 comments before I chose this place and some of the comments saying the food back home is this and the service back home is that well stay at home if the food and service is so good there. This is Mexico. If we changed every country so it was like back home there would be no use in traveling. I have been travelling for 40 years to countries all around the globe and enjoyed every one of them. This place lived up to and beyond what we were expecting. There was 4 of us as well as 3 family members and we all agreed we would come back. The all - inclusive option was well worth it. Supper the first night would have been $500.00 US with out the inclusive package. A word to the wise. 7 days of high end food can be trying. You must be open minded to try new food cooked different ways for example the Potato ice cream.Two out of five liked it but all 5 enjoyed the experience.If you are a calorie counter or a exercise fanatic maybe this place is not for you. There are so many great things to try, and to order fruit and yogurt seems a shame. Save that for the other 51 weeks of the year.If you would like to be one of the 1% instead of the 99% book away. We were the first people to eat at the new restaurant opening at the resort and the chef personally cooked for us sample of each entree they will be serving. The Kobe beef was wonderful as well as the cerviche sampler which consists of tuna,salmon,and butter fish. The service was over the top. I can,t wait when the whole complex is up and running. We have tons of pictures of the menu and the food. I will post as many of them as I can. P.S. try the toilets in the Blanca Blue restaurant. Lets keep people that have not travelled here guessing what is so special about this bathroom. All I can say is WOW.Never seen anything like it.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (413)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
San Francisco, California
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 22, 2012

We had a great 3 night weekend there in February 2012. The place is beautiful and well set for scenic views. We booked the Junior Suite and it is an awesome room. The wraparound balcony and jacuzzi on the balcony are great features! The service was friendly and prompt and we did not experiency any of the timeshare/ownership pressure pitches that others have mentioned. They didn't bring it up once. Also no problems settling the bill that others mentioned (and we did use beach equipment). We did NOT do all-inclusive and it worked out just fine, even though we ate every meal at the hotel except for two dinners. I thought food prices were very reasonable for a five star resort. $3 beers at the pool...that is not bad at all! The Blanca Blue restaurant is AWESOME. I thought the price point was fair for the quality. I had an awesome tenderloin and my wife had some amazing ahi. Preparation and presentation were great. It's about a $10 and 15 min taxi ride to the main tourist area of PV so if you want to be there a lot...you may not like location. We loved the property and were content to hang there. The two trips into town for dinner were easy. We used the spa for a couples massage and the massages were great. We were the first appointment of the day and they didn't seem quite ready for us when we walked in. But once they started it went well.

Room Tip: I think the Junior Suites are all corners and might actually be a little more private than the bigge...
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
chicago
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2012

My wife and I have two kids (4 and 11) and we spent 5 nights at Garza Blanca. We had an amazing time and we can't speak highly enough of the hotel--aesthetically pleasing and the staff is there to please and make you feel like you're vip. The rooms all have an ocean view and we had a one-bedroom that was one of the nicest we've been in. There is a kitchen and washer/dryer so if your stay was extended it would be perfect. We chose all-inclusive because we like to avoid the headache of always having to make sure the currency is right and to have the luxury of ordering what we want when we want. I will say that the value is there and I don't even drink. The Blanca Blue restaurant was great and it is some of the best food we've had on vacation. We live in Chicago with many variations of cuisines from low-high end. We aren't snobs but we have become more foodie with all the new places that have seemingly popped up. If you are looking for good mexican, this isn't the place. It is more on the gourmet side with good portions but light enough to have three courses. Two words: short-rib. We had excellent fish there, tortilla soup, pasta and the desserts were great but hands down the cake with plum and ice cream was tops (plum paine pardeu-I butchered that I'm sure). If you are a steak eater, I would forgo the rib-eye. I was underwhelmed, way too fatty and the quality was not there. Breakfast is incredible when you sit next to the ocean. It is an experience in itself on the patio. Lunch was great by the pool, kobe burgers were better than decent but again I'm from Chicago and definitely snobby about burgers. Short rib burritos, fajitas that stay hot for an hour and great sandwiches. What you have to know is that the hotel is a good 35 minutes from nuevo vallarta if you want to get to the central district. The town of puerto vallarta itself is close and I am sure there are some great tuckaway restaurants there but we didn't get to experience them. It would still make sense for all inclusive even if you get dinner a couple times elsewhere. We still tipped out on the bills. If you have all-incl, you will still sign a bill. The waiters were all top-notch. You will absolutely wait on occasion for a bill or a waiter or a drink. I don't know why but that's just how it was. Whatever. When you do get service it is quality.
We saw a pod of 10-15 dolphins from our room and saw whales from the pool. The scenery that the architect set up was clearly well thought out. This is more of a boutique hotel where there is one main building and then two buildings that are joined by a bridge, with all the guest rooms. You don't have to do your dynamic stretches when you want to go to the beach, it's right there. You won't see gang fights for pool spots and seventy chairs with a flip-flop on them for reserve. It is very calm and quiet and maybe some reggae jams in the background. The beach itself is beautiful but halfway swimmable. The tide is rough and there are lots of huge rocks that are coming in with it. You can enter the water just fine, you can't see the rocks on the bottom until a huge wave has washed back. The sand otherwise is great and soft on the feet.
TOURS- we went on the dolphin/las caletas adventure and it was ridiculous--the good kind. It rained all day (which happens like 5 times a year) but we still had a blast. For kids this is the trump card. Swim with dolphins early then take an hour boat ride across the inlet to las caletas private beach. The ride is calm and we even saw whales. I would absolutely not do a whale watching tour because we did the same thing and it wasn't part of the package. The boat goes across the same water and they will stop if whales are present. Free drinks on the boat also and it is a really nice ride. Las caletas is paradise for real. The lunch buffet was phenomenal--paella and ribs, dessert galore, salads for the wimpy eaters. The kids tour was the highlight for my guys. Mule ride up to animal encounter where they go into the monkey cage and let the cutest monkeys you've ever seen hop on their faces ( maybe not their face). Feed the ducks and then head off to the zip lining. My 4 year old was not feeling it at first, he was freaked out. We got him to do it and he had a smile form ear to ear. The girls that do the zipline were so great with the kids. Totally safe, double zip lines for extra protection. After that you get two hours on the private beach to do a snorkeling tour or just lay out and be fat. Boat ride back with drinks was hellish in the rain but the likelihood of that happening to you is pretty low.
TIPPING- we go to mexico every year like most of the people who have posted. One thing people have to keep in mind is that the majority of people you encounter on your stay will make about 60-70 % of their pay on tips. I am not saying you have to tip but if they do good work and they make you feel special like it's their job to do, tip them something. Cabbies, tour guides, waiters whoever. I grew up in the service industry so I may have a bias. I tip well all the time and that is my choice. I am always surprised to see how many people don't tip. They rely on our economic fuel just as we rely on cheap hotels, cheap service and a strong dollar versus their currency. Take a little of that and throw it their way if you can. All in all, great hotel and I hope that my info helps you in making easier decisions on your travels. peace

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2012

This hotel is perfect. It is beautiful, luxurious with excellent food and service without the big price (yet). It is on my favorite area of Puerto Vallarta; it has more jungle and much nicer beaches. The hotel's beach is beautiful transparent water and very clean with life guard on duty. It is a short drive into downtown and they have a free shuttle service several times a day. I actually enjoyed the jungle road into town very much. The whole grounds are beautiful and the service in all areas is outstanding. Do not miss dinning at Blanca Blue or it's nightly live music. They also have a great wine list.
The rooms are big, very clean, have well appointed furnishings and have excellent views. The quality of the bed and beddings are fabulous.
My favorite part was spending the day on the infinity pool while enjoying the ocean view and sipping on tequilas.
I do prefer staying here rather than the Four Seasons or The St Regis at Punta de Mita because I like the area more and you don't need to spend that much money for luxury.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, MA
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 6, 2012

We spent 9 wonderful nights at Garza Blanca and it was the most relaxing vacation at such a beautiful resort. From the moment we arrived and being greeted by Omar, bell captain, who made us feel right at home; to check-in where it was a breeze and staff were very pleasant and efficient. The location is amazing - on one side you have the ocean and the other mountains!

Room: We were upgraded to a one bedroom suite (had booked a Jr. Suite) and it was beautiful and HUGE! We were in building 2 and never had any issues with the street noise. The one bedroom suite has a separate living area and sleeping/bathroom area. The living area has a full kitchen with washer and dryer (could have brought 1/2 the clothes!), dining room area with large table and chairs; and living room with large flat screen tv and 2 couches. Bedroom area has king bed, sitting area and flat screen tv. The deck was the length of both the living room and bedroom areas with large table and chairs, lounging chair and hammock.

Pools: Stunning is the only way to describe them! There are 2 pools, one infinity that 'blends' into the ocean. There are beautiful rock formations all around the pool area which makes it so unique. And the whole time we were there - no towel games, no getting up early to save chairs :) You could get a chair anytime of day! Very peaceful setting - no loud music or pool games - just pure relaxation. I can see why most of the guests spend most of their time poolside.

Beach: Great with white sand and lots of chairs and a nice area to have lunch if you want to eat on the beach. It is a public beach however it is never crowded and the whole time we were there we only saw 2 beach vendors and they only came once in while. Again very relaxing and plenty of beach. (it would be small to some if you are looking for a beach to take long walks)

Food: We did the AI plan as we got such a great deal on it when we booked our trip. Blanca Blue is excellent. The food is top notch and the staff are very attentive. During our stay, they had entertainment come in during dinner hours which was a really nice touch. Our favorite was the Mexican band :) We ate poolside for lunch/snacks and that was great too. We did not have dinner poolside. The only recommendation we would have is to maybe offer daily specials for dinner and possibly the poolside dinner menu have more of a Mexican flair (just food for thought!!).
Room Service: The times we did use room service, everything came as ordered and was there in the time-frame that they said when ordering (generally 1/2 hour).

Spa: I had a body scrub (Lucy) and it was fab! We did couples massages and they were amazing too.

Housekeeping: Again great job, no issues what so ever. They work hard and we left a tip daily. Always came back to a cute decoration with either flowers or towels on the bed.

A special thank you to Palua (sp?) at the reception desk for helping my husband plan my birthday! She went out of her way to have flowers delivered and a birthday card with cake sent to the room on my birthday!!

We cannot say enough about this resort to everyone that we talk to. From the staff to the location to the food - truly paradise!

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Spokane, Washington
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 4, 2012

I just returned from 4 nights at Garza Blanca and loved it. I have been to Mexico maybe 10 times in the past and in PV 4 times and this was by far my best experience. I was traveling alone and I felt very secure at this resort. The rooms have deadblots and an additional locked gate to get into the room doors. The rooms, views, balcony, and heated pool are second to none. I thought the staff worked extra hard to be friendly and accomodating. Service is always a little slow compared to American standards, but that is just Mexico. Those seeking a fast and furious pace should not travel in Mexico. The free hotel shuttle made it very easy to get into town for inexpensive meals. I found the food in the main dining room to be good, but expensive. Pool side restaurant and drinks were wonderful. The hotel provides one coffee filter and one package of coffee for free and then charges $5.00 a day for any additional coffee. However, I read this on another review and simply broght my own small filters and coffee. I definitely plan on returning with my husband.

Room Tip: A corner room is larger and getting one on the north end of the building would save steps. Pricelin...
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Garza Blanca Preserve, Resort & Spa

Address: Km 7.5 a Barra de Navidad, Puerto Vallarta 48390, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Jalisco > Puerto Vallarta
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#6 Spa Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#9 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#9 Luxury Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#11 Family Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#11 Business Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#12 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Garza Blanca Preserve, Resort & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 165
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Spectacularly flanked by the vibrant blue waters of the Pacific Ocean and the verdanant tropical forests of the Sierra Madre mountains, Garza Blanca Preserve Resort & Spa nestles gracefully just minutes south of historic Puerto Vallarta, one of Mexico's most dynamic and sophisticated vacation destinations.All Suites feature in-style decor that include marble floors, granite countertops, private terraces, whirlpool tubs and artisan in room amenities.Our ultra-chic gourmet restaurant is one of Puerto Vallarta's most sophisticated and premier dining options, catering breathtaking ocean views, a stylish lounge, a 230 label award-winning wine cellar, and a selection of unique contemporary dishes tailored to scintillate your senses. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Garza Blanca Preserve Hotel Puerto Vallarta
Garza Blanca Preserve, Resort And Spa

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