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“Hidden gem ! Away from the action but close enough to 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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$173 (USD)
Ranked #9 of 119 hotels in Puerto Vallarta
2 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Hidden gem ! Away from the action but close enough to it”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 24, 2013

We just returned from a four night stay at the hotel and it was a beautiful experience . This hotel is located ten minutes away from downtown on a beautiful , quiet beach . It is surrounded by mountains , very scenic , peaceful and spotless . If you want to be in the middle of the action this is not the hotel for you . If you want good service , a beautiful room , pool , beach and gorgeous scenery stay here ! We went to town 3 out of the 4 nights we stayed there and it was an easy cab ride away (100 pesos each way) . The hotel was not crowded all which was nice . The food and drinks are a little pricey so be prepared but everything we had was very good . When we wanted cheap drinks and tacos we just hopped in a taxi and headed for town . I highly recommend this location as it is close to town and also the more rustic, authentic beaches of Mismaloya and Boca de Tomatlan . If you want to relax poolside on a beautiful beach in a quiet setting, head to town for action at night then retire to a gorgeous room , stay at Garza Blanca . My only complaint /warning would be that there is some construction going on at the property and the staff will try to interest you in a time share presentation . Neither were overly bothersome but if I were to return I would request to stay in one of the beachside towers and tell the staff immediately that I am not interested in a time share . Also , do your homework in advance if you're looking for dinner options in town as the staff seemed to offer limited suggestions . No big deal , we were able to find good food all over town based on trip advisor reviews . Overall this was a good value and a very balanced trip in terms of relaxation and fun .

  • Stayed April 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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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 (278)
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Mill Valley, California
Top Contributor
63 reviews 63 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2013

I just took the family to Puerto Vallarta and I was very happy with the Garza Blanca hotel. The place is only a few years old and has none of the faded glory features of the older resorts. The staff was exceptionally friendly and helpful, particularly a young man named Sergio who started as a bellman and was promoted to the activity booth while we were there. Sergio and others went way out of their way for me and my whole family, The entire staff really made us feel welcome. I got the feeling that the place was very safe for my 12 year old girls, and that I did not need to worry about them as long as they were on the property.
We had a room in building 2, overlooking the water on the fifth floor. It was billed as a one bedroom and it was very clean and spacious, with two bathrooms and a huge patio with hammock. We took a cab into town and bought groceries and made our own breakfasts for several of the days. Lunches were at the pool and excellent. We had dinner on site three times and were mostly happy. We were not as happy with the steak house at the top of the property as we were with the main restaurant right off the lobby. The bar at the pool served the lunches and drinks and were always on it.
We also enjoyed the free paddle boards and boogie boards and kayaks and masks fins and snorkels. I felt none of the stress I have felt using maybe too many towels at the pool or taking over too many lounge chairs. The place was full but was not crowded at all. The layout of the pools makes it feel much more intimate and personal. I worked out in the gym, which has new equipment and was empty other than me. There was a big screen TV and plenty of water and towels and they made it easy to enjoy. All in all, I would say this place is wonderful and I would gladly return.

Room Tip: Upon arrival, they try a bit of an upsell, offering to upgrade you to a big two bedroom suite in the...
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  • Stayed April 2013, 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
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London, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2013

Just returned from another memorable trip to PV, and our first time experiencing the gorgeous Garza Blanca!

We were warmly greeted as soon as we stepped out of our taxi, and were invited to take seat in the lobby and offered a delicious margarita. We were slightly confused about the check-in. First, a lovely staff member welcomed us and obtained our credit card information; and then informed us that Diana would finish up our check-in. Diana reviewed the amenities, and then informed us the "discounts" if we attended the "time-share breakfast". This was presented in a tasteful manner (no time-share pressure). However at this point, we had further inquiries about room selection, the details of the all-inclusive plan, etc. Unfortunately, Diana didn't seem to have all our reservation details (i.e., that we were on the all-inclusive plan) and had to go and retrieve information at another desk. We couldn't understand why she wasn't aware of our details if she was supposedly completing our check-in. She also gave us inaccurate information when we inquired about the current occupancy rate and room availability. We would have much preferred to have had our first-point of contact complete the check-in process from start to finish, and then simply have had the amenities, tour/time-share option reviewed with us.

The property is absolutely beautiful! The cleanliness throughout the resort, including the beach, is impeccable! We actually hope they reconsider building more towers...bigger may not necessarily be better! Something we felt was lacking that would enhance the ambiance and give the guests the true feel of the Mexican culture, is the music - especially in the restaurants. Please leave the "zen" music in the spa! A Flamenco guitarist or Mariachi players would be ideal. After all, Mariachi music originated in the State of Jalisco, and couldn't be more perfect! We come to PV because it still has history, culture, and the old charm of Mexico; and we hope that Garza Blanca will stay true its roots.

Garza Blanca is perfectly located to explore Puerto Vallarta's quiet southern coast. We hopped on the local bus and stopped at Mismaloya to check out the beach and the few ruins where "Night of the Iguana" was filmed in 1963. Another day we took the local bus further on to Boca de Tomatlan and took a water taxi to the beautiful beach at Las Animas.

The elegant atmosphere in Blanca Blue, and the views from BocaDos STK were amazing! We loved the sweet Sommelier...don't miss her wine tasting...most enjoyable and informative! Unfortunately, we encountered some service and food inconsistency issues at both Blanca Blue and BocaDos STK. The menus are quite extensive, even at the poolside restaurant . Perhaps a smaller menu that concentrates on distinctive signature dishes that stand out, as well as incorporating daily-changing "features" to keep it fresh for the all-inclusive guests. Simplicity at its finest...let the fresh ingredients be the stars; don't lose them in a mishmash of flavours. After having the pleasure of meeting and speaking with the new manager, Enrico, we are confident that his leadership, business sense, and vast experience will ensure outstanding service and excellent food!

Overall, we truly enjoyed our stay at Garza Blanca. The staff were extremely friendly and courteous; and the new management team, Enrico and Pierre, will be a welcomed addition to the Garza Blanca team. Can't wait to return!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Kelowna, Canada
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 19, 2013

It should be noted that we bought a membership at Garza Blanca in December 2012 and this was our first trip. We have no regrets about becoming members of this resort.
We stayed at Garza Blanca Mar 1 - 15 and had the most wonderful time ever! From the time we arrived until the time we left we were treated royally. Upon arrival we heard the words "welcome home" and from then on it was our Puerto Vallarta home. We stayed in a one bedroom beach suite on the 6 floor of the 3rd tower and we were soooo impressed with the room, the view and just about everything. Every morning we sat outside on the balcony watching whales, both adults & babies, dolphins, pelicans, frigates and yes even garza blancas. The cleaning service was great, our lady Anna was wonderful, and the turn down service at night was just delightful (loved the cookies). The suite was huge, almost too big for two people,; however, having a kitchen was the most important aspect as we were able to cook our own meals most days. The kitchen is well equipped and the appliances are first class.
We ate at the Blanca Blue the night we arrived and the meal and service was excellent. On several occasion we ate lunch or snacked at the Aquazul Restaurant poolside. Again the food and service was excellent, thank you both Osvaldo and Caesar for looking after us so well. We loved Caesar's Blanca Blue cocktail which should be featured on the drink menu. We ate at the Boca-Dos STK three times and thoroughly enjoyed it the first time when we had bites and the filet mignon which we shared, luckily. The steak was perfect and the service was first class, thanks to Eric. The second time we went we only had bites which was more than enough and the service was good. Our only disappointment came the third time when the service was slow and there was no filet mignon left at nine o'clock. We still enjoyed our meal and the ambiance of the restaurant. We ordered room service three times and the meals arrived in a timely manner and were as ordered.
Our stay was enhanced by the concierges who would bend over backwards to help us out, but especially Salvador, Omar and Victor. They set the tone for visitors when they first arrive and they are all both professional but friendly. The front desk was always able to assist with questions and in my case exchanging US and CAD into Pesos, always with a smile.
We really enjoyed the beach, the sand has the texture of flour and the view of Los Arcos is spectacular. One thing which really shocked us was to wake up one morning to find all of the sand gone and to see nothing but rocks! We learned later that this is a common occurrence (something to do with the full moon) and within a couple of days the beach was almost back to normal. As Salvadore said "one day the ocean takes the sand away, the next day it puts it back, don't worry!".
The Resort is located about 10 minutes from downtown but there are numerous taxis and buses to get you around. We used the buses to go to Mismaloya, Boca, downtown, the Marina and even Bucerias. A taxi ride to the airport costs $20.
As mentioned we are members and will be back not because we have to come but because we really want to! The Garza Blanca Preserve, Resort & Spa is our piece of paradise that we can't wait to get back to. Thank you everyone who made this trip so funtastic!

Room Tip: Select room in 3rc beach tower on higher floor to get excellent view & shade on balcony in morni...
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  • Stayed March 2013, 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
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Auckland
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2013

After a longer than expected taxi ride through town to get here, we were greeted by a lot of smiling faces. As we walked into the reception area, we were overwhelmed by the picturesque view of the infinity pool, next to an ocean with some beautiful rocks jutting out of it. We were encouraged to sit down where we were run through the property facilities. Overall, it was a bit disorganised (they didn't know that we had booked the all-inclusive until we told them). The paperwork for the all-inclusive was out-dated also. It said we needed to collect a wrist band, however they didn't have this system anymore. The room number is probably flagged in the system when you order, but we had to phone up and ask about this to get some certainty. We were offered to sit through a presentation which would provide us discounts during our stay (obviously time-share), but when I highlighted we already had the all-inclusive which included breakfast and that we weren't interested, there was no further mention of time-share for the duration of our stay.

They asked about our transport in and told us we'd got a good rate of 300 pesos from the airport (given they'd offered a rate of 480 when I enquired on email). It turns out that the trip back to the airport was suggested at 150 pesos. I found this in Cancun as well, where they charge you for a return trip when leaving the airport. On this note, be wary when you exit the baggage hall before you leave the airport. There a two long counters with some well-dressed people with clipboards and ID badges asking for your hotel. I kept walking and one man got very rude, telling me I had to tell him where I was staying. I deliberately vaguely mentioned Garza something and he tried to convince me I'd pre-arranged transport and asked for my name. Just keep walking. I ended up listening to a man with a yellow shirt just outside the terminal who offered me the 300 peso trip and took me to the driver and helped with the bags. We paid the money and got a receipt upon exiting, which felt a little strange, but was legitimate.

Back to the hotel - I was a bit dubious when they offered to take our bags and take us up to the room, they said they do this for all guests. Again, I was pleasantly surprised, as this was a necessity, as there was a golf cart trip up a hill required to get to the room (tower 4, room 111B). Our bellboy had no idea where the room was and had probably never been in there, as he was also looking around, trying to find things such as light switches and even the tiolet (which is discreetly hidden behind a frosted glass door. The room and the view was the best that I have even seen and been in (I travel at least 80 - 100 nights per year for work and pleasure). There was a sweeping north facing view of the ocean off the large balcony that had a hammock and a sun lounge. The king size bed was comfortable. The bathroom was enourmous, with a large shower, the separate toilet, double sinks, a separate vanity mirror and table and a bath set on smooth, coloured stones next to a floor-length window with the ocean view. According to my girlfriend, the products offered in the bathroom were high quality.

After looking at the fridge/mini-bar/servi-bar, it was not stacked, which was part of the all-inclusive. I called reception to get it filled and they said they'd send someone up. After a long wait, I took a shower. Rather than them leaving the items at the door, they must have taken them away. I called back and they must have returned whilst I was poolside. They didn't bring the Fiji water (instead a local brand) or the Corona which was specified in the list. When I called to ensure they would bring the right items the next day, they said they'd make a note of it, but they were never brought. In fact, it was never replenished either across the 3 days we stayed. Not a great experience for all-inclusive.

The pool by the ocean was really nice, although the jacuzzi/hot-tub could have been warmer. The food (ceviche and quesadillas) was nice, the staff generally pleasant and good drink recommendations.

There was construction next to our tower, which basically went from 830am until at least 630pm. Cranes, drills, hammering etc. It was not nice to wake up next to, but with the balcony door open you could hear the crashing waves which drowned out the construction noise. I am not sure how long it will take for this next tower to be built, but hopefully it would be completed if I return again.

We got room service on the first night which was delivered an hour or so later, but was fine for room service food. The person who delivered the food seemed noticeably annoyed that I didn't include a tip. Let me say I have no issue in tipping and tipped the original bellboy (a days wage it would seem!) but when I read the items included in the package, it highlighted that all taxes, tips and gratuities were included. Considering the rate we paid and the fact that I was advised I'd already paid, I felt a little uneasy that I was being judged for not offering a tip. This was consistent the next day by the pool. I finally asked one of the poolside 'waiters' about tipping and whether he would get anything of what I'd 'pre-paid'. He said something to the effect of, "you, your girlfriend, all day, one to two pesos". I don't know if that's what he was getting, or if that's what he expected, but I started to add a nominal amount onto the poolside bills, but not for the restaurant dining etc. What we'd also noticed was that every hour or so by the pool, our bill would be brought out and we would be asked to settle. I asked about this and we were told that all-inclusive needed to close off every hour and open a new bill. This was quite frustrating. I would suggest that the wristband gets re-introduced to denote someone on this package, so we can easily move about.

The upstairs infinity pool area had a bar also and we had a drink here before dinner one night. The strongest (but tastiest) drink I'd had in a long time. Pity the bar was closing, as it was after dark!

The two restaurants, Blanca Blue and BocaDosStk had stunning views and pretty good food. One night we had booked into BocaDosStk, but were called just before our reservation to let us know that our reservation was cancelled, as they moved a wedding rehearsal there (presumably because of the light drizzle outside). We decided to go to Blanca Blue instead and the food was good, although the service wasn't the greatest. On the second morning we had breakfast at Blanca Blue and they lost our order. They weren't very apologetic, instead highlighting that we probably should have chosen the buffet as the chef was so busy. We were so hungry, but I tried not to show my disappointment. The food was fine when it arrived. The drinks service for coffee and mimosas was also pretty slow.

BocaDosStk the next night was stunning. The meat was really nice, although asking for medium (to avoid any issues), the steak was still pretty red in parts. The drinks were good. Again, the service wasn't the greatest.

Overall, there were lots of smiles, beautiful rooms and views, good food and drinks, pretty economical on the all-inclusive, considering the plan was just to hang around at the resort. We weren't bullied into time-share. If they can pick up the attentiveness of the staff a little bit and sort out the finer details of the all-inclusive package, this would be one of the best places in the world!

Room Tip: Tower 4 ocean view had amazing views. We were on the 11th floor, just below the penthouse. There is...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2013

The resort and our room were both beautiful we were right on the beach. However we did an all inclusive and the food was very expensive , thank goodness we had the all inclusive, and it was pretty bad. The staff were all very friendly and helpful but I think I may actually lose weight on this vacation!

  • Stayed April 2013, 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Mexico
Top Contributor
146 reviews 146 reviews
40 hotel reviews
Reviews in 57 cities Reviews in 57 cities
64 helpful votes 64 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 10, 2013

Most of my favorite haunts were booked. It is a beuatiful place but to go explore Vallarta it runs 100 to 200 pesos a one way trip. if you want to get discounts for drinks and what not, you need to suffer through a 3 hour time share sales pitch for Garza Blanca Residence.

Hints for accessing the pool... get up super early and put a book on the lounge of your choice. If you don't you are out of luck. They have kayaks and paddle boards but the hours for use start at 1000 and end at 1600. The gym is not that big. The spa is pretty expensive.

But, you can't beat the view or the service.

Room Tip: Don't get the 6th floor in tower 3. You are right under the gym
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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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:
#4 Family Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#5 Spa Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#6 Luxury Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#9 Business Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#9 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Garza Blanca Preserve, Resort & Spa 5*
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, Resort And Spa
Garza Blanca Preserve Hotel Puerto Vallarta

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