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“Overall a Great Experience” 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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$169 (USD)
Ranked #16 of 122 Hotels in Puerto Vallarta
Certificate of Excellence
Seattle, Washington
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“Overall a Great Experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 13, 2013

Our family of 6 just returned from a week at Garza Blanca. Overall it was a great experience and everyone (including all 4 children) had fun - which is no small feat!

Our visit started out well when we arrived. My wife had hurt her foot and she told the staff that she wasn't sure how well she could handle the walk to and from the towers where they had us booked. The towers are across the road from the main complex and you have to walk some distance to get to the pool and beach area. The staff immediately changed our room to one in the building next to the pool, on the first floor, about 50 feet from the pool. The space was literally huge and extremely well appointed. Polished stone floors, extremely clean, 2 large bedrooms, 2 full baths, 1 partial bath, full kitchen, eating area, 3 flat screen TVs, and great air conditioning (which you need given the heat this time of year). Further, the maid (who must have spent almost an hour cleaning every day) kept the entire room clean and organized every day.

I have to laugh a little about the next experience upon checkin - which was the attempt at a timeshare pitch by the woman who welcomed us. When I sensed that the pitch part of the welcome was coming I politely said "I want to be up front with you and say that we have absolutely, positively no interest in anything to do with a timeshare, and don't want to waste anyone's time - yours or ours - listening to offers for incentives that we will definitely say 'no' to. We came here because of the recommendations on Trip Advisor for a vacation, not to buy a timeshare. So I would appreciate it if you would skip the pitch entirely." She was clearly disoriented and paused for a couple of seconds, I think because I took her off her game, but respected my request and only slipped up once (when we asked about Internet she said the price was 'X' but we could get it for $10 for the stay if we attended a presentation, ooops.... Sorry.' So, if you ever read about the high pressure sales tactics, and think the polite thing to do is just play along and say 'no' at the end, I can assure you that the best defense against the high-pressure selling is to just look them in the eye and tell them confidently 'don't waste your or my time.'

In the interest of brevity, I'll focus the rest of my review on the plusses and the minuses.

Plusses:

- The facilities are top-notch for the PV area. The pools are nice, relatively large, clean and refreshing. The rooms (as I note above) are fantastic.

- The beach is probably 800-1000 feet long (the coast is rocky and I think the hotel may have cleared an area and brought in sand) but very functional for swimming (they also have an area roped off for swimmers), snorkeling (which is very good), kayaking, paddle boarding, and just floating. There is no boogey boarding to speak of on this side of the bay; the waves just come in and break next to the shore. But, the rest of what you can do more than compensates. Also, this was by-far the warmest ocean water I've ever been in. It's literally close to bath water, and completely insufficient when taking a dip to cool off from the heat. If you want to cool off, you have to go to one of the pools. The hotel also provides umbrellas, lounge chairs, and a dining area where there is full service from the outside restaurant and bar.

- The hotel provides quite a bit of sports equipment at the beach to people who chose the all inclusive package (we did). This includes snorkeling equipment, boogey boards, paddle boards, kayaks, life jackets, volley ball equipment, and probably more that I didn't see. The beach attendants also arranged rentals for us from some men who came up to the beach with jet skis (who they obviously knew ;-) ). The price was $120/hour which really surprised me. I know that's not chump change, but I've never seen jet skis for less than $200+ per hour. We rented one for one hour, and they helped us switch around the kids and drivers so we all got to ride. Afterwards, the jet ski guys introduced us to another man who has a boat set up for sport fishing in the Bay of Bandaras (who had just driven up to the shore). The hotel had negotiated a price of $60/hour for a boat with 2 motors, captain & mate, 6 rods, and all of the bait. We arranged for a 4 hour trip the next morning, paid a $60 deposit, the guys showed up on time the next day, and we caught some fish that almost pulled us into the water. We brought 1 of the 3 fish back to the hotel, and the chef cooked it for us that evening!

- The staff is extremely attentive, helpful, friendly, and very happy to help you polish up your Spanish skills (but only if you ask). There are plenty of waiters at the pool, someone was always stopping by your chair to ask if you needed anything, and it was easy to feel very well taken care of. I'll add that the staff seemed to be truly interested in making sure you were having a great time, and were happy when you said you were. We were never asked for a tip or felt like anyone was being nice only to get one.

- The all inclusive package was truly all inclusive (except, curiously for the rack of lamb, which was $32 extra). The package included all of the food at the pool (a separate restaurant from the dining-centric main restaurants), the main restaurants, and *room service*. Our kids were out of their minds with joy from being able to order their own breakfasts from room service each morning - and there were no extra charges. By the way, the drinks might have been a little watered down - but only because the ice melts so quickly in the heat.

'In the Middle - Not plus or minus - just 'is':

- It was hot, hot, hot. Some love it, some don't. My family loves it; I don't. So, I hung out at the pool and read a book, and jumped in the pool to cool off. Some snorkeling. But, that's about as much as I wanted to do between about 11:00AM and 5:00PM because it was that hot.

- It rained virtually every day. BUT! Only after about 5:00PM. The days were beautiful, and the heat built up large clouds that usually turned into thunderstorms by about 6:00PM. For us, they didn't get in the way at all. In fact, the lightening and thunder was kind of fun to watch from our porch. So, don't stay away from PV this time of year because you have been told that it's the rainy season.

Minuses:

- There are 2 restaurants that serve dinner. One (the Blanca Blue) is in the main area and is fairly good. The other is a 'steak and small bites' restaurant (I don't recall the name) in one of the towers on the other side of the complex. Our meal at the steak/bites place was just weird. It's hard to describe why. The meat - grilled very prominently - weren't as good as at Blanca Blue, and the small bites were odd. My wife and I paid extra for the aged beef options, and the were also not nearly as good as at the other restaurant. Desert was disappointing. And, the service was painfully slow. Dinner there was clearly the low point of our stay. But, you can choose where you want to eat, and we only chose to eat there once.

- The menu at Blanca Blue offers a nice selection of choices, and they are clearly shooting for gourmet. The staff is very well trained and the service was top-notch. However, the execution on the food preparation was a little inconsistent. For example, I had a rib eye that was perfectly cooked, but it was over a puree of (not sure what) with (not sure what) on the side. It was like they were shooting at the right target, but I suspect the staff in the kitchen wasn't quite up to the task at all of the stations. As a friendly piece of advice, I recommend to the chef that he scale back a little in his aspirations until the sous chefs can learn to execute better what he's trying to offer to his diners. One last thing: the service was painfully slow for the first 2 nights. I said something to my wife about it, and she reminded me that it gave us a chance to spend more time with the kids. Then, quite mysteriously, the service improved dramatically for the rest of the nights (except at the steak/bites place.) So, I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt and say that the first 2 nights were a fluke. Oh yes - you have to ask for the check. They won;t bring it until you ask, so don't complain about how long it takes to get the check! :-)

That's about it! All in all, I think these guys did a great job, and we would definitely go back.

Room Tip: Ask for the building by the pool; not the towers across the road
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,064 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    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 (431)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Riverside, California
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2013

After booking a great rate on-line , my wife and were very happy to check in to Garza Blanca and were so impressed by the beautiful indoor-outdoor lobby and the great service upon our arrival. Security is tight , so you do have to go through a gate and guard each time you come in , but not a problem. Our room in the tower was amazing with an 180 view of the bay and giant soaking tub and shower, both with a view of the bay as well. Service was always just minutes away and the food both poolside and at the restaurants was top notch even if the drinks were a little watered down. The only downside of the amazing place is their push upon check- in to get you to go to the breakfast sales presentation. If you can manage to skip that , your stay will be heavenly.

  • Stayed July 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dana Point, California
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2013 via mobile

Nice property 1st class facilities. Good food and drink -but watch your wallet - it adds up fast. They may ask you to attend a time share presentation. If you go and don't buy you get promised additional discounts for certain events on or near the property. WarnIng: Just get ready for a high pressure timeshare sales presentation. You will have to say no many times. After they stop "weatherboarding" you with sales tactics and finally accept no as your answer, things are great. You get your promotional gifts and the rest of your stay is really first class.

Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Miami Beach, Florida
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2013

. . . the Activities & Pool Concierge Staff! Alan, Francisco, Genaro, Miguel, Omar and Sergio can enhance your experience at Garza Blanca, transforming it from an enjoyable stay at one of the finest resorts in Puerto Vallarta into an experience that you'll never forget! I was greeted at the pool by Alan and Miguel with a welcoming cup of hot coffee and towlels for my lounge chair. Then Francisco and I took out one of their fleet of sea kayaks for an incredible snorkeling tour of one of the most beautiful places on the planet, Los Arcos, where we saw an abundance of tropical fish and even sea turtles. Then back to more poolside pampering with fresh Vallarta Ceviche, guacamole and their signature Margaritas served with warm Mexican hospitality. In the late afternoon, I went on a bird watching tour with Miguel and Omar. We saw exotic fowl of every hue and description for an awesome jungle experience! And for the tequila tasting event in BlancaBlue, well you'll just have to plan a visit to find out for yourself. For a good time call my new friends at Garza Blanca Preserve, Resort & Spa, you'll have the time of your life!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sanya, China
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2013

Here are the pluses for this property which stands out somewhat from many tired and old properties in Puerto Vallarta:
1. nice small private beach
2. newly constructed and well built
3. even the towers across the highway have a nice view.

Here are the downsides:
1. this is a time share promotion place so there will be some pressure when you check in to get the sales pitch; just insist you don't want it;
2. only part of the hotel is on the beach; most of the hotel is built across the highway in three towers
3. restaurant service at all the restaurants is very slow unless you are getting a time share breakfast which appears to be very prompt service
4. in hotel store you cannot pay with cash; bring credit card or room charge

Room Tip: If you want to be close to the beach ask for the main building otherwise you will be across the stre...
See more room tips
  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2013

Hotel is beautiful and food is a delight.
Here are our concerns

- No free shuttle to the city and back. We where told the taxi ride is US $20/each way (we are family of 5)
- Internet is expensive and not free for such a nice resort.
- Hotel that offers Inclusive as a option is mis-leading. If you want inclusive go to a hotel that is 100% inclusive. Having a hotel semi inclusive causes more problems. You need to sign your bills and all your items are itemized with a total price (though you don't pay it). But then you have a "TIP" line. For a bill for $200 US dollars you can't really give 10 or 20 pesos. Inclusive states that tips are included. Front desk stated that the tip they people really get out of a inclusive package is 2-3 pesos/day so hardly even $1. So if you give $10 to $20 US dollar tip for every meal on a inclusive package it add's up really really fast.

- You might get bored fast. There is NO entertainment. What they call entertainment might be locals playing soccer at the beach or some vendor coming down to sell you fish.

- Pool is basic. Nice infinity pool but not slides or water activities for kids/families. Nice for adults to relax.

The people are great.
Think of the hotel as a quite hide-away place to relax (like a boutique hotel).
Its not really meant for familieis.

Biggest complaints
- No Free WiFi (it should be a given for this class hotel)
- Not enough restaurants. Basically 2 restaurants with 1 snack bar at the pool.
- Room service closes at 11pm.
- Tipping : Please "STATE" what is expected and right for inclusive package. If the workers are not getting anything then state that Tip is not included so people coming understand. The workers are super nice. I wish I was rich to tip them more. I already feel broke because I didn't account for it.
- Activities and Entertainment. Gosh, at least give us a shuttle service to town and back or nearby grocery stores. You offer a nice kitchen but nothing to buy unless you use taxi's. Kids are bored after 5pm.

I want to emphasize that the hotel itself is nice. The 2 bedroom suite is marvelous. Just nothing to use the kitchen (no grocery stores nearby, no paper towels). People working here are super nice.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2013 via mobile


My wife and I were skeptically lured into the time share presentation while vacationing here in PV with 7 other family member. Before being picked up for the tour and presentation, i read a few Trip Advisor comments about the high pressure and nearly canceled .... i'm glad we didn't.

A receptionist greeted us with the guy that baited us to attend, which is not employed by the resort, to review everything that was promised to us before he could leave, and we all mutually agreed to the terms in writing.

We we're then introduced to Emiliano, our host. Emiliano was a young local, finishing grad school, and working at the resort for the summer. He gave us a tour of the impressive property, and accompanied us to breakfast where he proceeded to gather more "intelligence" about our vacation aspirations. This all took over an hour, which doesn't apply to the 75 min timeframe they ask for in the terms.

I started getting anxious after about 20 questions, and still expecting the worst was still to come, i put my phone on the table and started a 75 min countdown. He quickly got the point, and the pace quickened.

We made our way to the "closer's room", sat down, and was introduced to the closer, Carlos. Emilio fetched us a great margarita. It only took Carlos a few minutes to see that i had no intention of buying, so he paused his routine and asked me directly, "do you have any real interest in purchasing a timeshare with us today?".... i politely said "no chance", and it was over. Carlos and Emilio helped me collect the incentives, and continued small chat. Both genuinly seemed to enjoy there jobs

This is my first review on Trip Advisor. I felt it was important that i share an unexpected positive experience. I do a fair amount of travel, and have to say the resort was very impressive, and the few people I was introduced to were equally so. I would definitely consider this timeshare if/ when i ever decide to get into one.


Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
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:
#7 Spa Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#10 Luxury Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#10 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#11 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#11 Business Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#11 Family 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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