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“Amazing Stay!” 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 121 hotels in Puerto Vallarta
Queens, New York, United States
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Amazing Stay!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

The airport is 20 min away from the hotel and costs $341 pesos from inside the airport. We got there at 11:30 and the staff was so welcoming and friendly. They even let us check in at 12 when the room was ready. While the room wasn't ready they let us use the hospitality room to change and sit by the pool/beach. We stayed in tower 4 on the 6th floor in a junior panorama suite and it was amazing!! It is a three minute beautiful walk to the bridge or you can take the golf carts. I barely had to wait more then 2 minutes. There were some posts that said tower 4 is annoying because of the carts but we had no issue and there is a pool right by the base that was always empty. There was some noise from the construction but it is not a big deal at all. The hotel itself was at a 50% capacity and it was awesome. The staff was so attentive and friendly, especially Tito and Tony. The hotel itself has amazing rooms and grounds but everything costs a little extra. They provide 2 small bottles of water a day free of charge but after that its $24 pesos per bottle. We took a cab to the supermarket called Ley and bought a 10 liter jug of water for $22 pesos and filled up the water bottles. The taxi ride to downtown should cot $130 pesos and ask the driver before you go. We took a lot of buses because its a one lane highway and if you get stuck behind a bus, the bus dictates the speed pretty much. The buses cost $8 pesos and the stop is just across the street from the entrance of the hotel. Now to the room. Everything is so comfortable and beautiful. The beds are pillow top with down blankets, down pillows, and a great AC thermostat that works amazingly well. The porch is the star though. The view of the ocean is incredible. You can see Los Arcos from the porch as well as the Las Marietas islands but those are a blur. In late August the sunset is also in perfect view of the porch. The water pressure was a little shaky and the temperature would vary mid shower but the soaker tub is a perfect way to relax and watch the sunset without the bugs. The hotel offers really cool activities such as kayaking/snorkeling to Los Arcos, paddle boarding, and whatever is on the schedule for the week. The mini fridge is big enough to hold some food if you want to bring. When we first checked in they offered the time share presentation for discounts on excursions, spa, bar, and shop. But they said it would take 90 min but ours lasted 3 hrs and really was annoying because after we said no thank you they sent someone else to press us to sign up. But we did get a really cheap deal to Las Marietas for $50/person. Overall this is the nicest and best hotel I have ever stayed and would recommend it to anyone!

Room Tip: Tower 4, 6th floor has an amazing view of the ocean and sunset in late August!
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 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.
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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 (295)
Date | Rating
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1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

a beautiful place wonderful and the service it was so great!!! I really recommend this Hotel..food and service all service are great and I want to say thank you..to Ramon And marcelo excellent
waiter, Rene rodriguez bellboy ms..diana and the
taxi driver Carlos
Mendoza..thank you for all your courtesy..fam.martinez

  • Stayed August 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

I came away with mixed feelings about this place. First I’d like to make a couple of comments that did not influence my star rating about the place. They are observations only.

I am an experienced traveler. I travel about 15 times a year on business and about 2-3 times a year on vacations. I have experienced low-cost (but decent rooms) and marginal service to top-notch high end hotels and restaurants. When a place is rated 3 stars my expectations are set to a different level than a 5 star resort.

We stayed in Tower 2 of the resort. Tower 2 is located next to the beach and all rooms have ocean front views. We have stayed at other places with ocean front views and have always enjoyed leaving the balcony doors open to enjoy not only the fresh air but also the lulling sound of the waves gently lapping up on the beach.

However Tower 2 is so close to the beach and the waves hit the beach and rocks with such force that it is not a lulling noise you hear at night; rather it is a loud crashing of the waves that keep you up at night. Closing the sliding glass doors does decrease the sound to an acceptable level (that will lull you to sleep) but then you sacrifice the fresh air. If you are a light sleeper then you may have some sleepless nights.

Obviously the higher floors have a nicer the view but all of the rooms (regardless of which floor) would have a great view of the bay.

There are other towers that are higher up on the mountain. Although we never ventured up the hill to see them, I would assume they have great views of the ocean and possibly of the mountains. However the walk up/down to/from the main pool area is a hard walk and the best way of getting around is via the golf carts the resorts use to shuffle guests up and down from the mountain towers. Personally I would not want to be so far away from the pool and restaurants where getting to my room was a huge inconvenience.

The rooms are equipped with cable (perhaps dish) TV. The majority of programs are in Spanish with only one or two channels in English. Bring an iPad (or other tablet or smart phone) with the Netfliks app and you will be able to watch all the English speaking programs that you like (if you are so inclined). The program selection is much better down here than in the USA.

The trip to downtown Puerto Vallarta is via a taxi and the cost (as of August 2014) is $130 pesos (plus tip). For those of you unfamiliar with cabs in PV, be forewarned that most are small Nissan Tsuru’s and do not have air conditioning. With the summers being very hot and humid and the streets poorly maintained or made of cobblestone, the ride is bumpy.

Being concerned about food safety, we drank only bottled water while in downtown and it is easily obtainable at many small stores and shops.

You can exchange your US dollars for Mexican pesos at the hotel which gives a better exchange rate that the shops you see at the airport. Most local shops in the downtown area will accept US dollars but I’m unsure of the exchange rate. Hint: Download a currency exchange app to your smart phone and use it until you get use to Mexican pesos.

This is an all inclusive resort and meals are included. However check out time is 11 am and if you are taking a late flight you will probably be hanging around the resort for a while. You must pay for meals after you check out. Order early and simply make sure the tab is on your bill before you check out.

If you do have a late afternoon flight out, the resort has a hospitality shower that you can use to freshen up before you leave for the airport.

Now for the star rating.

As I previously stated, we stayed in Tower 2 in a 1 bedroom suite. It was equipped with a full kitchen including pots, pans, cooking utensils and dishes (the closest grocery store is in downtown-a cab ride away) and washer/dryer. With two showers, two toilets and a combination tub/Jacuzzi it was very well equipped. The flooring was wall-to-wall marble tile with a couple of throw rugs. The balcony was equipped with an outdoor dining table, lounge chair and hammock.

The room was one of the nicest rooms with the best amenities I have ever experienced. At the same time this place is set up to be a time-sharing resort so there have to be as many home-style amenities as possible to appeal to the buyers.

We choose the all-inclusive package with included meals at the three restaurants.

There were two restaurants (Blanca Blue and Bocados STK) open for breakfast and dinner and a third restaurant (Acquazul) open for lunch. Acquazul is also open for most of the day for poolside service. Blanca Blue and Bocados STK are “higher end” restaurants while Acquazul is more of what you would expect from open air, poolside café dining.

The food was very good at three restaurants. Blanca Blue and Bocados STK have very nice cuts of meat cooked to your order and the desert tree was simply wonderful. However if you’re looking for super fancy meals they don’t compare with other five star resorts. The menu is limited and for those of you coming to Mexico to at least savor the local food, this is not the place. Their selection of Mexican dishes is extremely limited. If you expected to see tacos, burritos, frijoles, chorizo con juevos, you will be disappointed. The closest they came was chilaquiles (red or green), fajitas, or molletes con chorizo. They did not even have any Mexican soft drinks. No Jarritos, Mundet, Sol, Topo Sabores, Sangria Senorial or Mexican Coke. The only soft drinks were Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite and Fresca.

This resort is a 5 star resort but you wouldn’t be able to tell by the service at the restaurants. Generally the service was slow and occasionally the food wasn’t exactly what we ordered. It could simply be a lack of communication (we don’t speak much Spanish) but the waiters generally had a good command of English and they always managed to eventually give us what we wanted. The main complaint would be the service was a little slower than what we would expect to see and getting a refill on coffee was not always automatic.

Perhaps the last two are simply cultural differences, however when you are appealing to a client base from the USA, I would think they would ramp up their service to meet USA expectations.

Additionally it’s the little things that leave an impression. We generally took advantage of the weather and would eat outside. On one occasion it started to rain and the staff asked us if we wanted to move inside or remain outside. The rain wasn’t heavy and we chose to remain outside. They immediately moved umbrellas to provide us cover (even though the rain was only a few drops). On a second occasion (different restaurant and staff), when it started to rain, no one came by to ask us if we wanted to move inside or give us umbrellas. The rain was much harder but we were done with our meals and simply left.

Not every waiter was below expectations. Two waiters at Bocados STK stood out as being very attentive and gave exceptional service. My compliments go to Emmanuel and Jhanko for the very exceptional service they provided. They were attentive to our needs and made sure that our glasses were full and dirty plates removed from the table.

I rate very high on the flavor of the food but very low on selection. Service was rated only average and would have been below that if not for Emmanuel and Jhanko pushing the rating higher.

While I’m at it, I’d like to give a shout-out to Omar (a bell-hop at the entrance way). Employees working the entrance way are the first and last people you see when you arrive and depart. Their attitude and smile (or lack of smile) is your first and last impressions of the resort. Omar was very professional and nice. When I saw him two days later (on the hotel grounds) he smiled and asked me how I was. He even remembered my name. He either has a fantastic memory or my (relatively odd) name stuck in his mind. In any event, he was very professional and nice. He made a good first impression on me of the resort.

As I mentioned it’s the little things that count. Another action that we recognized was the lack of courtesy that some of the staff had. Generally one walks on the right side of a walkway, and when the oncoming party decides not recognize this, we simply move to the left. On several occasions we noticed employees walking on the “wrong” side and did not move over. We moved over, but a nagging thought was that perhaps employees are not as well trained in this resort as they are in others. Again, it’s not a big deal to us and we simply moved over. But in a 5 star resort, all employees should be meeting a higher standard of care than at a 3 star hotel.

Internet was $10 day per device. It was a very fast connection (when working) and our two devices never froze while streaming on-line videos. The internet went down once or twice but came back within 5-10 minutes. However each room has its own individual connection and has very limited range. The router was located in the bedroom and I found that moving out to the balcony (a mere 20 feet from the router) the signal was so weak that my iPhone 5 could not maintain a reliable connection and had to move back into the room. However my wife’s iPhone 5s had no problem on the balcony.

With the exception of the in-room connection, internet service throughout the entire resort was strong, reliable and problem-free.

I rate internet service a 5 for connectivity and bandwidth. However I was disappointed that I couldn’t get connectivity out on the balcony.

Considering this is a 5 star resort, and virtually everyone has a smart phone, I do not believe that charging for internet usage is appropriate. This is an all-inclusive resort, and wifi should be included.

General ambience of the place was below average. When I go to a resort in Mexico I go for the culture and the feel of being in Mexico. I didn’t see a lot of that at the resort. I saw statues of Buddha and two Hindu deities, and a wood carving of a Hindu goddess with an elephant. Poolside music did little to add to the appreciation of Mexico as the music was more or less USA style elevator music. I do not expect full blown mariachi music coming from the speakers 24/7, nor do I expect the staff to be dressed with oversized sombreros (although it would provide them with welcome shade) but I would appreciate more of a Mexican flavor in music and general design of the place.

This is a decent place but did not meet our expectations. Last year we stayed at a 4 star resort in San Jose del Cabo. Although it was not an all inclusive, all of our expectations for service and ambiance were either met or exceeded and in our opinion surpassed this place.

Summing things up, if you want a resort with USA flavor but want to tell your friends you have been to Puerto Vallarta, then this is the place for you. However if you want to come to PV and enjoy a little of the beautiful culture that Mexico has to offer, and be completely pampered by consistently excellent service, my recommendation is that you should look at another place.

Room Tip: All rooms in Tower 2 have great ocean views. HOWEVER the waves are very large and when they crash o...
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 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.
Huntington Beach, California
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

Just returned from a 4-day stay at Garza Blanca. 3 of us stayed in a 2 bedroom oceanfront unit on the 3rd floor. I prefer the units closest to the beach rather than the tower units - they are too far away from the beach & restaurant, though their steakhouse is up there...Check in was a breeze & you'll be offered beer or sparkling wine plus a chilled towel. Nice! They will offer you some inducements to attend their time share presentation - up to you if they are worth it. We declined.

The view of Banderas Bay from the lobby is breathtaking & the pools are very nice. The infinity pool was kept a bit warm for our taste, but the other pool was perfect for cooling off & enjoying some beverages! Pool drinks & food service was generally very good with our waiter Oswaldo being especially noteworthy! It would be nice to see a bit more variety of items on the casual restaurant menu. It's called Aquazul.

Our unit was beautiful with marble floors, full kitchen & big bathrooms (especially the master). The verandah was our favorite place with the best feature being a large, comfy hammock... Puerto Vallarta is about a 15 min. taxi or bus ride away. Enjoy!!

Room Tip: We were in 3303A - excellent view & the sound of the waves very relaxing...
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

We stayed here for spring break and loved the resort. Very luxuriously appointed and well kept. Spotless throughout. The balcony is huge and has a lovely hammock. We would visit again. It is an easy 20 min bus ride to Oldtown Puerto Vallarta which is fun to go kick around. Lots of restaurants downtown as well.

Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

Let me start by saying that I am pretty picky. There aren't many places that were fantastic enough for me to a) want to go back to, and b) want to forgo a trip somewhere new to return to the same destination.This however is one of those places. I've been to PV several times and Mismaloya once before. This was my second time to Mismaloya. We went in March 2014 and stayed in a junior suite at Garza Blanca and just booked reservations for their new tower Hotel Mousai (a hotel within a hotel concept) for December 2014. This place is outstanding! We had a junior suite with an absolutely spectacular view of the ocean. It was one of those ocean views you always want in a hotel, but never quite get. You could hear the ocean while you slept. Simply breathtaking. The bathroom was perfect. Very large, 2 sinks, 2 mirrored closets, additional vanity, large walk-in shower (big enough for two), separate large soaking tub by the window overlooking the ocean (not quite big enough for 2, or maybe if your guy isn't over 6 ft. like mine!), the toilet had a door, but didn't offer a tremendous amount of privacy. Amazing deck with a hammock (big enough for two), and fantastic view. Flat screen TV with HDMI connection. Wireless internet was expensive and was a separate cost PER DEVICE, beware. But when you have a pool like they do, and such good drinks, who cares about being connected to anyone.
The restaurants were 4 star. Boca dos Steak has the best breakfast, hands down. The Blanca Blue seemed to have the best dinner. Although steakhouse does offer LARGE steaks. Favorite daytime food was the bar by the pool - amazing Mexican food - try it all. Overall, the Mexican options were consistently better than any other cuisine offered at the resort.
The service was impeccable, at all times, from all personnel. Can't say enough good things about the staff. If you don't want to be hassled by the time share folks, tell them firmly no. They will leave you alone the rest of the trip. DO NOT talk to ANY people inside the airport upon arrival. No matter WHAT they are offering. It is a ripoff.
The pools are TO DIE FOR. Best pools I've ever experienced at any resort anywhere in the world. Beach is small, but not rocky.
The walk to the junior suites (up on mountain, away from beach) was about 7 minutes each way. Totally doable. There are stairs and shortcuts. It helps burn calories from all the eating. :-) But not easy for someone who is not mobile, so something to consider.
Small convenience store onsite for sunscreen, hats, and OTC medicine.
All inclusive means all inclusive - we didn't pay for anything while we were there. I came home with $20 and I took $40 with me. Gratuity is included in everything which is nice.
We did take a taxi to the marina (downtown PV) for $12USD. That area of town is fun if you've never been. Shopping, etc. But the resort is so nice we really didn't feel the need to leave. I would however recommend the Vallarta Adventure to Las Caletas for snorkeling.Snorkeling was great (although visibility better Sept - Feb I think?), but the food was AMAZING. Best paella I ever had. Better than Spain! If you are seasick, sit in the front of the high-speed boat to the island. It's less jumpy. :-)
Resort feels very secure - secure entry screening for everyone.
Hotel is 40 min ride from airport by taxi. Booking ahead of time through car service like on Expedia will save you $$.
Garza Blanca is heaven. Do yourself a favor and go. 4 nights minimum! :-)

Room Tip: Junior Suites are a walk uphill (or travel by frequently offered golfcart), and have an amazing view...
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 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.
Pacifica, California
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

If you haven't been to Puerto Vallarta before, know that the location of where you stay makes a HUGE difference in your experience. The central portion just north of the historic downtown area has rocky/muddy beaches. The northern portion has nice beaches, but is almost an hour away from most activities. Then there is Garza Blanca which has the best of both worlds.

You are immersed in the natural beauty from the jungles in the mountains to their pristine white sand private beach. Yet if you want to experience the culture, the downtown area is a short 10 minute ride away.

The resort itself is an activity hub, offering free use of: kayaks, paddle boards, and snorkel equipment. They have a daily itinerary that offers free guided hikes into the jungle as well as free guided tours of the bay by kayak. They also rent waverunners and jet skis for a reasonable fee if you are interested. Their beach also contains a protected area for swimmers the size of a football field so you don't have to worry about traffic or interference from water crafts of any kind.
If the ocean intimidates you, feel free to relax in any of their 3 beautiful infinity pools.

The location is truly breathtaking, and frankly most photos (even my own) cannot do it justice. I have never stayed at a resort that constantly took my breath away. Every beach side room has a hammock, and excellent furnishings from top to bottom.

To prove that I am authentic, I will concur that the service in the restaurants is painfully slow. Personally I prefer eating in the downtown area so I can partake in a more authentic dining experience. All in all this was the best resort I have ever been to, and frankly I can't imagine how it will ever be topped.

  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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:
#5 Spa Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#6 Family Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#6 Luxury Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#9 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#9 Business 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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