Before you read my review, please keep in mind that I have nothing to compare this resort to. This review will be based solely on my experience at this resort, not a comparison to anywhere else.
The View: The pictures say it all. Ocean AND Mountains. This is one of the features that brought me to Puerto Vallarta. Every room has a spectacular view of both. We stayed in room 2808 which is on the 8th floor of the north side. 5 of 5 stars for the view.
The Location: Located in the small town of Mislamoya, about 15-20 minutes via cab to downtown PV. The town of Mislamoya itself doesn't have much to do, maybe spend half a day there. There is a Tequila distillery (I didn't go, so can't say if it's good), The Puerto Vallarta Zoo (which is AMAZING, see my review on this), and an authentic Mexican feel to it. Keep in mind that the cab fares are set rates from the hotel, 130 pesos to downtown PV (10 canadian roughly) so don't pay any higher than that returning. Being so far from downtown meant that you had to stay entertained at the resort, which there is lots to do, but still. 3 of 5 stars for location
The Rooms: The rooms are pretty much like the pictures show, Awesome! The rooms are suites, so that alone is great. We had a King Size bed in the main room, 2 singles beds in the bedroom. The beds were really comfortable. They were on the softer side, which is good for me. One bathroom had a walk-in shower with a rainfall shower head. The other was a standard bathtub with standard shower. Mini-Fridge was stocked with Tecates Beer, Water, Pop, and some snacks. FYI, A note and small tip got my fridge stocked the way I wanted ;-)
DO NOT CLOSE THE PATIO DOORS IF YOU ARE ON THE BALCONY!!! I closed mine and they accidentally latched so we were stuck out there for a good 15 minutes before I finally managed to shake the thing loose! I'm not sure if every door was like that, probably not, but ours was. Beware! 4.5 of 5 stars
The Staff: The staff was excellent. Bartenders were fun and friendly, servers were fast and courteous. Front desk was very informative and knowledgeable. Sitting around the pool, they have servers walking around the pool chairs to bring you drinks. I wasn't expecting this, so this was awesome! Most spoke very good English, the ones who didn't were the house-keeping staff and kitchen staff... I realized I'm in their country, so I tried to learn some Spanish to help me there. 4.5 of 5 stars.
The Pools: Blew me away. The pictures didn't actually show how great these are. There are 3 pools and 2 hot tubs. One pool has a swim-up bar and a sun-tanning pad where you can lay in about 3 inches of water and get a tan! Great! The other one has a waterfall you can swim under. I read some reviews about other resorts and people having to claim chairs with towels really early, This was not the case here! We came to the pool at different times every day and ALWAYS got a chair beside the pools. They have more than enough! Also, they serve you drinks while you relax!! You don't even have to get up if you don't want! 5 of 5 stars
The Food: First off, I want to say that I brought a lot of Pepto and Immodium. I took them daily as a preventive measure and I must say.. It worked! --- With that said, the food was AWESOME.
The Buffet had new stuff every day, usually featuring a different area of the world. Along with that, they had the same good stuff every day too. So if you're a meat and potatoes kind of person, you'll be happy. Breakfast was particularly good. Enjoying my coffee right next to the ocean was great! The omelette station was frequented by myself quite a bit. Lunch and Dinners were also very tasty there. Fish, chicken, beef, pork, pasta, salad, and dessert were all offered at every meal we ate there. They have lots of tables so we never had to wait for one.
The Snack Bar. It took us a few days to figure out that this was actually a restaurant opened for Lunch. There is an evening snack bar in the Cantina that has Guacamole, tacos, refried beans etc, but The Snack Bar you can either grab one of the slices of pizza or nachos on-the-go, or sit down and have some more "American" food like Hot Dogs or a Clubhouse and Fries. It was really good here and we ate lunch here more often than not once we figured out it wasn't actually a "snack bar."
The a la cartes, Reservations need to be made for all the a la cartes.
Don Quijote - DRESS CODE FOR MEN. No flip flops, sandals, shorts. Food is Authentic Spanish. Was very good. Menu was small but was very good. The desserts were just ok. This was probably my least favorite of the 3, but was still very good. The pianos playing and attire of the servers made it feel really Spanish.
Los Arcos Grill Restaurant - This was my 2nd favorite, although most people we talked to said this was the best. It was very really good, steak was cooked just right, potatoes were seasoned nicely. There was nothing fancy about the restaurant itself, it's the same as the snack bar. So it was mainly just about the food.
Capri Restaurant - Pasta is pasta, but this was the BEST a la carte there in my opinion. Maybe because I went in with low expectations because I feel pasta is pasta. But yea, I had the lasagna and it blew me away how tasty it was. We forgot to make a reservation and they made a table for us outside, which was a nice gesture.
All in all... each of these restaurants are very very good. The portion sizes are a tad on the smaller side, but you won't leave feeling unsatisfied. Food 5 of 5 stars.
The Spa: We went for a couples massage at the Spa. The masseuses were very good and polite. It was very relaxing. I can't remember the price, I think it was around $90 CDN for both of us, which is pretty good for a professional massage. 4 of 5 stars
The Beach: The Beach was fantastic. Sand was fine, view was great. A few vendors around but once you said "No, Gracias." they left you alone. If you plan to swim in the ocean, beward that it does drop off fairly fast so make sure you're a strong swimmer. I walked in about 4 meters about waist high and in a few steps I was at my neck in water. If you wanted to venture off, there are some paths to the left that looked interested. (we never went but others did) There is also a restaurant (non hotel) and bar on the beach. People offering boat rides and jetski rides were readily available. It was $50 for an hour I think the one guy said. Beach I'd give 4 of 5 stars.
Hotel Entertainment: I have to mention this because we checked this out on a few nights. The circus was AWESOME. The Entertainment was actually quite good each time we went. For a free show, I'd say go check it out. 4 of 5 stars.
All in all. I was extremely happy with my first trip to Puerto Vallarta. I would come back to the Barcelo without question. If you're looking for a beautiful resort, with lots to do at the resort. Barcelo is a good choice.