This review will be a little long, so if you are looking for the TL:DR version of this ... perfectly acceptable resort with a slightly upscale feel. Beach and Internet are fairly poor but available, food is mediocre, indoor bar is small and timeshare salespeople are a blight. On the upside - pools are beautiful, great location, beautiful views and very pleasant and earnest people abound.
Location - This is centrally located between the airport and Old Town. Others say you can walk to these places, but I think that's a little optimistic. You'll be trudging through a few miles of nothing. Get a cab instead.
Transportation - Cabs are everywhere. They are all Mid 90's Nissan Tsurus (Sentras). Most are clean, all are cheap. Airport to Hotel = 200 pesos (Federales tack on an extra fee). Hotel to Airport = 100 pesos. Around town = 50-70 pesos. Tip 10-20 pesos, all will be very grateful. Busses are nothing (under 10 pesos), my elderly mother got up and used them, I'm sure you can figure it out. There are also newer model cabs, vans and car services. I probably paid $75 total to get 3 people around town constantly for a week. Well worth the fees and cheaper than renting a car.
Roads - A nice highway system from the Airport to the hotel that will take you 15 minutes travel. There's a very old cobblestone system in town. It also floods during heavy rains. It will take you twice as long to go half as far in town.
Weather - I hear the weather is usually nice! I wouldn't know. I got 5 days of clouds and rain. I won't fault the hotel for that. But just know it DOES rain, and it comes on fast and sometimes for hours at a time.
Rooms - We had two rooms, one on the 19th (non-club) and the other on the 22nd (club). The non-club room wasn't updated but still had a gorgeous view, it had twin beds. It was smoking and smelled different, but not bad. The 22nd room was much nicer with one comfy king. No smell. All updated and gorgeous view (they all do). One weird thing, floors start at 12, so for example, 22nd floor was actually 12th floor. Odd. Nobody but suites have balconies, but floor-to-ceiling windows that open fully at the top make the room feel like a giant balcony. Club rooms get access to the club lounge which is AMAZING.
Club Lounge - Free breakfast (hard-boiled eggs, toast, pastries, coffee etc). There is a server who is always very nice. Beautiful views (that you'll never see because somebody took the seats and parks themselves there all day). There are two wired computers (circa 2003) and wifi access. It's all pretty slow but it's all free. At 5, appetizers (buffet leftovers) are served. Nothing special, but again free. I think wine is free too. It's open until 11 and a God-send from the busy lobby and restaurants and hucksters downstairs.
Internet - It SUCKS. You'll get no service sitting on your bed or most places in your room. I was able to get a signal from the pool by taking my iPad closer to the window. There's semi-reliable service in the lobby, club room and by the pool. There's a pay computer room that looked modern.
Pools - Probably the best part of the trip. Two large pools, one for the hotel and one for the time shares (there's nobody checking who's who). The hotel pool is a bit nicer in my opinion with more room because of the lack of Jacuzzi. It also wasn't heated so there's less people. Views can be toward the ocean or the pool itself. A waiter will come along and ask if you want drinks, there is a very loud DJ who will announce useless events. Club music persists all day, sit away from the speakers if you can. The time-share pool was heated and thus more popular because it was colder out. Tons of kids and constant screeching. Jacuzzi is a little disgusting (greyish water). Both have swim-up bars which is a neat novelty. All-inclusives will sit there all day but there's always plenty of room. Hardly anybody swims before 10am but the seats get saved with towels as early as 7am. If you want to do laps, get there early.
Beach - Beaches are actually nicer than some in the area. In town, for example, it's VERY crowded and filled with roaming vendors who will pester you. Locals stay mostly away because it's the end of the beaches (there's a derelict hotel next door that they frequent because the beach is built up with no patrons). Sand, as you probably read before, is soft at the top, gravel in the middle and coarse in the water. Not exactly pristine white beaches with crystal blue waters. I would research other cities if that's what you want. Beaches were very underwhelming. A jet-ski guy will patrol the area looking for renters. I didn't see kayaks, snorkels or anything else.
Time-Share People - BEWARE THE TIME-SHARE PEOPLE. Aurora in particularl is annoying as she pesters you with coupons and "free" breakfasts. She and a dearth of salespeople will descend on you like a plague at either the desk beside the gym or the car rental counter. Frankly, it's downright shameful Sheraton (SPG) is affiliated with such scum. They will prey on you at ALL times. It's high pressure sales from the 80s. It's almost enough to knock down the ratings to 3 or less stars. You think the airport "shark tank" guys are a problem? Ha! At least you can walk away from them. These people never stop and they do it every time you walk by. Don't even acknowledge them, I know the locals didn't. They looked down on them as the pure leeches they are. I was the idiot who said "Hola" the first time out and they basically chased me down the hall. I finally said, do you mind if I just go to gym?
Service - THE REST OF THE STAFF ARE AMAZING. The bell hops, check-in, wait staff, bartenders, and concierge are all incredible, friendly, helpful people who should all be commended. I tipped them all well and they made up for all the rest. Top-notch in my books. My only complaint is that I noticed the check-in crew will make up things and not follow SPG protocol. We had to fight for normal platinum level amenities and our green points which they made a very big deal of.
Food - Mediocre at best, think Old Country. Far overpriced for ala carte (we didn't have all inclusive). Pretty standard cheapo buffet, burgers, nachos, hot dogs at lunch, just a tad bit better at dinner. Very little Mexican food. Frankly, I had better meals at the boardwalk from the street vendors. Prices are really high too. There's a few "high end" restaurants at the resort which didn't look very appetizing, I think it's all the same kitchen. There are thousands of restaurants in the city, venture out and try something new. We did and had some of the best meals ever, Vista Grill in particular was amazing.
Guests - This was 75% Mexican families. They are mostly upscale, some blue-collar. Second are Canadians followed by Americans. Hardly any young couples, but there were a ton of kids. If your dream is dancing to tehcno music by the pool at 4am surrounded by 20-somethings .. this is not the place for you. We didn't have kids, but my older mother was with us so I wanted something quiet. It was perfectly fine for her and us (people in their mid 30s just looking for a quiet PV experience).
Conclusion - There was a lot of complaining up there, but the goods simply outweighed the bad by a large margin. Just a few more thoughts -- don't worry about the airport sales people, one 'no gracias' and you never deal with them again. If you go to the boardwalk, you will be hounded by store owners. Even looking at them elicits a conversation. It's all a bit kitschy and their wares are all junk. I didn't find one authentic thing (all looked China made and started to repeat itself quickly). We went on two excursions - Rhythms of the Night and to Yalapa beach via water taxi. Both were fun in their own way. You should do *something* and those are as good choices as anything else. All in all I liked PV, but probably won't ever be back. I hate vendors, I loathe salespeople and I love long meandering quiet white beaches with crystal blue water. This had far too much of the former and not enough of the latter.
Feel free to ask me any questions you may have.
- Also Known As:
- Sheraton Buganvilias Hotel Puerto Vallarta
- Sheraton Buganvilias Resort And Convention Center
- Sheraton Puerto Vallarta
- Sheraton Buganvilias
- Puerto Vallarta Sheraton
- Sheraton Buganvilias Resort
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Relish the sun, the ocean, the extended landscaping, the entire exhuberant nature of the tropic from your own Deluxe ocean view room or the unique Ocean Front Club Level. A few steps away from traditional downtown and 4 miles from Vallarta's International Airport. Appreciate a peaceful afternoon stroll on renovated Malecon and savor the friendliness of the locals; admire the city’s distinctive architecture with red-tiled roofs, lush tropical gardens, cobblestone streets and the Guadalupe church.Enjoy our fine cuisine restaurants and bars, shop a variety of clothing, silver and souvenirs in the boutiques, and relax in the SPA taking an unparalleled massage in our unique cabin's next to the ocean or immersed in lush gardens. ... more less
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