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“Best Staff and Service we've had!!!!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Friendly Vallarta Resort

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Friendly Vallarta Resort
3.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Km 2.5 Blvd. Francisco Medina Ascencio, Puerto Vallarta 48300, Mexico (Formerly Friendly Hola Vallarta Resort and Spa)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #31 of 120 Hotels in Puerto Vallarta
Horseshoe Valley, Canada
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Best Staff and Service we've had!!!!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 11, 2014 via mobile

Spent a week at The Friendly from feb 1-8. First time in Puerto Vallarta but have been to the Mayan, Cuba, Dominican and Aruba several times.

If you are looking for a Resort with several pools, restaurants etc this isn't the resort for you. If you are looking for a resort close to the Airport, town and amenities which is clean, has good food, with the most amazing staff and service than this one a great choice.

Had a room in the tower on the 11th floor which had an amazing view of the Ocean, Mountains and City. Incredible sunsets too!

Pools were warm and the adults infinity pool was a nice place to relax. Close to everything and the bus or taxi rides are very inexpensive. From the time we landed at the airport until we were having our first cocktail by the pool was just under one hour!!

Have been to fancier resorts with all the bells and whistles but this is our new holiday destination. Only regret was not getting pictures with some of the amazing staff like Sergio "double double", Eduardo and many others. Hoping to return next year with our two little boys.

  • Stayed February 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Friendly V, Gerente at Friendly Vallarta Resort, responded to this review, February 12, 2014
Dear BigChief-LilMel.

It was so nice to read your review, thank you so much for everything you say about your experience. We would love to see you once again, please feel free to come back anytime! :)
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (333)
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Regina
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
69 helpful votes 69 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 11, 2014 via mobile

First let me start out by saying, I have been to Cuba... So, I am accustomed to being at resorts where smoking is allowed. I can usually get through the week without it bothering me, but here, my sinuses took a beating.

Check In
We arrived in Mexico, Sunday, Feb. 2nd. Took a cab from the airport to beat the bus, we got there at 4:30 pm, quick check in, but nowhere near the room requested, we were given 2508 (remember this number!) 4th floor, partial ocean view, smoking. When I stated to Gladys, that I requested central tower, non smoking due to allergies... I was told in the "Friendliest" way that in Mexico, smoking is not illegal, and that they only have 2 floors, in all 3 buildings for non smokers, so check back later. So, I figure, let's check the room, how bad could it be, as I said I have been in Cuban 2.5 star hotels.

Room 2508 - 4th floor, building to the right, Smoking, partial ocean view, king size bed
Upon trying to open the door, the lock would not work properly, tumblers inside were worn, and you had to lift and twist the knob and then turn the key. Once inside the smell of stale smoke and mildew was overwhelming, so, I opened the patio door to get fresh air in, and started to unpack. The mildew smell was getting worse, so went out on our deck and noticed mold on the roof tiles (humidity + wet tiles + shade = mold) and pigeons were nesting in the roof, so pigeon poop all over the deck. Now, I know what you're thinking, OMG, what a whiner! But seriously, this was the worst room I have EVER stayed in, in the 7 years my wife and I started travelling south.

The washroom had a sewer smell coming from the open drain, easily fixed by putting the bath mat over it, but the smell permeated into the storage closet adjacent to the bathroom, where the room safe and clothing racks are. Needless to say, we kept our clothes in our luggage, and tried to beat our records of holding our breath when using the safe. Sink was partially clogged, Shower was great and plenty of warm water. We went for supper, met with the rest of my family, and had a great evening... The waiting staff were second to none, and probably the best we ever experienced.

Next morning, I went to the front desk and talked to Manuel about changing rooms, he overheard my discussion with Gladys the day before and told me "he will see what he could do" to accommodate. An hour later, he told me we can have 7th floor, central tower, non smoking, but had to wait until Wednesday at noon.

Room 3705 - 7th floor, non smoking, full ocean view, 2 double beds
Now, I fully understand how this hotel rates so high! This room was the game changer. Incredible room, worth the money we paid. Our only issue was our pillow cases that we brought from home were changed for old hotel cases, first time we ever had our cases changed before checkout?

Food/Buffet/a la carte
All very good, did not have a bad meal. Good selection and quality.

Pools/Hot Tub
Clean. No swim up bar but the waiting staff are very attentive. Both family pool and adult infinity pool.

Beach
Very clean, lots of chairs. Lots of vendors, but a friendly, but firm no gracias does the trick.

Overall
Front desk staff do what they can to accommodate non smokers, BUT, are very limited when it comes to non smoking availability. Management should consider some major renovations on the left and right buildings partial view rooms, as we were not the only ones complaining. People are spending big money for quality, and are not getting it. The staff are the stars to this hotels claim to fame!

Stayed February 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Friendly V, Gerente at Friendly Vallarta Resort, responded to this review, February 11, 2014
Dear FabulousFabe.

Thank you very much for your comments, it has been a pleasure to read all of them. We thank you for your suggestions, we are already doing renovations in all our rooms and we hope that on your next visit you can see all those changes. Regarding the smokers, as we have mentioned in previous reviews, we designate an exclusive area for them and this situation is already under control. Thank you very much for highlighting the positive points of your stay, we hope to see you soon :)
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Saskatchewan
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 10, 2014

My husband and I recently returned from a one week stay at the Friendly Vallarta.

The resort is smaller and a bit dated but very clean. The rooms are very basic but we were only in our room to shower and sleep so this did not matter to us. As we booked through Transat and received the NoliPlus package, we received 2 bottles of water, 2 cans of pop, a bottle of tequila and snacks in our room upon arrival. Water is not restocked every day but there are water coolers in the main buffet and at the snack bar so be sure to keep your water bottles (or bring with you).

We spent the majority of our time down at the beach and in the adult only heated infinity pool so cannot comment on the main pool. The one thing I liked it that we did not have to get up early to reserve a spot on the beach. We went down most mornings around 9:00 a.m. and easily found a spot. A big shout out to Abraham who got you whatever you needed on the beach be it chairs, table, umbrella, chair cushions, etc. By our 3rd day we did not have to ask for an umbrella or table as Abraham automatically brought it to us. There are also waiters on the beach who bring you drinks or food from the snack bar. By mid week Lupai (not sure if I spelled his name right) new our drink order and was always making sure we were okay. Yes there are vendors on the beach but they went on their way after a simple no thank you. If you did not want to deal with the vendors, there is a roped off area on the beach closer to the resort.

The food was good, we never had any complaints. Breakfast had a great selection. You could get eggs, omelets, french toast, waffles, pancakes or bacon from the chef at the grill or scrambled eggs, hash browns, fresh fruit, yogurt, granola, etc from the buffet. For lunch you could choose from the buffet where they grill sandwiches and have items on the buffet or down at the snack bar by the pool where you can get hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, nachos, etc. Some days for lunch they also grilled fish, chicken wings, etc down by the beach. For supper we only ate the buffet once. The selection was not that large but we were able to find something and didn’t want walk hungry. We ate at the Gourmet Restaurant once and would suggest the prime rib. There were 3 dinner shows on the beach when we were there, and again, selection was not that large but I usually had the made to order pasta, caesar salad, and garlic toast. We loved Sergio (double double) in the main buffet and always tried to sit in his section at breakfast and lunch.

Out of all the resorts we have been to, this one had the best nightly entertainment. There was the tropical fiesta show and dancing horse show on the beach, live bands on the beach, movie on the beach, and Superbowl Sunday in the lobby. They also had a show upstairs in the theater which we did not attend. This resort does not really have much for nightlife and if fairly quiet after 10:00 p.m. which was okay for us as we like to start our day early

The resort is nice and close to the marina and the Malecon. You can take the bus or a taxi for about $5 each way.

There seemed to be a lot of repeat travelers to this resort which we found very helpful as they would let us know which vendors on the beach to deal and not deal with, places to go in town, etc.

I heard a few complaints on the beach in regards to the room key and the type of TV in the room. I can say out of all the resorts I have stayed at, all our room keys have been actual keys and all the TVs have been the older style box TVs. I am not on vacation to watch TV so the type of TV does not matter to me as we only watch briefly before going to bed.

Overall we had a great experience and would return in a heartbeat. I can now see why there are so many returning travelers, the staff at this resort makes you feel welcome and at home. We were actually sad to leave.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 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.
Friendly V, Gerente at Friendly Vallarta Resort, responded to this review, February 11, 2014
Dear Happy_Travellers82

Thank you for sharing your experience, was very nice to read. We are very happy to know you enjoyed every moment at our hotel, our goal is that all our guests enjoy their vacation. We hope to see you soon! :)
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Winnipeg
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 9, 2014

My husband, myself and our 5 year old just returned from a one week stay at the Friendly Vallarta. We had mixed feelings about this resort. This was our 10th time to an all-inclusive so we have some idea of what other resorts offer.

On the positive side-The waiters, beach staff and chefs are incredible, their friendly manner and the service they provide are second to none. As soon as the chefs saw we were travelling with a young son, they would go out of their way to provide a little extra service to him. When he asked for pancakes they would immediately make them in the shape of Mickey Mouse, they would offer him popcorn in the lobby as soon as he even came near the machine, one day my son asked about why chefs wear hats and instantly a chef came over to let my son try on a chefs hat. The waiters at the beach were so attentive and we've never received better pool and beach service. There were 2 staff members (Abraham and one other gentleman) in the morning helping people on the beach put out their chairs, tables and umbrellas. These 2 men worked so hard to help all the guests with getting set for their day on the beach.

The resort is small which was nice for young kids. The pool is heated which was a bonus for the late day swims. The staff were constantly cleaning, even wiping down all the loungers at the end of every day. The beach is one of the nicer beaches in the area, it does get a bit crowded but the majority of guests were extremely friendly and with close proximity we met a lot of great people.

The resort is dated and the rooms are basic but we were rarely in our rooms so it really didn't matter to us. It would have been nice to have water in our rooms every day but like others have said it just means you have to bring empty bottles to the dining areas to refill your bottles. My son was disappointed that we only had towel art 3 of our 7 days. This wouldn't normally bother me but he would look forward to seeing what was in our room and he was so disappointed when there was no cute towel animal for him. We met another family with young kids and the beach restaurant wouldn't let us move tables together to eat with them. Even if we offered to move them together and move them back by ourselves they wouldn't let us and were actually a little rude about it. The kids were disappointed and we felt it went against their "friendly " service motto.

The buffets had the smallest selection of any resort we had ever been to. Breakfasts were always good and we always ate lunch on the beach which offered a menu of about 10 different items. The suppers were probably our biggest challenge, they did not offer a big variety of items. It was sometimes hard to find food that my son would eat in the evening. He's not a very picky eater but we had trouble filling his plate in the evenings.

The resort seems to cater to an older crowd and did not seem to have a lot of families at the resort. The play area was dated and there were not a lot of activities for kids. My son was more than happy to just play on the beach and swim in the pool but if you are a family looking for more activities for the kids you may find the resort lacking in this area.

We booked an excursion through Juan on the beach, he was recommended by a fellow Canadian couple who had bought excursions through him in previous trips to this hotel. He was excellent, we saved a significant amount of money and he gave us lots of good tips about the excursion. I'd have no hesitation booking through him.

Overall the resort itself is just average but the staff try hard to make up for what the resort lacks in amenities. If you have the attitude that you are in a beautiful county and you enjoy being away from the horrid temperatures in the praries then you can let all of the little things go and have a great vacation. We met fantastic people at this resort and that made up for all of the short comings of this resort.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 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.
Friendly V, Gerente at Friendly Vallarta Resort, responded to this review, February 11, 2014
Dear SW07.

Thank you very much for all your suggestions are important to us. Regarding our rooms, we have very good news and we are doing renovations in all of them and we hope that on your next visit you can see all these changes. For children, we have designed a beach kids club exclusive for them where they can play and have supervision of our staff. We thank you for mentioning the positives of your stay, and we hope to see you soon :)
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Edmonton, Canada
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 8, 2014

We just got back a few days ago from a 2 week stay at the Friendly Vallarta Resort. We really enjoyed the entire holiday at the resort and we know now why its name is "Friendly Vallarta". The staff went out of their way to make us feel so welcomed (like Jose, Braulio, Joel....), and despite they all work so hard, they always had time to smile and say "Hola" to us. We especially loved Raul who treated us like we were part of his family. We had a room on the top floor in the side building with a great view of the pool and the ocean. Our room as well as the whole hotel was a bit dated, but always clean. The beach was one of the best in the area with nice sand. It is awesome to be served drinks while you are lying on the beach or by the pool. The ocean was calmer and clearer in the morning which made the swimming more enjoyable. With the exception of an evening shower, the weather was mainly warm and sunny with light winds. We saw many spectacular sunsets from the beach or the room balcony. The hotel is in a good location close to marina or centre of town. Taking bus to or from the centre can be a fun adventure. A smaller shopping mall is only 5 minutes walk from the hotel. The selection of food could have been wider but there was always something we enjoyed at every meal. Drinking "marihuana" juice in the morning was refreshing and very tasty. We recommend to have breakfast on the beach, because the dining room was quite noisy most of the time. Twice a week the hotel put on a great buffet dinner on the beach with a show. There are many activities to choose from (yoga, Spanish lessons, aquafit, cooking lessons, kayaking,...). The only things we did not like were the dull knives (to cut the meat was almost impossible) and the lumpy pillows.
For the price and very friendly staff we would recommend this resort to everyone.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Friendly V, Gerente at Friendly Vallarta Resort, responded to this review, February 11, 2014
Dear Jitka S.

Thank you very much for sharing your experience, will be very helpful for our future guests. For us it was a pleasure to see you again, we hope to see you during this year :)
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Edmonton, Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 6, 2014

Just got back from two weeks in mexico and stayed at the Friendly Vallarta Resort. It is truly an great place to stay, a little dated perhaps but very clean and and well taken care of. If your lucky and get the upper rooms on either the left or right side of the pool your view of the ocean is breath taking, a great way to wake up. All the tower rooms face the bay. The staff is first class through. If your a beer drinker theres Corona on tap as well as Modella light & dark all you can hold just do not barf in the pool, hard drinks, House rum is Bacardi White, Vodka, Gin, Tequila, run freely passed your lips (didn't try rye or scotch so can't say),Murdered a lot of limes and the Ice is good.
At the pool each day the north side get the sun early and all day all the south is shaded in the morning and sunny in the afternoon, your surrounded by Banana plants with ripping bananas for the picking. There's the main pool for everyone with two hot tubs and a five foot deep adult pool facing the ocean with bar service, and a bathroom close by.
The evening entertainment is local bands & DJ's, on the beach (if you bring your favourite tunes on CD or on laptop or ipad they will play them for you if you ask)
Lots of beach venders if you park your butt outside of the roped in section of the beach. beach is the best in bay, great sand, lots of activities.
BeIng there in January, the ocean is not as calm as it can be for snorkelling.
All in all a great holiday

Room Tip: Upper rooms in either side of tower have great view. All tower rooms face the ocean higher rooms are...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 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.
Friendly V, Gerente at Friendly Vallarta Resort, responded to this review, February 11, 2014
Dear Ginter H.

Thank you so much for your review, we feel really flattered. All your words are a great reward to us, it is wonderful to know that you had a great time with us. We hope to see you soon! :)
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Cobble Hill, Canada
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
58 helpful votes 58 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 5, 2014

First of all let me qualify this review by saying that the staff at this place is a the best of any place we have ever been. Aside from the indifferent few at the front desk, all the serving and housekeeping folks go out of their way to make you feel like family and I can only assume that is why they have so many repeat customers.

This place is not totally without it's merits. It is very close to most of the amenities you will ever need in Puerto Vallarta; airport, Malecon, eating, shopping, etc. but that is where it stops.

It was like pulling teeth to get our room changed from the top floor of "A" tower next door to the elevator that never stops, complete with the totally awesome view of a roof, to at least get us to a room with a noise level somewhat acceptable to humans for sleeping. After a lot of persistence by ourselves and the tour operator it finally happened. So much for room requests, that apparently means nothing.

Oh yes, the smoke, The constant and never ending cigarette smoke. No matter where you go it is everywhere. Sitting in the "no smoking section" of the lobby it creeps in. Sitting on the beach you can bet you will have the wind blow it your way from the smokers all around you. Eating in the buffet it creeps in the window from the folks sitting outside. At the fiesta beach restaurant it blows back in from the guy who goes outside to light up. The room next door, between hacking ,they would smoke all night long and it would seep under the door jam. My wife finally resorted to packing the door with towels in attempt to stop the smell from creeping in.

I cannot remember a hotel in this modern age that I have had to carry a key for a door or a safe. The room is dated, needs painting, and curtains are moldy. Not that we are in Mexico to watch TV but when turning in for the night, it would be nice to watch at least a TV made in this century and a picture to match. The bathroom needs painting and the moldy caulking replaced. Double beds are just not acceptable in a hotel in this day and age. The firmness of the mattress we can forgive as we know that's the norm in Mexico.

The food, well that's a whole other story. Aside from a few attempts at gourmet where they do okay, The Paella and some of the meat dishes were good. Most of the food was bland, boring, lukewarm and repetitive. The donuts, the churros and a few themes were a good attempt but it did not make up for the rather blasé offerings. Fruit, and we all know Mexico has it, should not be limited to watermelon, pineapple, papaya, and cantaloupe every day. No bananas, strawberries, grapes, etc. to be seen

Drinks were excellent and there were many choices. Table service and the bartenders were amazing. We have no complaints in this regard. What is lacking is a gathering place in the evening that is conducive to socialising. Not that we are party people but this place just gets morbid after 9 pm and seems to have almost no nightlife. Maybe that is what some of the repeat customers like about it.

The beach is very nice as is the pool. The guys setting up the chairs in the morning do an excellent job and there really is never a time when you can't find somewhere to relax. The beach vendors get a little tiresome but it is Mexico and everyone needs to earn a living. Generally a "no gracias" gets the job done.

Also a little confused as to why they would shut down the 3 main elevators to the tower to re-fit them in the peak season. I'm thinking April onward may have been a little wiser.

Would we go back? Not even for the A-1 service can it make up for the too many negatives.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Friendly V, Gerente at Friendly Vallarta Resort, responded to this review, February 11, 2014
Dear mustangguy.

Thank you very much for your comments are very important to us and will help us to be better. Regarding smokers, we have allocated a non smoking area around our hotel, and fortunately this situation is under control.

Regarding the rooms, we are making changes in all of them and soon we will finish the renovations, with new bedding and restorations in the rooms. Thanks for your suggestions have been very useful. Thank you very much for highlighting the positive aspects of your stay. We hope to see you soon :)
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Additional Information about Friendly Vallarta Resort

Address: Km 2.5 Blvd. Francisco Medina Ascencio, Puerto Vallarta 48300, Mexico (Formerly Friendly Hola Vallarta Resort and Spa)
Location: Mexico > Jalisco > Puerto Vallarta
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#13 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#18 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#20 Family Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#28 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Friendly Vallarta Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 218
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
An oceanfront hotel in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.100% Family. Renovated Rooms. Friendly Staff. Wide beach. Food Variety. 24-hour food and beverage program. Unlimited domestic alcoholic beverages, and non-alcoholic drinks. Main pool with children's wading area. Indoor and outdoor "Kid’s Club" with fully supervised children's activities. Gym and Spa. Entertainment room. Daily activity programs. Nightly entertainment and weekly live shows. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hola Puerto Vallarta Club & Spa
Hola Vallarta
Hola Puerta Vallarta
Hola Hotel Puerto Vallarta
Hola Puerto Vallarta Resort
Hola Club Puerto Vallarta
Hotel Hola Vallarta
Hola Resort Puerto Vallarta
Hola Club Spa Puerto Vallarta

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