My husband and I stayed at Casa Velas the first full week of March to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. On the whole, our experience was wonderful. I booked 6 months before we went, and in the interim I started to worry that I would be disappointed because my hopes for the place were so high. Happily, we were not disappointed at all -- the property really is as beautiful as the pictures make it look, and the service really is that outstanding.
Check in: When we checked in we were shown to a couch and served (by a wonderful, smiling Geraldo) a welcome drink (whatever we wanted from the bar) while they told us everything we needed to know about the resort. Our room was not ready yet so we were shown to Emiliano's (the only restaurant at the resort proper) for lunch, which was nice.
The room (517C): Very nice, with a jacuzzi tub and a balcony. The bed was comfortable, there were bathrobes and slippers -- it was great. No complaints at all. It was also very quiet since it was not in the main part of the hotel, which was perfect for us.
The spa: As other reviewers have noted, there was a fire in the spa a while back so the spa services are being done in a suite and the gym equipment is outside. We used the gym several times during our stay, and we really liked that it is outside. It makes it easier to workout when you can enjoy the beautiful weather at the same time. There aren't many machines, but it's only ever busy from 7 am to maybe 8:30 am. After that there's no one there. We also got volcanic mud wraps at the spa, and they were fantastic.
Beach club/pool: We loved the beach club. It's quiet, small, and the service was great. Jorge and the other guys are fantastic. It was not an issue for us that the resort was not right on the beach, because it was really easy and quick to get to the beach club. The pool at the hotel is gorgeous (and larger than the one at the beach club), and there is a swim up bar. There are a ton of lounge chairs, and except for maybe one day we never saw anyone have a problem finding chairs. In general there are always chairs, although maybe not in the location that you want.
Food: We had dinner at the beach club two nights, lunch several times, and really enjoyed it. The food at the pool at the resort is great too, and the service is quick. Emiliano's had good food, but I wouldn't say that it was great (but to be fair, my husband would -- he loved everything he had). I did really like breakfast and lunch, but I would have liked more vegetarian options on the menu for dinner. However, it was definitely the best all-inclusive food I've ever eaten.
Service: The absolute best thing about this resort -- Jorge, Hector, Benny, Edgar, Geraldo, Jesus, Eduardo, and everyone else whose name I forgot. They all go out of their way to make you feel welcome, to greet you with a smile, to see if you need anything, etc. They remember your name, room number and favorite dishes and drinks. There were several times when we ordered things that were not on the menu, and one time Jorge suggested my husband get the lamb and the steak because he couldn't decide which he wanted.
A few notes:
-This is a really quiet resort. There are no evening activities, it's a place to relax and unwind. If you want to be in a lively place, Casa Velas is definitely not for you.
-The resort caters to an older clientele. My husband and I are in our late 20s/early 30s, and were some of the youngest people there. The majority of the guests are between 40 and 60. If you are looking for a younger scene, Casa Velas is not for you.
-I know some reviewers have said they experienced timeshare pressure, but timeshares were never even mentioned to us.
-Our room did not have a plunge pool, which I had requested upon booking, but we didn't care enough to bother asking to change rooms.
-I wish the dinner menus (at the beach club and at Emiliano's) had more vegetarian options.
-The dinner service at Emiliano's was very slow some nights, for no apparent reason.
As I said before, on the whole our experience was fantastic. We loved it, and hated to leave. There are many other places to see and visit, but we will definitely return to Casa Velas.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.