Early morning, not yet sunrise and the two old ladies are off in the car from Lake Chapala area to Puerto Vallarta. Some would say imagine taking the risk of driving 6 hours across Mexico with all the troubles being reported, but then some do not know the reality and believe all they are told. Thru Dangerous Guadalajara without event, biggest danger the drivers speeding along, a tad aggressive with driving skills LOL. On and on we go, stopping for potty breaks, stretch the old bones, ah yes, pay the tolls, the cuotas or toll roads are pricey here but well maintained. Excitement is building as we start the journey thru one of 3 forests or jungles we go thru, windy, curvy, dangerous, oh no , not from what you expect like banditos or cartels, from risk taking drivers, pass on curves, etc. Lots of traffic this trip compounded by construction, but we move on…we enter Nuevo Vallarta, oh we are so close…pass the airport, into the lovely Marina area of Puerto Vallarta and alas, the beautiful iron scrolled gated entrance to Casa Velas, we are home, my home away from home. Six and a half hours and thru many cities and two states in Mexico and not one incident or danger. This is a many time repeat visit for me, but the first to Casa Velas for mom, she is oohing and ahhing at the entrance, and the lobby , oh my, as I expected she loves it. We are welcomed with open arms, smiles, cool cloths and a cold drink. Check in is like a relaxing conversation with an old friend, so smooth and relaxing. I can already feel the tranquility absorbing me. The wonderful bellboys whisk away my car after getting out the luggage, offer a tour of facilites and then to our room. I believe Pablo and Eduardo took care of us. Eduardo even filling up our small cooler with ice along with an ice bucket for the room. He seemed to always be available to assist us.
Room 601 a Royal Villa Suite will be our home for the next week. Now this is a room to live and be pampered in. Mom is talking of moving in with Dad and never leaving, no clue where I stand in all this LOL. Hope I can get her out of here in a week. The villa is similar to a condo, you could live there. It is two floors. You enter first floor, staircase to left, bathroom to right with sink, shower, toilet, etc. Marble floors, columns etc….nice foyer…2 small steps down into living room which has a couch/pull out bed, 2 soft chairs, lamps, coffee table, end tables etc. To the left is the dining area with a glass topped table and 4 chairs, telephone, and another small table. The décor throughout is posh Mexican, marble, tiles, artwork, etc……off the living room and again off the dining room are sliding doors, both lead to a back yard, yes our own yard with a plunge pool, a terrace with table and 4 chairs, 2 teak loungers. Plenty of open space in this first floor and even a big closet. The stairs are in two landings with a curve, up we go….lo and behold a huge master bedroom, 2 side tables, lamps and overhead lighting, a desk, alarm clock, CD player, safe, TV, minibar, ( this is stocked daily) glasses, a snack tray ( granola bars, chips, etc.) coffee maker, dresser with draws, big sliding window in front and also in back…to the left a huge bathroom with a closet, full length mirror ( a frequent complaint of mine in Mexico, lack of full length mirror LOL)sink, toilet, hairdryer, ironing board, shower and Jacuzzi, and another slider leading to another terrace with a padded loveseat built in lounger……flowers and beauty surround all this…maybe my mom is right, I could live here! Before our arrival I had placed a few requests to Jesus , the Chief concierge, and each and every one was met to perfection or even more…This is just an incredible room, what a honeymoon suite it would be, or anniversary, where is my hubby when I want him LOL. We start to unpack and notice a bottle of wine,glasses and a plate with a welcome sign and different candies and fruits on it, along with apples, and grapes on table…nice welcome touch! The room has 2 air conditioning controls one on each floor, and is made up every day, along with turn down service at night. It is stocked with amenities like spa soap, shampoo, conditioner, q-tips, nail file, cotton balls, plenty of towels and facecloths, mouthwash etc…. a daily breakfast menu for room service you can hang on your door by 2am and specify time is also available, or you can go to restaurant in morning or just call in room service, whatever is your pleasure. They are a green hotel so the pools are solar heated and the sheets are only changed if you put a sign with an adorable tassle on it requesting so.
The hotel was at high occupancy due to the Nuestra Belleza ( Beauty Contest for Miss Mexico, who will go on to Miss Universe Pageant), 16 of these beautiful ladies staying here. Though it was at full capacity it never affected the service nor did you even realize it was so occupied.
Due to it being rainy season and also the fact that the contestants would not be taking part in any of usual activities on site, the activities were by request. The boutique was not open the usual hours but all you had to do was go to front desk and they would let you in. We did this well let me just say more than once LOL. The tequila tasting demonstration was by request only. The cocktail parties were not held, but if you wanted coffee and the desserts on the tree like in non rainy season or busy time, they would bring it. Actually was kind of neat since everything was on a request basis, almost like the feeling of just for you! The cooking classes also were on request basis. They were going to do the tequila testing demo for us and another couple but the other couple backed out so we said never mind as I have done before and Mom rather shop LOL.
We had many meals in our room or on our patio via room service and each and every time it was set up like a restaurant….Always at the right temperature, delivered timely and always good!
We had lunch either by the pool ( Hector and Freddy our waiters there, were always ready with our drinks before even asking) on our loungers or at Emilianos Restaurant outside, of course they have the spa menu there for those on special diets or watching their figures.
At night we dined at Emilianos but inside always, as the rains if they are coming will usually come at night LOL….Many nights they had a piano player in Emiliano’s Restaurant. He was very good but a couple nights he played a bit too loud for easy conversation and the feeling of tranquility and elegance at Emiliano’s at night. The food, well what can I say…it is better and better each time. Always presented fantastically and of picture taking quality, always top quality. No buffets, all a la carte and good variety. It is essentially gourmet food but not skimpy, the portions are plentiful. Sadly for my waist line, I loved almost everything…and so did Mom. We also tried many different drinks and Mom tried some different wines as she is a wine drinker, now I like tequila. One night I had remembered from a previous visit the salmon which was wonderful, so of course once I thought of it , I craved it, but it was not on menu. So I just asked “ I am craving salmon is there any way I could have that even if not on menu?” The waiter said just one minute and returned all smiles of course, we will prepare it for you special with asparagus etc…and anything else you desire. This is like dining out at a restaurant of top caliber with your very own cook, imagine! A few favorites to make you hungry…eggplant salad, organic salad, artichoke soup served in a bread bowl, Lobster and crab roll, Fliet Mignon, that was so tender no need for a knife though of course one was provided, duck crepes, Chicken Osso Bucco, the list goes on but the desserts Paris delight incredible, crème brullee to die for, choclolate and vanilla tears with fruits…..opera cake…oh my need I say more..the food is incredible. Emilianos Restaurant it top notch and has been given many awards. Oh yes I almost forgot, the service….since my last visit the timing has improved 100%, had been a tad too slow, was mentioned and well it is perfect now. I cannot possibly remeber everyone’s name but I will thank and mention some of our waiters, Bernadino, I think head waiter, Moises and Leon always smiling and helpful as well as Noe and Yomar. Always polite, respectful and calling us by our names, I think that is a very nice touch as well. All of the staff does this, Mr or Mrs…so and so..for everything, and they remember what you drink, you feel pretty special. To top all this off they all speak excellent English. I will also write a review on Emiliano’s later. Our All Inclusive bracelets are unique, no plastic here, braided with a silver medallion so looks like jewelry, okay I admit it, I still have mine on, memories LOL. I can dream I am still there can’t I???
We usually enjoyed drinks in the Lobby Bar after dinner, our waiter the infamous Benny. A fabulous bartender along with entertainer and very talented as well. He made us animals out of corks and toothpicks, incredible and he has made flowers and such out of drink stirrers other times. He had us laughing so hard one night we almost fell off the bar stools, and it was not too much to drink LOL. We did try all kinds of drinks though, we had Margaritas, all kinds, Palomas, Martinis, all kinds, sweet drinks, etc. Always top shelf alcohol.
Mr. Bonin the managing Director and Jesus the Chief Concierge, along with Gaby the night concierge are always present, not hidden away in offices and they make sure everything runs smooth and everyone staying there is happy. They go the extra mile for sure. All the staff does, guess that goes along with following in managements lead.
An example of a special touch is the boutique, it is small but has some lovely items. Mom wanted to try some things on, but she takes her time etc, so they offered to bring them to our room for her to try and then return later or next morning, she loved that and she did buy a beautiful dress and necklace. A forever reminder of Casa Velas for her.
We spent one day over at the private beach club. You go to lobby where a bellboy will greet you or ask front desk girls ( of whom I forgot their names but they were more than helpful many times) and they have an air conditioned van take you over to private beach club which is just 3 minutes away. You arrive, are escorted in, pick your chairs, loungers, cabanas, etc. by the pool or right on beach sand…..there is an infinity pool, 2 hot tubs, bathrooms, and a restaurant all above the beach, down a few steps, loungers and cabanas on beach….as I said the best of all worlds…We dined there where they have an Asian fusion menu. Sushi, Asian foods and a shrimp tempura to die for…..we split that and I also had the Ginger Chicken Wrap which I would highly recommend. We had a great time over at this private beach club and then just asked for a waiter to call for a shuttle and off we went back to Casa Velas. Other trips hubby and I have walked back and forth as well it is that close.
Speaking of walking there is a gym on site with lots of equipment/machines, never crowded and also an incredible spa. Golfers the resort is right on a golf course and there is a golf pro for lessons on site etc. You also have access to Velas Vallarta, the sister resort and they will shuttle you there as well, 2 minutes away. You can dine there, use facilities etc. Yes, I love it there as well, but is a different atmosphere, so again with access to both you have best of two worlds.
I think I mentioned the beautiful grounds but did not mention the numerous Koi ponds or the peacocks roaming the grounds nor the two yearly visiting ducks with the pink/red beaks and feet who hang by the Koi pond near Lobby bar, truly a site to behold. Apparently they return every year and then leave at some point to return the next year. The property surely makes you feel you are in paradise for sure.
There is also internet on site but they are in process of changes with providers or such, so in the rooms it was spotty but in lobby it was fine, this will resolve quickly I believe. It was exciting to see all the 16 pageant contestants, each one a representative of the beauty in their state. I actually met Miss Jalisco a sweet, beautiful lady and also got to see Miss Universe. It was truly something to remember. Miss Aguascalientes won so she will be Miss Mexico and go to the Miss Universe Pageant. So many important people were in attendence, really special.
Attention to detail and customer service seem to be priority here along with pampering and tranquility. Something not right, tell them, they will fix it, you like something different just ask. I did not like the time of turn down service, just was too early for me, so I told them and they asked me what time I would like, that was more than I expected. I asked the person who stocks the mini bar to just put diet cokes as that was what we drank in room, no coke, or juice etc, water of course. He did just that and another day I left some pesos in refrigerator as a “propina” , tip, I happened to be in room when he was restocking, he promptly told me I must have dropped some pesos in refrigerator, imagine, such honesty. I told him no that is for you, he thanked me ever so much.
So what did we do and some surprises before I end. We swam, relaxed, went to spa, slept, ate, drank, sun tanned, got pampered, ate , drank, relaxed more, swam more, shopped, walked the beach, put toes in ocean, walked the marina area, drove all over the place, checked out shopping in town, southside, drove and walked around Nuevo, found my favorite beach vendors and said hi. Briefly visited Velas Vallarta. Essentially just checked out the area for changes, feel, atmosphere etc., surprise….surprise, we never once, not even for a moment felt afraid, in danger or a change in atmosphere. We saw nor heard of any danger in the Vallarta nor Riviera Nayarit area. Surprise, it all felt just the same as it has for so many years except the Malecon is under construction and the media is not clarifying where things occur in Mexico and Mexico is a big country, not a tiny little place. Plus they are not relaying that any troubles that are happening are not in PV or Nayait and are not involving tourists. Surprise, surprise, Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit are safe tourist destinations. I am thankful that PV remains the tropical vacation destination I have adored for so long. The biggest danger you may encounter will be the desire to stay longer or to keep returning time and time again to PV and Casa Velas, be careful that is what happened to me. Though I do stay other places in PV and other coastal areas in Mexico it is hard to beat or compare with Puerto Vallarta and Casa Velas.
I hope to return to Casa Velas soon, and hope to attend a wedding there one day, hint to my son, neices, nephews, friends….
I have other reviews on here on this resort that are still relevant so check them out as well and feel free to contact me if I can help with any further questions…