We stayed in Casa Velas for our anniversary week last August 2012. Sorry for the late review. We are currently looking at spots for our anniversary this year, and we can't stop comparing everything with Casa Velas. We go away every year to a beach resort that is all inclusive, so it's not like we have nothing to compare this fabulous hotel.
First of all when you get there... the airport is crazy. It's privately owned and after reading all the reviews here we reached out to Casa Velas about getting through the "gauntlet" as others have called it. You will get off the airplane, go through customs and then be brought through double doors into an air conditioned long area with desks on each side. As we were instructed to do by the staff at Casa Velas --- Just keep walking! The people on either side will yell things to you about being "where you check in" and "you have to check in here first". You do not. Once you get past the other double doors on the other side you will be greeted with your transfer to casa velas. Look for the girls in the pink shirts and they will give you a bottle of water and a smile. I know that sounds crazy - but everything else about your trip will be so relaxing you will forget the airport drama quickly. Also I'd like to thank Casa Velas for giving us complete instructions on how to get through the airport easily.
Then you drive through the beautiful Puerto Vallarta to get to one of the most fabulously manicured properties we've ever seen. You come up to the lovely front reception area with fountains and koi fish and recieve a welcome drink and a cold towel.
Our room was all yellow with interesting and very authentic Mexican feeling artwork on the walls. We did get the room with a private plunge pool and enjoyed that daily after the beach. It's not a huge plunge pool, but it fit our needs as we were only getting in it for a cocktail before dinner. The bed was very comfortable and it had a very nice, large bathroom. The mini bar was stocked with beer daily... anything we needed in our room, we just asked and it was given! The air conditioner in the room worked very well - a must when traveling in August, and it was a nice break to snuggle up in a cold room nightly.
The property is so breath taking that you'll want to travel around it and watch the Koi fish in all the different ponds. The ponds go around the property, so whether you are enjoying your dinner or having a drink by the bar, you can hear the pleasant sound of the water and the Koi splashing around. There's also a Peacock and a Peahen that love to come walking around in those areas and that's very enjoyable, as well as a lot of turtles tanning themselves on the rocks in the ponds. The grounds are gorgeous, and I don't think I can say enough about them and how much the attention to detail in the artwork and grounds enhanced our stay.
What really put Casa Velas over the top for us, was the food. We loved everything we had. The breakfasts are authentic Mexican but not too spicy, if you don't like that. I love spicy food and they always made everything to order so I could ask for more spice or not. The breakfasts are especially nice because they serve you out on the patio in front of the pool with a Koi pond in between. There's always lovely relaxing music playing and the service was incredible. The juices in the morning are more like smoothies and they are very good. The restaurant Emilianos has a gorgeous chandelier that is wicker and all animals - it matches the ornately carved chairs that give it a clean but very Mexican feel. The food was outstanding every night and the wine by the bottle included in the all inclusive was really nice. I like that the restaurant has an air conditioned and open air area so that you can choose where you'd like to sit to eat. Emilianos feels special, so it's nice to get dressed up and go there nightly. Also included in the all inclusive are the restaurants and events at Velas Vallarta, but after going to the fiesta we missed our lovely, not overly crowded hotel. I think next time, we'd skip Velas Vallarta.
After dinner we'd enjoy the soft music, romantic feel of the hotel, and get served drinks by Beny, the Bartender. He is such a great personality and even brought us a special bottle of champagne on the night of our anniversary. He really adds to the place with his warm smile and personality.
The days were spent for us at the beach club. There is a short drive there by shuttle bus that runs continually - the property of the resort is not on the beach. By short drive think 3 minutes in a clean, air conditioned shuttle that takes you to paradise. The beach club is lovely. They serve lunch there with fabulous guacamole and wonderful sushi (perfect for a beach lunch). You can sit for your lunch at the restaurant which is open air overlooking the beach or get served on the beach in your cabana. Also, bottle service of wine is available with lunch and expect the same lovely soft music playing during the day. The beaches are public so expect vendors walking by but they are very polite and if you shake your head no, they just keep walking. We adored the beach club. The lounges in the pool at the beach club and in the regular pool are especially nice. It's all very romantic. For the night of our anniversary we booked a private dinner at the beach club. They wrote "happy anniversary" on our dessert and we watched the sun set over the water. One thing I will say about the beach is that while we were there, due to storms the water could be very cloudy. We were traveling during hurricane season, so it's not that much of a surprise. It didn't really bother us, because the pool overlooks the beach and we could always cool off there. We did enjoy laying on the beach watching the pelicans dive into the water - again relaxing and lovely.
We enjoyed a couples massage at the very nice spa, and once or twice (haha) we used the also very nice gym.
We took the short trip to the Malecon to see the statues and walk around. The statues are so continual along the Malecon that it's almost like an open air museum. Puerto Vallarta is very safe, we took a taxi and I felt very comfortable there. We went into a bar to cool off and there seems to always be beer specials which was fun. We also went to the craft market and got some very interesting wood carving and nativity sets and such for family and friends. It was a bit crowded and you want to haggle but I felt safe there also. You can do the Malecon and the craft market in one half day and enjoy relaxing the rest of your stay. One night after dinner we went to the lighthouse which has a bar at the top of it for a drink and that was also a lot of fun and a quick trip. While we were there a storm rolled in and it was really amazing to see it from that location - if they are expecting a storm that night see if you can go there... very cool!
If you are looking for a quiet, incredibly relaxing, beautiful way to experience Mexico... this is the place! We will be going back! Completely worth it.