Despite unpredictable September weather, Casa Velas met and surpassed all of our expectations. Like most other reviewers, we found the staff to be absolutely amazing and the resort immaculate and beautiful. We normally visit the Cancun/Playa del Carmen area, most recently staying at the Grand Velas in the Riviera Maya a year and a half ago. I have never been to Puerto Vallarta, and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the area. Although I prefer the beach and ocean at the Playa del Carmen area, every other aspect of our stay at Casa Velas was superior in my opinion.
Tripadvisor was a great resource in planning our trip, and Pamela Fuller (Bezerk) graciously took the time to answer my many questions in advance. As many of you already know, she is a frequent guest at the various Velas properties and is even more kind and knowledgeable than I had already surmised from her many reviews and contributions.
I tend to write lengthy reviews, but I will try to be fairly concise and mainly I will attempt to include details and information that may be new to readers.
Denisse, the concierge, was always patient and helpful with our various requests. I really felt that she cared about us and our well-being and went the extra mile to ensure that each and every guest felt valued and welcome at Casa Velas. Many other reviewers have tried to express the feeling of hospitality at this resort but one has to really experience it to entirely understand. Grand Velas in Riviera Maya felt much more impersonal and sterile by comparison – still very beautiful but just a completely different experience.
We knew it was the rainy season, but this was the best time for us to get away due to our schedules. I had expected an occasional rain shower or thunderstorm to roll through and then make way for the sunshine, but it did turn out to be generally overcast with only a few sunbreaks. I was okay with this, and was surprised at the generally positive attitude of most of the other guests. We all just resolved to make the best of things and one afternoon found many (if not most) of us in the lobby playing cards or board games while it rained for hours. We sat at the beach club one day under a canopy and enjoyed watching a storm roll in from the ocean. This weather has its own beauty and we were in awe watching the rough white capped waves.
After watching the mostly empty golf course for much of our visit, Denisse was able to arrange a tee time at the Marina Vallarta course for us on our last day. We had golf included in our package rate, but had decided in advance to not take advantage of it since we already golf frequently at home. However, our room looked out on the golf course and it was just too tempting. The cost of renting a cart and golf clubs can be steep even with the package rate, but I would highly recommend it for golfers and will also write a review for the Marina Vallarta golf club. In general we loved the course, and although we fought off ravenous mosquitos and attempted to avoid crocodile habitat hazards (yes, I will post pictures!) the experience turned out to be the highlight of the trip for me.
We stayed in a second-floor Grand class suite with plunge pool. It was large and the bed supremely comfortable. The decor was simple but elegant, just like all of the photos, and it included a small living area with couch and table. A step down into the living area along with odd slanted edges on the night stands proved to be a bit tricky for us at times, but otherwise the room was terrific. My husband was able to adjust the AC to arctic levels which made him very happy, and we both loved sitting out on the balcony with our feet in our plunge pool.
Restaurants and food:
Due to the very low occupancy, we were often the only guests in Emiliano’s for dinner which we found disconcerting at first. Later we thought it was actually quite nice and enjoyed the extra attention. The wait staff tried very hard and were usually spot on when recommending the best dishes. Manuel’s flaming coffee is as awesome as others have stated, and he has a special cream sauce he adds that is a recipe of his Grandmother’s (it has ice cream in it). We were allowed to take it back to our room to enjoy while watching the sunset from our balcony.
My husband enjoyed everything he ate and thought the food was surprisingly great for an all-inclusive – I didn’t care for some things, but learned to trust the recommendations of the waiters and in particular found the pasta dish to be very good. The amuse bouche each night was absolutely incredible, along with the special chef’s dinner one night. It was prepared right in front of us, a group of perhaps 20-25 of us, and included a pork chop with a dill cream sauce that was to die for. The pastry chef is a young girl (I think she is 19) who did beautiful work and painstakingly decorated our dessert plates while we all watched – I was so impressed. Denisse sat with all of us and helped to make it a fun and enjoyable experience.
Benny in the lobby bar was just as wonderful and fun as everyone else has already mentioned. He makes the most fantastic margaritas I’ve ever had, and I’ve had some great ones in our Portland, Oregon area. I managed to drink two the first night we were there. He also makes a Paloma drink that Pamela recommended – tequila with squirt I think – which sounds weird but whatever he did to it was great. Pamela warned me to ask for it on the weaker side, or “suave” which would make Benny laugh. I also became quite fond of the mud slides, and the swimming pool bartender would decorate it beautifully - I’ll try to remember to post a picture!
The breakfast was good, and we enjoyed it in the restaurant most mornings. We had room service a couple of times, and one time I caused great confusion by trying to order an English muffin, which I already knew they had from dining in the restaurant. But on the telephone I was passed from one person to another while I tried to explain that it was “round toast”, and finally when our breakfast arrived we had both a basket of toast and a basket of little baked muffins!
The Beach club:
We went every day, and found it to be a bit livelier than the pool onsite at the resort. Both were great, but we really enjoyed loitering in the beach pool with our drinks, chatting with other guests and enjoying the view of the ocean. The ocean itself was murky and rough, likely due to the rainy season. I braved wading in the first day we arrived but after that I spent my time in the pools. I enjoyed the beach vendors, and got some great deals on a blanket and bracelets. The vendors all communicated that times were tough due to the rainy season and fewer tourists.
We loved working out in the mornings on the treadmills in this stunningly beautiful exercise room. It has huge glass windows that overlook the grounds, and we were usually the only ones in the room. I usually watch tv or listen to music while working out, and there were neither here but I didn’t mind at all. Again there was great attention to detail with little rolled up towels and miniature spray cleaners for each piece of equipment along with giant bowls of floating flower petals strategically placed to attempt to counteract unpleasant gym room odors. All in all just a very classy and elegant spa/exercise facility.
We went to a couple of evening entertainment shows there, and loved the Mexican fiesta on Sunday night. The food was plentiful with a ton of selections, and the show host was entertaining. We thought the Mariachi band and dancers were great. The “circus” show we went to one other night was pretty lame and we left half-way through. The Velas Vallarta resort itself was an interesting contrast to Casa Velas – very beautiful landscaping and possibly a better beach, but a far less serene environment and in general for lack of better words, just less classy than Casa Velas. The evening before the Mexican fiesta, the bees were so prevalent by the pool bar and beach that we had to retreat to the lobby. In comparison, I’m not sure we saw even one bee at Casa Velas!
I want to lastly mention our shuttle driver, Gorge, who was infinitely kind and always had a smile when driving us back and forth many times to the beach club or Velas Vallarta. I really hope the Velas management knows what a treasure they have in their employees and I hope that they are valued and respected.
I could go on and on – I personally love reading detailed reviews but realize I’m probably getting carried away. One really has to just experience this place and trust the advice that has been given. In terms of value for the discerning traveler, I believe Casa Velas was more than worth the money we spent for this vacation which is sometimes hard for me to say with past experiences elsewhere. It is more expensive than many other places in the Puerto Vallarta area, but you truly get what you pay for in this case, and I very highly recommend staying here. I can’t wait to go back!
- Also Known As:
- Casa Velas Boutique Resort
- Hotel Casa Velas Boutique
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Imagine the perfect resort retreat in the Mexican Pacific Riviera, where luxury and romanticism combine in perfect harmony. Resembling a private estate, Casa Velas offers Condé Nast and AAA award-winning service in a casually elegant and intimate boutique atmosphere in Puerto Vallarta. This boutique hotel enjoys a garden setting surrounded by the Marina Vallarta Golf Course. A beachside experience waits just three minutes away at your private Ocean Club, with stunning sunsets and memorable dining. Unlimited transport is available day and night to whisk you to the golden shores of the Mexican Pacific. The Ocean Club is a place of supreme peace and tranquility for enjoying an infinity pool, jacuzzi and terrace with impressive ocean views. Our luxurious getaway invites you to enjoy the comforting sounds and vibrant colors of the tropics as you discover the true meaning of relaxation and luxury at an all-inclusive Puerto Vallarta resort paradise. Recently chosen as one of the Top 10 hotels in Mexico and the Caribbean in three categories - Luxury, Relaxation/Spa and Hotel for Romance - by TripAdvisor®, Casa Velas is an enchanting destination where simple pleasures rejuvenate your mind, body and soul. ... more less
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