We scored this cheap vacation (airfare, accommodations and all inclusive plan) with Transat Vacations and stayed here for 2 full weeks. I have so much to say about this place so I'll break it down by category. I have stayed at a 4 star before, and this place does not compare, but it does have it's own charm and welcome feel. If you don't want to keep reading, and are stopping here - then yes, you should stay at this hotel. I would recommend it to my friends, and I will stay here again.
Check In/Desk Staff - Mario checked us in in the middle of the night, and he was fast, and attentive. He made changes to our rooms without any hassle. We were traveling with an other family, and he put our rooms right beside each other. He also gave us a lunch box that had a can on pop, sandwich and banana. A welcomed snack after a long night of travel. Anytime we needed something, the front desk attended to it right away.
Rooms - We paid extra for a suite, and were in room 1238 in the Sea River Tower (formerly Hoteles Valle Grande). The rooms in this building have the entrance on the road side, and the balcony on the ocean side. The are very large, and have 2 queen beds, and a pull out couch. The beds were VERY hard. My husband loved them, I hated them. I also thought all the pillows smelled like a dirty locker room. Our room was very clean, and cleaned daily. We didn't have a coffee maker, our friends did. We had an empty mini-fridge, our friends did not. What you have is what you get because they will not add things if you don't have it. The view of the ocean was spectacular, and we saw dolphins every morning swimming in the bay. The sad thing is that it's quite loud on the balcony with some kind of fans coming from the alley to the left of the building, or the hotel next door. We had a TV in our room, it had a lot of channels - but only about 2-3 english ones. Didn't matter, we didn't go for the TV.
Concierge - Karine is the one who makes the reservations for the a-la-carte restaurants. You can only book the day before you want, and she only does reservations from 10am-2pm.
Change Counter - They will take your USD or CAD and change them for pesos, and no other currency can be purchased. They give a fair rate. If you want the best rate, walk to the Plaza Peninsula about a block a way and use the Scotia Bank ATM. We got a great excange rate there and could draw out 3,000.00 pesos per transaction for a 24 pesos fee. You can also get American quarters here for the laundry.
Laundry Room - on the second floor of the smaller building there is a laundry room with 2 washers and 2 dryers. It costs 2.00 USD per load for washer, and the same for the dryer. There is detergent for sale in a vending machine, but we bought ours at the local store "Soriana" or Walmart for a couple of dollars. You have to get a key from the front desk to open the door for the laundry room.
Time Share Counter - BEWARE, these ladies stand at a counter as you exit the elevators to the Sea River Tower. They bug you EVERY day unless you finally tell them "NO" firmly and don't make eye contact every again.
Lobby Bar - Open from about 6pm to 1am. Grab a comfy seat and make friends with the server Rafael. He is an older man, but don't be fooled by this. He is quiet and will sneak up and make sure your drinks are always full by replacing them as often as you'll let him.
Los Mariaches - the Mexican Restaurant. We loved it so much we ate here 3 times during our stay. I'm still dreaming about the tortilla soup.....and the fish entree is delicious! The fajitas were very tasty too. Steer clear of the empanada appetizer (greasy and bad tasting), and the turkey entree (driest meat you'll ever attempt to eat). If you get to sit at Adan's table, he's very friendly and fun.
Piaceres - The Italian Restaurant. Delicious! Enormous portion sizes, and all the food was flavorful and tasty. The pasta carbonara, the mahi-mahi and the steak were our favorites.
Activities Staff - Let me start off by saying that this is a team of 3 people who work their tales off from 10am to 11pm most days. They do just as much as a team of 20 do in a larger resort. They put up a white board at 10am every morning by the towel hut that will give you an hourly list of activities for the whole day. They do so many fun things, you have to join them - Cooking Class, Dance Lessons, Beach Volleyball, Blackjack, Crazy Games...the list goes on and on. Special Gold Star goes to Sayuri. She is a FANTASTIC leader and gets everyone involved so easily. She lead the water aerobics classes somedays and I enjoyed every minute she spent with me and my family. Her Sunday night Karaoke in the Lobby bar is extra fun too. This is a woman of many skills....she also runs the kids club on Sundays the regular girl Miss Yessica's day off.
Kids Club - My children are 6 and 4, and wanted to go to the kids club ALL the time. The main caregiver is Miss Yessica, and has a full arsenal of crafts and games to play with the kids. They are open from 10am to 2pm, and 3pm to 5pm (for movie time). I can't say enough about this lady...she's amazing!!! They take kids ages 4-12 I think.
Main Pool - Clean and has a great span to spread people out. The are areas of varying depth for all ages of guests. There were a lot of broken tiles, and we did cut our feet a couple of times, but they do clean and remove them daily. The is a BIG problem with the loungers. I can't say how terrible this situation is. People go head to head over "saving" a lounger for the day. It's horrible. People head down to the pool after 7am and put their towels on the loungers to "reserve" them all day. And they maybe will use them for an hour or two all day. If people just used them when they needed them - or the hotel upped the quantity at the side of the pool, there wouldn't be a greedy need to save one for when you will need it later in the day. There are maybe 100 loungers out beside the pool for at least 500 guests.
Pinocho - The Snack Bar. They offer hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza and either tortilla chips or french fries all day from about noon until 6pm. The food is quick, if you have kids or are not too picky about your food, you'll get along just fine here. You can also order drinks from a server here too.
Kids Pool - Right beside the Pinocho Snack Bar, it has a large knee deep pool with a waterslide. My kids LOVED this pool. They felt very safe here and spent MANY hours going up and down the waterslide. It also had a large amount of shade which is a HUGE perk for their pale skin.
Swim Up Bar - Woooo Weee....watch out for Gustavo!! He'll get you tipsy before you can ask what you're even drinking!! He has all kinds of drinks he makes, and if you're trusting, he'll make you some of the most delicious, refreshing concoctions you can imagine. They are open at 10am.
Isla Bar - Open from 10am to 6pm, you can get every kind of drink her while you enjoy your day. The bartenders are fast and pleasant, and will remember you and "your drink" and will start to make it when they see you coming!!
Pool Servers - Make friends with Enrique. He is so much fun, friendly, and will keep you laughing all day long. They are all very kind and quick!
Guacamaya - The Buffet. I was really impressed with the options at this buffet. They have plenty of options to suit all tastes - and always lots of fresh fruit at every meal. They are open 7am-11am for Breakfast. You HAVE to get an omlette from Ishmael. He's amazing!! And he'll get you eggs cooked however you like them....just ask! Lunch is from 12pm-5pm. And the young man at the pasta station is very friendly and will make you some really tasty pasta!! Dinner is from 6pm-10:30pm - and they have a different theme every night! I was really impressed at the different options. Look on both sides of the hot foods, they sometimes have different food on each hot/cold food bar. If you can sit in Jose Luis's section, please do! This man will remember what drinks you like and will get them for you as soon as he sees you! He's fun and attentive, and is very kind.
Beach - Amazing. Clean, fun and swimming in the ocean is a feeling like no other. The loungers and palapas run out by 8am sadly, but if you're happy to sit on your towel, you can really soak it all in. The vendors are a plenty, but are no pushy after you tell them no.
Massage - TOTALLY A MUST. They have a gorgeous ocean/beach palapa and can do up to 3 massages there at a time. They had a steal of a deal while we were there for $65 USD or CAD you got 2 ONE hour massages!!!! And they were SUCH amazing massages!! Don't pay in pesos, it will cost you a little more at 850 pesos for 2 massages. You won't regret getting a massage.
Fitness Center - Small but does the job of providing all that you need to keep up with your routines from home. The have weight center, treadmills, crosstrainers, bikes, and a balance bar. The only thing I wished they had was a dance studio and could offer aerobics classes - maybe Zumba or something?
Business Center and Wi-Fi - There are 2 very old and slow computers near the lobby bar. They'll get the job done if you need some internet access. The front desk will provide you with a code for each device that you need to hook up to wifi, but ours only worked on our patio or in common areas. The lobby bar or pool side is where we picked up the best signals.
Adults only area - Small, I never used these areas, but did walk through several times. The jacuzzi's were rarely filled or open, and the pool is very small. Maybe 4 meters by 4 meters.
Taxi's are readily available and will take you almost anywhere in PV for 40 pesos, the bellman will get you one with a nod. This hotel is within walking distance to a lot of amenities - and right along public transit routes.
I congratulate you if you have read this far, all in all I would recommend this hotel, and would definetly go back. It's not a 4 or 5 star resort, so don't have the expectations that you are going to one and you'll get along just fine.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Enjoy a wonderful view to Banderas Bay, one of the best beaches in Puerto Vallarta, surrounded by friends who will make your stay unforgettable. We have 220 recently renovated standard rooms, each of them with a wonderful sea-view and a private balcony. It is located just a few minutes away from the airport and downtown, near shopping malls such as Caracol, Peninsula and Galerias Vallarta. Free wireless Internet throughout the hotel. Choose between our European or All-Inclusive Plans. In our a la Carte Restaurants, Piaceres, Italian Mediterranean Cuisine, Mariaches, Mexican Cuisine or Guacamaya s Buffet Restaurant, quality in service is our distinguished feature. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with IHG, Booking.com, Expedia, Priceline, Cheap Tickets, BookIt.com, Despegar.com, Odigeo, TripOnline SA and Hotels.com so you can book your Holiday Inn Resort Puerto Vallarta reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Holiday Inn Puerto Vallarta Hotel Puerto Vallarta
- Puerto Vallarta Holiday Inn
- Holiday Inn Puerto Vallarta Mexico