We had a blast! Simple place, simple people, great service and food. If you`re looking for a low cost vacation, leaving room on your budget for activities around PV, ìt's a great place. If you consider yourself the prince or princess of somewhere, this place is not for you: this is an aging hotel but very clean with a very friendly service.We just came back yesterday.
A lot of nice people. We particullarly appreciated the service we've received by Eleno, a real gentleman. Can you please plan a budget for tips when you receive good service? Those guys work like crazy for a terrible wage and some people were just leaving without giving anything? Are you kiding me? We, North Americans find normal to tip properly a waiter in a hometown restaurant but think we can avoid it in a place like Mexico; just makes no sense.
Our AC wasn't working when we arrived at 2:30 in the morning: it took 10 minutes for them to change us in another room without problems. The room is very clean, convenient and comfortable but obviously needs some reno. But again, very clean and this was, for us, the most important point when we were shopping for this trip.
We travel the world, we go to a lot of restaurants, we love food and I just don't understand all those comments about the bad food; in fact, if you go on the comments left by people about the food at this location and other comments they've made in the past about other locations, you'll find they complained about food in every hotel (and about everything everytime)... People say it's always the same thing: yes every night there's chicken, beef, pork and pasta... Always different flavors, different recipes, but what else would you like to have? It's very complete and suitable for everybody, kids and adults included.
The mexican food is amazing: they cook tortillas live in front of you, Fresh Pico de Gallo, salsa, gamacole and refried beans: wow! Bread is great. Sushis: surprisingly great and freshly made in front of you also. Food in Mexico tastes like food in Mexico: for example, corn is not the same variety than in North america, it tasted different: same for milk: cows don't eat the same thing, milk doesn't taste the same. If you're looking for your usual Shepherd Pie for sure, you'll be disappointed.
Hotel: Great beach, great pool. The first half of the week was pretty quiet but when the Mexican spring break begun on Friday (Good Friday), it became very crowdy north or our semi private beach. I don't see any problem there but I know some will do so you better know spring break hits at this time of the year. The bar in the pool is good. If you're planning a family vacation like we did, this is a great location. If you have a problem with having kids around, you may want to avoid a place where kids are allowed.
Area: Close to everything: 10 minutes from airport, 10 minutes from downtown (30 minutes walking distance). A lot of restaurants walking distance. There's even a Starbucks, 3 minutes walk north of the hotel...
Bus (blue line) 6.5 pesos per adult, free for kids under 12. There's a bus every 2-5 minutes just in front of the hotel. Take the Centro one to go downtown and the Wal Mart one to come back to the hotel.
Airport: 80 pesos
Downtown: 50 pesos
Marina (main): 40 pesos
Marina (secondary) 50 pesos
Nuevo Vallarta: 210 pesos
We booked from a small activity/travel agency located in a mall connected to our hotel. We delt with Enrique that gave us great advice and took care of everything. Because we were buying 4 activities we were able to negociate the price (total $868 CND instead of roughly $1200 CDN).
Unique ATV Dune Buggy tour: 4 hours ride, you need to drive manual transmission. In a group of 5 vehicles. By far our favorite activity. Don't be afraid to do it: some activities brokers will try to discourage you to do it, telling you some people died in the past months with this tour: don't listen to them. They just don't carry this tour! Try to find any info about dead tourists in that on the web, you'll find nothing. We had a great tequila tasting (El Molino de mi Pueblo Tequila factory - very friendly and generous staff!) and they took us to a good restaurant in the jungle (not included in the price). We also went to the Predator's movie set. The buggys were in good shape and our guide, Alex, was very nice.
Dolphin encounter: Great, great and... great. 30 minutes in the water with a dolphin in a group of 8. The only thing: you can't take with you your waterproof camera because they have a photograph and the pictures are a rip off: $19US each or the whole pack for $199US!!!
Sierra Madre South tour: maybe the weakest one we've done: long drive for average activities. This tour is 8 hours but should be rearranged to be 4-5 hours. All the visits on the way were in a hurry, having a very short time everywhere. But the visit of an artisanal cheese factory was cool... and the cheese so tasty... !
Las Caletas: Beach accessible only by boat. 1:15 ride on a boat to a paradise place. They have a kid's adventure park included in this activity that was great. Kids can ride a donkey, pet parrots, ducks, monkeys and a 15 foot snake! They finally go on a zip line. After this part, we went to a snorkeling activity that was not the best we ever had: the water is kind of fuzzy so you see more fish shadows than fishes; nothing to compare with Hanauma Bay in Hawaii. If you don't own your snorkling equipment, you can borrow it for free by leaving your hotel room key as a deposit. The food was ok (all included in the price).
Massage: there is a really nice lady that sets her massage table and umbrella on the beach everyday roughly from 10 am to 8 pm. She is very good and very affordable (380 pesos for full body massage, close to 90 minutes). Try it!!
Our most disappointing:
Pipi's mexican restaurant, on Pipila street: tourist oriented restaurant. Food was just ok. Mexican food tasting like mexican food in any north american mexican restaurant (including taco Bell). Useless oversized plates. It cost us over $100 US and I don't feel this was worth it.
Our best surprise:
Pollo Feliz, on Honduras street: simple local restaurant for local people. Hum... Try the Pollo Assados (marinated chicken cooked on charbroil with homemade tortillas and gacamole). Cost for 4 of us less than $20 CDN.
Conclusion: this is a good hotel, with good equipment, good service, good value, surrounded by all kinds of activities, wether you want to stay in your comfort zone or want to step out of the box. Would definitely go again. :)
- 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
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- Also Known As:
- Holiday Inn Puerto Vallarta Hotel Puerto Vallarta
- Puerto Vallarta Holiday Inn
- Holiday Inn Puerto Vallarta Mexico