We stayed at Lindo Mar the first week of October 2012. We have never been to this hotel before but after reading reviews here on TripAdvisor, we decided to check it out. There were many good things about this hotel but there were a few problems with really basic services that colored our experience.
When we arrived, all of the staff were very friendly and pleasant. Our room was a 2 bedroom standard on the second floor; we only used 1 room but since we exchanged our timeshare, we opted for the extra space. Our room overlooked the restaurant and a private hot tub for one of the suites. We had a great view of the beach but we could be seen by restaurant patrons or people walking to/from the beach. The beds were very hard but the bedrooms were otherwise very nice.
Our room had a full kitchen with breakfast bar, dining table, and living room that opens to a terrace. The door between the living room and the terrace is not airtight - it's got doors that fold open. That means we'd occasionally be visited by critters - 2 geckos, one bug, and a sand crab - but moreso, that the room did not stay cool (more about that later). The kitchen was fully stocked with everything you'd want to make a meal (including corkscrews, a blender, and decent knives). The hotel itself has wifi you can purchase for like $20/week. The wifi is technically only accessible in certain areas - the restaurant, pool area and lobby - but due to the location of our room, we got a pretty decent wifi signal in our living room. There is cable TV with a number of channels in English (we happened to be there during the first Presidential debate and the hotel gets the major US networks). Three of the rooms had A/C wall units - both of the bedrooms and the living room. The housekeepers came at various times during the day and cleaned very well (including washing our dishes!!). We left them a nice gratuity at the end of the week to thank them for all their hard work.
We ate most of our meals in the hotel restaurant, La Playita. The food is excellent and big portions. We tried a little bit of everything and encourage anyone who stays here to do the same. They seem to have quite a breakfast menu and do a big Sunday brunch that attracts lots of locals. There are two happy hours - 12 - 1 p.m. and 5 - 6 p.m. They offer 2 for 1 drinks but no food specials. The food is expensive by Mexican standards but the price of your average American family-style restaurant ($10-$20/entree). It is an open air restaurant and cooled by breeze or ceiling fan. The restaurant looks right out onto the ocean and has a beautiful view. We watched many a sunset over shrimp tacos and limonadas.
We spent a lot of time at the pool and beach, doing exactly what we wanted - nothing! The pool is quite small but there were very few people there during the daylight hours so it was practically private. There are several beach chairs and two tables with seats and umbrellas You can get food and drink service in the pool area. The beach is also quite nice. It's swim-at-your-own-risk but it was totally safe. There are sea urchins (we saw them and there's a warning) but you can avoid them. There are three main swimming areas - lots of rocks to snorkel around (and the hotel rents snorkeling gear for about $5. The water was warm and only a tad cloudy. You could see fish everywhere and my partner saw a turtle! There are several palapas reserved for Lindo Mar guests but the other part of the beach is public so there are a number of locals who hang out and swim. There are two or three vendors on the beach who sell jewelry, textiles, wooden animals, etc. They're pretty friendly but will back off if you're not interested.
The hotel is about 10 mins away from town. I think you could easily walk into town (the Romantic Zone/old Vallarta) along the road - we didn't because it was so darn hot. It's a 50 peso trip to/from town. There's a Oxxo - a 7-11 type store - two blocks down the street, where you can get food, drinks, etc. We ate at a couple local restaurants and went into town for shopping, but it was easy to get back to the hotel.
So - here are the problems we had. The A/C units did not work well. On the evening of our second day, we let the front desk know that the A/C wasn't cold and more problematic, made a lot of noise. We could see that the front of the unit was falling off and it probably just needed two screws inserted to keep down the noise. The good news is they sent someone right away. The bad news is the repairman basically looked at the A/C, felt that air was coming out, and said "Ok?" and left. Neither of us speak Spanish well enough to have explained why the A/C wasn't "ok." We decided to go back to the front desk the next day and talk to the day desk clerk. We explained the problem to him and he sent a different repairman to our room. He poked around, looked at the A/C and then tried to explain to me in Spanish what was going on with the A/C unit. Since I didn't understand, we called the front desk clerk who translated for us. Basically, the repairman couldn't fix the A/C right then because he had a lot of other work to do, but he'd be back later to fix it. Ok - so he left with the plan to return. The day passed, the A/C banged on, and the repairman didn't return. Next day, didn't return. That evening, the A/C in our bedroom started making similar noises to the unit in our living room. Since we had such a poor experience getting assistance with the A/C the two previous times, we didn't even bother to ask for help. Now, had we been at the hotel during high season, it would have made sense that it took a day or so to make the needed repairs, but since it was low season and there were probably less than 30 people staying in the entire hotel, it was a little ridiculous that they couldn't be bothered to fix our A/C when it was in the mid 90s outside. Now, I would be remiss if I didn't accept some responsibility for the communication issues - we did travel in a Spanish speaking country without speaking fluently but as a hotel that caters to English-speakers, it would have been helpful to have staff who would interface with guests speak English.
Another problem we had was the fridge in our kitchen stopped working two days before we were to leave. Again,because we had received such poor service with the A/C issue, we didn't call the front desk. Instead, we put all our food, drinks, etc into the freezer - I mean, it was only a few more days. We ended up leaving a note for the housekeeper about what the problems were. We just hope whoever stayed in the room after us had better luck getting repairs made.
In all, we had a great trip at the Lindo Mar. The food, the pool and beach, the room were all great. Had we not had the issue with the A/C, there would be no hesitation about returning; unfortunately, I think we'll try another hotel next time.
We had room 204 and it was right above the restaurant. You could hear restaurant noise.
See more room tips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.