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“Still not sure about this place...” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Secrets Vallarta Bay Resort & Spa

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Secrets Vallarta Bay Resort & Spa
4.5 of 5 Hotel   |   David Alfaro Siquerios No. 164 | Col Zona Hotelera Las Glorias, Puerto Vallarta 48333, Mexico   |  
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Ranked #7 of 121 Hotels in Puerto Vallarta
Certificate of Excellence 2014
GreenLeadersGold level
Edmonton, Canada
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Still not sure about this place...”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2012

My husband I stayed at Secrets Vallarta Bay at the beginning of November. We had actually booked a two week stay at the preferred club Now Amber, but when we arrived we were "upgraded" to Secrets. I am still not sure what the upgrade is as we ended up spending most of our time on the Now side as that is where our friends were staying.

Our room was very nice and the reason I booked the Preferred Club was because you get a jacuzzi tub on your balcony - well it turned out that we never used it. The only other thing you get with preferred club is your own lounge with your own bartender with some breakfast items and snacks put out through out the day. Oh and you get upgraded amenities and airplane size bottles of vodka, Jack Daniels and rum...not worth the upgrade. Our friends who didn't upgrade actually had a way nicer view. The one thing I did like however was the pillow menu. We phoned down on our first night and asked for feather pillows. When we returned after dinner, they had finished the turn down service and we had our feather pillows. The beds were also much more comfortable than other resorts we have stayed at in Mexico.

The resort is beautiful. And I can't say enough about the staff - especially Migual our beach waiter (we actually moved over to the Secrets side of the beach when he did; he was that good). There were a couple of drawbacks however.

The lobby lounge is gorgeous - but very stuffy - waiters in black suits, jazz music playing - all very nice, but if you want to have drinks with some friends and play some pool or just hang out, its not conducive to that at all. We missed having some place a little less formal to just have a drink. You could get a drink and go down to the pool deck area, but it was dark and a long way back to get another drink.

The other drawback was that while we were there a major company had an event there. A BIG event. The hotel staff took over 3/4 of the beach on the Secrets side, filled sand bags and leveled this huge area of beach so that they could put up a giant white tent-like structure so this group could have lunch...now granted lunch was 3 hours long with three different live bands - but still, it really ate into our beach area. They also took over the entire pool deck and one of the pools for an extremely elaborate dinner. My husband and I watched with awe as they set up a stage over the one pool for the band. There were a hundred or so tables with white linen and huge center pieces with white lilies and roses. They also had klieg lights which they used to project the company name against the hotel side - the side of the preferred club where we were staying - even with the black out curtains the light came through, and of course the band played until very late. I get it that big companies spend money and can get what they want, but some effort by the hotel to at least warn the guests or compensate us for the time that we could not use the pools and the beach would have been nice - or even if someone, other than our waiter, had apologized.

Some others have written complaining about the ugly unfinished hotel next door with the vagrants and the rooster - didn't bother me as you would only see if for a few minutes as you walked from your room to the elevator and really - its not their fault that whoever started building that hotel ran out of money,.

The free wifi was nice, but pretty hit and miss for getting a signal. But our friend who had a Blackberry playbook had no issues, so maybe it just didn't like IPad.

The buffets were pretty good - standard fair, omelet station, fresh fruit, but they didn't seem to have as much variety as other resorts we have stayed at. And we all found the food to be very salty. The food at the Italian restaurant was so salty I couldn't eat it. We really enjoyed the show and the food at the Japanese restaurant, but by far the best food we had was at the French restaurant. We also took advantage of their program where you can go look around and eat at their other resorts in the area.

We went to Dreams Vallarta, which is unbelievably gorgeous. If is wasn't so isolated, I would stay there in a heartbeat. We ate at Oceana and it was incredible. The resort has a couple of beach front bars that you can hang out at and a bar with a pool table for evenings.

The other night we went to Dreams Villamagna - we ate at Portofino and again the food was fabulous. The beach was amazing, but I don't think I would stay there as the resort is just a little too big. After dinner we had a tour which included the roof top bar, which looked like a great place to hang out.

So, would I stay at Secrets Vallarta again? I am still not sure. It is a beautiful resort in a great location. We could walk to the Malecon and to the Marina Flea Market and other shopping. The staff were great and our room was very nice. But I missed sitting, having a drink in the evening, talking with friends and listening to the ocean waves. I have stayed at many 5 star hotels and resorts, but this one tries just a little too hard.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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1,385 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (613)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Glen Ellyn, Illinois
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2012

We were only able to get away for four days so we wanted someplace warm with close proximity to the airport and everything on site. We are so glad that we chose Secrets, as it exceeded our expectations! The resort was only 8 months old - which was obvious in the clean and updated decor, but surprising when you spoke with the staff who seemed to have knowledge about the resort and the area that would normally come from a much more established resort. All of the staff were kind and helpful - they greeted us by name and went above and beyond to make sure that we were enjoying the little time that we had there. The food was by far the best we have had at an all-inclusive resort and so, while we had heard there were many wonderful restaurants to try outside of the resort area, we never felt the need to leave.

One thing to note - as mentioned above, the staff are extremely helpful and attentive. There were times, however, when we did not want to be attended to and we put on the "Do Not Disturb" button... yet they still knocked to check if we needed anything. Plus, when ordering the room service, there was an option to use a "Secrets Box" to receive the food, yet the staff always knocked and brought the food into the room to be set up. Not sure how that might have been avoided - but if you really want complete privacy, I would suggest double-locking the doors at all time. :-)

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Regina, Canada
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2012

We stayed at secrets from Nov 7 to the 14 and let me start by saying that my wife and I have been to quite a few resorts across mexico and the caribean. Having stayed at sandals, barcelo's and riu's this resort hands down was the best resort I have ever been to! Those who complain about this place, i would really like to know where they have stayed in the past that they can hate on this resort. From the time we pulled up and Jobe the bellboy meet us with Fernando we felt like we were at "EDEN RESORT" from the movie couples retreat lol. We stayed in the preferred club oceanview with a jacuzzi on the balcony! Amazing view! A big big shout out goes to Raul and the ladies in the preferred tower concierge... They knew everything that was going on and went out of there way for everything we possibly could think of. We were early risers and were having trouble timing when the maid came so we would be out of the room. Raul noticed this and had it set up that the maids would come early in the morning knowing that we would be out of the room! Every restaurant we went to, they opened the door with a huge smile and greeted my wife and I by name! All the restuarants featured delicious top notch menu's and the buffet had so many fresh made to order stations that you might as well be a an al a carte. This resort glows of class.. so gentlemen when you eat you need to where slacks and golf shirt or button up! if you wanna wear wife beaters and flipflops to a restaurant that offers rack of lamb, filet mignon, or lobster, than this resort is too classy for you... dont blame the resort for a stupid dress code lol!! The beach is nice for PV. A little pebbly as you enter the ocean but they were adding more sand as we were leaving. The resort is top notch clean and there was always something to do. Every pool and hot tub was infiniti style so it looked as though you were always in the ocean. I could go on and on about this place.. bottom line its awesome! And we want to sent a special shout out to Heriberto from the market cafe... he knew we started our day out with a mamosa or two and he was always there to help and spark up good conversation.. and he always comment on my lions jerseys lol

Room Tip: free unlimited calling to U.S or Canada if you stay in the preffered tower. most rooms in the preff...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 1, 2012

We travel to 2 or 3 Mexican AI resorts per year. Secrets Vallarta Bay is one of the best all around resorts that we have been to. The location is great - beach front, short cab ride to airport, malecon and flea markets with a Mega store a short walk away. The facilities are all new and kept very clean, Food was excellent with great service. All staff were very friendly and helpful. The only complaint that we had was that the wireless internet service, while free, often had a weak signal and there were no options (eg. cable connection) to improve the service.

We would definitely consider returning for another visit!

Room Tip: All rooms have a balcony or deck with ocean view.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 28, 2012

We have stayed in a few AI in the past and this one was by far the best we have ever been to.
Restuarants:
We aren't used to having so many dinner options. We tried to stick with fish options as much as possible as it was always extremely fresh. The breakfast buffet got slightly boring after a couple of days but it was still good, we ended up doing room service for last couple days of our trip and it was very good. Lunch at Oceana was very good the Shrimp Cocktail is great and their fish tacos are very tasty. Bordeaux was very good their portions are small but if you order from each section it is quite filling. The Seabass was very tasty and their Creme Brulee square was excellent. Tamarindo is on the Now side and allows kids but we thought it was worth going to as the food there was excellent. We did the Teppanyaki Himitsu and it was very good but the grill is very hot so the room is pretty warm. Capers wasn't my favorite but it was still okay and had lot's of options. They do a fire show with a pig roast buffet that looked amazing but we didn't try it everyone we talked to loved it though the Fire show was quite unreal so even if you decide to eat at an à la carte you should still watch the show.
Drinks
The staff was excellent and our pool server Christian was great at making sure we always had full drinks--Tips definately go a long way. The liquor variety was something that we aren't used to. They have a wide array of flavoured vodkas and so many beer options as well as anything else your heart desires. The preferred tower is a great bonus to have an extra bartender, we stopped there almost everytime we left/went to our room.
Rooms
We stayed in the preferred junior swim out and it was awesome. As other reviewers have mentioned their shower is amazing I am not a shower person normally and I would become one if we had something like this at home. I am also shocked that other reviewers said the beds are hard here of all the AI we have stayed at this was by far the most comfortable bed we have been in. This hotel is really set up for couples the shower and bathtub are open to the room so if you are going with friends the Now side would be a better option. Turn Down Service could have been slightly earlier as many times by the time they came we were already in bed. We turned on the Do not disturb switch and forgot to turn it off in the morning so we didn't have maid service for a day.
Pool
Secrets providing floaties was a great extra that we weren't expecting and no towel cards was an awesome plus and their towels are HUGE. They have alot of lounge chairs but if you want one beside the pool they get taken fairly quickly. The Ocean is quite rocky but if one you get past the rocky area it is pretty nice and fairly calm.
Shows:
We only went to the circus show and the Fire show and both were amazing. They are the same preformers for both and they are very talented.

We will definately be returning to this Hotel in the future.

Room Tip: The Swim out rooms are great! All the rooms face the pool and ocean so paying for an oceanview gives...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2012 via mobile

Just got back Nov 25th from Secrets Vallarta Bay. We stayed in the preferred tower ocean view room on the 5th floor. Room was very nice, excellent shower! Only complaint is the nasty, ugly unfinished hotel and vagrants you see as soon as you open your door. I did see the infamous rooster--but did not hear him our entire stay.

The grounds are beautiful, very clean and new. The pools are lovely--a little small-- but nice. The no towel card was a bonus! We didn't see anyone reserving loungers or floats as other people have complained. We had no problems with servers not coming to our spot--we also tip..people should take that into consideration.

Restaurant were nice.. No reservations also a bonus. We never had issues with lineups. The food was all beautifully presented, but lacked taste. I've been to all inclusive before, and its pretty much all the same. The room service food however, was the best we've had at AI resort. We only had one time were we had to phone front desk for dishes to be picked up. No biggie.

Staff were very friendly and eager to help. The alcohol selection is much better in the preferred lounge.. we are Grey Goose fans.

The resort is not perfect, probably more of a 41/2 star.. But we enjoyed our stay. We might return but we like to check out other resorts as well. If you have booked at Secrets, you will have an enjoyable stay. Try to get to Sayulita --about 60km north-- the beach is beautiful!



  • Stayed November 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2012

Secrets is a beautiful resort. The rooms are clean, comfortable, quiet and tastefully decorated. The staff is very friendly and eager to make your stay memorable. The property is well designed, well-kept, clean and modern. And the food is delicious! It was like being on a cruise ship but without the ship!

There is a security gate that everyone has to check into/out of when arriving and departing. I'm not sure it it was to keep track of the hotel guests for our safety or just to keep hotel crashers out. Maybe both?

The check in process takes a while. They greet you with a cold towel and glass of champagne then walk you to the front desk area. The front desk person tells you about the hotel and gives you upgrade options before giving you your room key. They then send you to the concierge desk for dome soft selling of the hotel's other properties and activity features. unfortunately you have to sit through the 5 minute spiel to get your hotel vouchers. It's not too bad but be prepared.

The standard rooms have balconies with beautiful ocean views, a lovely bathroom and your basic amenities (stocked mini fridge, shampoo, body wash, body lotion, soap, shower cap, mending kit and a vanity kit). Be sure you ask for a high room (above the 5th floor or the 3rd floor lobby slightly obstructs your view) We upgraded to the Preferred room which didn't have as nice a view but had a private hot tub on the balcony, snacks in the room (Pringles and Peanut M&Ms), a separate bar with additional food options 24 hours a day plus added bathroom amenities (hair conditioner and SPF 15 sunblock).

There were a number of food options every day. Not all of the dinner restaurants are open every night so plan accordingly. All the food outlets were quite delicious with the exception of room service (it was ok). The drinks were strong and the waiters were eager to serve. Small US$ went a long way as most people didn't bother to tip. We finally realized that if you didn't see what you were looking for, just ask. Somehow the server will find it and bring it to you! The one thing that was lacking was a self-serve ice cream machine. That would have been nice. Also, keep in mind that those staying at Secrets (adults only) can eat at both hotel properties but those staying at Now (families) can only stay on their side of the hotel and the dress code at the nicer restaurants is enforced. And the house wines were quite good (and included). No need to buy any bottles!

The spa looked nice but was incredibly expensive - even with the special vouchers they give you at check in. Instead, go out the resort gate and turn left. Healing Hands massage parlor is just steps away from the hotel and 50-minute massages are just $25 (not including tip). They don't really speak English but the massages were quite good!

There were a ton of activities (pool games, yoga, spanish lessons, archery, kayaking, bingo, etc), an evening performance and live music in each lobby every night. They even had evening movies and NFL games (with plenty of drinks and snacks). You can participate in as many or as few things as you'd like. All are included. Although we didn't leave the hotel except for Scuba lessons and the massage, it looked like one could easily go explore Puerto Vallarta. Local taxis knew where the hotel was.

One final note: Some obnoxious people "reserved" lounge chairs and pool floats at the pool by throwing their towels on the chairs. One couple had their chairs "reserved" the entire time we were at the pool (about 4 hours) and not once sat there and another couple actually took a float and stuffed it under their chair while they went to the upper pool for over an hour! Apparently the rule is no hoarding floats and if nobody has used the chair in 30 minutes, feel free to move their belongings out of the way.

The resort far exceeded my expectations and I hope to return again!

Room Tip: Definitely consider the Preferred room upgrade if your budget allows.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Secrets Vallarta Bay Resort & Spa

Address: David Alfaro Siquerios No. 164 | Col Zona Hotelera Las Glorias, Puerto Vallarta 48333, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Jalisco > Puerto Vallarta
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 121 Hotels in Puerto Vallarta
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Secrets Vallarta Bay Resort & Spa 4.5*
Number of rooms: 271
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Romantic. Refined. Remarkable. Located on the golden sand beaches of the Pacific coast within walking distance of the famous El Malecon boardwalk, this vibrant oceanfront resort provides adults 24/7 access to amazing nightlife, non-stop entertainment and Unlimited-Luxury(R). ... more   less 
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