We loved our 2nd visit here so much I am writing another review. Wonderful in low season (although I expect in high season there will be more waiting and the pools will be too crowded). (For “true” 5-star you need to pay much more) Also see my review from our previous visit (with photos) at http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g150793-d2336351-r134404220-Now_Amber_Resort_Spa-Puerto_Vallarta_Pacific_Coast.html
Other helpful reviews are from Danedri (below) and the video from DoubleDees at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_qsI604k5k
My review from our 2nd visit:
• Again, staff are terrific and will do whatever they can to meet/exceed expectations. They are fairly well empowered and don’t quote a lot of reasons why they can’t help you (in general).
• Food. A lot of fresh, healthy choices, beautifully presented. The buffet does have some variety different days, although most is the same (so you can have a favourite another day, and don’t feel you need to try everything each day). Food at all 7 restaurants is very good, but not outstanding. Pace yourself!
• Coffee shop. Take out or sit in. Good coffee and snacks. All included!
• Soft, jazzy music plays around the pool and lobby. Live music in lobby at times is nice (especially the flamenco).
• Reasonably entertaining shows (Mexican Fiesta is well done). A variety of activities: something every hour in the day (yoga on beach, water aerobics, tennis, archery, dance lesson, etc.)
• Cool, well equipped gym. Cool, interesting disco with great video views.
• May have to wait up to an hour for a restaurant (no reservation system is a pro & con). Go to another, or get a pager and relax in the lobby while you wait.
• Room service is slow (45 min or more, breakfast is very good when it arrives).
• Restaurant choice is not as great for kids, but they have a babysitting service (small fee) and there is 24 hr room service. Plan accordingly.
• Many interruptions in your room: cleaning (late in day when you want to nap or get ready for dinner); mini-bar service (does not return if you miss it), turn-down service (may be too early in the pm); and another one to clear away dishes; plus courtesy calls from concierge or Avis rental or timeshare people. A Do Not Disturb light does help, but then you miss the service. No real way to stop the phone calls.
• (2 reviews have noted cash missing from safe??)
• Best rooms = master suites (huge) that are oceanfront (lay in bed looking at/listening to the waves.) Own pool on 1st (+ own path to beach), 6th (largest balcony), and 7th floors. All Preferred Club rooms have spa tub on balcony (very romantic).
• Secrets side is quieter (away from noisy outdoor fans and noise of pool)
• Give tips! It is not a requirement for good service, but it doesn’t hurt, and the hard working staff are paid a very low base salary ($10-20 per day).
• Try the Teppanyaki at the Asian Himitsu restaurant early in your stay as it is a nice way to meet others.
• Great coffee, lattes, etc and treats at CoCo Café. Discover it early in your stay!
• Massage off site is 10x cheaper (even with the coupons or specials), but spa inside is a whole experience. Go see if it is worth it to you.
• Men need long pants/closed toe shoes in restaurants.
• May need mosquito repellant in evenings for lobby or outside restaurants
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