My partner and I visited Puerto Vallarta and stayed at his hotel from October 21-October 26 and although I was hesitant by some of the negative reviews, I have to tell you that we made the best choice by staying here. Although advertised as a 4.5 - 5.0 stars, we fully gave it a 5-star quality in hotel amenities, food, drinks and best of all service. There were minor issues but overall I would love to stay here again, maybe next time we'll opt for the Preferred Club level, but it wasn't really necessary since we got an upgraded to a better view suite.
You have several restaurants open all day for breakfast through dinner. My favorite restaurants were Bordeaux, Tamarindo, Himitsu and Oceana (all a la carte and no reservations required, only for Himitsu if you wanted to be seated in the Tepanyaki grills). Best of all I never really saw any kids in either of the restaurants for dinner. For breakfast Carnival was the restaurant (buffet) that we went to pretty much every day and I have to say that for those people that complain about the food I'm not sure what they're are complaining about. All of the lunch and dinner restaurants that we went to were a la carte and not limited at all. You had several choices of from meats, fish, chicken, vegetarian at every single menu. The presentation and preparation of all dishes was using the "small plates" or Tapas concept and that was totally fine with us. I rather have an excellent tasting dish and small portion than a giant blob of overcooked pasta. (Capers by the way the Italian was pretty good too, specially the best was the giant wheel of parmesan cheese imported directly from Parma, Italy). By choice I would have to pick Tamarindo and Bordeaux for the level of service. I was truly amazed by the choices of meat and fish and the taste of all the dishses from the appetizers to the soups, salads, main courses and of course desserts. This is the area that I was the most worried about because I'm a foodie myself, thus I'm pretty critical. For Tamarindo from 7:30-9:30PM live Mariachi band was a part of dinner, and it was not played at ear-splitting levels. Everything in the restaurants at the Secrets Vallarta Bay/NOW Amber was made to order and it was delicious with so many choices we never ordered the same dishes in 6 days!
The service is where it's all about in a hotel of this caliber. Excellent property amenities, unlimited drinks and great food is of course optimal but if the service is not good the rest of the experience while on vacation will be spoiled. We received the best service from many of the staff members, from housekeeping, to pool area servers, and reception as well as the personnel at the bars in the lobby. We felt pampered quite frankly, and of course the hotel was not cheap but the service excedeed my expectations, hopefully they maintain it in the years to come. Outstanding service from Luis and Abraham (Rendesvous Bar), Vivianna (Himitsu/ Tamarindo), Daniel and Luis (Tamarindo), Suri (Pool Area), and Martin or Fermin (Pool Area/Capers), the girls at Coco Cafe (Jazmin and the other young lady). In terms of negative, the only one that so did not seem to be happy with her hostess job at Himitsu was a girl named Ivon (after repeating twice, "hello, how are you", no eye contact at all). That was just bizarre. Also, I received a phone call from the lobby on Tuesday regarding a phone call made to the U.S. by us, which we did indeed but they asked me to go to the lobby to liquidate the costs of the phone call. Most hotels would wait for checkout and not wake-up people early in the morning. But overall fantastic service.
The quality of products used in the rooms was top of the class for the amenities by an English company named Gilchrist & Soames. Very much like a five-star spa quality products in my opinion. Also, the linen in the rooms was of excellent quality, very soft so I'm not sure where the negative reviews are coming from. It must have been a 400-thread count in my opinion. Now the beds were the best bed I've ever slept in a hotel, again not sure where the negative reviews are coming from. The hotel room was immaculate and we received turn-down service every night and room was cleaned every day, it was awesome. Our floor was on the 6th floor/ocean front, so great sunset and sunrise pictures from our room. The rest of the amenities in the room were also great and typical of 4-5 star resort in the U.S. from shoe shine service to dry cleaning services. I really liked the fact that we had a jetted jacuzzi tub inside of our room, it was separate from the huge shower -- excellent suite.
Immaculate Adults-only side pools were the best, thank God no children in those pools! I can't stand kids running around or crying while on vacation. Not interested in that at all. So I'm glad that we had our quite adults side and pool area service with different menus than the family side. I really think this was the best choice for those of us younger/hipper/travelling either solo/couples (without children).
Overall we will come back to the Secrets Vallarta Bay/NOW Amber incredible food, amenities and service. Next time hopefully an 8-day trip will be required, because six days was not enough.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.