This is one of the most comprehensive reviews on this resort that you will find. As frequent travelers who have stayed at many all-inclusive resorts, we know what to expect from a 5 start resort. We have to say that we were EXTREMELY disappointed in this resort. This resort is part of the AM Resort properties. We have stayed at other Dreams and Secrets resorts in Mexico, Dominican Republic and Jamaica. Since we enjoyed ourselves at the Dreams/Secrets resorts that we stayed in the past we figured that this time around we would give the Pacific side of Mexico a try.
I read a bunch of reviews about this resort, but like always I took the reviews with a grain of salt. Since my return I have read more reviews about this resort I see exactly what everyone was talking about.
The location is great; it’s about a 15min ride from the airport. The scenery is excellent with the lush green Sierra Madre Mountains surrounding Puerto Vallarta in the distance.
This resort has a very small foot print when compared to the other AM Resorts properties that we have stayed at and that’s why all the restaurants & bars are very small. The resort looks big in the pictures, but you have to keep in mind that two of the four towers that make up this resort are timeshare properties. The grounds are kept very clean by the staff but from what I see the person that designed the layout of this resort didn’t know what rain is. Since we went during the rainy season, we had a decent amount of rain, thankfully it was during the night or early morning. But this resort has a massive drainage problem. After it rained, if you tried to walk to the beach, there were puddles of water everywhere on the walkways throughout the resort. Thank goodness for squeegees because the staff at this resort uses them constantly to dry off the lobby as well as the walkways throughout the resort. The lobby for a resort this size is pretty small, when check-out time arrives the lobby is packed, with no place to sit while you are waiting for your transportation. The lobby has an open layout, this is great when its hot and humid there is more air circulation but when it starts raining and the wind starts blowing the rain, the lobby starts to flood. The staff runs around frantically covering up monitors/tvs with towels as well as moving around furniture so it doesn’t get too wet.
Our room was 1619, Junior Suite Ocean View and located on the 6th floor. We actually paid for the Junior Suite Partial Ocean View but we were upgraded to Ocean View. We were very happy with our room; it was spacious and very clean. We were greeted with flowers around the soak tub, a fruit basket and a bottle of wine. The bathroom amenities included, a razor, toothbrush, comb, shower gel, shampoo, moisturizer, spf 15 suntan lotion, toothpaste, a tube of shaving cream, shower cap, and a mending kit. Incense were also provided which added a romantic touch. Unlike other reviews, we did not experience any problems with our air conditioning and our room did not smell like mold, and if it did the incense did a great job of covering it up. The firmness of the bed was just right. There was a 26” TV in the room, which was too small in my opinion, it was somewhat hard to see it from the couch. The resort should have opted for larger TV’s in the rooms, and since there is no night life at this resort, the TV is your friend after about 9:30pm. It would have been nice if the people who finished up the bathroom would have done a better job on the tile work, since all of it seemed sloppy. Also the bathroom door could use a rubber strip at the bottom, any water that made it on the door during a shower eventually leaked into the room, that’s a good thing there was a drain grate in the middle of the bathroom. The mini-fridge in our room worked great, but in the other 2 rooms that were occupied by our friends the same can not be said, one partially cooled the other didn’t work at all. The safe in the room was laptop size but I was skeptical about putting anything inside it because when I tried to see how well it was fastened down, I noticed that I was able to lift it off the shelf, it looks like it was only fastened to the wall with a bolt or two. In my opinion it should have also been bolted down to the shelf. The Jacuzzi on the balcony was nice; two people can fit in it pretty well. The view from the balcony could be better, we did see the ocean but we also saw a garden of palm trees and what appeared to be a run down hotel too. If we looked straight down there was a cul-de-sac were some of the employees parked their cars and were buses and delivery trucks made u-turns to drop off guests/deliver supplies to the resort. On the map that is on the Dreams website this street is labeled as jogging path, don’t be fooled, it’s a public street. This is the first resort were I saw something like this, none of the other resorts that we stayed at had other properties in front of them nor do they have public traffic. The developers shouldn’t have been cheap and purchased the run-down property that by this cul-de-sac and made a real resort.
One word describes the bars at the resort: Disappointment. The resort has 5 bars: Rendezvous(lobby bar), Sugar Reef(by the beach), Marlin (by the pool near the lobby), Barracuda (by the Oceana restaurant) and Gohan(roof top lounge). All the bars have a common theme, ALL the drinks are heavily watered down, all the bars are very small and the liquor choice is very poor. The Dreams website states that there is “Unlimited Premium Brand Beverages” which were non-existent. The beverages were available were Absolute, Finlandia, Johnny Walker, Jim Beam, Jamaican Rum, which aren’t premium liquors and that’s about all the liquor that was offered. There were no cognacs. Even the tequila choices weren’t that good, 100 Anios, Jose Quervo Traditional, I asked for some Don Julio and they didn’t have any, but oddly enough they offered to sell me a bottle. Other resorts that we stayed at in Mexico with premium bars, we didn’t have any problem getting cognacs or premium vodkas like Belvedere/Grey Goose or even premium tequilas like Don Julio. If you do decide to stay at this resort make sure to tell the bartenders to double the alcohol. The bars don’t really have any place to sit, its more of a get your drink and be on your way. Other resorts that we stayed at had tables, chairs and stools that you can sit at and enjoy yourself, just because the lobby bar has 6 bar stools it doesn’t make it a bar. None of the bars have drink menus, and when you ask for a drink menu the bartenders look at you like you’re from another planet. Sugar Reef is the only bar that has a drink board, this was the only bar that we were able to try out some new drinks. We tried the Gohan bar the one night that it didn’t rain. I do have to say that this bar is great and has plenty of seating, since its on the top floor of one of the towers. This is the perfect place to watch the sunset over Bandaras Bay. You can also order sushi at this bar, which isn’t half bad. The lobby bar was the only bar that was opened in the evening. If there were a lot of people, it took forever to get a drink.
Food means a lot to us when we go on vacation. Like I already said all the restaurants are very small at this resort, thankfully we did not go to this resort during high season. On certain days we had to wait to be seated, I would not like to see what kind of a mad house this place must be in high season. We were able to go to all 5 of the restaurants and here is the run-down.
Portofino(Italian), this is by far the best restaurant at the resort. It does require elegant clothing and its adults only. Both of the times that we went to this restaurant it was only half full. The food, service, atmosphere and presentation of the food were excellent and there seemed to be more items on the menu than in the other restaurants. You also receive a wine list, from which you can purchase bottles of wine, but no one was pressuring you to buy a bottle.
The Sea Side Grill was a bit of a disappointment, this is the place to get a snack while at the pool. They serve up hamburgers, hotdogs, fries, nachos, etc. It’s just like going to your local hotdog stand, and the food is about the same quality. We did attempt to have dinner once but for some reason they had a limited menu.
Oceana(Seafood) is also located next to the Sea Side Grill, we ate lunch there every day. The restaurants at this resort should not skimp on food. Sometimes I expected more, especially when I ordered a chicken caesar salad; I got a full plate of salad and got a strip of chicken, which was about 1inch by 6inches long. It was seriously two bites; back home we eat bacon larger than that for breakfast. The food was okay at this restaurant, nothing to write home about; by the end of our stay we practically had tried everything on the menu. It would be nice if the menu changed from time to time during the week. Both of the outdoor restaurants have a serious bird problem. Birds are constantly landing on the tables and trying to get some food. The resort should invest in some sort of netting around these two restaurants.
El Patio is the Mexican restaurant, since we were in Mexico there was a higher expectation, which we did not see. The food was also ok but the service was extremely slow. You need to set aside 2hrs for dinner when you go to this restaurant. We are the type of people that order everything at once; appetizers, entrees and desert. But during one of our visits we practically sat for about 15min waiting for desert, really??? I could have baked the desert myself in that length of time.
I saved the worst restaurant for last, World Café. It seems like this restaurant never closes. This is the only restaurant that is available for breakfast and trust me the buffet breakfast is extremely small and there is very little variety in the food. By day 3 of your vacation you will be tired of breakfast at this place. If you are looking to have cereal or yogurt for breakfast, you will be fine, but if you want a full breakfast there is much to be desired. It is also available for buffet lunch and dinner. I did get sick from the buffet lunch at this restaurant and had to spend an entire afternoon in my room as well as I had to miss an excursion the following day. I surely had to have eaten some food that was spoiled. Other reviews on trip advisor mentioned the same thing so I guess I am not the only one. World Café also seem to have the worst fly problem, there were always flies in the restaurant either landing on the food or an annoyance to the people in the restaurant. This is something that the resort really needs to address.
Overall the deserts at all the restaurants seemed to be the same, most tasted bland and went by a different name and a different decoration, you get tired of eating the same deserts about 3 days into your vacation, that’s not something that you should be saying for an Unlimited Luxury Vacation.
There is also a coffee café next to the gift shop. I don’t know if this should even be called a café, there were only a hand full of deserts available, nothing too special, my guess it’s the left over deserts from breakfast and lunch. I don’t know the hours but it seems like it was open whenever someone felt like it. They offered coffee and deserts, no iced coffee. What kind of café does not offer iced coffee? Who in their right mind drinks hot coffee on a hot, humid and sunny day? Its not that hard to make some iced coffee just put some ice cubes into a cup of cooled coffee.
There is also no place to get a late night snack, once dinner is over that’s it. We did try the room service, only ordered finger food, it did arrive in about 30min and it was pretty good. Although the room service menu is very limited.
This resort has 4 pools and a jacuzzi. All the entertainment took place at the first pool closest to the lobby. The pool areas were well maintained and the music was just right at the main pool, not too loud. There were always available chairs by the pool. The infinity pool closest to the beach is by far the best pool. Although we did not like the placement of the Jacuzzi, it’s the first thing you see when you are coming from the lobby. Anyone that enters the pool area has to walk by the Jacuzzi, there is no privacy and you can’t just relax because you constantly feel like you are being watched, sort of like a fish in a fishbowl. Also there are signs that say Adults Only, but no one ever kicks the kids out. You had to get there early in the morning before the kids got there, once the kids woke up it was time to move on to the beach.
The entertainment at this resort was a complete failure. There was no dedicated game room, like we have encountered at other resorts. They did have a table tennis and foosball table setup under the open sky next to the pool, but that was only available during the day. At night there was nothing to do and there was no pool table to be found in the entire resort. Other resorts that we stayed at had a dedicated room for table tennis, foosball, pool tables and they even had xbox’s, ps3’s and wii’s.
There are a bunch of activities planned for everyday; they were listed on a board by the pool, some of which included beach volleyball, archery, dancing lesions, horse shoes, etc. But the entertainment team that was in charge of these activities was never able to get enough people to participate so most of the activities never happened during our stay. A good example is beach volleyball, I love it and I practically live on the beach everyday during my vacation just to play. Beach volleyball was scheduled for 11am and 4pm everyday, of the 5 days that I was there I only played 2 times, of the 10 possible games that I could have played. Needless to say I was very disappointed.
As far as the nightly entertainment, it was horrible. There was no dedicated entertainment pavilion as in other resorts; the nightly entertainment either took place in the lobby or in a conference room. Our first night we went to the Circus Show, there were literally about 25 seats set up in the conference room and it was all geared toward children. Don’t waste your time attending this one. Our second night we went to Disco Night, took place in the conference room, this was one of the nights were we enjoyed ourselves; we danced the night away and had a great time. The following night the Tropical Show was going on, this again took place in the conference room, another disappointment. Don’t waste your time on this one either. The following night was the Mime Show, this took place in the lobby, the show was quite entertaining and funny but it’s not a show that was appropriate for kids, while there were a lot of kids in attendance watching. Our final night we went to the Fire Show, which was quite entertaining and enjoyable. We would recommend seeing this show.
The staff is what makes this resort, especially the servers. Everyone at the resorts always has a smile on their face and is trying to make your day better. Even though the resort has set them all up for failure, they do the best that they can do with what they are given. We did have a great server at World Café for breakfast and Oceana for lunch, his name was Jose. He always had a table ready for us at breakfast, and before we can get back to the table with our food he already had our coffee poured, a full glass of OJ and some danishes on our table. At lunch he already had our drinks coming to the table before we sat down. At the beach Julio gets the award for Best Server Ever!!! He was our only server on the beach. The first time I met him and told him what I wanted to drink, he promptly brought it, and told me that he would check up on me in 7 Mexican minutes. And boy was he on time; you could set your watch based on this guy. If you went into the water and finished off your dink, when you returned to your beach chair you already had a new drink waiting for you. One day the drinks were a bit light, I told him to double it up since I couldn’t feel the liquor. Trust me he only bought me 3 more drinks that day, but that’s the kind of service I like.
Housekeeping was great, kept our room clean and organized. The cleaning was pretty good, mirrors and windows didn’t have streaks on them, floors were washed and the bed was made. But I do have to say that if we decided to sleep in and housekeeping passed our room, that was it, they don’t come back, either I had to call and ask for someone to come up or we just had to wait til the next day. The same applies for turn down service, once they pass your room, that’s it. There should at least be a second attempt to gain entry to the room. The resort provides robes, but on the next to the last day my wife’s robe disappeared, I guess the maid took it with the towels. We noticed the robe was missing before we went to dinner, I called concierge to have another one brought up, and I was told that someone will bring one up. When we returned after dinner at 9, the robe had not arrived yet. So I called again, and yet again I was told that a robe will be delivered. I waited for an hour, still nothing. So I called again, now the concierge tells me the maid staff has left for the night, and they will deliver one in the morning. Really? I don’t think you need to be a maid or have some sort of hospitality degree to bring up a robe. This is a big disappointment.
I have to say that the time share experience at this resort was like no other. There were two time share reps at the resort. One was a short bald guy and the other was a tall Italian guy by the name of Atif. Trust me when you go to/from the World Café, you will get harassed by one of them. Every single day that we went to breakfast they always wanted to talk to us, at first we tried to be nice and simply say “No Thanks” but that doesn’t work with them, they continue to be persistent. By the end of our vacation we were avoiding them at all costs. BEWARE we had to talk to these guys in order to receive our $200 in resort credits, but you will spend at least a half hour listening to their sales pitch before you get the resort credits. At any other resort that we stayed at, resort credits were handed to us as check-in. This resort seems to do this backwards. This was one of the worst experiences of our vacation.
The resort credits are a waste of time. Don’t even pick them up. They say there are $200 in resort credits, well there are, but until you get them and read the fine print you realize that you cant use them on anything. There are so many restrictions, $10 credits can be used on wine, and only one at a time, Unlimited Luxury!!! Really???
The beach was small, but there were a lot of beach chairs, we never had a problem finding a chair. If you wanted to get beach chairs under the pilapas, you had to get to the beach early, there are signs that say that you can not save beach chairs but people still did it. The sand on the beach is dark brown and the water is darker green/brown. If you are looking for a white sand beach and turquoise water, this is not the place for you. The vendors on the beach are extremely annoying, its what kept us from the beach. It seems like all the vendors congregate on the beach property at this resort. These vendors are there from morning til late afternoon, and yes they will ask you if you want to buy something 10 times a day, even after you have said “No, Thanks” earlier. We even saw the vendors playing volleyball on certain days. The constant harassment by vendors kept us from going to the beach and I don’t understand why the vendors are only by this resort, there are plenty of resorts along the beach but they seem to congregate at this resort all day. Either the resort is getting a cut of their sales or they do not care that their clients are being annoyed.
The weather was great, the high was in the mid 80’s during the day and a bit cooler at night. It was rainy season, we lucked out because it rained and stormed at night or early in the morning, but all the rain was over with by about 9-10am.
Just about any ad that you see for Puerto Vallarta you will see whales in the pictures. Don’t be fooled, they are only in the bay from December to March.
This resort does have a spa and a gym but we didn’t use any of these facilities so we really can’t comment on them.
I cant believe that there is not free wireless at this resort, even in the lobby. And if there was; no one told us about it. When I asked about internet they gave me the following pricing: 11usd/hr, 15usd/day, 40usd/4 days, or 60usd/week. All I have to say is Unlimited Luxury!!! Really??? Doesn’t sound like it to me.
I got in touch with public relations two weeks before I arrived to put in a request to have 3 rooms that were on the same floor and if possible next to each other. I also put in a request to get our rooms before the 3pm check-in time, since we were expected to arrive at the resort around 1pm. And I expressed some concern about what my fellow TripAdvisor reviewers were saying about the resort. Brenda is in charge of public relations at the resort. She did tell me that rooms are assigned based on availability and that she would do her best. When we arrived we had to wait about 2-2.5hrs to get our rooms, which was disappointing but we did get an upgrade to a full ocean view room. Brenda did answer all my questions as well as provide me with entertainment/activates schedules. She did mention that she was going to put us on the list for the timeshare people to stay away from us, but I guess that got missed somehow because everyday we were hassled by Atif, the timeshare guy.
This resort does have potential. If they manage to improve their food, bars, entertainment as well as get rid of the vendors at the beach, this would be a great place to stay.
I might have been a bit harsh on my review but keep in mind that when a resort has a 5 star rating, you expect that level of service but it was not the case during our visit, we will not be returning or recommending this resort to friends. We paid for the service and expect to get exceptional service in return.
The ocean view rooms have a better view. The tropical view rooms allow you to see the surrounding m...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.