Very good experience for our family - we are two 50 y/o old adults with two older teen kids 17 and 20. A last minute booking with about 10 day's notice.
All-Inclusive - you really can't beat it. All the pressure is off. We completely enjoyed it.
Staff was fantastic. So nice, accommodating, fun.
$1800 in credits to use makes for a really nice break and encourages you to DO things. We did the City Tour, surf lessons, and between us had 5 massages and a pedicure and still didn't use them all up! You do have a 20% "copay" for these activities but the out of pocket costs are reasonable.
Rosy the waitress (poolside and beachside) was fantastic. She was there when you needed her every time and brought drinks quickly. Her reputation preceded her!
Octavio the bartender at the swim up bar was great too. Best thing to do is to check out all the liquors they have to offer and call specifically what type you want in your drink. Otherwise it may be a bit funky. Be open to trying new drinks - keep your eyes open and you'll see some crazy ones!
Manager (forgot his name - sorry!) was a huge help finding our son's shoes in their immense Lost & Found system - just in time before we left for home. Much appreciated.
All the guac you can eat - all day long! Hooray! (Other food too, of course)
Restaurants were quite good - Frieda's was the best and a very diverse and interesting menu (the steak tampiquena was amazing! As were the soups, the desserts, stuffed peppers, everything!) Ipanema Brazilian was also great - tons of food and they keep coming by again and again to offer different cuts of meat (chicken too). Ciao Italian was delicious as well. The Market was good for breakfast and lunch and has A/C, an omelet bar, fajita bar at lunch - tons of fresh fruit and multiple buffet items every day. Our sushi eaters loved Zen, but I didn't think their teriyaki was very good...
We were there Aug 16-22 and there was NO problem getting 4 lounge chairs together at beach or pool any time of day. Maybe by then they were moving into the slower season? Beach was essentially empty. Not many younger people for our 17 and 20 year old kids to hang with, but they survived - it was a great time together with them as near-adults. Advise to split time between day on tours and days at the pool.
Sunsets were spectacular every night - be sure to go set yourself up on the beach in a lounge chair with a drink from 8 - 8:45 every night. Then get dinner afterwards. (We were in pool hanging out until at least 7 every day.) Rained several nights while we slept - and had a fantastic lightning storm one night - wow!!
The beach is nice, but be aware that the water is warm - 85 degrees- and definitely NOT the clear-blue you find in some places in the tropics. For our trip there was a lot of fine sand and silt in the water so it was hazy brown at the shoreline the whole time.
Our Family Suite was 2 adjoining rooms , 1 King bed for us and 2 doubles in the kids' room - plus a bath for each room. But having us adjoin was great. Didn't have to go down the hall or knock on their door - we could all just wander in and out of the 2 rooms, watch a movie together, coordinate when were were leaving, etc. (however we could lock each other out if desired.) Also - rooms were on the ground floor right by the pools, so very easy to get back to if you wanted a change or to use the restroom. Highly recommend. Also, no noise complaints. Rooms 1010 and 1011. No sunset view, but you should be out on the beach for that anyway!
As for the free tours you can schedule with your credits, we really liked the "City Tour" which really should be called the "Town and Country" tour. Freddy was the best tour guide on a big air conditioned bus that took us to old Puerto Vallerta to see the old cobblestone streets and red tile roofs, the church dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe, up to a great vista and then down to a shopping area. Then we drove along to coast hugging the south side of the bay, stopped for photos at Los Arcos, then up into to jungle for a visit to a tequila factory - with free tastings! Wonderfully interesting day. Lunch was ordered first and then served in a beautiful location post tequila tasting but was not included, and was pricey - so just plan ahead for that (get the lobster - amazing!). ALSO - VERY IMPORTANT - If your do this tour or any tour that takes you into the jungle (zip line, etc) you MUST cover yourself with bug repellant - DEET or even something stronger that you can only get in Mexico. There are teeny tiny mosquitos that get you - you don't even notice, but the next day you will be COVERED in bites that will progressively get worse. 5 days later my legs look like I'm covered in chicken pox. Avoid this if you can. No one warned us.
Free wifi !
Awesome bright green iguana as we walked to breakfast one day!
Met a nice young man on the beach one night at sunset who shot a ton of amazing photos of us for $25-50. Gave us everything on a flash drive and CD on the spot. This is NOT part of the hotel - he was just an entrepreneur doing this on the side, and the beach is federal property so it is his prerogative to do so. He just happened to see me as I was trying to set up a self timer photo, so it was perfect for us. We arranged to meet him the next night and got 40-50 AMAZING photos. (Hard Rock has a company called Rock Shots that offers the same thing, but they were all booked up. Would have cost us $250 of our resort credits anyway so this was much better.)
Their wine is awful. Just don't bother
Only 2 beer selections at the bars - Tecate Light and Indio. This seemed strange to us. No Modelo? Corona? Bohemia? Pacifico?
Having to deal with exchanging towels/towel cards can be a pain.
Beach is not that gorgeous crystal blue color - you'll have to get over that.
You can attend a 90 minute sales pitch to join their vacation club and get all sorts of free add-ons as a reward - if you can handle it. Not too high pressure; to be honest we never really understood the benefit of the program they were offering, but at the end we received a free romantic dinner for 2 on the beach at sunset (great ambience, but probably our least favorite meal of the week - good thing it was free - list price was $500!) and a trip for 4 to any of the big outings they offer - we selected the Marietas Eco Tour. So it was worth it. Just do it and you'll get free stuff. However - I'd recommend avoiding all the other time share crazies that try to grab you (airport, etc.) and just do this at the hotel. (They explained all our activity options, resort credits, etc. and then offered this "opportunity" at the end right when we arrived, as we were waiting for our room.)
Know your cellular limitations - Verizon charges 5 cents for each incoming text and 50 cents for each you send - best to insist everyone turn off their texting. (Easier said than done.) Makes it hard to communicate between each other when we were used to texting and now we couldn't. We texted through Facebook as an alternative, but make sure you switch over the the hotel's free wifi. They also offer free calls to the USA, Canada and Mexico from the room phones.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta is a gorgeous, 348-room beachfront property ideally situated between mountains and the Pacific Ocean, featuring unmatched, all-inclusive luxury accommodations including in-room double Jacuzzis, fine dining, top-shelf drinks, 24-hour room service, live entertainment and more. One of only three AAA Four-Diamond hotels in the area, this stylish property boasts six restaurants offering tantalizing specialty cuisines, four bars and lounges with top shelf drinks, two large outdoor swimming pools, children’s pool, beach volleyball court, tennis court, Body Rock Fitness Center, unmatched music memorabilia, signature Rock Spa®, a Rock Shop and much more. The property additionally features 6,300 square feet of meeting facilities. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Vallarta Palace Hotel Nuevo Vallarta
- Vallarta Palace Nuevo