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“Lovely Stay at the Samba” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Samba Vallarta All Inclusive

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Samba Vallarta All Inclusive
3.5 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Av. costera y la playa s/n., Nuevo Vallarta 63732, Mexico (Formerly Samba Vallarta by Pueblo Bonito)   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #15 of 24 hotels in Nuevo Vallarta
Kitchener, Canada
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Lovely Stay at the Samba”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 11, 2013

Our group of three (one adult and 2 children ages 13 and 16) just returned from a one-week February vacation at the Samba Vallarta. We had a great time in this small, friendly resort.

It is probably important for me to mention that the criteria I use when looking for a vacation destination are:
- small resort that is 4-star or above
- pool overlooking the ocean
- clean, comfortable rooms (ocean view is always desirable)
- activities for my kids
- some sort of shopping nearby
This hotel met all of my criteria except the 4-star or better rating but we had already visited this resort two other times so I was willing to take a chance on it again.

The room. We requested a room on any floor but the ground floor facing the pool. We were given a second floor room without a balcony facing the pool. I asked at the front desk if we could change to a room with a balcony or even a suite but she said we couldn’t. I was a little disappointed at how “matter of fact she was”….she wasn’t at all interested in trying to meet our request. We stayed in the assigned room the first night but the air conditioning could not be adjusted (even with maintenance help) and we were absolutely freezing in the room. We talked with our Nolitours Rep the next day and he helped us get a new room with a balcony on the 4th floor. Although it had a bit of a musty smell, we were much happier in the room because we could open the balcony door for fresh air and Alavar (not sure if I spelt that right) adjusted the air conditioning for us so that the temperature was much nicer. I would describe the room as “okay”. They do have a bit of a musty smell but not as bad as they used to be. The rooms are definitely clean and roomy but nothing special. I heard that they were recently renovated but they didn’t look a whole lot different than they did three years ago. They do have Wi-Fi at the resort. It was really “hit or miss” as far as getting it to work in the room especially. There was a safety deposit box in the closet. The view was beautiful and I loved sitting out on the balcony each morning.

Food. It was okay. It isn’t something I would rave about but I did have some good meals and always found something to eat. No smoothie bar but they do have two very friendly ladies who make fresh omelettes and quesadillas each morning. They do have bacon but you have to ask for it at the omelette station. Coffee isn’t bad but they only have milk (no cream!). They have lots of fruit out but mainly melons and pineapple. My kids loved the pastries that they brought to our table each morning at breakfast. You have two options for lunch. You can eat at the pool bar or you can eat at the buffet. We weren’t as impressed with the pool bar option this time so we ate at the buffet each day. I was disappointed that they didn’t have guacamole out at either place but they usually brought some out if I asked. They have two a-la-carte restaurants—the Italian and the Mexican. You have to make reservations each morning at breakfast for the a-la-cartes. Because the resort is so quiet right now they only open one restaurant each night. We ate in the Mexican restaurant twice….I had the steak the first night and it was not good at all but the second night I had their shrimp dish and it was quite good. My kids liked the chicken dish. The Spanish coffee is the highlight …. I highly recommend it. We were disappointed that we couldn’t book into the Italian Restaurant. It was only open one night when we were there and it was booked up already when we went for breakfast. We went to the BBQ night where they set up tables behind the pool bar. It looks lovely, the food was okay but we got eaten alive! I recommend booking into the Italian Restaurant that night. My kids loved the soft ice cream machines. They had one in the buffet and one in the pool bar area—both self-serve.

Service. The staff are very friendly and helpful. The bartenders were always friendly especially Martin at the pool bar and Fermin (?) at the Lobby Bar. The waiters in the restaurants are also very friendly and often brought us drinks before we even ordered them, remembering what we ordered the day before." Lore the "omlette lady" always has a smile on her face and makes great omlettes.

Photography. They have two photographers, Daniel and Diego, who come to the resort each day to photograph people in action and if you book ahead to take sunset pictures. They are great guys and took amazing family photos for us on the beach at sunset. I highly recommend that you book a time with them for sunset photos. Danielle probably spent 45 minutes with us taking all kinds of shots. He was great with the kids and the pictures were great. They are not at all pushy and truly just really nice guys. You might even see them playing volleyball as well….they are awesome volleyball players!

Activities. They have a small activities staff, much smaller than it used to be. That means that they have limited organized activities which can be a negative when you have two kids who need to keep busy. One lady offers activities for the younger children and three guys offer activities to everyone else. The activities staff were very nice. My kids especially liked Oscar. Emmanuel and Alex were also great. Alex took us out one morning kayaking which was lots of fun even though we didn’t see dolphins. We did see stingrays though and had a great swim out in the deeper water. They also had organized volleyball two times per day on the beach, water aerobics around noon and soccer on the beach around 4 when the tide is out. They have shuffleboard courts, small basketball court and ping pong tables out by the pool and two fuse ball and two pool tables inside below the main lobby.

Vincent, our Nolitours rep who was also a great guy, organized a bus trip to Buceraris one night. It was $5 per couple. He takes you into town on a bus to the main square. There is entertainment there and lots of vendors are set up—same flea market type stuff that you can find on the beach. You only go for two hours but it is a nice way to see Buceraris at night. We also went horseback riding one day. We walked down to the Decameron hotel (about a 20 minute walk down the beach towards Buceraris). Right beside the Decameron is a dirt path/road and if you look down it you will see a man with some horses. We went for an hour ride along the beach, through some of the cobble stone streets of Buceraris and through a very low income area of the town. It was a great experience and very reasonably priced.
If you like to shop you can go to Buceraris, Puerto Vallarta or you can just shop on the beach. There are some huts set up on the beach by the hotel with most of the typical flea market items—silver, t-shirts, hair braiding, etc. There are also vendors along the beach as you walk. They are not pushy and you certainly can barter with them.

Cons to the resort. The rooms really do need some updating but again…they are clean. The resort is REALLY quiet which is good and bad. There really isn’t much to do at night. They have short shows but they really aren’t great. They do have pool tables and fuse ball that we tried to play at night but they shut them down at 10 when their little store closes which seems crazy. I kind of get closing the pool tables although I am sure that the front desk could sign out the pool stuff. But the fuse ball machines? That doesn’t make any sense.

Overall, if you are looking for an extravagant resort with high end rooms, restaurants, and lots of excitement the Samba is not for you. If you are looking for a quiet, simple resort with great views and service then this is a great place to relax and rejuvenate. We would certainly consider going back to the Samba.

Room Tip: Room overlooking the pool have great views. I highly recommend adding a balcony.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,055 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (121)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Minneapolis, MN
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2013

As reported by all recent reviews the resort is amazing. We were treated as 5 Star friends at a 3 Star Resort. EVERY person was friendly and just waiting to make our week amazing. The pools and the beach were perfect. A VERY affordable vacation. Thanks for all the tips on this board. All of the people mentioned in recent reviews went above and beyond expectations. Keep up the good work.

Room Tip: If you are not happy with room, speak up and be patient. We were in Room 308, nice view of the reso...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
SAMBA V, Director General at Samba Vallarta All Inclusive, responded to this review, March 8, 2013
Thank you very much for sharing your comments about your stay at Samba Vallarta, we really appreciate it as it is very motivating for all our associates to continue offering the best , the quality service of our friendly and courteous staff make us a favorite for vacationers. We sincerely hope you and your family will be back here at your home Samba Vallarta.
Director General
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Olds Alberta
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2013

My husband and I and our good friends just returned from a 30 day stay at the Samba. Can't begin to list all the good things about the hotel but for sure it is the staff that make our stay so enjoyable ! Big hugs go out to Alberto, Genardo, Roberto (security) Ismael, Richardo, Carlos, Eric, Eligio, JuanMaria, Martin , Furmin and our lovely "egg lady". I know I have forgotten a few but these guys were always there for our every need. Oh, and I can't forget the front desk staff .. right from check in to check out .. Thank you !
This was our 2nd one month stay at this hotel and it won't be the last. Beats any 5 star hotel we have stayed at in PV .
Food was very good and lots of choices ... and they now have 2 ice cream machines !!
The Italian and Mexican restaurants were amazing and so nicely presented.
So all in all it was so very hard to come back home to our cold weather and have to make my own bed and cook all the meals again !!
See you next year Samba and all our good friends!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SAMBA V, Director General at Samba Vallarta All Inclusive, responded to this review, March 8, 2013
On behalf of Hotel Samba Vallarta thank you for gave us your feedback regarding your stay. We are so glad it has been a pleasant one, kind comments are very motivating for all of us to continue offering the best. We are going to post your comments in our notice board so that all our co-workers fell your kindness.
Once again, thank you for your comments, and receive our gratitude for being one of our valued guests.
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Drumheller, Canada
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2013

I just got back from the Samba Vallarta and I can't say enough about the place. Our room was very confortable and clean. The staff are amazing, Alberto Diaz, Genaro, Martin, Eliqio, Emiel, Carlos, Roberto at the pool, Roberto Security, Rosario, Martin (bartender) Fermin (bartender) as well as many many more. Good choice of food. The egg lady cooks your egg just like you want it and then you never have to tell her again. Beautiful grounds and beach. We stayed a month and we can't wait to go back.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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.
SAMBA V, Director General at Samba Vallarta All Inclusive, responded to this review, March 8, 2013
Thank you very much for so lovely comments about your stay at Samba Vallarta, we really appreciate it as it is very motivating for all our associates to continue offering the best , the quality service of our friendly and courteous staff make us a favorite for vacationers. We sincerely hope you and your family will be back soon here at your home Samba Vallarta.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa, Canada
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2013

First of all some background. We are in our late fifties, this is our 20th year going to Puerto Vallarta, and our 3rd time back to the Samba. Last time was in 2006, and the time before that in 2002. We decided to go back as our previous experiences were great.
Upon arrival we were given a room with no balcony/terrace, even though Sunwing's website clearly indicates a balcony/terrace in the description of the room. After speaking with our Sunwing rep (Alvaro) the next day, we found out this was a mistake on the part of Sunwing in the description, and therefore no balcony/terrace. If we wanted one, it was at a very costly additional rate. So we stuck with room 109, on the ground floor, and after 5 nights of noise and no sleep, requested a change. We then transferred to 307, same type of room, but quieter. The front desk guy was not very friendy, the only person who was nice was Itzmel, she was very friendly and the only one who smiled.
The food was good, we could always find something to eat. The bartenders, wait staff, maids were all fantastic, and this is the reason we decided to go back. That and the fact that they have bicycles to go out on, which is our favorite activity. We also like the fact that it is a small resort.
The weather was perfect, as usual on the west coast of Mexico.
So here come our last day, and we had a very bad experience. I promptly went at noon to the front desk to check-out, had my bracelet cut-off, a white one put on, and THEN told that I was not allowed to eat or drink, and if I did, I had to pay for it. My husband was not with me, as he had gone out, so I told the rude front desk employee that I would send him up later.
He actually sent the security guards looking for him.
This is the first time in 20 years that I have had my bracelet cut off (being all-inlcusive) and told I cannot enjoy the resort until our transfer time to the airport. Considering that we arrived at the resort at midnight, which is a very late check-in, they should have accomodated us unitil 6 p.m. which is when our transfer was scheduled for.
I will be sending an e-mail to the resort manager, as well as Sunwing about this. Unless there is some kind of compensation, I do not think I will go back to this resort, even though the staff are wonderful...except the front desk fellow!!!!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maplewood, Minnesota
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2013

As other reviewers have stated, the staff at this resort is AMAZING. I have been to other All Inclusives in Mexico and Dominican Republic, and this staff is the best I have ever encountered. The wait staff is wonderful (yes, we tipped). We met Ernesto (manager of the wait staff) our first hour we were there. We loved their guacamole, and he made sure we had it when asked for. We could not have gotten such service at a bigger resort where they treat you as just another guest among many. Our thanks to all of the waitstaff and personnel that made this trip very enjoyable.

I believe you get what you pay for. In our case, this was a very affordable trip through Apple Vacations. We didn't expect a big fancy resort, and for what we paid, we were happy with our decision to stay at this resort. I missed having a refrigerator in our room with drinks stocked daily, even though we knew our room would not have this service. They do provide you one large bottle of water daily in your room. There is plenty of water available on the resort property-at the bars, buffet, etc. I would suggest they add water dispensers at the beach bar so people can get their own water instead of waiting for it to be poured by a bartender. Bring a water bottle to fill daily.

I personally do not believe that food makes or breaks a vacation. There was always plenty to eat, and we found enough to eat every day. We loved that their food, at the buffet, was always hot. I have eaten enough lukewarm/cold food at other resorts to appreciate the hot food at this resort. Yes, their food may be strange to Americans, but no one looked like they were starving. We found plenty of food to eat each day. If you are a "foodie"...this resort is not for you. Their guacamole is wonderful-they should have this at all buffet meals. We first had it at the Mexican restaurant, and were hooked from that point forward. Like other reviewers, their meals at the beach need to be upgraded. We ate their our first day (as it was the only restaurant open when we arrived), and never went back. The buffet opens one hour later, so we always ate there for lunch. The ice cream machine (at the beach restaurant) was a nice treat each day though.

The rooms are just average. We were on the 4th floor (Room 413) facing the pool. Ask for a mattress topper if your bed is too hard. My Sister's bed had one on it, and I asked for one and got it immediately. Our original room faced the other resort, but upon check in, my Sister asked for a room facing the pool, and we were put in such a room. We did have a balcony-a must for us. The resort was at less than 50% of capacity when we stayed, so I am sure they could accomodate our request for a pool facing room. We never ran out of hot water (issue at other resorts I have stayed in). Our room was near where they stage the entertainment each night. Yes, it was loud, but nothing you could not tolerate--and it lasts only about an hour and was done around 10 pm each night. There was an odor in the room. We had brought a room air freshner with us, and that helped. I asked for a dehumidifier (as that has helped in other resorts I've stayed in), but they do not have these. It was on my comment card to provide these to guests---it would help with the odor in the rooms. The rooms are clean. The grounds are well kept.

This resort has a wonderful beach. There are plenty of Palapas. We didn't need to set our things down, to reserve a Palapas like at other resorts. We were able to get one in the front row, most days..even when we got there at 11 am. Again, it could be different if the resort is at full capacity. You can walk the beach in either direction. There are vendors on the beach, but having spent an afternoon at Paradise Village, I can tell you that there are very few vendors at Samba Vallarta compared to that resort. All vendors are very respectful. The bathrooms at the beach do stink, even though they are very clean. I was told they are cleaned every 30 minutes, and the odor has to do with the building being old. As I understand this, they are working on resolving this problem. Kudos to Oscar for asking what they could do to improve their property. When I said "nothing", he said to be honest as this helps them improve. They genuinely are interested in knowing your comments.

They do have bikes at this resort to use. They have an organized bike trip, but you also can check these out on your own. We enjoyed riding to Paradise Village to the mall, and looking at the other resorts on the way. We only knew about the bikes from another couple, on the plane, that had stayed there in a prior year. Samba should inform their guests of all they have to offer. They give you a daily activities sheet, but nothing about being able to check out bikes on your own.

I cannot comment on the entertainment as we didn't make a point to see any when we were there. Entertainment at a resort is not important to us.

There are a lot of Canadians at this resort, that return often. We didn't meet very many Americans at this resort. I am wondering if Americans have a different expectation of resorts, and that is why some of the reviews, from Americans, are less enthusiastic than the Canadian reviews. We grew up in rural Wisconsin, but I think even our expectations are higher than some Canadians. Yes, there are a lot of Mexican families (with small children) that are at the resort-especially on the weekends. We had no issue with this, nor had any issue with any of them. We never had trouble communicating with any of the staff as everyone we encountered knew English, or enough English to communicate with us.

I would suggest that someone, at this resort, answer emails sent by vacationers. I sent an email, prior to arriving, regarding a room preference and other items. No one ever answered my email. It all turned out well, but a courtesy return email would have been nice. I have also sent another email, after I returned (to the General Manager), and no one has bothered to send a reply. I see they respond to Trip Advisor reviews, so I cannot understand why they cannot respond to emails sent by their guests.

If you are looking for a quiet, small resort, with a great beach and staff-this is the place for you. I would definitely recommend this resort to friends and family giving them the upside and downside of this resort. In choosing a resort, I think you just need to decide what is important to you and choose accordingly.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Langley City, Canada
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2013

This was our second stay at the Samba Vallarta, and we are already planning our third trip back this December.
This is a small and intimate resort, with service and staff that is second to none. You will never be left wanting for more. The buffet was good, typical for a three star resort but with extremely attentive waiter service. The A La Carte restaurants presentation of meals, and waiter service was amazing. The flaming Spanish coffee’s at the end of the meal was a nice touch! The bartenders and service staff are far superior than any other resort that I have ever been to. It is rare that you receive beach and pool drink service at a 3 star resort, which was a nice treat.
Rooms are a little dated, however, very clean. I did read some past trip advisors about a musty smell, and I have still yet to smell it. Overall. The resorts grounds were very clean, and very well kept. The pools were beautiful, and again, very clean. The activities during the day could use a bit of improvement, however that being said, there was a staff change over during our stay. Anytime that we did want the activities director to put on a volleyball game or pool activity, they did, you just had to initiate them.
The security at the hotel was extremely impressive. As an example, we left the resort for Bucerias as a family, my husband myself and a 5 year old and I decided to stay a bit longer while my husband took our daughter back. The security guard stopped their taxi asking where I was, and why I wasn’t in the car. When I retuned back an hour later in a taxi, he checked in with the resort, advising that I was back. For a three and a half start resort, you will receive 5 star service . If you are looking for a large glamorous resort, this place is not for you. If you like small and intimate , with attention to detail, you have come to the right place.
Many thanks to all of the staff at the Samba who helped make this trip over New Years an unforgettable experience.

Room Tip: Rooms facing the Riu next door have the sun rise, and are quieter.
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Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
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 Samba Vallarta All Inclusive

Address: Av. costera y la playa s/n., Nuevo Vallarta 63732, Mexico (Formerly Samba Vallarta by Pueblo Bonito)
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Pacific Coast > Nayarit > Riviera Nayarit > Nuevo 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 Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#13 On the Beach Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#13 Top resorts Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#14 Romantic Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Samba Vallarta All Inclusive 3.5*
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Samba Vallarta All Inclusive Hotel Nuevo Vallarta
Samba Vallarta Pueblo Bonito
Hotel Samba Vallarta
Samba Vallarta Hotel

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