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“Pretty much what I expected” 3 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 26 Hotels in Nuevo Vallarta
Vancouver, Canada
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Pretty much what I expected”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2013

We were looking for one week of sun and relaxation. Spent every day on the beach swimming and body surfing. Food was ok - nothing great, but acceptable - I had nausea all week, but I'm sensitive. Staff were very good! - professional and always polite.

Midsize, comfortable hotel. Highlights for us were the upgrade to the two room suite and the beach. I would have liked slightly larger waves for the boogie board, but I can't complain too much - swimming in the ocean was great! The water was a bit murky but otherwise seemed clean and the temperature was good.

Wifi reception was pretty good - I could surf the net while on the beach.

Met some interesting people. Appreciated that there was a good mix of Mexican with the predominantly Canadian crowd (especially on the weekends).

Would I go back - maybe or maybe not. However, overall there was more positive than negative.

Room Tip: Ask for a room with a view of the pool.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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1,101 reviews from our community

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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 (130)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Pembroke, Canada
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2013

My wife and I enjoyed our stay at Samba during March break. the staff really do make this resort. We have stayed at many different star rated resorts ranging from 3 to 5 star in 5 different counties and have never had such great staff. it is evident that the staff are very happy with their employer. We would like to make special mention of five out-standing staff. Reyes, the waiter in the Buffet, and Salvador, Roberto, Fermin and Andres, who worked as bartenders and wait staff.
The ala carte restaurant was excellent and we went 3 different nights, Mexican, Italian and then the Mexican night again. The restaurant was not too busy while we were there, so we could have eaten at the ala cartes every night if we wanted to. You could always find something to please at the buffet.
Our room was on the first floor on the Riu Resort side. It was not a fantastic room, but we didn't spend alot of time there. You could hear the entertainment from the Riu til about 11 pm.
If we went again, I would book a balcony room on the pool side.
The beach was one of the best we have been to...you can walk for miles and the boogie boarding was fun.
There seemed to be alot of native Mexicans staying at the Samba, which we enjoyed, as the Mexican people are among the most friendly and affectionate people we have every had the pleasure to meet.
If there was anything that could be improved, it would be the reception desk. One of our friends wanted to change her room, and reception was not very accomodating, and there was seemed to be a language barrier with the ladies that worked there. Rosario managed to change her room eventually, but not without numerous visits to the front desk. Also, the vendors were numerous on the beach, but were not overly persistent.
All in all, hats off to Samba, a great small-sized resort.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Comox, Canada
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013

As always there are pluses and minuses. I wasn't expecting a luxury hotel, and that is not what Samba Vallarta is. Overall, though, I would go back.

The food, I thought, was excellent in the buffet. They're not afraid of spice, and there was lots of flavour. Breakfast was great - omelet bar as well as a fresh quesadilla station. Bacon is at the omelet bar, which I didn't discover until the second week. Otherwise you're looking at wieners for breakfast meat. But, lox and bagels every day, lots of fresh fruit, salsas, eggs, and chiliaquiles. The pancakes, french toast, and waffles are a definite miss.

We ate lunch at the beach bar mostly. They have a burger grill and pizza. The burgers were good.There is also usually guacamole in the fridge (ask at the burger bar) and different kinds of ceviche and chips are also available. The ceviche was really good.

Dinner was a different theme every night. Mexican night was fantastic. The other nights were also quite good, although they changed the rules on the beach barbecue from one week to the next, leaving us looking for dinner one Tuesday and then, having thought we knew our way around the next Tuesday, finding that we didn't have the required reservation.

Bar selection was excellent, as were the staff. The buffet staff seemed a little disorganized. Rather than having assigned tables, it appeared that the staff would just help the people at whichever table happened to be nearest, which meant that some meals we had extremely attentive service and other meals not so much.

The a la carte restaurants were ok. Food was fine, but not that much above the regular buffet in quality. On one occasion at the Italian a la carte, the waiter was trolling for a tip before I had even finished my coffee, which I found very distasteful, having planned to tip as I was leaving, which is my usual practice.

The room was clean, although there was a musty smell near the doorway which was unnoticeable anywhere else in the room. The AC worked well, as did everything else in the room (well, I can't speak for the TV - didn't turn it on at all). I would have liked a fridge and coffee maker in the room though, and there was none, although there seemed to be a spot for a fridge. I would gladly trade the TV for a fridge. We had a balcony room facing the Riu resort at the end of the hotel nearest the beach. It was quiet and comfortable.

The beach was spectacular and there was always room under a palapa. Boogie boards were always available and there were no time limits. I did find the water activities guys less than useful. They were never near the beach hut, and I tried repeatedly to get a kayak but was unable to do so most of the time because there was no staff there. Eventually someone was there and showed no interest whatsoever in assisting us other than tossing us a couple of mangy lifejackets pulled at random from a rack. My girlfriend's jacket was way too big for her and mine smelled like urine. I would have told the staff that, but they were nowhere in sight when we returned the kayaks.

I would definitely go back to this resort, provided that the price stays reasonable. I care more about the beach, the food and the beer than the room, as long as my room is clean and comfortable. If you are the sort of person who wants luxury accommodations though, this is not the place for you.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hudson, Wisconsin
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

My sister and I enjoyed a week at the Samba in January. As reported by many others, the staff is by far the best I've had the pleasure of meeting. Shout out to Ernesto, who was the first person to greet us and made sure our dining experiences were exceptional. The property is older, which is what may keep some Americans away. My only issues were the beach/pool bathrooms, which because of their location close the beach, have a problem with proper sewer ventilation, despite the facilities being cleaned often. The manager indicated they are aware of this problem and hope to build a new bathroom facility in the near future. The other issue was that the a/c vents in our room needed a good cleaning, which would cut down on the mildewy smell common in many tropical resorts. We stuck Bounce dryer sheets in them, which helped a lot.

The pluses definitely outweighed the minuses for me! We love to spend time on the beach and look for a resort with palapas and plenty of room to roam. We walked a lot and I'd say the Samba had the best beach, with plentiful palapas. The grounds, pool and beach were constantly being cleaned/groomed and are very nice. The pool was really big for the number of rooms at the resort and there were always chairs available at the pool or under a palapa. I was told by one of the beach vendors that he worked with/for? Samba, resulting in very few sales pitches, and pleasant encounters. The activities crew has bicycles for guests to enjoy, although a lot of people weren't aware of this extra. I highly recommend riding down to Paradise Village (take a right out of the resort) and planning it for a weekend, when there's less vehicular traffic.

The food at the buffet and specialty restaurants was very good, but the beach restaurant fare could be improved...we only ate there once, on the day we arrived. The food at the buffet was always hot and plentiful and there was plenty of variety for us, especially with all the fresh fruits and vegetables. The staff even made us fresh guacamole! Wait and bartending staff are very grateful for tips and are very deserving of them.

I would definitely recommend a room on the 3rd or 4th floor, facing the pool, which will afford you with a view of the ocean as well. We didn't find the outdoor activity to be noisy. Also, if your bed is too hard, ask for a topper that makes all the difference.

We took the bus into downtown Puerto Vallarta and enjoyed the Malecon (a pedestrian walkway with street performers and shops). We felt safe the entire time. We took a taxi back, and they are plentiful right off the Malecon.

Important to consider if this is your first trip to the Puerto Vallarta area, be sure to book in the Nuevo Vallarta resort area, if walking the beach is important to you. The downtown PVR area is rocky and you can't walk very far on the beach. The Samba sits on 12-miles of gold flecked beach!

If you're looking for a relaxing and affordable vacation and don't need a five star room, I'd recommend the Samba Vallarta.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

First 3 star all inclusive we stayed at which we later found out was a mistake for us. The food was terrible. Whole room smelled like mildew and found a cockroach in our room. The people were very very nice and helpful though. Stayed in 5 star in Mayan same time last year for same price.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 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.
Cleveland, Ohio
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 12, 2013

3 star at best 5 star pricesThe people at the front desk need a customer service course they were rude and confrontational.The rooms are old and musty the food was sometimes edible except for breakfast which was good. The italian restaurant was a joke, they ran out of wine every day. The staff tried there best but it seemed there hands were tied and mico managed with every move they made. Very cheap with pours they acted
like you were taking food out of there mouths to the point of felling uncomfortable.The only thing the hotel has going for it is the beach. I read the reviews they were not accurate. I think the hotel writes most of them.I have been traveling to beach vacations for 15 years I've seen it all and this is the first hotel that I would say DONT GO This hotel was misrepresented by apple and should be taken off there list of resorts or at least downgreated it to a 2 or 3 star it was disappointing.

Room Tip: Your at the mercy of the front desk unless you have $80.00 per day up grade $560.00 a week.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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:
#12 Family Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#13 Top resorts Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#13 Romantic Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#15 On the Beach Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Samba Vallarta All Inclusive 3.5*
Number of rooms: 183
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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