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“Nice alternative to the bigger resorts” 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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Ranked #17 of 27 Hotels in Nuevo Vallarta
Calgary
Level Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
“Nice alternative to the bigger resorts”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2013

Family of 4 (boys 5 and 10) travelled with Air Transat from Calgary on March 9th for a week. This was our 5th trip to PV. We have stayed at the Jalisco and Decameron in the last 2 yrs. We paid the extra for a balcony room and had asked for pool view at the time of booking. We got a 4th floor room facing the RIU Jalisco resort. We tried to change rooms the first couple of days but kept getting told there were no rooms. Its was not noisy facing the RUI so we ended up staying put. Room was cleaned very well each day and boys looked forward to the towel art left every day. Everything worked in the room, excellent shower pressure, comfy beds and pillows. Our room did not smell musty. The safe was the biggest we have ever had in 14 trips south.

The resort gets very busy on the weekends with many Mexican families but was fairly quiet Monday to Thursday. The grounds, pools and beach were constantly being cleaned. They have bicycles you can use but they were too big for our 5 yr old, so we didn't take them out. A few couples we met had used the bikes and rode them to Paradise Village (they wished they had brought a lock to lock them up while they explored on foot).

Very friendly staff, the service was good whether we tipped or not (we always did). The bartenders always remembered our choice of drinks. The security guards around the pool area always seemed to have a watchful eye on our youngest son (he is very independent and likes to wander!).

The beach was sandy, no rocks and went both directions for miles. They have kayaks but they are single seaters and our kids weren't old enough to kayak by themselves. The bartenders will serve you on the beach and around the pool. The beach washrooms do stink outside but never smelled inside. The resort has a shuffle board, ping pong tables, basketball, badminton, etc. Our 5 yr old did some of the kids club activities on the last 2 days with Delicia. She was awesome with the kids. Our older son took part in the soccer and volleyball games on the beach and water polo in the pool.

The food at the buffet was always hot and we found enough to eat. It wasn't the best food we've had nor was it the worst. There are theme nights each night at the buffet. The food in the steamers at the sanck bar was always cold unless you got it right when they refilled it. They need some other means to keep the food warm at the snack bar. I agree with others by getting rid of the chicken nuggets and rubbery pizza. We did both ala carte's and found the service excellent at both. We liked the Italian one better than the Mexican.

If you are an early riser like me you usually can get coffee to go at the buffet by 5 am or by the upstairs lobby bar. We always pack bigger insulated mugs for bar drinks but never used them as the cups weren't the usually tiny size.

I did use the gym (free weights and machine weights) and the equipment was in good shape.

The bus stop is right outside the resort which was handy for our usual trip into PV for the day. The Mega store is also with in walking distance or a $4-6 US cab ride each way. The Mega store used to exchange Canadain money but not any more. The Samba has a bank machine outside and the front counter will exchange Canadian money. We did not use either. The best rate for Canadian money exchange we found all week was at the Grocery store in the Paradise Village Mall.

Would we stay there again.......Yes, if the price was right.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 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
    • 4 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.
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1,216 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    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 (169)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Prince George, Canada
Level Contributor
24 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2013

Lets be clear from the get go that this is not a glamorous resort BUT it is still a great vacation place and all the reviews about the service is true.It is also true that there is no towel game there. We always found a great spot on the beach with shade and also true at the pool. The drink service on the beach is the best and Salvador is back to refresh your drink at regular intervals, definetly not a hit and miss thing. location is great. Lots to do close by without spending a fortune. One great afternoon we borrowed bicycles and had a great time riding all over nuevo. It is true that the food here is not fabulous in the buffet but there is alway something to eat and if your aren't happy with that you can take a nice walk to Bucerias and have geat meal at Karen's or some other restaurant for a change. Not many vendors bothering you and the beach is fabulous. Lovely clean grounds, pool is heated, Only 180 rooms so not much waling involved on the resort pretty convenient.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pembroke, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 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
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 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
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 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.
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 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.
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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
#14 On the Beach Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#14 Top resorts 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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