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“Nice as always, food is ridic expensive as always” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Grand Mayan Nuevo Vallarta

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The Grand Mayan Nuevo Vallarta
4.5 of 5 Resort   |   Av Paseo de las Moras s/n | Fracc. Nautico Turistico, Nuevo Vallarta 63735, Mexico   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #10 of 24 hotels in Nuevo Vallarta
Little Rock, Arkansas, United States
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Nice as always, food is ridic expensive as always”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2013

Most things have been covered over and over, I will just point out a few things I noticed this trip, which took place January 5 - January 12 2013.

We only own one week at Grand Bliss so we were bumped to the back of the Grand Mayan building on this busy week. Our view was of the employee entrance and employee parking garage. It was interesting, but often loud. Car alarms and occasionally loud Mexican music woke us up.

The wave machine on the lazy river was not working at any point during the week.

The food prices seem to get higher every time I am here, "The Burger Custom Made,": a fancy burger joint at the Grand Luxxe, sells burgers that begin in the low $20 range and hit $40 - no fries and no sides, those are $10 a piece.

The servers in Santuario, the new entrance area/bar/taxi stand, are below average. It appears they took their skinniest Mexican girls and told them to be cocktail waitresses without providing any training.

Overall I still love the place.

Room Tip: Own a lot of weeks or you'll be looking at the parking garage all week.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 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
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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English first
Bellingham, Washington
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
54 helpful votes 54 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2013

We upgrade from the Mayan Palace (you can read my review over there to see how we got to this point) and I'm glad we did.
We are owners in another timeshare company, so I never expected ocean views or first class service that I get from my own hotels. When we arrived at the Grand Mayan, it was from initial check in from the Mayan Palace and things weren't quick or smooth, but eventually all the information was transferred over and we received our bracelets, made a reservation for the timeshare presentation (which we were compelled to follow through with since they upgraded us from a gutted hotel) and made our way to our 3rd floor room - facing the Santuarium. It took HOURS for us to get our luggage delivered to our room, so if I could do anything different, that would be it. By the time we had our luggage (so we could change into vacation clothes from our Seattle-cold-weather-travel-clothes) it was too late to hit any restaurant for food. I don't know why it took hours to get luggage across the parking lot, but I'll tell you it wasn't a one-time mixup. When we checked out at 10am, they stored our luggage to have it waiting for us at the curb at 1:30pm (does it take 3 hours to get luggage across the complex) and they STILL took 45 minutes beyond that. Next time we'll just transport our luggage ourselves.

The Santuarium was awesome. It's an open air entertainment center with drinks and entertainment. Singers, dancers, piano players, sax players, sand artists - it changes every night and is a GREAT way to experience something new without it costing a dime! You can dance if you want or just sit back and watch the entertainment. The Johnny Depp character was hilarious and funny to talk to.

The resort is fabulous and if you get a chance to upgrade from the Mayan Palace you will NOT be disappointed. We were there the first week of January and we heard the pools were cold, but they weren't bad at all. Interestingly enough, if you start at the swim up bar..it's kinda of chilly. But when you walk the pool all the way to the kids/family pool, it gets warmer and warmer. Try all the pools, you won't be disappointed. We never had a hard time finding a place to sit because there are seats everywhere. The grounds are beautiful but it took me 5 days of walking it before I wasn't completely lost. Not that it matters, walking around is worth the trip. It is not a resort for the disabled, since you have to walk everywhere and no place is close by another. But we are young and active and we loved exploring the landscape.
The wave pool is for kids. It's 4 feet deep at it's deepest, but if you want something easier than the waves on the ocean, this is great. The water slide looks simple, but it's surprisingly fun to go down on inner tubes. The lazy river is as great as everyone says and it's the real reason why we upgraded.

The food is expensive and I didn't eat a single thing that made me think it was worth the price. In fact, after snacking on nachos one afternoon, we both felt so icky and heavy that we didn't even attempt to eat dinner that night. The last night we were there, we decided to eat at the Italian place right by the main entrance, and one bottle of wine and an entry that we split ran us over $50. Honestly..not worth it. And what is with the price of wine in Mexico? Crazy.
Happy hour is from 11-1 only (at the inner pools) and 12-2 at the beach. Considering a daquiri costs $8 normally, this is the only time it's reasonable to order drinks here.
So do what we did: (and it's sneaky but smart). We went to the grocery store (which I can't remember the name of, but the taxi drivers know and it's a block in front of Walmart. Awesome place) and bought all our alcohol and mixers for super cheap. We packed an insulated shopping bag from the states - filled it with ice from the ice machine and took our drinks secretly to the beach and pools. We mixed, for example, rum and cokes in a coke bottle so it looked like soda. Then we saved any plastic cups (they serve the same ones from all the bars in the resort) and just refilled those from our supply. Super cheap and nobody really cared.

We rather like bargaining with beach vendors, but these ones are all hired by the Mayan complex and they work out of the beach flea market. You aren't going to be able to haggle too much with them, but they are fun in their own way. I lost my sunglasses in the waves and had to buy a new pair. Then we bought a personalized band to hold them on my head from one of the vendors. He was so nice and sat and talked to us while he made my name on the band, and we learned some useful spanish words.

The rooms are gorgeous and the housekeeping is amazing. We had a one bedroom that had the dipping pool on the deck, but it never got any sun and it was cold so we never really used it. Our view over the Santuarium was just fine. It let us know when the music was starting and time to get moving!! The walk to the taxis, etc is long if you aren't active. The beds are hard. REALLY hard. We never have a problem sleeping on vacations because we are active and tired at the end of the day, but these were really some of the most uncomfortable we found. Maybe it was the pillows? We took some spare ones out from the livingroom and they were a little better. Also: you can hear the neighbors just fine (or more accurately...they can hear YOU, if you know what I mean). Maybe it's the marble that bounces sound around. The doors slamming from the next door or across the hall units are quite audible as well. It's not horrible, but we put extra towels along the bottom of the doors connecting next door and the main door to the hallway. It helped a TON.

We also used the city bus to get into the Malecon which is fantastic and about 50 cents/person each way. FAR better than the $35 taxi ride you'd take. However, you have to walk alllll the way to the Sea Gardens and you can't do that through the resort. You have to take the street. It's a bit of a wait, but if you're saving money, the bus is the way to go. Make sure you look for "centro" and "DIRECTO" on the bus otherwise you'll be on that thing for about 2 hours. You'll know you found the right bus stop when there are more gringos than nationals.

We went through the presentation and we expected awful things. It wasn't so bad, really. They called me 3 times (in the morning) to make sure we were going and that was annoying, but not unexpected.
I didn't turn over my credit card and I stuck to my guns that I was NOT buying and there was nothing they could do to break me out of my current timeshare with another company. It took a solid 4 hours and sometimes it felt sketchy as we moved through 6 different people. But in the end, we kept our upgrade , we got a measly 10% discount on our bill and we never got bothered again. We never had plans to buy, so we both approached the presentation in a humorous way (let's see what pitches they'll try..) and we didn't have any other plans that day. Not a big deal.

I would honestly stay at this resort again. At one point in the presentation, they made us sign a promise (since we weren't buying) to not return again in 5 years which I found amusing. Are they really going to deny our business? Maybe they will..we'll try in Cancun or something :)

We enjoyed every moment of the pool, the beach (it wasn't easy to find a chair, but then again, this is January and maybe that's why) and the Santuarium. I wouldn't eat at any of the restaurants if I can avoid it unless you have a bunch of money to spare. The bellboys are great for suggestions on where to eat in town. We also spent a day in Bucerias which is a cute place but if you think the flea market in downtown Puerto Vallarta is bad...this place will drive you crazy. Also, look out for the guy who has a mirror on the ground pointing up under women's skirts. Make a game out of seeing if you can find him. He's there.
Bucerias is high pressure and small, so don't plan on a whole day. The food is great, though and it was worth the taxi trip.

I would return. I would love to bring the kids next time because they'd love the pools.

Room Tip: Buy your drinks at the grocery store and sneak them to the beach in soda bottles.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oakland, California
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2013

I read many of the tripadvisor reviews for the Grand Mayan & had a good idea of what to expect before I booked my room. Some of the bad things written about the Hotel are true, but the good far outweigh the bad if you can deal with the few negatives. I am not a timeshare owner, but rented someone elses 2 bedroom suite for a week through grandmayan.net during the second week of January 2013.

When you arrive at the Grand Mayan, you will need to give your luggage to the bellboys, walk from the parking lot over to the Santuarium (an open nightclub resort area) & take a shuttle to the entrance of the Hotel. This seemed like a minor inconvenience, but wasnt bad once you got used to it. There was also the option of walking the distance of about one block from the Santuarium to the Hotel if you preferred. The overall size of the resort seems overwhelming at first, but was easy to get oriented once you walked around a bit.

The line to check in wasnt bad & the overall process took about 15 or 20 minutes total. The timeshare sale was my biggest fear, since I had read many reviews about how awful it was & I knew to expect it. Once you finish with check in, they require you to meet with a salesperson to get your wrist bracelet, which serves as your room key. When we met with the salesperson, we were informed that since we are not timeshare holders, the presentation was optional. We politely listened to a few minutes of the benefits being offered if we agreed to the presentation, quickly declined & requested to cut the meeting short so we could go to our room. The salesperson was courteous & polite, gave us our wristbands & let us go. When we asked if it was necessary to wear the wristbands the whole time, she informed us we could take them off but we needed to keep them with us for identification & room access, which was reasonable. The sales staff persisted by calling us the following morning at about 8:30 am & even though I requested them not to call back again, they continued to call the next day. Since a daily early morning wake up call became very annoying after 2 days, my solution was to disconnect all of the phones in the room.

We rented a 2 bedroom suite which was very nice, but one of the rooms did have a very musty odor almost like sewage gas when we walked in. This seemed to be due to either the air conditioner or a plumbing chaseway access door that was in one of the bathrooms. Either way, our solution was to turn off the A/C, open all of the windows to let the room air out & keep the bathroom doors closed. Leaving the A/C off did'nt bother us much since the temperature was in the low 80's, but would have been a major inconvenience during the hot summer months. The beds are definitely hard as a rock, but we slept fine.

The grounds are very beautiful, with a nice open nightclub atmosphere at the Santuarium, many different swimming pools with plenty of open lawnchairs & sunbeds, pretty walkways, attractive landscaping & a nice beach nearby. The lazy river is fantastic & the waterslides & kids play area are great! There are lots of activities for kids & adults, plenty of places to explore & we never had a problem with any of the resort facilities. The service is excellent & the staff are very friendly. The housecleaning does a great job, there is lots of security, the bellboys & valet parking were all very professional.

The ongoing construction is good & bad. The good is that many new things are being built, the bad is that they start jackhammering at 9 am in the morning each day for about 3 hours. I am not sure why this couldnt have been postponed until later in the day at a hotel where people are trying to sleep in, but there are a few poor management decisions that became noticeable with the small details. I am going to give them the benefit of the doubt that these things are temporary & that more improvements are on the way, although between the sales phone calls & early jackhammering a pair of earplugs would have came in handy.

Since I knew not to expect an ocean front room, our view of the backside of the hotel was actually quite nice. We were overlooking the golf course, Santuarium & estuary, which looks like it will be very pretty when the construction is completed. You could also enjoy the sunsets facing the beach from a viewing window they had in the elevator lobbies.

We found the food to be average at the few resort restaurants we tried, so we decided to buy breakfast items at Walmart & eat dinner in Puerto Vallarta, which saved money & gave us an opportunity to enjoy more local fare. We had great meals at Melissas's, Los Adelitas, Victor's Place & El Set restaurants.

Since check out time was at 10 am in the morning, I decided to check out the night before to save time. They had given us a notice that early check out could be done between the hours of 6-8pm, but when I went to the front desk at 10 pm, they gladly took care of my check out the night before with no lines & presented me with a clear, accurate bill of my expenses. It was very convenient & I was pleased with the overall simplicity of the check in & check out process.

Overall, I enjoyed my stay at the Grand Mayan, made some great memories with my family & really had a great time. Knowing in advance of what negative things to expect from reading the tripadvisor reviews made my experience more relaxing. I would recommend the Grand Mayan to anyone who can tolerate the minor inconveniences that come along with the experience. We had a very nice vacation & I would gladly go back again in the future.

Room Tip: Disconnect your phone to avoid early morning wake up sales calls.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa, Canada
Top Contributor
72 reviews 72 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
64 helpful votes 64 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2013

It is nothing short of amazing how this resort has developed its natural resources into a spectacular landscaped garden with spectacular walkways and great views. The spaciousness of the suites and public areas contribute to providing a peaceful setting.
Service is impeccable - and the positive attitude by staff in all positions is genuine. The food atthe restaurants is well presented and very tasty, with prices that compare with high-end eateries in town. We particularly enjoyed the new Mexican restaurant that opened - Epazote.

The hotel has a great water park with lazy river and a wave pool and offers guests an opportunity to participate in the release of turtle hatchlings to the ocean in season. All great fun!

Suites either face the ocean or the golf course - ask for an ocean view, which also provides views of the sunset.

Room Tip: Ask for an ocean view. This is a timesahre resort - you will be approached to attend a presentation...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sacramento, California
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2013

I love this hotel. It is expensive and there are some extra fees when you leave, but it is worth it. The lazy river is my favorite attraction. I could easily stay there all day long. The wave pool is cool, but the water is not warm. However, it creates an amazing beach experience for children. The beds and lounge chairs the are located all along the pools are super comfy. The snack bars and restaurants are inexpensive compared to other hotels. There is a free club for children where they can engage in fun activities and crafts. The pool activities are also entertaining. The rooms are very clean and with lots of space. There is a big bath tub in the room and its own small pool where children can without worrying. The hotel has an overall elegant vibe. Musicians play in the lobby bar at night, and you can enjoy the music without having to purchase drinks. Did I mention that you can access all the mayan palace hotels? Well, yes you can! You can simply take the golf cart shuttle at the main entrance and they will give you a ride,or you can walk by the beach. The employees are nice and respectful.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Caledonia, Michigan
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2013

We spent the week of New Years at the Grand Mayan for 2012-2013, overall the facilities are great as are the staff and amenities. However, I would avoid the holiday season as they seemed extremely under staffed. Sometimes the wait for our meals at the resort restaurants was way too long and the reason tendered every time was that they did not have enough help. Really? It's the Holiday...hello! Reservations did not help either and usually there was still a long wait even with reservations. The location is good and the pool area is very nice. Just avoid the holidays, that's my advice!

Room Tip: Oceanside is best.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 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
    • 3 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.
Wellington, Florida
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2013

We recently spent our second visit at this resort in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico. It was a complete success.

The rooms are very well appointed, spacious and completely equipped. We found the state of presentation consistent throughout the entire resort, always very clean and crisply decorated.

The water park in the Grand Mayan is a great place to spend the day. Two wave pools (always cold), a lazy river (always pleasant) and a variety of pools for kids and adults. Some warm, some cool, and some cold. Great choice.

The chairs and sun beds are normally quickly reserved by towels and belongings, so if you are looking for a choice spot, you need to take a walk and reserve your place by around 8:15 in the morning.

The food on the resort is of good quality and there is a nice variety available without having to go too far. It is a little on the pricey side, but it is a resort so...

The only downside is in the Check in / Check out process. Both are bizarre, seem to be terribly inefficient and take an awfully long time. For whatever reason, high, beach view rooms never seem to be available when you check in at the reception desk. Strangely, when you get your wrist bands from the Timeshare people, and agree to take part in the presentation, you magically get switched to a high floor, beach view room.

The timeshare presentations take a minimum of 3-4 hours, you do get a breakfast, and the sales people are the stereotypical pressure sales people. This resort is known for the sales folks being a little on the aggressive side too. They have now started offering a 2000 peso room credit and 10% off any restaurant/bar bills for folks who take the presentation also, so if you have 3/4 hours to spend at one of those events, it can be worthwhile.

Room Tip: Insist on a high, beach facing room at the front desk, or agree to take the timeshare presentation a...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about The Grand Mayan Nuevo Vallarta

Address: Av Paseo de las Moras s/n | Fracc. Nautico Turistico, Nuevo Vallarta 63735, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Pacific Coast > Nayarit > Riviera Nayarit > Nuevo Vallarta
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#7 Luxury Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#8 Family Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#9 Top resorts Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#10 On the Beach Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#11 Romantic Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
Hotel Class:4.5 star — The Grand Mayan Nuevo Vallarta 4.5*
Also Known As:
Grand Mayan Nuevo Vallarta Hotel Nuevo Vallarta
Wyndham Nuevo Vallarta
Grand Mayan Resort Nuevo Vallarta
Grand Mayan Puerto Vallarta

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