We stayed at Villa La Estancia (VLE) the first of March, 2011. We booked through Sniqueaway and got a great deal. We also went with the All-Inclusive because we got a great deal on that also. It is a beautiful resort. I will try to mention a few things that other people haven’t mentioned. You have a wonderful experience when you first get there with the whole hand purifying ritual. They do not have a check-in desk. You get to sit on beautiful leather couches and they come and take care of you there. It was completely different than anything I’ve experienced. They give you ice tea to sip on. You also sign a “Code of Conduct” piece of paper. It is a very quiet and high-class resort, so I can understand why they would have us do that. The resort pretty much closes down during the evening. There is no loud music playing. You don’t hear the restaurant noise. Our room was above the restaurant and we didn’t hear anything. The grounds were beautifully kept. It reminded me of Hawaii. In the public bathrooms, there were no paper towels. There were small hand towels rolled up really pretty in a basket. That was cool. It seems like this resort is more for people who own the rooms, so there aren’t a lot of people here, which I completely love. By Thursday night, the restaurant was a little more full, but still not a problem in getting a table.
Rooms: When we got up to our one bedroom suite, there is a gate that you have to unlock and walk into the foyer and then the deluxe room is on one side and the one bedroom suite is on the other side. The suite is spectacular. You do not have a private balcony like it says on their website. You do if there is no one staying in the deluxe room next to you. We were fortunate enough that no one was staying in the room next to us, so we had the entire balcony to ourselves. If you were to book a two bedroom suite, they combine these two rooms together, hence the reason the balcony isn’t separated. It was great having the filtered ice & water in the refrigerator door. I am a person that likes to have water next to me at night, so I didn’t have to worry about getting a bottle of water before we went up to the room. The beds are hard, but once you got in bed I didn’t feel it at all. I slept great. You have the option to either turn the air conditioner or the fan on in the rooms. We opted for the fan because it got a little cool at night. With the all-inclusive plan, you get free wi-fi in your room. It worked great. The only issues we had with the rooms is that the room key seldom worked the first, second or even third time on both locks, so it was quite a pain to keep trying and your hands were full of things from being by the pool. A few other guests complained about this also, so apparently it is a problem. I went down and traded my key out, but it still didn’t work. The tv in the bedroom didn’t have the American cable channels on it, just regular Spanish stations, but the tv in the living room did, so we just watched CNN or the Today show in the living room. Maybe it was something that could have been fixed, I don’t know. You have a DVD player hooked up to both tvs. Found out that they added $3.50 to your room each day for services rendered by the maid, grounds keeper, etc. You could ask that it not be put on your credit card if you didn’t find the service satisfactory, but who’s going to do that? I didn’t like that though. That’s why a person pays this much to stay at a nice resort. That should all be part of the cost of the room.
Restaurant: There are two restaurants at the resort – La Casona and La Parrilla. La Casona for breakfast and dinner and La Parrilla for lunch. The food was absolutely wonderful at La Casona. The smoothies were sooooo good for breakfast. The fruit tray was wonderful. More than enough fruit for two people. If you want your eggs runny, you may need to specify that because when we asked for soft eggs, they were pretty much cooked through. For dinner I would strongly suggest the Caesar salad with the lobster medallions. It was so good! Steak night was wonderful. My ribeye was very good. The seasonings were perfect and they cooked it exactly how I wanted it. Very tender. The rack of lamb was also very good. The lobster bisque needed more lobster added to it. The French onion soup was really good. Ask what their catch of the day is. If it is sea bass, order it! They cook it just right and the spices added to it make it even more perfect. La Parrilla was kind of hit and miss. The chips, salsa and guacamole were great. The fish tacos were good but needed more sauce on it. The breaded shrimp with spicy peanut sauce was really, really good. The quesadilla was too dry. The shrimp cocktail was great. You got probably 24 shrimp. What we didn’t like about the all-inclusive was that you had to sign your bill every time you order something. This seems ridiculous to me. We stayed at the Barcelo last year and it was all-inclusive and we never had to sign for anything. So, when you want to leave your table, you couldn’t because you needed to wait for your bill. If you wanted to have food brought up to your room there was a 15% gratuity added to your bill that was put on your credit card at the end of the stay. The service was great at La Casona, but not so good at La Parrilla. We also didn’t like the fact that breakfast wasn’t buffet. It took anywhere from an hour to 1 ½ hours for breakfast. If they had buffet, you could be in and out of there in a half hour. It seemed like our entire morning was wasted. Dinner usually took 1 ½ hours, but that was ok because you didn’t really need to be anywhere. Tipping was confusing. It says in the paperwork that the tipping is already added into the cost of the bill – (someone either told us or I read it someplace that it was 5%), but if we wanted to tip more we could. The prices were so unbelievably high that I felt like the guys were actually getting 15 or 20% tip if they were to charge the right amount for the food and drinks. Usually you do not pay $6.00 for a Corona Light in a can. Not that we paid for any of it because we were all-inclusive, but it does show the amount on your bill. I did tip some of the guys at the end of the stay because they were great. They said they had to share it with everyone else and I was ok with that, but I gave it to the people who helped us the most. A lot of people were confused about the tipping. The drinks were great! They would fill the glass up 2/3’s of the way with tequila! Some top shelf alcohol was included in the all-inclusive, but some were not. Patron was not included in the tequila, but Grey Goose was in the vodka. We got a really good deal on the all-inclusive, so I don’t know what the regular price is for that. I don’t think I would have done the all-inclusive if I would have had to pay more than what I did.
Pool: The pool was wonderful! I could live at the pool. It was warm all the time. I would say maybe 80 degrees. It was wonderful to go sit at the swim up bar because it was so warm and then you also got great service. They have a pool concierge there who helps you find your perfect pool chair and then they set your towels up for you. One towel is draped over your chair like you normally would and then they have another towel that is rolled up and hangs from the top so you have a pillow for your head. It was great! It was a little cool there the first day, and it was really chilly in the chairs close to the beach and in the area of the lower pool. So we found the area up around the higher pool (behind the pool bar) is definitely warmer area to suntan. Never a problem in finding a chair or even a table to go with your chair. There are 4 hot tubs. When you look out toward the beach, the two on the left are cooler hot tubs and the two on the right are warmer hot tubs. Just depends on what you want to sit in. There are towels rolled up and sitting by each hot tub, so you don’t have to worry about taking the towel from your chair. The hot tubs close down at 8:00 pm I think. You can also sit on chairs down on the beach. We didn’t do that, so I don’t know what that experience was like. I do know you get drink & restaurant service there.
Spa/Gym: These two places were amazing! The gym has about 4 or 5 treadmills, 4 elliptical units, 3 bikes and a complete set of workout machines. All the equipment is in great condition. There is a trainer there who will work with you if you want to. If you are wondering what the green drink is when you walk in the door, it taste like mint tea. The spa could beat almost any spa in the US. The building is beautiful inside. The Tatewari Spa Experience is great. Make sure you go in the aroma therapy steam room and do the waterfall rinse. It hits your back and neck and is so relaxing. And of course sit in the hot tub and put the cucumbers (sitting next to the tub) on your eyes. This experience comes free with all-inclusive. One person also receives the choice of three different 30 minute services. I chose the Leg & Foot massage. Oh my gosh!!! It was wonderful. Lillian was great. You have your own locker to put things in with your own key. They give you a robe and I think they were suppose to give us sandals because they asked for my shoe size, but I never got them. That was ok though. We wanted to do this each day, but since breakfast took so long each day, and then we spent the rest of the day at the pool, we only went once. People who work at the spa usually go around the pool and offer people free 15 minute massages to try to sell their services. It is fairly reasonable for a massage. The rooms that they put you in to do the massages are beautiful and very, very relaxing. If we would have stayed longer, I probably would have done a massage.
My overall experience of the resort is that I would come back for the wonderful food at La Casona, the awesome gym, the warm pool and the wonderful, relaxing spa. Why I wouldn’t come back is because of having to sign for the check each time, the fact that there wasn’t a buffet for breakfast, the key issue and the fact that $3.50 was added each day for tips. Unless I get another really, really good deal like I did, I probably won’t be back. I’ll go back to Barcelo in Mismaloya.
- Also Known As:
- Villa La Estancia Hotel
- Villa La Estancia Hotel Nuevo Vallarta
- Hotel La Estancia
- Resort La Estancia
- Villa La Estancia Nuevo Vallarta
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