My wife and I just returned from a week (March 14th – 21st) at the Royal Decameron. We had a great time! We loved the property. The grounds were beautiful and we have dozens of pictures of nothing but vegetation. Most of what I have to say echoes the comments and reviews I’ve read on Travel Advisor (thanks to everyone for all the accurate information), but I’ll say it anyway. I’ll try not to be too long-winded, but here are some comments divided into groups:
Our room was simple, but clean and quite large. The bed was very, very firm and not particularly comfortable, but we were usually so tired at the end of the day that we zonked out anyway. The housekeeping service was good, though we did have to leave a note after a day or two asking for bottles of water. Water was left in our room every day after that. We were in building four, which suited us just right. There was very little noise and we were close to a buffet, bars, the lobby and not too far from the beach or pools.
The beach was great. I’ve never been to Mexico before, so I can’t really compare the beach to other places, but we walked the beach to Bucerias and found the RDC’s beach to be nicer than pretty much any spot along the way. Similarly, we traveled along the coast near Nuevo Vallarta and Puerta Vallarta a couple of times and didn’t see any beaches that looked any better to us. In fact, the water at the RDC’s beach looked much, much cleaner than the beaches in Nuevo and PV. There were lots of chairs, even though way too many inconsiderate people heap their stuff on a chair and leave it empty for the next four hours. That said, we never went without chairs in the shade of a palapa when we wanted them. The water was fairly warm and the (attempted) boogie boarding was a blast. Again, in our experience there were plenty of boards to go around and we never waited.
The one complaint I’ve read time and again about this resort is that the food isn’t very good. In our experience, most of the time this was not the case. We ate at the buffet near our room, I can’t remember the name, but it was very near the smaller lobby where buildings 4, 5 and 6 check out and where there are two internet terminals. We ate at the other buffet once, but this meal wasn’t very good. It could have been an off day though, because for the most part the buffets were quite acceptable. The a la carte restaurants we ate at, however, were very good. We ate at the Piccolo twice and at the Rodizio once. The Piccolo is fairly standard Italian fair, but good. The setting is lovely, but if it’s only two of you for dinner, get there early or you’ll have to share a table for four. However, we shared a table our first time there, and we met a very nice couple and drank wine and talked until they closed the restaurant. I’ve read several complaints about the Rodizio, particularly that it isn’t really a steakhouse. This is certainly true – it’s not a steakhouse, but it is no less good for that. We loved this place. The setting is great and the food was very good. But if you don’t like meat, and lots of it, this is NOT the place for you. We had no problem getting reservations for either place and never waited in line to do so. During the day, the Rodizio doubles as a snack bar serving pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers, nachos, etc. It’s a good place to catch some quick, but not gourmet junk food.
Plentiful. The bartenders were generally great and more than generous in pouring drinks, whether you wanted strength or volume. When I ordered drinks, I was usually asked how many I wanted. The only bad drink I got was from the disco, where I got margueritas with virtually no tequila. But, over the course of a week, a couple lousy drinks is pretty darn good I’d say. I very rarely waited more than thirty seconds for a drink and the bartenders were very friendly.
We thought the entertainment was good. It was cheesy, but that was one of its primary virtues. There was music or karaoke or something going on every night by the activities pool and the nightly shows (we saw three) outside the disco were very funny. Ramona is such a star (you’ll see what I mean ;)! All the entertainment staff were very good and a lot of fun. There didn’t seem to be much in the way of night life on the resort. It got pretty quiet after about ten, so if you’re looking for an all night party, this may not be the best place for you.
Activities and excursions
Definitely go off the resort. Bucerias is a great little town. We went horseback riding with Charlie and saw much of the town. It was one of the highlights of our trip. Just head down the beach a little (in the opposite direction of Bucerias) and you’ll find Raoul, Charlie and the gang with their horses. Raoul asked for $60 for two of us, but pretty quickly agreed to 500 pesos, so I probably paid a little too much. ;) Whatever the case, it was well worth it.
Take the public bus to Puerta Vallarta. It is really easy, cheap and can even be kind of an adventure. It’s a 22 dollar cab ride or a 20 pesos bus ride.
We booked two tours through Scott’s Tours (I highly recommend using them if you’re going. They saved us a lot of money compared to the tours on offer at the resort. Just email him ahead of time and he’ll hook you up): We went to Yelapa on the Princessa Yelapa. It was great!! Breakfast, lunch, open bar, and a guided walk up the falls for 30 or 35 dollars a person. Our guide Dennis was super awesome! Be sure to lay a good tip on these guys – they earn it!
Our other trip was the highly acclaimed Rhythms of the Night. The dinner was great, the setting was absolutely spectacular, and the show was amazing. One caveat – the ride there was on a catamaran (with Vallarta Adventures) and was very, very rough. It could have just been the day, but if you’re prone to sea sickness, I’d think long and hard about this excursion. The boat we were on had many people that were very sick; so much so that they couldn’t even enjoy the lovely dinner (I, however, enjoyed it very much).
Ok, I already wrote way more than I intended. Can you tell we had a great time? Check out the markets in Bucerias, but do be careful. We were asked to pay 380 pesos for things we saw for 70 pesos in PV. Nearly everyone we bartered with, however, was very friendly and (I think) we got some pretty good deals. Make sure you travel a little past the main market area and check out the Huichol art store. It’s amazing art.
Almost done….A couple of quick tips
• The HSBC bank is pretty close, but there is a bank just a block or so from the resort entrance (next to the Oxxo) that we used a few times. There is also a machine in the Oxxo and one just outside the main entrance. Both of these are swipe style machines, so you don’t have to worry about losing your card. I used these and paid reasonable fees (a few dollars).
• The internet café just outside the resort (next to the ATM) is cheaper than in the resort and we never had to wait.
• Don’t sit near the front or on an aisle if you don’t want to participate in the show! Or, alternatively, sit there if you do!! It looked like a lot of fun (for somebody else!)
• When you get off the plane, clear customs and walk through first set of glass doors DO NOT STOP AND TALK TO THESE PEOPLE. They are timeshare sharks and will lie to you, saying you have to check in with them. Put your head down, pass them by and go through the next set of doors – there you will find your tour rep or taxis.
• Before leaving, I decided not to load up on US dollars, as it seems quite sensible to use local currency for things like tipping. In theory, this is a great idea, but it was like pulling teeth trying to get small bills and coins (ten and twenty pesos) for tipping. There were times when I wanted to tip, but couldn’t because I had a wallet full of 100 or 200 peso bills that I couldn’t break without buying something I didn’t want. Next time, I’ll be bringing a bundle of American singles.
That’s my essay. We loved the resort and would definitely think about going back – the resort, the town, and everything were great. Adios!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Royal Decameron Complex composed of three hotel units: Flamingos, Tropical and Royal, is located 20 minutes from Puerto Vallarta International Airport on the most exciting and extensive beach of the beautiful Bay of Banderas in the typical Mexican town of Bucerias in Riviera Nayarit. The colorful architecture of the Royal Decameron Complex offers 5 swimming pools, 4 of which are suitable for children, and long stretch of beach where you can enjoy different activities, non-motorized water sports and bar services. You can also enjoy a large number of buffet and a la carte options with specialized restaurants including: JAP JAP, Wok, MexicanoFusion, Piccolo and Steak House, among others. We also offer 6 bars along the beach and beside the swimming pools. The Royal Decameron Complex also has other installations like the Vallarta disco, 3 tennis courts, one soccer pitch and a fun Kids Club. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Royal Decameron Vallarta
- Royal Decameron Hotel
- Royal Decameron Puerto Vallarta Bucerias
- Royal Decameron Mexico
- Royal Decameron Puerto Vallarta Mexico
- Royal Decameron Complex Puerto Vallarta
- Royal De Cameron
- Royal Decameron Nuevo Vallarta
- Royal Decameron Puerto Vallarta Hotel
- Puerto Vallarta Royal Decameron