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.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- We invite you to visit our all-inclusive Resort located in Nuevo Vallarta, where first-class services come together with exquisite dining, entertainment for the entire family, and an excellent location just a stone's throw away from all the main attractions. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Samba Vallarta All Inclusive Hotel Nuevo Vallarta
- Samba Vallarta Pueblo Bonito
- Hotel Samba Vallarta
- Samba Vallarta Hotel