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“Pure Relaxation”

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Garza Blanca Preserve, Resort & Spa
Ranked #14 of 124 Hotels in Puerto Vallarta
Certificate of Excellence
Chicago, Illinois
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Pure Relaxation”
Reviewed November 20, 2011

My husband and I stayed at Garza Blanca for 5 days last week (mid-November). This hotel is one of the most beautiful resorts I've ever seen and I can't think of a better place to visit if you are looking for a peaceful, relaxing vacation.

We arranged VIP transport through GB's concierge (Raquel) prior to our arrival in PV, and the instructions she emailed were perfect...we found our transportation quickly and easily, whisked past the time-share "shark-tank" in the airport, offered cold towels & water, and we were out of the airport on on our way to the resort in a snap. It was about a 30 minute drive to the hotel, through the hustle & bustle of the main streets of Puerto Vallarta, down a strip of highway, and suddenly we pulled into the main drive of the resort along a scenic stretch of road where the mountains meet the ocean.

A porter took our bags and brought us to the check-in desk, where we were greeted by a smiling and friendly young man who handled our check-in and gave us our all-inclusive bracelets. We were then each given a Cucumber Margarita (amazing!!) and escorted over to the Concierge, Raquel, who went over the details of the property, gave us some general information about Puerto Vallarta, explained the shuttle service (free transport to PV at 10am, 1pm, 4pm, 6pm & 8pm...with return service 45 minutes after each arrival - ie 10:45, 1:45, etc). She also gave us a map and and marked some points of interest, gave us a brochure about available tours along with a price sheet, and was quick to answer any questions, and stressed that if we had ANY questions or needed anything, don't hestitate to contact her or the other Concierge on staff.

Our porter then gave a us a quick tour of the IMMACULATE property....whoever landscaped this resort should be given an award. It is simply beautiful - lush and green with little orange Birds of Paradise plants scattered all around the property. There is music playing around the pool area - sometimes spa-like, sometimes "lite" reggae, sometimes spanish guitar...always perfect...combined with the water fountains in the pool and the crash of the waves from the beach.....I had arrived in Paradise.

Our porter brought us and our bags to our room (I wish I could remember his name, because he was so friendly), and gave us a quick tour of the room, showed us where the safe was and how to set it, and gave us a quick rundown on room-service.

For the next 5 days, were were in heaven...a perfect pool, fabulous service by the pool bar waiters (especially Jaime - he was great!!) & an amazing beach. There were always clean towels available, no "towel game" for chairs/umbrellas as they had PLENTY, sunscreen, games & non-motorized watersports available, and a number of FRIENDLY servers (we tip them even though it is supposed to be included- they work hard & deserve it!!). They kept our drinks refilled and were quick to offer suggestions for snacks (all of their ceviches were amazing - we loved the Txin Xic the best - Fish marninated in achiote - amazing!!) The Shrimp Fajitas are the best thing on the lunch menu - and I would argue the best thing to eat at the resort.

Which brings me to my ONLY disappointment, and the only reason that I didn't give Garza Blanca 5 stars...the food. Yes, Blanca Blue is an amazing restaurant with fabulous food - if you enjoy the "gourmet" experience. In fairness, we didn't eat from the regular Blanca menu, because it was Puerto Vallarta's Food & Wine festival so they had a guest chef with his special menu available. We ate there twice...and while his food was AMAZING, there simply wasn't enough. My Sea Bass entree was probably a 2 ounce fillet - smaller than HALF the size of a deck of cards. The flavors were phenomenal, but unfortunately, both nights were left hungry.

The only other option was the pool bar/grill - which remains open until 11:00 pm (it closes between 6 and 7 to change menus from lunch to dinner), but the menu is very limited. I can't understand why the pool restaurant doesn't serve some typical Mexican fare - simple Chicken Tacos or Pork Sopes would have been a welcome treat, but instead you are given a limited choice of small entrees that are good, but not great. Shrimp Fajitas were the best thing we ate, with the Club Sandwich being a distant second. The Guacamole & Ceviches were very good and made great snacks.

I would highly recommend using the free shuttle and getting some dinner in town...there are a million restaurants in Puerto Vallarta and it's less than 20 minutes from the hotel!!

We used room service a few times. Our food always arrived promptly and still hot - although the room service menu is identical to that of the pool bar/grill, so again the choices are limited. We reluctantly ordered a hamburger one evening (I've never had a good hamburger in Mexico but my husband was starving!!) and I'm sorry to say it tasted awful.

Breakfast was another problem - we ate at both Blanca Blue (which is open for breakfast - but no flip-flops, no bathing-suit coverups) and we had room service (these are your only two breakfast options) - both were hit-or-miss. My husband's room service steak & eggs were amazing the first day, then two days later we ordered the same at Blanca Blue and the eggs were undercooked with the whites still runny. My french toast was fabulous - but the chilaquiles were nothing more than leftover chips covered with warmed red chile sauce, and again, runny whites on the eggs (by runny I mean completely uncooked!). One morning the basket of sweet rolls was stale, another morning they were perfect & bakery fresh.

Our room was a Junior Suite, and it was amazing. Huge wrap-around balcony with a giant hot-tub, louge chair, hammock and table & chairs outside. Clean sheets, warm blankets, fluffy pillows - yes the bed was hard - as are almost all the beds in Mexico - I've come to expect it when I visit there!! Screened doors so you could listen to the ocean each night. Ceiling fan over the bed. Mini-Fridge & Coffee Maker (Bring coffee & filters - they charge $5 for each coffee pack you use after the first one - even as part of the all-inclusive option). The room was IMMACULATE. The maids came each day and left our room spotless - and we left her a tip each day as she more-than deserved it.

The drinks were great - and generous. Beware of those Cucumber Margaritas - they taste amazing but are dangerous when mixed with a hot sun - I had 3 with a bottle of water between each, and was lucky I had my husband to help me get back to the room to sleep them off!!!! No skimping on the alcohol on those!!!

This place is amazing - my only issue with it was the limited food menu. I'd suggest making that little pool bar/grill open for a casual breakfast, add some authentic mexican entrees to the lunch/dinner/room service menu (tamales would be a huge hit here) and maybe have a small convenience store on-site - things like chips/snacks, pain-relievers/bandaids/cortisone etc.

All in all, I'd go back to Garza Blanca in a heartbeat! Drinks & snacks alone at the pool/beach make the all-inclusive option a bargain, even if you choose to head to town for dinners. The staff is amazingly friendly and there's always someone around to offer you service with a smile. The grounds are beautiful and well-maintained. The rooms are spacious and immaculate. Limited dining options were my only negative.

My only warning is this is NOT a party atmosphere....if you're looking for entertainment, nightlife & belly-flop contests at the pool, this isn't your place!! This is a place to soak up the sun, relax under an umbrella, take a peaceful swim in the pool, and play in the thunderous waves...then head back to your room for a nap in a hammock and an after-dinner soak in a soothing hot-tub. Fabulously romantic for couples of all ages, nice atmosphere for families with younger children - but teens would probably get bored quickly if they're not into the beach!!

Great for a honeymoon....and once you're married, it's a great way to celebrate EVERY anniversary!!!!! I'm already looking at prices to go back when the snow is falling here in Chicago!!!!

Room Tip: If you're not planning to cook, opt for a Junior Suite - these are corner rooms with a wrap-arou...
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank LindaJoy72
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Park City, Utah
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed November 19, 2011

My husband and I just got back from a 8 day trip to the Garza Blanca Resort. We were able to get a great deal on a suite through Jetsetter, and we couldn't pass it up.

Plus Points: The resort's entry and pool area are gorgeous and the beach is one of the nicest along the PV bay. The rooms are spacious with a hammock on each deck, and a large kitchen. The staff is friendly and helpful and the bellmen were exceptional.

Minus Points: Construction noise is terrible at this resort, and will be ongoing for over 7 years. They are building many more towers and the noise is non-stop, all day: stone cutting saws, hammers, etc. for a large construction company. The restaurant is overpriced with small portions. The Somolier tasted our wine before we did and actually took quite a lot for herself. The spa was a mixed bag. My husband loved his massage and I couldn't wait for mine to be over. We did not like the bed, it was quite uncomfortable.

We did the time share tour as soon as we arrived, and we were glad as it gave us a discount for all of our food/drinks as well as a 250 Peso credit for food/tours.

I highly recommend a trip to the Zoo, just south of Garza Blanca in Mismayola. It was sensational. Also, the dune buggy trip was fun, but I would recommend the shorter version without the tourist stops. We took a boat from Boca de Tomatlon to Yulapa and loved that trip; we hiked out to a waterfall and enjoyed the beach scene there too. For restaurants, we recommend No Way Jose and Tacos Ponchos.

We rented a car from Gecko rentals, and that was easy and very helpful to have our own transportation. I would recommend that you get a non-new vehicle and try not to attract attention to yourself when driving. The Policia pulled us over twice, saying we were "speeding" when in fact they just wanted some cash from tourists. That was our only unfriendly encounter with the locals.

All in all, we had a nice trip and would certainly recommend both the location and PV in general.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Maren26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed November 19, 2011

We stayed here on a LivingSocial deal and it was incredible! The resort is out of a movie, the room had every ammenity you could ask for- jacuzzi tub and washer/dryer were used daily, and we could hear the waves from the comfort of the bed every night. The staff were friendly and we took advantage of the included drinks, sup and snorkeling. Daniel who worked pool side was great fun. The food was delicious and if you go Garza Blue- their veru gourmet restaurant, make sure to stop into the restroom and use the high tech toilet- it will make you giggle! And the spa sevice was a slice of heaven before we headed back to the grind.

  • Stayed November 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Heathssu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tulsa
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed November 18, 2011

The physical layout and the rooms are stunning, but this resort aspires to be a 5 star hotel, and it's not. Why? Mostly, the service. In mexico, generally the waiters think of themselves as professionals. At this hotel, the waiter seem to have the same mindset as the waiters in united states, just filling in until they get a better job. I was astounded
have a waiter try to take my plate before I was finished, and say the words I hate to hear " are you finished, or are you still working on that?" I might as well have been in a chain restaurant in the us! The food is very good, almost great, but they only have 3 days rotation of menus. As good as the food was, I got sick of eating the same thing over and over again. Room service was prompt, but it took 2 days to pick up the dirty dishes. The bar, bar selection and the bartenders were great. The beach is minimal, at best.

This hotel is physically stunning, and with the addition of an extensive menu and a more professional staff, it could be a 5 star. But as of now, it is not.

  • Stayed October 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank ilovemexic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed November 14, 2011

Our stay was awesome. The resort was beautiful. The overall service was great with one exception. The service was a little slow when we called from the room for something, or it was never addressed. But it was anything major.
I would to back in a second. I am missing my pool side mimosas right now!

  • Stayed November 2011
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank LisaCordon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ny
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed November 13, 2011

was here last winter. it was brand new. big rooms\apt. nice pool\beach. great service!!!!!!!!!

Room Tip: get the full kitchen
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  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank NyMmb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed November 13, 2011

We visited in October and I had high expectations given the price and reviews. I have to say it was one of the most disappointing trips I have ever made at a high end resort. While I understand that nothing in life is perfect, it is all about how you handle things. This siw here Garza Blanca failed.

Room - We had a 3 bedroom penthouse - the views are gorgeous. When we arrived, the outdoor hot tub was 60 degrees it would not warm up so we called the front desk. Maintenance arrived and fixed it. 3 hours later, it was 62 degrees. I called maintenance twice more before it finally worked. I was also told they ussually have it warm nd ready to go when guests arrive. Not for us. Now the tv's. We had 4 tv's in the penthouse. Only one remote control was in the room(theme many other mentioned at the resort). It took 5 phone alls over two days to get additional remotes - in addition, one tv in my son's room was not working(the cable line was cut - that took 2 days to repair) and the tv in our room was not connected to the dvd player(not a big deal but again this is an "exclusive" resort). Our bathroom had no soap or shampoo - we had to ask and received a tiny bar, flooded on the third day we were there nd when we went to give our sun a bath in the tub in our room, dirty water came out of the tubs jacuzzi jets(end of bath).

Room Service - Sloooooow. One evening we called for room servie and they said it would be 20 minutes. That tunred into 45 and when I called they said they were behind and it would be there in 40 minutes. When I said it had already been 45 minutes, there was a pause. They said it would be another 15 minutes which turned into 30 more. When the food arrived, it was cold and my order was not correct(another constant theme at the resort). I gave up at that point.

Restauarants - There is one in door and one pool restaurant. We ate breakfast every day at the Blanca Blue(indoor) and the staff was nice. But, the wait was ridiculous and there were ants constantly on the table(outdoor patio). There were 2 occasions where my daughter's order was incorrect(the same morning) and while I kept asking where the order was, it took 1 hour and 20 minutes to get it out. The pool br was terrible. Every day, it took a MINIMUM of one hour to get your food. And to make matters worse, they were constantly out of pizza and other items. How can that be? There were three days we were there they did not have pizza. One day we waited 1 hour and 30 minutes to get our food - this was unacceptable. I saw others complain as well. On the night of the wedding, we went to the Blanca Blue(only other restaurant other than pool) to fnd out they were closed due to the wedding that reserved it that night. How can you not tell guests when they check in that the only restaurant open at night will be closed on a particular night. Had they done that, we could have made other plans. Not the case.

Outdoor pools and beach - the pools are beautiful as is the beach. It is a very nice location and also very clean. My only criticism was that they always seemed to be out of towels and there was a long wait to get them.

Overall, the staff is very nice but I really believe that they did a poor job of addressing the issues. When I was leaving, I was told by the manager they would be getting back to me to try to make it right. That was on 10/24. I gave them my e-mail and contact information but never heard back. A very disappointing exprience indeed.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank IVUSDR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Garza Blanca Preserve, Resort & Spa

Property: Garza Blanca Preserve, Resort & Spa
Address: Km 7.5 a Barra de Navidad, Puerto Vallarta 48390, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Jalisco > Puerto Vallarta
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#5 Family Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#9 Business Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#10 Spa Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#10 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#11 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#12 Luxury Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Garza Blanca Preserve, Resort & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 165
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Spectacularly flanked by the vibrant blue waters of the Pacific Ocean and the verdanant tropical forests of the Sierra Madre mountains, Garza Blanca Preserve Resort & Spa nestles gracefully just minutes south of historic Puerto Vallarta, one of Mexico's most dynamic and sophisticated vacation destinations.All Suites feature in-style decor that include marble floors, granite countertops, private terraces, whirlpool tubs and artisan in room amenities.Our ultra-chic gourmet restaurant is one of Puerto Vallarta's most sophisticated and premier dining options, catering breathtaking ocean views, a stylish lounge, a 230 label award-winning wine cellar, and a selection of unique contemporary dishes tailored to scintillate your senses. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Garza Blanca Preserve, Resort And Spa
Garza Blanca Preserve Hotel Puerto Vallarta

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