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“Large rooms with a boutique resort feel... but not for long...”

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Garza Blanca Preserve, Resort & Spa
Ranked #14 of 124 Hotels in Puerto Vallarta
Certificate of Excellence
Seattle, Washington
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Large rooms with a boutique resort feel... but not for long...”
Reviewed January 29, 2012

We loved our 7 night stay here over Christmas and the New Year.This was our first time at Garza Blanca and to Puerto Vallarta. Here are some highlights from our trip.

1. Airport Tax - The airport is a crazy mess, prior to coming we arranged a taxi from the airport to the hotel and couldn't quite figure out what that meant. As soon as we cleared customs with our bags we were bombarded by the time share sales people who I think were the "arranged" taxis. After trying to be sold a Rythms of the Night tour, whale watching, zip lines, etc. Edwardo finally arranged a car to take us to the hotel. He told us that he'd meet us at the hotel the following day for a VIP breakfast and sales tour of the hotel. We said ok because we'd get discounts on all charges to our room and a discount at the spa if we opted for the tour and breakfast. (more later) As far as the taxi, it is about a 30 min drive to the hotel. I think next time we'd try to dodge all the sales people and catch our own cab to avoid the annoying sales pitch.

2. Welcome margaritas welcomed us - thank you!

3. Room - gorg. We stayed in a Prime Studio or Junior Suite - I think they call it two different things. Loved our room so much. We had plenty of space for a week and a beautiful wrap around terrace to watch the sunset and soak in our own private tub. The terrace was the best part. Hot tub, table (where we ate breakfast every morning), hamock and a lounge chair. Highly recommend this room, as we saw the others during our sales tour and still think ours was the best.

4. Pool - the pool is great, we stayed at probably one of the busiest times so we had to get up early every morning to save a good spot, but it never really got that crowded. Wish I was at the pool right now. This is not an adult only resort so expect children to be playing in the pool.

5. Spa - we went to the spa for a couples deep tissue massage and it was great. We were the only ones there and had a wonderful experience. Recommend checking out the spa area - I think you can use the steam room, sanua, etc even if you don't have an appointment.

6. Shuttle service to downtown - do this! It costs about 100 pesos to get to downtown and the shuttle is free! You just need to call and arrange.

7. Beach - The beach is small but not private. If you sit down there be prepared for the locals selling you hats, blankets, etc. You can use the kayaks and paddle boards for free. We ended up taking the kayaks and going over to Los Arcos - it is a long trek but neat to check otu.

8. Restaurants at hotel/Grocery store - We ordered room service every morning and it cost us $25 - super cheap. The food is good but after a week we were bored with the room service menu. The restaurant at the pool is good, the usual mexican pool food and service - you will wait awhile to get your food. Blance Blue is very good, definitely check out but I'd advise to not do the all inclusive. There are plenty of great, affordable restaurants in town. But do check out Blanca Blue once, convenient and outstanding cuisine. We wanted to go to a grocery store to stock up on wine, beer and snack food at the begining of our trip. We ended up just eating at the hotel or going into town all week. But if you are seeking a grocery store I do beleive there is one in the Zona Romantica.

9. Sales service - Ok, here is the one down fall of this place and I am still bitter about it. I read before coming to not get trapped in the sales tour and we were roped in at the airport when they offered the discounts on the room charges and spa charges. Edwardo never showed up for our tour so some lady from the sales center took us for the tour. We ended up on a 3 hour sales presentation, not 75 minutes like they disclose. It is a long tour. The property is beatiful and they plan on building up the hill to become a mega resort - beware. It won't be as small as it is now - that is if they have the money to keep to developing, we didn't the crane move once while we were there but they could have been on holiday. Anyhow, we aren't in the place in our life right now to go through a time share so we said no after our long 3 hour presentation. Hey atleast we got the discounts on the spa and room charges... well that was not the case when we checked out! I guess we were suppose to get a card of some sort that we needed to use when charging things to the room and at the spa. So at the time of check out they would offer us the discount. Basically the lady forgot to give us the card and she somehow "quit" the day before so we couldn't even validate that we went on the tour. SHADY. DO NOT DO THE SALES PRESENTATION!

10. Downtown Restaurants and activities - Here are some places to check out while you are in town: El Bruya - great authentic mexican food, La Palapa - fabulous cuisine on the beach, try to catch the sunset there, Langostinos - good place for a drink on the beach but beware of the beach "sales," Trio - outstanding food, must go, River Cafe - go here for Breakfast and watch for iguanas., Unique ATV tours - we did the dune buggy tour and it was ok, the 4x4 was the more popular tour to check out, fun experience to check out. Zona Romantica is a cute place you have to check out, loved it!

Room Tip: Junior Suite!
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
12 Thank Jen Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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cincinnati
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed January 28, 2012

My wife and I travel a lot. We have four kids. When we travel without the kids, we do like to stay in nicest places possible. This place is incredible. The jungle/mountains literally begin 10 feet behind the place, then this incredible well laid out resort is tucked just behind a white sand beach (most beaches in Mexico are golden/brown--this is white and nice).
I own my own business and we are very sucessful due to the attention to detail and friendliness of the staff. People come to my business and we make them feel good. So, by my first day at Garza Blanca, I realized how many 100 other things I get to bring back and speak with my already wonderful staff of how we can even improve---that is how great and accomodating this staff is.
I read a comment below where someone said it was almost "eery/spooky" that if you mentioned "one thing that you needed, or could be better", that someone popped right up and was there to serve you. I do not consider that "spooky". I consider that TOP NOTCH service. The Staff's main focus is accomodating you!! For some people, if you are not used to this type of service, it may seem "overboard". For me, a guy that runs his own business with many employee's, and is raising a family of 4 wonderful children---that is exactly what I like when I want to go on a fun and relaxing vacation--I should stress "relaxing" because that is what this place is about. And, hopefully this helps--I am only in my thirties (late thirties). I am not an "oldtimer". Everything is brand new and perfect--I really mean that too. So spacious. And the Food---I can not believe some of the comments below. I've been on top notch cruises and I know what "all inclusive/buffet" type food is. This is not it at all. We always go to 5-star resterauntes, and my wife and I both agreed that the food both by the pool and the most incredible blanca blue resteraunte could serve the best food we've ever had--the food is one of the things that makes this place--besides the scenery, the staff, the rooms--really, this place couldn't be more perfect. We like it soo much that when we go back to the states, we are thinking about bringing our 4 kids with us (10-15 years old) so they can experience something this nice just once--i know it will be pricey to bring an entire family, but I really feel bad being somewhere so nice and tropical (like from a movie with the jungle and beach and everything) without them :( Make sure you get the all-Inclusive. That way you can enjoy so much (room service, both resterauntes, drinks, food) without having to constantly worry about the costs--just get it out of the way upfront--trust me, it makes it 100x more relaxing. Also, downtown Vallarta is like no other mexican city. It's so fun and nice, and soo much to see and do. It's not touristy--it keeps it's Mexican charm with the cobblestone streets, but there is shop after shop after shop. All the cafe's and resterauntes along the beach, all the shops nesteled right at the foot of the mountains, but just blocks before the beach--it couldn't be scripted any better and I mean that.
Oh yeah, it doesn't hurt either that we came in January. 82 and sunny everyday, and 65 and somewhat cool every night--PERFECT! I hear it does get pretty hot and humid here in the summer months.

Room Tip: Go for the one bedroom--you get a hottub on your balcony. When we got here, they said they gave us...
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank 4girlssoccer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Memphis, Tennessee
Level 6 Contributor
107 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
Reviewed January 26, 2012

Gorgeous property. Absolute luxury with architecture framing every breathtaking view. Our suite had an ocean view - all of them do. Staff was so very friendly and helpful. The meals at poolside and Blanca Blue were delightful. Since I'm a ceviche nut I enjoyed the variety at the pool. Acapulco tuna was my fave. And the cucumber mojitos were great! Dinners at Blanca Blue were divine. Loved their beet carpacio and the hamacha. Did a little stand up paddle boarding and took a few days trips into town and on a canopy zip-line tour. Took advantage of their spa. We had the Living Social deal. Very nice holiday.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Suzanne V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed January 24, 2012

My girlfriend and I had the most wonderful 5 night stay at Garza Blanca. many of the other reviews complain about the construction noise across the street. Yes it is there but not so bad that it bothered either ofus. If you are looking for total peace and quiet with no external noise of any kind....... good luck, I have never found that place. The Garza Blanca is absolutely worth it!!!
First let me talk about what I did not like..... OK I am done

Let me HIGHLY reccomend the all inclusive. book it with your room online. I did it thru expedia but you will find it everywhere. The food and drinks are expensive. The all inclusive allows you to eat and drink to your hearts delight. You get to eat at the main restaurant and order off the menu. without the all inclusive, Breakfast will run you about $40 us for 2 without alcohol. Lunch and drinks by the pool will easaly run $90 for 2 and dinner will run 100-200 for two depeding on what you drink. so 300 a day easy without the all inclusive if you eat and drink at the resort. the all inclusive cost me 120 a day for the two of us!!! DO THE ALL INCUSIVE!!!!

Now for what I liked:
The rooms are fantastic. We stayed in a one bedroom and loved it. I got a chance to see the studio suites and they were great too. All rooms face the ocean and they all have a big comfy hamock for snoozing. The views from the balcony are incredible! the ocean is right in fromt of you!!! The pool area is super nice and clean. plenty of lounge chairs and umbrellas but if you want shade you may be moving around alot. The service at the pool was good... not great but good. You did have to flag down a server to get service but it was not too bad.
The Food was really good. We live in Chicago and dine out alot. I know good food whenI eat it. This place has realy good food. No bufets... all off the menu and ita all great. In my opinion this place would be awarded a Michelin star... and I have eated at many Michelin star resaurants in the US and Europe. The drinks are top shelf and very tasty... tyry the Garza Blue, its delicious!
The pool was a little cold but great to cool off from the sun.
They have a free shuttle to downtown 4 times a day. very nice. a cab back costs 100 pesos or about 7 US.
everyone was remakably nice and attentive. Service at the resaurant was perfect. Its not the rushed service many are used to in the US.... its nicely paced vacation service. Take your time and relax!!! you are on vacation!!!!!
I would be happy to answer any questions anyone might have... I loved this place and will go back again soon. I am NOT a fake... I am a real traveller and only write the truth. trust it.

Room Tip: All the rooms have an ocean view. The studio suites are great.. they have the same huge balcony as t...
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank flyme123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Level 3 Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
Reviewed January 20, 2012

My husband and I went to Garza Blanca in August though a deal we found on Luxury Link.

The room was spacious, new, and clean. You wouldn't be able to find a single thing wrong with it, it was in pristine condition. The view of the ocean from the view was wonderful.

We had the all inclusive plan. We opted to have room service bring breakfast to the room, lunch at the pool, and dinner at the beautiful restaurant. The food was mediocre, but for an all-inclusive the choices were plentiful. It was much better than the usual buffet you'd receive. The resturant at Garza Blanca is gorgeous and our dinners were always a relaxing 3 hour affair. It made our evenings.

The staff was very friendly and accomodating . . . however, during our stay, but we felt like we were being watched- perhaps it was the lack of patronage during our stay (we counted 10 other people). We were called almost every day, and the second you'd speak a word about something amis (whether it was wanting a drink or discussing our ride back to the airport) a member of staff would suddenly appear. A little creepy.

The pool is lovely and the towels were plentiful. There are books and sun cream available as well. Yes, there was construction noise, and the resort tried to drown it out with music.

The beach however leaves a lot to be desired, however I find this with most of Mexico. It wasn't the cleanest water, and it was very small. The resort has masks and boards etc, that you can use. It's not exactly an area you'd snorkel in or want to wade in. Garza Blanca is definitely more of a pool person's resort.

My husband and I also had two massages. They were lovely. All and all, I enjoyed our stay. I'd say it's a 5 star resort, in a 2 star location, however, I'm a beach person and I love to snorkel. If you love to lay by the pool, this place is great.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank nicahan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mexico
Level 4 Contributor
23 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed January 20, 2012

Well, the setting; the pools; the 'condos' are fabulous. But this is Not a well-managed property. Our main gripe is this: I rented a double unit, and it is gorgeous. Stayed 4 nights. Thought we'd do some of our own cooking & enjoy eating out on the patio. Why bother installing a Full kitchen; provide oven mitts but no pans for putting anything in the oven??? 3 forks?? 2 knives?? And this unit has 3 Plush bedrooms for 6?? Sitting by the coffee pot was coffee & 1 filter. Maid came each day but didn't leave any more filter/coffee. 'Oh, you must Pay for more'. Had I known that, I would have stopped by buy elsewhere. Already paid huge price to stay there. Worst thing: staff CONSTANTLY let themselves in WITHOUT knocking!!!! My friend & I could never relax due to this. We'd be in bed around 10; and suddenly, in walks the maid to 'turn down the beds' at 10:30!!!!! Made me sooooo mad. Complaining did not work. Very disappointing to us. Toured this property the year before & we noted it is not well managed. Such a shame.

Room Tip: The end units have bigger balconies & hot tubs.
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
4 Thank MissCarmelita
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tucson, Arizona
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed January 18, 2012

The setting is beautiful and the pool and pool service is attentive. The rooms are gorgeous and listening to the waves pounding against the shore is relaxing. However, there are things to be aware of. There was no sense of privacy in the unit. Room maids would show up at 10:15 to turn down the beds....and I would already be in bed. Other personnel would just walk into the unit anytime and look around. Because I do not speak spanish, I was not able to ascertain why they were there. But he would just smile and say "No problemo" and leave. Minimal kitchen utensils (4 settings) were provided and no dishwashing soap to use in the interim before maid service the following day. I wore the hotel robe daily and discarded onto the floor my last day, only to watch the maid pick it up and place is back on the hangar for the next guests use. Used shower soap was left for the next guest to use.

Room Tip: All rooms are wonderful. However, you do have to like listening to the ocean waves pounding against...
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with friends
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    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Kate S
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 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#10 Spa 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 Hotel Puerto Vallarta
Garza Blanca Preserve, Resort And Spa

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