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“Gorgeous, relaxing resort”

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Garza Blanca Preserve, Resort & Spa
Ranked #14 of 123 Hotels in Puerto Vallarta
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 17, 2014

I chose Garza Blance for its oceanside location, gorgeous photos, and the fact that the "sleep quality" was rated high (I am a light sleeper, and wary of hotels with thin walls or near nightlife districts). I was not at all disappointed. In fact, the photos may not do this luxurious, beautiful facility justice. I walked into the front, outdoor lobby to a jaw-dropping view of the infinity pool/ocean. The views from the other two restaurants are breathtaking, as well. I went during the first week in March, during a slightly slow part of the season, so when I showed up for some of the activities, I was the only one! But tour guide Tito didn't hesitate, giving me private hikes or tours of the facility. Definitely sign up for one of his activities; he is very knowledgeable about the resort and Puerta Vallarta in general. The undertow was too strong when I went, so I wasn't able to go to Los Arcos, but I heard mixed opinions about it from the locals.

I wanted to go somewhere where I felt safe, traveling as a solo female, and Puerta Vallarta wound up being an excellent choice. This resort is in a private, remote location; I felt extremely safe the entire time. I recommend NOT booking your taxi through this hotel, however. I did, at the cost of $45, and discovered from the locals that all you need to do is walk across the bridge at the airport, where other taxis will take you to this hotel for about $10-$20. And walk out of the airport as quickly as you can; it's not as bad as Tijuana, but the tour operators/drivers are very aggressive and in-your-face. Kind of surprising and not at all indicative of Puerta Vallarta elsewhere.

I agreed to a timeshare spiel, since they gave me a return taxi to the airport, 15% off food and beverages, and a discounted massage in return. Plus, it was an opportunity to see the entire resort and the beautiful model units in the new towers. If the sales pitch lasted 90 minutes, that would have been fine, but it was over 2.5 hours! And I am not a softie. They were very intense, bringing in second and third-tier salespeople to pressure me with progressively cheaper deals. Way too much pressure, in my opinion. Don't have too many of the cucumber margaritas they give you!

Speaking of which, you must try the cucumber margaritas while here! I am a wine person, but these drinks were wonderful, and "just strong enough." The food I had here was ok. Not very good or great, but ok. But I can't say enough about how well-maintained and beautiful this resort is. I will remember the lull of the surf pounding on the beach forever. Just a beautiful place to relax, unwind, and enjoy beautiful views. Loved loved the pool, beach, activities, rooms, staff. I booked an oceanfront studio and found it to be spacious, with updated decor, and a cute balcony with a hammock. But I stopped at the wine shop on the way in from the airport and stocked up on wine (cheap here!) to help save money.

The only downside for me was that I expected the poolbar (open until 11 p.m. each night) to be a source of social life at night--something that I was looking for as a solo traveler. It wasn't at all. In fact, this place shut down after sunset. So if you want any social life at night, you have to go into the downtown area, which is fine, but not what I was looking for.

Take the bus downtown -- only 7.5 pesos -- instead of a taxi. I actually met a lot of people while going back and forth on the bus. People are so friendly and helpful with advice and tips and directions here, and they all steered me in the right direction. I will remember my stay at Garza Blanca forever!

Room Tip: I was warned strongly on TripAdvisor to make sure I booked an oceanfront room, not an oceanview room...
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  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled solo
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4  Thank Jean I
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,232 - 1,238 of 1,946 reviews

Reviewed March 17, 2014

We just returned from a 6 night stay at Garza Blanca 3/9-3/15. We had a one bedroom suite in Tower 2 - the room/space was HUGE, with a full kitchen and laundry, dining table, living room (with 2 couches, separate sitting area in the bedroom, king sized bed, awesome bathroom and spacious balcony complete with a table, lounge chair and hammock. We booked our room via Costco Travel (which came with perks of free breakfast and resort credits) - if you can spring for the extra space, I definitely recommend the one bedroom suite. The view was amazing - SO so close to the ocean/beach that you can hear the waves crashing. Housekeeping service was excellent.

We stayed mostly by the pool area - the beach is small and rocky, and after dealing with some aggressive vendors on the first day, we decided to stick to the pool to avoid them. As other reviewers have said, the pool area is becoming crowded - we had to get up relatively early to reserve chairs, everything is claimed by 10AM, and you really had to scramble for a chair under an umbrella. The drink/food service by the pool was extremely slow on certain days and totally varied depending on who was working their shift in your area. Service would be helped if they let you walk up to the bar area to order/wait for your drink, but they insist on bringing it to you - slowly.

We ate at all three of the restaurants multiple times. The food at the pool bar was great, as well as Bocados STK at the top level. BlancaBlue was just okay, the breakfast buffet being their strongest meal. Service at both restaurants is extremely slow - so slow that a full 10-15 minutes would pass between sitting down and being provided menus, or having our plates cleared and anyone offering dessert or the check. We weren't in a rush because we were on vacation, but the slow service combined with the fact that the restaurants were relatively empty, made it a chore to eat at these restaurants, with me yawning and almost falling asleep at some dinners.

All in all, service issues aside (which you can mainly avoid by eating dinner in town), I would recommend staying here for the great rooms and grounds - with the caveat that you should visit sooner rather than later. Once the new tower is completed, I assume that the pool crowded-ness and service issues will get worse.

Room Tip: Towers 1-3 are on the main level and ocean front. Avoid the Towers on the higher level, which requi...
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  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank deaconia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 17, 2014 via mobile

Felt like I was in a very mediocre all inclusive resort. Responsiveness was very poor. Service was sub standard. Had the distinct feeling that I was being watched be the staff. I have stayed at first class resorts around the world and this resort is not first class. The security at the gate was rude. Definitely will not recommend this resort to friends and colleagues.

  • Stayed: February 2014
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1  Thank Frank P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 16, 2014

We had a wonderful vacation at Garza Blanca. We had a Junior Suite on the mountainside. The room was gorgeous. It overlooked the jungle and the ocean. Could not have been more beautiful. Argelia was our concierge. She was so pleasant and always trying to help us with our every need. Everyone was wonderful who worked there. It was very peaceful and relaxing. We would highly recommend this resort.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Thomas_A226
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 16, 2014

My sister & I stayed from 2/27-3/3. We booked through Costco Travel and had breakfast included, along with a $100 resort credit. First tip, do not look at people in airport--walk quickly & don’t make eye contact, and respond “no gracias” to anyone that approaches you. They try to sell timeshares, etc., which I had been warned about prior to the trip. Once arriving to the resort, we were greeted by our bellboy, Margarito, who gave us nicely scented, moist washcloths to freshen up, along with a glass of champagne. We then met with Teresa, our concierge, who gave us information about the hotel and excursions. She and the other concierges were very friendly and are always there ready to assist you. She also wanted us to view the timeshare rooms so we could tell friends and family who might be interested in purchasing. We weren’t interested and said no. She did push it a little bit more and said if we changed our minds to let her know. They offer you a nice package of discounts for 1½ hr. of your time (which after talking to another guest, spent 3 hrs. and was not happy about it). The resort is 4 years old, and they are building another tower, so they are trying to sell timeshares. Margarito escorted us to our room with our bags. Beautiful, deluxe room in Tower 3 on 3rd floor with 2 queen beds. Nicely decorated with bar area & refrigerator, marble-like bathroom tub & shower, balcony with hammock and 2 chairs, large walk-in closet, safe, bathrobe & slippers provided. Gorgeous view with ocean below. Room very close to pool & ocean, which was fantastic. Maid service was excellent. Rooms cleaned daily with towels and toiletries replenished, along with turndown & treat at night. The refrigerator was only stocked with 2 diet cokes. There were 2 bottled waters that were complimentary the first day but then $5 each after that. Same for the coffee, complimentary first day, then you pay. We spent our first evening at the resort by the pool and ordered dinner at the restaurant (Aquazul). Service was very slow, but the food and other drinks we ordered were very good, albeit pricey. We had three different servers. Seemed they were understaffed and were taking care of room service orders as it wasn’t crowded. The day we spent at the pool it was also slow, & the server ignored us each time he passed by. We decided to make our own drinks from liquor we bought in town and put in tumblers, which was much more convenient & economical. The other time we had lunch, Alejandro waited on us, and he was awesome. Both pools are quite lovely and relaxing. The water was clean, and temperature was perfect. It was a little difficult to get a chair at the main pool where Aquazul is, but the employees at the towel stand were very helpful in finding us chairs. Same thing for if you go out to the beach. The beach is beautiful and clean but not very large and very rocky. Two people were injured while we were sitting there (cut on rocks). The water was rough--a girl had to be rescued by an employee via kayak. We ate breakfast each morning at their Blanco Blue buffet. Good variety of cold and hot foods with omelet station. Never too crowded. Could eat inside or out, very comfortable. Friendly & efficient wait staff. Took bus into town (8 pesos each way) and back several times. Also took taxi a few times, which is $10 each way. Easy to get to and from town on main road, about 10 min. ride. They have a beautiful gym on the 7th floor in Tower 3 with a wonderful view of the ocean & Los Arcos. The spa is also there, but we didn’t use either one. We had prompt service for check in and check out. No overcharges or problems. Margarito took our bags and locked in room until our driver arrived to take us to airport. Overall, Garza Blanca is a very lovely & clean resort. People are all very friendly and speak great English. They do work hard at making you feel at home. Most guests we met were American or Canadian. Can’t walk by anyone without hearing an “hola!”. Only thing we didn’t care for is that it was mostly couples (several pregnant women with husbands and gay couples). Also, at night time there is nothing to do. The pool closes at 8, but they do say you can stay longer if you’re quiet. We probably won’t go back because we like trying new places and would rather be close to town where you can walk to everything. It’s definitely a great place to rest and relax and get away from it all! Tried to post pictures, but they're each more than 5MB. Message me if you'd like to see them.

Room Tip: Upper towers great panoramic views but may be noisy due to construction. Tower 3, 3rd floor perfect...
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  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled with friends
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4  Thank mitlomom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 15, 2014

Even though our first impression of Puerto Vallarta was skewed and we were left with a bad taste in our mouth, once we finally arrived at our resort, we were treated like royalty and finally could relax and enjoy our vacation. ****Please beware**** Do NOT stop once you arrive in Puerto Vallarta because my wife and I did not go straight to our shuttle to our resort, but instead got approached by someone who worked at the airport to sell excursions. Long story short, we were promised a good deal on excursion tickets, which we did finally receive after having to go through a 4 hour long time-share ordeal at a different resort when they said it would only be 75 minutes. It got ugly when we told them that that we could not afford it, and they kept pressuring us to buy. ***
Once we arrived at Garza Blanca, the nice lady from the concierge who greeted us (Teresa) made us feel at home, and apologized sincerely to us after having to go through such a horrible experience. She knew that we were upset and made the check-in very smooth and quickly as possible and gave us the option to check out their new rooms membership packages that they offer at a later date. So once we got to our beautiful room (panoramic junior suite), we finally started to relax. We changed into our bathing suits, and went down to the infinity pool and ordered food from the poolside bar and grill. The grilled fish and veggies were amazing! Actually everything we ate at the poolside grill was muy deliciouso! The steakhouse was very good for breakfast and dinner (tip, free wifi here). I loved the breakfast buffet at Blanca Blue and they had the absolute best omelets ever with some very delicious salsa on top! All of the pools, hot tubs, and facilities are all kept very clean. Room service and housekeeping all did a wonderful job, and loved the turndown service with treats every night. My wife and I agree that there wasn't one detail that went unnoticed. They have a wonderful eye for detail, and were very hospitable. We will definitely return back to this resort in the future for years to come!

  • Stayed: March 2014
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2  Thank Houstontraveler23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 15, 2014

This resort is beautiful, clean, well manicured. For an all-inclusive, however, it was lacking in activities other that all-you-can-eat and drink. All the staff we encountered were pleasant....the pool servers were wonderful. However, that being said, service was SLOW! We would order a drink and it would take up to 7-10 minutes to get it....and it was not all that busy. I have to say, that was our biggest frustration. Our biggest complaint was the Timeshare promotion. It is supposed to be a 90 minute presentation but turned into a 3.5 hour badgering. It pretty much took up and entire morning and into the afternoon which made us all pretty angry. The woman that we were assigned to was very pleasant to begin with, but towards the end when she could not convince us to "buy-in", got very nasty and RUDE to my guest. We could not seem to break away from her, so we all just got up to leave and she told us (grown adults) to "SIT DOWN!" That was it for us. I actually considered it for a second, but would never change my mind after that. So other than that, the room was beautiful and well maintained. Little tiny bugs in the bathroom....they came and sprayed but the bugs were back the next day. I thought the food was so-so. I am a vegetarian (the only one in our group of 4), and there was only one appetizer option for me in the restaurants, unless I wanted to eat side-dishes all week. The other three people I was with thought the food was very good. The food at the pool was the best. Would not go back for two reasons: ....too expensive for the value and we like to try new places.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank Martha L
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

Address: Km 7.5 a Barra de Navidad, Puerto Vallarta 48390, Mexico
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: $194 - $1,749 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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