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“Nice Rooms, Great Location”

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Garza Blanca Preserve, Resort & Spa
Ranked #14 of 125 Hotels in Puerto Vallarta
Certificate of Excellence
LA, CA
Level Contributor
24 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Nice Rooms, Great Location”
Reviewed March 30, 2014

Right off the bat you'll be checking in and then the timeshare meeting schedule comes up, here's how you avoid it…..You say you have a few plans for the first few days(city trip/shopping/botanical gardens etc etc etc) and that you'll schedule when you have some free time. The free time(of course) never materialized and its time to head home. There, done and dusted. :-) You may get a call for an appointment but either don't pick up the phone(as we did) or if in person you are off on some more trips(Boca and the like, you kinda want to avoid Yelapa though).



The rooms are great! We were on the tenth floor so we saw both sea and jungle, we took a golf cart up to the building and it wasn't an inconvenience but if you are a pool person try and book one of the rooms nearer the original hotel. They are in the process of building one more hotel (Garza Blanca 6 or 7/whatever and have plans for another three more so expect construction noise for the next three years or so). Construction noise wasn't an issue for us even though we were level with it even on the 10th floor. It starts around 8am and quits about 4ish.




Being in the hotel further up the hill we could walk to the Bocados STK, service is spotty but not to the point of causing any major ruffles. Food is good overall though the chocolate cake with sweet potato ice cream is kinda weird…the ice cream is almost always half melted and tastes like glue and the 'cake' is a block of ganache with no actual cake. I'm a lover of chocolate so that stuff is more of a n annoyance to me than most folks I'd say. Steaks were good, we were on the 'all inclusive' plan and there are one or two dishes that require a premium to order but they never looked any better than the other items so it was no big deal to do without. The one time I did feel a little lacking was in the beer, they offer all the usual Modelo/Pacifico/Corona but you rarely see any craft beers, well they have three but each will be about $9US a glass even on the all inclusive plan.




Breakfast at the Bocados STK is an opportunity to hear the sales people pitch the timeshare offers without actually having to really listen or answer questions, try and get a table to the outside right if you want to avoid that chatter.




By far and away the BEST food and service is to be had at the downstairs pool Aquazul, fast service even though they constantly seem to be juggling a dozen tables per waiter. Cold beer/great food/good service…not a single complaint from any of us.




From what I understand BlancaBlue restaurant doesn't have their own kitchen(may be wrong but thats what I was told) and all the food is prepared at the poolside restaurant so cut out the middleman and just eat there. One thing I noticed was that other than one single occasion the ice cream/sorbet was always half melted like it had sat out for a good ten mins before being served. A straw should be used instead of a spoon ;-)




Location location location! It can't be beat. Just outside PV but a very short bus ride into town(8 pesos) and you are in the middle of PV which kinda reminded me of a Mexican West Hollywood with all the little shops. There are jungle tours which I really wanted to go on but never did find the time..maybe next time.



All in all a good hotel with some very hard-working staff, we liked it a lot….I still miss that view at sunset over the ocean with a cold drink in the hammock……..

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank andrew g
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (701)
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English first
Santa Monica, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed March 28, 2014

I was in the hotel as a paying guest for 4 days in March.

Let's start with the service. As others in this hotel's forum have mentioned, the service was painfully slow. At the pool I asked for a menu, and while the employees were off looking for it, my friend grabbed it. We ordered and it took about an hour for food to arrive.

There is also a time-share element in this hotel that is very deceptive. When you check in to the hotel, the person checking you in (always an attractive hostess in a short dress) greets you with cocktails and walks you through the hotel activities for guests. I thought - how nice! Then after walking through the hotel activities she started hard-selling us on a time share. It figured that they were trying to liquor me up at the hotel check-in so I might be persuaded to sign up for a presentation!! I noticed a number of attractive female employees checking in hotel guests and forcing them to sit through the time share while walking them through the hotel activities and of course providing helpful recommendations.

I will say our room was very beautiful -great balcony, great ocean views. However, every time we wanted to order food or participate in activities we (and all other guests) were asked to submit a card showing we had attended the time share presentation in order to get the "special" prices on hotel food/services. The "regular" prices were quite inflated, and if we wanted to pay "regular prices" we needed to attend the 2.5 hour presentation.

You can enjoy the hotel, but understand that as a regular, paying guest you will feel somewhat over-charged for everything and discriminated against - unless you attend their presentation. When we tried to buy our friend a lunch (aldo a paying hotel guest), a harsh woman at the pool said she had to show her discount and mentioned "it's politics here." I don't enjoy stern employees when I'm on vacation...

Overall, I will never go to this hotel again. The service was slow, the employees were rude, and the invasion of the time-share element into my vacation seemed deceitful. The view was nice, but it's generally nice at any hotel in PV.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank jillyville
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Level Contributor
210 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 135 helpful votes
Reviewed March 27, 2014

This place was incredible from the moment you stepped into the exquisite lobby! We were greeted by Teresa, who did an amazing job of explaining everything about the resort to us. The views just walking out to the pool and beach areas were so inviting. We stayed in a Deluxe Room with a king bed (although I slept BOTH nights on the porch in the hammock)! The ocean breeze and the crashing waves put me to sleep in no time. I LOVED it! The resort is secluded and private and great for a relaxing getaway. It has a great Spa that I hope to take advantage of on our next trip down there. There is free wi-fi in all over the resort as well, which made doing business easy. The resort has a wonderful gourmet restaurant right on the property, Blanca Blue, where we enjoyed a great dinner at sunset. The service here was excellent and the pool waiters helped make our time here a memorable one. We will definitely be back!

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank DebArtist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portage, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
75 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed March 27, 2014

I book this vacation on the internet. I know those photos can make any place look nice so I was a little concern not knowing anyone who had been to this resort. I looked at there web site and check Trip advsor and took the chance. I was not disappointed . Our room had a great view of the ocean just as advertised. We were there over spring break so I was a little concerned about students etc. Howeve this place was mostly couples and some familys. We did the all inclusive 5 days and 4 nights. My one negitive is that if we had stayed any longer the food would have been boring. They only have two places that serve dinner, two places that serve lunch. One place that serves breakfest. However you can get romm service from 7am - 11pm. The breakfest was there best meal as there were many choices. Dinner was a chalenge after the first two nights as the Menus at each of the two very nice Dinner places ( outside with view and sound of the ocean) are very limrted. Every one there was very helpful. I know some people complane on Trip advisor about the Time share pitch. When we checked in they offered to give us a tour with some perks etc. (The Pitch). We just said no thank you and that was the end of it.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank readme58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Navarre
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed March 24, 2014

We are on day 8 of a 10 day family trip. We booked a 3 bedroom suite and a 1 bedroom suite through Costco Travel. Only because we are traveling with a large group that includes children, we booked the all-inclusive. Overall, the stay was very mediocre.

The Accommodations:
Rooms are lovely. All are facing the ocean. Suites are very large and beautifully appointed. Towers 1 through 3 are on the ocean and have beautiful crashing waves sounds all day and night. Towers 4 through 6 are across a busy road (access via a bridge) and are quite a distance to get to the beach or pool. There is also an enormous amount of construction going on in the middle tower which makes a lot of noise. Housekeeping is great and rooms were thoroughly cleaned everyday.

The Pool:
Gorgeous, but very small. Although the pool itself never felt too crowded, getting chairs was a real problem. We were up early everyday (we are traveling with small children) and we still couldn't get pool chairs together. There is only one small area safe for children to play and it was impossible to get chairs there. The pool is wonderful, but not well designed for young children. There is a bit of a strange vibe here.....although there are many families traveling with children, there are also many childless couples here. There is a very calm, classy feeling and having all of my young children diving and splashing around the pool makes me wonder if we are constantly annoying all of the childless adults (which I am sure we are!) Due to the lack of space and lounge areas around the pool, there is really nowhere for these adults to escape us. There is an upper pool at the towers across the road, but nobody seems to hang out there due to the very loud construction noise. I am sure these childless-couples wake up every morning and contemplate which of the the two evils is lesser.....the crazy children or the loud construction!

The Beach:
Gorgeous, but also very small and nowhere to stroll. Both ends are surrounded by large rocks and cannot be passed. There are also a lot of rocks as you enter the water. The water is beautiful and the surf is breaking waves all day. It sounds fantastic.

The Food:
The food is excellent at all three restaurants. We are foodies and generally think all-inclusive resorts have terrible food. Garza has wonderful food with fresh fish prepared properly (not overcooked), excellent meats and interesting specialties. I highly recommend the Aquachiles shrimp ceviche and the bay scallop ceviche. Yum Yum.

The Service:
This is where the biggest problem lies. As other reviewers have posted, the service is so hit and miss Garza Blanca is not worthy of a 5 or even 4 star rating. The ONLY reliable service is at the pool, where the waiters are moving like crazy to take excellent care of everybody. We have had consistently great service at the pool every day. We are a large group of children and adults and the pool waiters take such good care of us. We always tip cash and we tip generously....as all travelers should. The waiters make a salary of $5 US per day which is pathetically low considering what the resort is charging. The service for dinner at either of the indoor restaurants is AWFUL. Menus seem to be in limited supply, reservations were consistently messed up or lost, bottled wine from the wine list was always unavailable, wrong courses were served, getting refills on water and cocktails was like pulling teeth, everything about dinner here is a mess. We plan to eat dinner at the pool for our final three nights, because it is too miserable trying to eat in the restaurants.

The Atmosphere:
The location is absolutely beautiful. However there is a major road running through the middle of the property. It is very loud. So, while listening to the beautiful sounds of the crashing waves, you are also listening to loud diesel truck, buses, motorcycles and other traffic buzzing behind you. As I sit in my room typing this, I hear the ocean in my right ear and traffic in my left.
There seems to be a large number of "managers" roaming aimlessly around the resort. They are all wearing ear pieces and secretly communicating, like special agents. One night after our dinner reservations were somehow "lost" at a special beach dinner that we had pre-booked, we were escorted by a manager into another restaurant and told he would personally see that we received the royal treatment. After he arranged our table for 10, he disappeared and was never seen again. Our reservation was for 7:30pm and we were served dinner at 9:30pm. We sat there waiting for food, begging for drinks, etc. It was the same service as every previous night, awful!

Internet Access:
This is the first resort we have stayed at in Mexico, where Wi-Fi works EVERYWHERE. There literally seems to be an access point every 10 feet and they are all connected. It is wonderful. I am not complaining about the $10 per day per device charge because it is the best Wi-Fi I have every had (U.S. or abroad.) There are so many voice and text app.s available now that work over wireless connections that you don't need to use your voice carrier for calls. I recommend Google Voice that can be used on all Android phones to make free phone calls, receive your voicemails via transcribed and audio messages, and forward your text services. Turn off all of your data and voice roaming features on your phone prior to landing, connect to Wi-Fi and everything works with no surcharges from your carrier.

Final Thoughts:
Garza must get their evening service together. It is as if an entirely different management philosophy exists after 5pm. Daytime service is great and that's where it ends. We enjoyed our stay very much however will not be returning due to the unreliable service.

Room Tip: Stay in Towers 1 through 3 to be on beach.
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
11 Thank Dianne H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston MA
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 22, 2014 via mobile


We had a wonderful week long stay at Garza Blanca. Our room was in tower three ocean front. The sound of the waves crashing against the beach put us to sleep every night. Our room was spacious, clean, and beautifully decorated. The grounds were well landscaped with gorgeous flowers and plantings. We enjoyed the food in every restaurant except the steakhouse, maybe because we didn't spring for the aged beef. My husband's New York strip steak had gristle throughout the meat. I suggest that you avoid buying an all-inclusive package. There are excellent restaurants in town and many are reasonably priced. Walk quickly through the airport unless you want to be harassed by timeshare hawkers. When you check into Garza Blanca you will also receive a sales pitch for their timeshares. Just say no. They don't pressure you. We found all the staff very friendly and accommodating. In fact, the service was excellent. If you rent a car don't miss going to the botanical gardens. Also, you should take a day trip to the little island Yelapa. If we go back to Puerto Vallarta, we would stay a Garza Blanca again.

Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
3 Thank Barbara D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Little Rock, Arkansas
Level Contributor
17 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed March 22, 2014

Garza Blanca Preserve Resort and Spa is located about a 10-15 minute 8 peso bus ride from Old Vallarta. My boyfriend and I were so excited to arrive at this "luxury" resort. With us both working management positions in restaurants we were ready for a break and a nice relaxing vacation. After a full day of travel, all I could think about was checking into our Junior Suite and getting to the beach. We were greeted by bellboys constantly repeating, "Welcome Home" which frankly creeped me out. Sadly, upon check-in we were told that our room wasn't available. We were actually told that we didn't book a Junior Suite (even though I had all the confirmation numbers pulled up on my iPad that proved contrary). Joaquin the person who checked us in just kept telling us to go to the room he had available and relax and he would sort it all out. I was disappointed and a little mad when he put us, a couple, in a room with two double beds. The room was very nice and clean with a great view and honestly if there had been a king bed we would've kept it with no complaints. It took two trips to the desk and three phone calls before we got the room situation sorted out. Finally, we were told there were Junior Suites available and they would switch our rooms. This was frustrating as we got there at 2 p.m. and didn't get this sorted until 9 p.m.
The Junior Suites on the hill are lovely. They are a trek so if you don't want to climb stairs be cautious. I enjoyed the walk everyday. Housekeeping was timely and courteous. The servers are understaffed and not 5-star quality. The poor staff are constantly running around trying to take care of pool, beach, and restaurant. I felt bad for them. Garza Blanca needs more server staff. I also had a problem with servers/bartenders brining me things I didn't ask for or trying to push alcohol on me. The bartender at BlancaBlue continued to pour us shots of tequila that we didn't want. He also continued to ring in food for us when we told him that we had already eaten. Luckily for us, we were all inclusive so we didn't have to pay for it, but I found it wasteful and tacky. On another occasion, a server continued to push morning cocktails on us. After we politely refused 3x's he walked away and called my boyfriend a name in Spanish under his breath. Staff should be aware that some customers can not only hear, but understand the language.
The beach is lovely and relaxing, but there are rocks so be careful or wear water shoes. GB is a preserve and can't alter the landscape. I did see a few injuries, but as long as you stay aware of your surroundings you will be fine. There are also a lot of water activities available which I thought was very cool. I enjoyed watching people paddle boarding, etc. On the last day, police were called to the beach and some of the locals who were there were questioned about something, but I don't have a clue what for.
The food at Aquazul is delicious. The ceviches were delicious as were the mango margaritas and mojitos. I wish there were more local beers to choose from, but other than that the food was great. Breakfast buffet at BlancaBlue was delicious, but the dinner there just tried to hard. There was so much going on on each plate and many of the dishes were overly salty. BocaDos Steak house was yummy. The appetizers and deserts were lacking and reminded me of desserts bought at SAMS or CostCo. I felt it was odd that we had to wait for and sign a check after every meal. I understand that some people choose not to do all inclusive (FYI go all inclusive - one meal will set you back at least 40-50 per person if you have a cocktail), but the bill signing was just strange and a little stressful as you aren't sure what you are being charged for and what you are not being charged for. My suggestion would be to go completely all-inclusive and save the staff time getting bills/ringing things in, etc.
For a five star resort I was disappointed in the quality of food and service, but the grounds and infinity pools were pristine. If you want to really experience Puerto Vallarta check out condos on VRBO and stay in town. The restaurants are amazing, the Malecon full of fun things to do, and the beach was awesome! You can rent luxury condos on the beach with private pools and be responsible for your own meals and spend much less money AND actually experience Old Vallarta and all it has to offer!

Room Tip: Better view from the Junior Suites, but longer walk.
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank arkansassy501
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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