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“Excellent Location & Wonderful Staff”
Review of San Marino Hotel

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San Marino Hotel
Ranked #97 of 123 Hotels in Puerto Vallarta
Reviewed April 12, 2011

At first I wasn't sure to book this hotel, but we give it a chance because we really wanted to stay near downtown area and this was the best price for an All Inclusive in the zone.
We really got a great surprise when we meet the location, it was excelent. The staff of San Marino was very friendly and make us feel welcome. We were afraid of the food at the restaurant, but the buffet was acceptable for the price we paid.
It's important to say that the Jr. Suites have a really nice ocean view.
The town is beautiful, there are many good restaurants around and with the hotels location you can almost get anywhere just walking.

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank squaker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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247 - 253 of 753 reviews

Reviewed April 11, 2011

We booked our vacation before reading any TripAdvisor reviews, and were worried that we had made a mistake. However, we ended up having a great vacation and have nothing but good things to say about the hotel.

One thing that I would like to comment on is the food since most reviews say that it is terrible and this was not our experience. Granted, the food is not very creative, traditional, or up to 4 star quality, but it is certainly tasty and edible. If anything, I’d advise getting to the buffet at the start of meal service to guarantee that it is hot and fresh. We ate at least one meal per day at the hotel and were satisfied with the food and never sick.

The standard rooms provide the minimal necessities and nothing more. We received a free upgrade to a junior suite midway through our stay since our original room required some work. It’s worth pointing out that we were offered an upgrade for $20 a night when we arrived, which we turned down - I suspect they had planned on moving us at some point anyway and wanted to make a little extra off us if they could. The junior suite was GREAT! Large room, king size bed, ocean view, new wide-screen tv, nice bathroom, and complementary shampoos etc… It would have been worth the extra cost (but free was better!!).

As much as we liked the hotel and enjoyed being right in the heart of old PV, I don’t think we would go back. We ultimately feel that the Dominican is much better value for our money – we paid almost 50% more for this vacation over the 4 star resorts we stayed at in Puerto Plata in the past. This is partially due to the higher initial cost but also the meals we purchased away from the hotel.

  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Mojokgirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 30, 2011

We have been to PV six times and this is the first at San Marino. We stayed in a jr. suite on the 8th floor it was very nice and our room was very clean.Our bed was the best ever it was a pillow top mattress. I heard the standard rooms are not so great but didn't see any. For the price we payed for 2 weeks was great. We ate breakfast and lunch there and usually ate supper out. Being a 2 1/2 star we didn't expect anymore than we got room, food and size of the hotel. The staff are all friendly. We where offered drinks at check-in but not bombarded with time share people like I have read on other reviews. If you wont to take side trips don't take the first price that you get, shop around the prices are different. We have always felt very safe in PV , we travel around alot and sight see. Bottom line for this hotel if you are expecting a 5 star resort do not go there. We knew what to expect and will go back. Great Location!

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled with friends
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Thank happytravelerinpv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 15, 2011

We really enjoyed the San Marino. We were the only couple on the plane going there so once we got through the airport they shuttled us very quickly to the hotel. No waiting for a whole bus load of people. This also made our check in real quick. The hotel wasn't full so they let us upgrade to an oceanfront room for $20 a day. Well worth it. We got to see dolphins and whales from our balcony. The room was dated but very clean and everything worked. We expected this as it is a 2 1/2 star. The staff are great. They are always cleaning and fixing things and the front desk was very helpful.
We only ate dinner there twice but we planned on eating out as there are so many restaurants in the area. We ate breakfast there everyday and it was fine.
We really enjoyed our vacation and this hotel was in the area we really enjoy so it worked great for us. It didn't have that large resort feel as it is in the middle of everything. We liked this.

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank travellingdianne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 25, 2011

It was with some trepidation that we checked into the San Marino Hotel (just across from Dee's fantastic coffee place) last Thursday 17 Feb, having read some pretty hard reviews.... but we liked it a lot and will go back. It was our 3rd time in PV and our 2nd time in the old city - Zona Romantica.

Our check in was fun & quick as they served us each a drink (margarita and pina colada) while we signed in. Within an hour, we were settled in and headed down to the beach to watch the sunset. This is a comfortable 3 star - - and that's exactly what we booked. It was friendly, not pretentious, and had a good variety of guests from all walks of life & sexual persuasions (yes there are gay couples), but just as many families and mixed couples.

Location is brilliant - the old city with all its charms, live entertainment, shopping, people wataching, etc ... right on the malecon, steps from everything. We used the hotel & cambiors to exchange money - and should have gone just with Canadian currency as many were offering more for Canadian than American money. Nevertheless, it's about 10 pesos to 1 dollar - so easy to figure out what things are worth.

Get your water across the street at the OXXO store, about $1.50 for two bottles. Free WIFI is everywhere, just ask, and, if you are not traveling with a netbook, there are internet cafes all over.

Yes, there is a plethora of vendors on the beach - and a simple "no gracias" repeatedly, will turn them away. However, if you do decide to buy something, you can usually get a 50% plus discount - sometimes more - without too much haggling. Most times, they bargain themselves down to their bottom price if you say: too much amigo!!

Noise on the pier: we were dreading this after all the nasty reviews - but it was only an air compressor (off and on) allowing the divers to go under and work on the pilons - for a few days, there was a backhoe dragging stuff out of the water. It did not ruin our holiday at all. However, children yelling in the kids pool will echo in your room as the inside circle acts as a bit of an echo chamber....but, again, we were not overly bothered by this. There is music by the pool, volleyball on the beach, and not a lot of loud animation. The guys are there, but discreet.

The beach is not white and sandy, it's busy and beige. So if you're used to Dominican or Cuban beaches, this is not the place for you. Weekends, it fills up with local families and has a party atmosphere with lots of live music and it's fun. If it's a palapas hut you want, get there early and stake your territory - as it has become an accepted practice for people to reserve them early and not show up until later - annoying but not insurmountable. Pools are not heated, ocean was cold. But, people did swim. The beach gates are locked after 8 p.m. and there is a guard on duty. Pools are open til 10 p.m. but it was too cold to see many swimmers at that time.

Our room, on the 3rd floor, overlooking the pool and beach, was spotless. It had a huge shower, lots of drawers and closet space, and yes, the beds are not pillow top, but we slept well and had no issues. The balcony was shared with other guests (more of a hallway really) but very pleasant to sit on. Sheets and towels were changed every day and we always had hot water - TV was small by our standards, but hey - who goes there to watch tv? No bugs, no mold, no problem!! We brought a box of kleenex & shampoo (they provide facecloths & soap and toilet paper).

We were well treated, with quick efficiency every time we asked for anything. The shower drain blocked one day - the guy was up in 2 minutes to give it a quick plunge... t.v. remote needed programming, same thing - the guy was there quickly.

It was windy and cool in the mornings and evenings - bring a jacket or sweater.

Now for the food - which people tend to complain about -

Breakfast: fresh fruit, cereal, yogurt, and juices, coffee (for a great coffee go across the street to Dees), toast, omelet lady, bacon (crispy), scrambled egg, boiled egg, fajita chips with cheese, home fries, and refried beans....what more do you need?

Lunch: usually rice, fish or chicken, veggies (cold and hot), a potato, and a couple of random things like hamburgers and fries.

Dinner: rice, veggies, and a selection of main dishes (ribs, lasagna, fish, chicken, beef fajitas, etc).

Dessert: selection was o.k. - but then, we are not dessert people... bread pudding, rice pudding, creme brulee cake, pineapple upside down cake, jello, and vanilla custard and cookies...

There is enough food to keep you fed, we did not get sick, but tended to stay away from the mixed sauce and meat dishes & seafood mixes - we stayed to the basics. This is an 'in town' location and you are surrounded by cheap food alternatives...so the buffet is not extensive.

The white wine was hell - the red wine o.k. The bar will make up anything you want, bloody mary's, blender pina colada's with banana and grenadine (banana mama), beer, rum drinks, there's a menu, they speak english, and are very helpful. All inclusive drinks are with local liquor only, but at the price we paid, who cares?

Final word: there is a lot to do in Puerto Vallarta and the streets feel very safe. The hotel, while older, is well kept up and very comfortable. This place is for people who are tired of the 'all inclusive on resort lifestyle' and want to get out a bit and do some other stuff. We'll be back soon to the San Marino for sure!

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Lyse F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 23, 2011

We had a wonderful time here. If you want to be in old town/romantic zone, this is the place to be. Our room - jr suite- looked just like the pictures. Beachfront was awesome. Had wonderful views of the ocean. We loved the area where we stayed and would love to return again. We did the all inclusive. Room was very clean and kept clean. Maintenace was very attentive. Breakfast was great. After that.... we ate out. Bar was disappointing, but there are several places nearby to fill a styrofoam cooler (saw a group of canadians enjoying this). If you are staying in this location there are so many wonderful places to eat reasonably priced, you won't want to eat here other than breakfast anyway. Restaurant was always busy, so was the bar. But you can't beat the location. If you want a 'fancier" accomodations and good resort/hotel food, stay in nuevo vallarta. If you want to be able to walk to the best food (that means the cute little stands) and the neatest shops, etc... this is a great place to stay! If noise may be an issue due to pier tear down/construction, they usually have music going - or bring your ipod or xm radio (yes, xm works there with your home or car antenna attached)!!

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank mowalk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 15, 2011

Lets face it, some people expect a lot more than what the San Marino has to offer and simply don't like this hotel. Then again so many people return year after year after year. One room is named after a guest whom spent his 39th visit at the hotel. Sure, it's rustic and somewhat dated, however many of the rooms have now been renovated. I am happy to have found this year, my second in a row, that there have been subtle changes for the better since last season. There is better selection of channels on the TV's. Most rooms now have widescreen models. There is now bar service extended around the pools. The breakfast and lunch are fine, but the dinner menu still needs to improved. The hotel staff are genuinely friendly and personal. The atmosphere amongst guests and staff alike is very much like a vacation community. So many people seem to know each other from previous visits and it makes for a relaxing and comfortable stay. Understand that the San Marino is a Mexican 4 star or 3 star hotel by American or Canadian standards. It's priced accordingly. It's a great value for the buck. You get what you pay for and if you want really great food and really great rooms, there are plenty of 5 star hotels in Puerto Vallarta which will be happy to soak you for twice as much or more. Obviously, by my review and my review last year, I like the place. I also like charm of old town Puerto Vallarta with it's many excellent and inexpensive, restuarants and bars. The whole package of the San Marino and old town works for me. Many thanks for the great staff. Alex, Diego, Santos, Emmanuel and all the rest. You are awesome.

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled with friends
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3  Thank JimofOttawa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about San Marino Hotel

Address: Rodolfo Gomez 111 | Col. Emiliano Zapata, Puerto Vallarta 48380, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Jalisco > Puerto Vallarta
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#32 Spa Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#54 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
Price Range: $94 - $137 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — San Marino Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 165
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in Puerto Vallarta, one of the most beautiful and romantic cities on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. The hotel is nestled on the beautiful beach of Playa los Muertos, with a wonderful atmosphere and tradition surrounded by hand craft shops, discotheques, and just a short walk from town. San Marino Hotel features 165 light and airy guestrooms including 25 spacious Junior Suites with all the amenities you need to relax and enjoy in a peaceful ambience.Come to San Marino Hotel where you will be greeted by our friendly staff and enjoy sunshine days and a vacation experience to treasure forever! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
San Marino Puerto Vallarta

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