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“Satisfactory, but largely unmemorable”

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Playa Los Arcos Hotel Beach Resort & Spa
Ranked #29 of 126 Hotels in Puerto Vallarta
Certificate of Excellence
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Satisfactory, but largely unmemorable”
Reviewed February 26, 2014

Playa Los Arcos, not to be mistaken for Los Arcos Suites and sister hotel, Casa Dona Susana, is pretty much a fixture on Olas Atlas in the zona romantic of old PV. It's in a great location, close to the myriad of eateries, spas, galleries, bars and the beach.

The lobby is decorated with elaborate, heavy traditional woodwork. even some of the doorways are framed in a similar way, which certainly offered some charm. Even the rooms had head boards of similar design. The first room we were taken to was quite small for the two double beds it housed, and the air conditioner smelled like it needed a good flushing out. There was a balcony that overlooked a side street, and the ocean was in plain view. I had requested a poolside room, but I've had the PV experience before, and wasn't too put out with what we got. The bathroom was quite charming, with the local painted ceramic sink and carved stone shower enclosure. Unfortunately, the toilet plugged up right away, and my traveling companion decided we needed something better.

The next day, we had a new room, poolside quite close to the beachside. The room was larger than the first, with a much bigger, though less charming bathroom. Instead of a private balcony, we had two chairs and a table in front of the room along the outside common hallway. With the window open, we could hear the surf, which was fantastic.

The hotel is clean and well maintained, though some poor design has left them with two glass elevators which are exposed to the elements and are badly in need of window washing (which is impossible to do, given that said windows are on the inside of the elevator shaft). The pool is heated, which may sound counter intuitive for a Mexican resort, but I have been astonished at how COLD several other pools have been over the years, and this one was really a pleasure to swim in. There is a pool for families (read children), with a low wall separating it from the adult pool. A big cascading waterfall in the adult pool creates some comforting white noise and is a favourite watering hole for the local pigeons. There is also a hot tub a little closer to the beach, and I spotted a clutch of middle aged vacationers enjoying a routine cocktail and soak on several nights.

We had the basic room only, though the hotel offers a form of all inclusive. From what I could see, there is an a la carte station on one side of the hotel's only restaurant that served snacks during the day, and the restaurant otherwise provided the rest of the fare. The restaurant, Mi Pueblito Restaurante, served mediocre food that was a little pricier than necessary. I would suggest exploring the neighbourhood for the accessible, delicious and reasonably priced meals that are offered all around. The restaurant bar doubled as the resort bar, but never seemed to have a line up. They have a ludicrous cash system, however, that leaves the customer waiting for change long after the drink has been served. All money is handled centrally at a station across the restaurant from the bar, so someone first has to be called over to pick up the cash and be told what the amount owing is, then that person has to head over to the busy cash station to get the change and bring it back to the bar. I understand why that measure may be in place, but blatantly telling your staff and your patrons that you have no trust in your own employees diminishes the employer and the resort in my eyes. That, and it made me feel like I was making a special request every time I bought a margarita and engaged this odd money process.

I think, overall, I only really feel like I missed the personality that has always been the hallmark of my trips to PV. There were no happy faces, no exuberance in the interactions with guests. I understand that live isn't all roses for a lot of these people. They work hard, long hours for a meagre living. That's why the personality of most locals has always impressed me. On this trip, I felt less welcome and more tolerated. Maybe everybody was tired after xmas and new year's... if so, I get that.

I'll end on a positive note. The hotel's spa is quite a lovely place, enclosed in floor-to-ceiling glass at the Southwest corner of the property (to the left as you head out to the beach). It does a good job of providing a quiet, tranquil atmosphere and the service that I received was very good. I should say that I went for a massage at a little place up the street for half of the price, but it just couldn't offer the same overall experience-- if I'm going for a relaxing massage, I'd rather pay more (and it's still nearly half of what one might pay back home at that!) to enjoy the whole experience. There's also a small gift shop inside the resort. It's not as though stores aren't all over the place/in your face (I say it lovingly) everywhere in town, but the proprietor had some nice things at decent prices and some days you just can't face the PV shopping experience. A quiet looksee with a drink in hand, freshly manicured perhaps, can be a welcome thing.

Room Tip: It's tough to say, since the hotel is "U" shaped, with some wings exposed to sound bot...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
5 Thank Nosetwitcher
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (511)
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English first
California Hot Springs, California
1 review
Reviewed February 26, 2014

NEVER AGAIN!
The room was small, noisy, smelled of mold, and was not well kept – clearly not the “superior room” we had booked. We asked to change the room several times, but they never would do it, even after the toilet backed up. Then they “played the game” that they could move us, but only for an additional charge. We stayed out our reservation never to return.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Stan l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Port Hardy, Canada
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed February 26, 2014

The Hotel has the best location if you want to be in the center of the old town. The hotel is right on the beach. The staff from top to bottom were excellent. The biggest disapointment I had was the lack of attention to maintenance. The hotel needs a major face lift. At the least a good power washing in most of the common areas such as pool side, stairs and walkways. I am not a real picky hard to please person but these things really stood out. The sister Hotel Sussana was in similar condition. On the fourth floor was a gourgeous roof top pool, but totally ignored pool side. The room decor needs to be upgraded as well. I guess the are so busy counting money they don't have the time to paint and repair.

Room Tip: Don't settle on the first room they show you. I was shown 3 rooms before I made a choice. Next t...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank winger888
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kamloops, Canada
Level Contributor
21 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed February 26, 2014

We stayed here for two weeks in Jan/Feb and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is an older resort in the romantic zone right in the heart of everything. The room was decent, not new and not luxurious but it had everything we needed. Our front door was right above the main street about a stones throw from Andales and the noise was almost non-existant. The pools are shaded for the first half of the day but the beach was always sunny. There is nightly entertainment in the bar that ends at 11:00. Very nice if you want a relatively quiet evening which is OK because you have the best of PV right outside the front door. The food was surprisingly good at the buffet and the a la carte was excellent. You are only guaranteed one sitting a week in the a la carte but we went as often as we wanted. We chose this hotel for the location and the price. Our plan was to go out for most dinners and enjoy the local food and drink establishments and that is what we did. I would definitely go back to this hotel next time we're in PV.

Room Tip: Ocean view #325 was an excellent spot.
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Rooms
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    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank 250luvinthesun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed February 23, 2014

The front-desk and reservations staff (especially Hilda and Lucia) were superb. I requested some unusual, special arrangements to which the staff only ever responded to with smiles and helpful attitudes. The rooms were perfectly average and within such expectations: decently clean rooms; tolerable furnishings; a mix of outdated and newer TVs, had two rooms; bathrooms that left something to be desired, but tolerable; plenty of clean avg-soft towels; secure safes in-room; and the expected amount of disrepair/craziness one generally finds in PV (like the stair header that's way too low between floors 2 and 3, whacks a 5'9" right in the crown)

The hot tub was more like luke warm. They don't like being asked to turn back on the whirlpool pumps 30 minutes before pool closing time. The pool and hot tub had too little filtration for the amount of sunscreen going into it. There was generally a film of the aforementioned.

I didn't utilize the spa services.

I didn't utilize the restaurant.

I didn't visit their beach, although the walkways to and beside it seemed pleasant enough.

I were to offer one minor criticism regarding staff, it would be during the process of requesting pool towels during open, but slow hours. On every occasion, 3 over 4 nights' stay, when the front desk staff asked the guard/bellman to go get a towel, the guard gave a little sneer, sulk, and/or sloth as if to say, "Ugh, what a hassle, that is clearly beneath me." It's not for me to judge the sentiment, but from a guest perspective, it was a little awkward.

Room Tip: The second level (I think) has these really big, nice balconies.
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank AnonymousGuest850
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
USA
Level Contributor
102 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed February 20, 2014

It's a 3 Star hotel. The location (on beach) and the pools. It really is one of the few hotels with a large pool and beachfront. Dinner buffet is average.
The rooms are average. Some need attention, as in paint, etc...we had to change room do to black mold growing around damp areas on ceiling in bedroom and in bathroom. The A/C did not work properly and the room was humid. Our request to change rooms was immediately honored. The housekeepers and supervisors could be friendlier as I have stayed in numerous hotels in the area and there missing that simple greeting, buenas dias! Something management should address as well as the guests rising at dawn to reserve their chairs with towels and books, ridiculous!

Room Tip: Ask for double beds even if your a couple. The single bedrooms are small and the price is the same.
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank stchsw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed February 20, 2014

Puerto Vallarta is one of our favorite fun-in-the-sun getaways and up until this trip, Playa los Arcos was our hotel of choice. This was our fourth time to stay at the property. Unfortunately, this old reliable property has seen better days. Perfectly located in the heart of the Zona Romantica, the hotel is within easy walking distance of great restaurants, beautiful beaches and great shopping. The Malecon is only a 10 minute walk along the sea shore. But, as great as the location is, it can't make up for the poor experience we had. We arrived in the afternoon and checked into our superior room with pool view. The room was fairly basic and it was obvious that nothing had been done to update the interior of the hotel for quite some time. The lock on the sliding glass door to the balcony was broken. There was no hot water in the room for more than 24 hours. The towel rack in the bathroom was loose and finally came out of the wall on the third day, along with lots of plaster. I reported this to the front desk immediately that afternoon. The next morning, after nothing was done, I reported it again. Finally, more than 24 hours after I made the first report, I was able to get a housekeeping supervisor in the room. She took one look at the situation and gasped, roller her eyes and promised that someone would come fix the situation immediately. I get up at a fairly early hour and I like to have a cup of coffee. My first morning at Playa los Arcos, I asked a mesanero in the restaurant for a cup of coffee. The restaurant manager came out and told me that I couldn't get a cup of coffee until the restaurant opened at 7:30 a.m. I questioned him about this policy and he became increasingly agitated. After a shouting match across the restaurant in which he told me I could my complaint as high as I wanted, it wouldn't do any good, I got my cup of coffee and was told it would cost 23 pesos. I decided to eat the breakfast buffet that included coffee and was told I still needed to pay for the first cup of coffee. I was able to meet with the general manager and he apologized for the treatment I received. Every morning after that, there was a pot of coffee on the bar for guests. Another issue was the wrist band we were made to wear when we checked in. One person in the party didn't want to wear the wrist band and was told that security would stop him many times if he didn't have his wrist band on. He was never stopped. But, at check out, the woman was highly incensed that two in the party had thrown away the bands that morning. I was asked to sign on the check out form that the bands had been discarded because, "the big bosses get really angry about this." The poor condition of the property combined with the guest is always wrong attitude convinced us that we need to find another property when we return to PV next year. Many of the same people return to PV and Playa los Arcos year after year. The friends we saw pretty much agreed that the hotel's condition had deteriorated. Adios Playa lost Arcos.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Tom P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Playa Los Arcos Hotel Beach Resort & Spa

Property: Playa Los Arcos Hotel Beach Resort & Spa
Address: Olas Altas 380 | Col. Emiliano Zapata, Puerto Vallarta 48380, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Jalisco > Puerto Vallarta
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#15 Family Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#22 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#32 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Playa Los Arcos Hotel Beach Resort & Spa 3*
Number of rooms: 169
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Playa Los Arcos Hotel Beach Resort & Spa is a splendid colonial Boutique Style Hotel that invites you to enjoy the vacatioon of your dreams.The quality of its facilities, hospitality and tradition of excellence in service will make your stay a trully pleasurable experience. Located in front of the best beach of Vallarta "Playa del Sol" in the heart of the exciting Romantic Zone, is one of the best tourist areas of Vallarta. Here you can find all types of residences, prestigios restaurants, cafes, boutiques, galleries and the best nightlife. Only a few steps from the new Malecon, the Cathedral and the New Pier. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Playa Los Arcos Hotel Beach Resort And Spa
Playa Los Arcos Hotel Beach Puerto Vallarta
Playa Los Arcos Puerto Vallarta

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