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.
- 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