Beachfront hotels are a dime a dozen in Puerto Vallarta; they vary in amenities and what each wants to focus on as well as price. Playa Los Arcos is not a perfect hotel; I am not sure one exists. However, when it comes to sheer value, PLA has to top the list, in my opinion. This was our 5th trip to Mexico in two years, but our first to the Pacific side. For the purpose of this review, I am NOT comparing sides of Mexico at all.
Playa Los Arcos is located on the south end of the Malecon. The whole area is very walkable and we never felt unsafe or even iffy during our whole week. It's location is right on one of the most popular and famous beaches in the area - Playa Muertos. Yes, there are beach vendors that will infringe upon your beach solitude and time. Yes, they are persistent. That is pretty much the same as all over the beaches in this area it seems. If you look at it as part of your Mexico experience, it's all good. If you absolutely hate this, I suggest you plan a couple of day trips to a nearby secluded beach and just avoid them. Beach chairs and umbrellas were plentiful and always placed wherever you wanted them. Yes, sometimes you had to wait a while for a drink, but not often and not long. And, if it was really an issue, just get up and go to one of the two bars at the resort. Not a huge deal and something we have also had at larger AI resorts double the cost. Pool chairs were more limited during our time, but we are not huge pool people so this was not an issue for us. The pool area is very large for a hotel of this size.
Check in was fast and efficient. We arrived at around 3 PM (their published check in time) and expected very busy. However, we must have been early by check-in standards because it was not busy and took only about 5 minutes before we were being shown to a room. Our assigned room was 439 and is the standard "Superior" room through Apple Vacations. The location of the room was perfect, top floor with a view of the pool and the ocean from a large balcony. Unfortunately, we did not receive the king bed we had requested but since it was only for one night since we contacted the hotel with a specific room request for the remainder of our trip. However, about two hours into our vacation, the air conditioning unit in room 439 began dripping all over the floor. Maintenance arrived promptly and set to work on resolving the problem. The fix was simple and took about 30 minutes. But, it did not last and an hour later we were moved to a new room.
The new room (319) was decidedly smaller with a less-desirable, but still acceptable, balcony and view. Several hours later, we realized the air conditioning in this room was not working properly either and had to be moved again. By this time it was late at night and the day staff had gone home. We we were moved to room 227 which was very tiny, had two small windows, no balcony and no view. But, the air conditioning did work. We were tired and it was only for one night. I cannot imagine spending a week in room 227.
The following day we arrived at the front desk at noon as instructed upon check in. We were shown to room 442, also on the top floor. I was shocked at the difference between this master suite and the room we spent the night prior. This room was spacious, with balconies on two sides of the two room suite. The bathroom was spacious and it has a kitchenette area. On the balcony, we had a table that seated four, two separate low chairs and cocktail table and a lounger. Lovely hibiscus covered our balcony railing. The view of the beach simply could not have been better. AND, it has a mini-split A/C unit in addition to the central air conditioning system all of our other rooms had. We were thrilled and felt it was more than worth the $40 per night upgrade fee.
All of our rooms were spotless. All had some minor areas where a paint refresh or snagged linens could be replaced. Unlike other hotels, tipping the maid did not result in the cute little towel animals on the bed.
The AI package included only buffet meals at the hotel restaurant. The food was repetitive, but, again, we have had this same thing at higher priced AI's too. The ceviche options were delicious (more choices at dinner than at lunch), the omelet station at breakfast was good, there was always fresh fruit and salad fixings. We really only ate two dinners at the hotel. The rest of the time we chose to experience the wonderful food options of Puerto Vallarta. The bar in the restaurant was okay. The pool bartender was much better. He was friendly and made several "special" drinks for us to try. His Michelada was the best I have ever had. It was nice to have both a light and dark beer option included in the AI package. It would have been nice to have a bar to get drinks at open later than 10 PM and a place to get snacks. The $100 per person we paid to have the AI option was well worth it in our opinion.
PLA is a family hotel. They make no bones about that. They do not try to bill themselves as a five star couples resort. If that is the vibe you seek, look elsewhere. If you want to hang out with North Americans and Europeans as the primary guests, pick something in the hotel zone or Nuevo Vallarta. If you want a clean room in an excellent location and to chat with Mexican families and get a taste of traditional Mexico, PLA fits the bill.
Because this was the second trip to Mexico within a 60 day period for us, we did not want to spend a lot of money on the trip. Our price, through Apple Vacations, was under $750 p/p. That price included air upgrades to preferred class both directions and the AI package at PLA. It did not include our room upgrade which was another $250 total. So, for under $900 p/p we had a beautiful ocean front, two room suite, upgraded check in and seating on the airplane, and all of our meals and drinks included if we opted to have them at the hotel. I am not sure there is a better value in all of Puerto Vallarta.
- 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