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“True Mexican Charm.” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Playa Los Arcos Hotel Beach Resort & Spa

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Playa Los Arcos Hotel Beach Resort & Spa
Ranked #28 of 127 Hotels in Puerto Vallarta
Certificate of Excellence
colorado
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“True Mexican Charm.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 11, 2005

Okay here's the deal. My husband and I loved this hotel. It's an old hotel with a bunch of Mexican charm. With the old charm also comes older type rooms that may have some challenging toilets. Every room is a little different than the next. Some better than others. Which adds to the wonderful Mexican charm of this hotel. We love Playa Los Arcos because it's amongst the Mexican people and their culture. It's located on the best beach area in P.V., close to a huge dock or pier that you can catch a water taxi (fishing boat) to some other charming villages for like 20 bucks or so. The umbrellas are plentiful as well as the chairs. The area surrounding is the most romantic area in downtown P.V.. There is plenty of entertainment right out the front door. All the workers were very friendly and we feel as though we had many wonderful conversations. At first my husband was not happy with our room and we got a room change within 2 days. Then it was much better. I loved the pool area because it was very close to the beach and the bar, keep in mind that alot of it is shaded, but not all. We were lucky to see a couple iguanas in the pool area. It is a smaller pool than other P.V hotels, but it makes it very easy to meet people and see them throughout the vacation. The entertainment nightly was always very cute, simple and full of charm. We just kept an open mind and enjoyed every minute. This is an inexpensive hotel that gives you a true feel of Mexico. If you want more U.S like and consistency in rooms and such I 'd suggest staying at a Holiday Inn because this may not be the hotel for you. We already booked our next VaCa to P.V and wouldn't stay anywhere else but Playa Los Arcos. ENJOY!!!Buen Viaje!!

  • Stayed February 2005
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
19 Thank mexigaper
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
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English first
San Francisco, CA
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 8, 2005

I stayed here with some girlfriends for my bachelorette party. What a disaster. The only thing that kept me going was the alcohol! The service was incredibly poor, we got placed in rooms on the far corner with walls as thin as tissue. There are auto mechanics across the street that begin work at the crack of dawn and the airconditioner was loud. Our toilet broke several times and we had to take the lid off to flush it even after repeatedly complaints to the front desk. We were even moved to different rooms after three days of complaining about the noise. It's also deceiving because they say there are three pools - it's more like one long pool with three short retaining walls separting them. The food was bad and so were the drinks. DO NOT GO HERE! DO NOT GO HERE! I would never recommend this hotel to anyone.

  • Stayed April 2005
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
13 Thank Sinagong
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 28, 2005

Playa los Arcos is average accomodations but well worth the economical price we paid for an all-inclusive trip. Our room was obviously older, but kept in good order and quite clean. There was a musty smell, but the majority of our vacation was spent either running around town or on the beach. The pool was nice, was full for the majority of the day. Beach chairs and umbrellas were readily available and the staff would even service the all inclusive guests on the beach. Waitstaff was attentive, a little slower paced at times but that is logically attributed to mexican culture. We tipped our waiters modestly and I am certain our good service was a direct result. The buffet was fantastic, but please take into consideration my fiance and I are lovers of authentic mexican food. The main dishes were always authentic mexican but salad and fresh fruit were served at every meal as was a snack counter open with burgers and fries. Seafood was served at lunch and dinner and was very good. Drinks were strong and well prepared. The location of the restaurant is fantastic to just sit and enjoy the show. Vendors do approach but accept a polite no. What fun is it anyway if you don't have the galavanting mariachis play you a song or two? The only recomendation I make is to request a room away from the street because of the noise. Otherwise this is a good hotel for the price.

Stayed July 2005
Helpful?
9 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 17, 2005

Reading this review after writing it, I am surprised how much we enjoyed our trip, and we really did. We are not squimish Mexico-phobes, as some who post here seem to be, and we know that Toto's not in Kansas anymore. We went horseback riding in the Cuale river valley twice this trip, drank from our guide's well (Fernando was right, no illness), skinny dipped in the rapids, ate in a cafe with chickens & cats in the dining room (delicious, Paradise Cuale, get a cab, it is SOOOO worth the trip), and loved every sweaty, dusty minute of it. We went sailing again on the Bloodhound, despite the genuine marine-style head, the jelly fish stings, and the landlubbers getting seasick. In short, we know there's a price to pay to get the experience. The hotel's location makes up for a lot of what follows, but you can tell that from the map. I've tried to be factual and want you to go in with your eyes open in regard to the things you can only learn from fellow travelers.

We stayed @ Playa Los Arcos June 11-18 2005, our third trip to Puerto Vallarta, fourth trip to Mexico. We knew going in this is more hotel than resort. Getting there from the airport was great once Funjet figured out nobody else was going anywhere nearby and coughed up for a cab - that took 30 minutes on a late plane arrival but certainly Funjet's fault, not the hotel's.

Checkin was swift & pleasant, bellhop quick. Lobby is beautiful tile & furniture, open & airy, with walk thru to pool and fully modern bathrooms; clearly a recent renovation. We knew this was a 70's hotel redecorated in late 90's so age and smallness of our room was not a surprise; off the steet with pool view from balcony - ok, we did not pay much so my request to hear the ocean was ignored - and on 3rd floor so street noise not bad, except when the gay bar across the street was really swinging. A/C on high drowned it out well as it was a turbojet in our ears, and better than on fourth floor as the elevator only goes to third. Decorated in rustic Spanish (heavy dark wooden furniture) but fresh paint - on half the walls. No unexpected smells, normal number of insects. The shower's repair job was done with mismatched tile & a bucket of concrete, the rough surface being great . . . as a home for mildew & mold, which we had a thriving crop of. Plenty of hot water our entire stay. The TV worked, the remote did not. Just try to get new batteries from the hotel; we bought them ourselves. Try to get a better room - not gonna happen either. The bed . . . . hard as any in Mexico, although half way thru we found my wife's side had a foam topper to soften it - when we unfolded it for both, neither of us got any sleep as it was no longer thick enough to matter, but we both got bit badly by bed bugs I think due to the un-official foam topper being a perfect home for them. We went through the 4 - 600ml bottles of water (90 pesos each) in a few days, no amount of tipping or asking brought more, we bought them outside the hotel. The floor was rarely swept and the sand piled up deep, we started using the towels to wipe it up ourselves, at least we had plenty of those. Not surprisingly, the housekeeping spoke no English and our Spanish couldn't get the job done. The housekeeping did help themselves to use our hairbrushes, perfume, and makeup. We didn't bother telling the hotel desk but I felt weird having to lock up our toiletries.

The streets around the hotel are filled with tourist oriented cafes, internet cafes, pharmacias, food, bars, clubs, activities, and less timeshare than in some parts of town. Head inland several blocks to get to less intense pressure, more Mexican vacationers and less Norte Americanos. Walking distance literally to everything - beach bar restaurants; watch out for cheap beer signs & fancy drink pitches, they make their money one way or the other. Our streetside balcony overlooked the playground of the local gradeschool, to give you an idea that we weren't as isolated from daily life as at most of the mega resorts.

We ate in the restaurant as we had bought the all inclusive; breakfast everyday, most lunches, and about half our dinners. There is a printed menu you may order from, about half requires more money, or a short but diverse buffet. There are many foods available only if you ask, not listed on the menu. Breakfast was very good if repetative; made to order eggs, french toast, omlettes if you are patient. Fruits, yogurt, cereal - kids brands mostly but all bran or corn flakes for adults. Warming tray food a good Mexican sampler, many resorts forget you are travelling and serve lots of imitation Yankee food. Lunches a bit dicier, often reheated dinner from prior day - if I wouldn't eat it fresh why would I eat it left over? Dinners a luke warm bland melange of Mexican and some of the worst Italian I've every seen. Nothing grilled unless you go to the menu, lots of boiled fish, caserole pork & chicken. No "upscale" alternative restaurant as at some resorts, but lots of them within 2 blocks in any direction.

All food - even chips & salsa - require a waiter, either to get the food or (if you serve yourself off the buffet) to sign for your bill, even though you wear an AI bracelet 24/7. We had one exceptional waiter one night and always sat there again hoping, but never saw him again. He was friendly, got us cokes when we sat and coffee at the end of dinner, brought us our bill within 10 minutes of finishing the coffee. That's all we could have wished for - stop by the table 3 times in an hour. There are plenty of waiters and not many diners that time of year, but the odds are still against you since they mostly stand together and talk. One women supervising the kitchen & wait staff would crack the whip but when she was out of sight forget it. It would take a flare gun to get them to come by the table. We tried tipping, we tried Spanish, we tried asking every server who came within 20 feet, we tried waiting 30 minutes after finishing our breakfast, we finally just started walking out and let them chase us down to sign. Some mornings they never noticed. We're used to Mexican service and expected long delays to get coffee, drinks, etc, but none of the AI resorts we stayed in previously put us through either having to sign everytime or the incedibly bad service we had here, and we previously stayed in one resort while they were still constructing the rooms and training the staff -- even THEY were better, hands down!!!!

My advice is not to consider Playa Los arcos if you are looking for All Inclusive, it failed to meet that expectation completely. If you want a quick place to get good breakfasts and a few lunches, buy the AI, but be prepared.

The beach & pool - this is why you left home, right? Good beach with medium to fine broad yellow sand and fun if rough waves (maybe season, early June is just beginning the rainy season, although we only got rain 2 days) resulting in red flags all but 1 day. Still, lots of us swam even with the warning, I wouldn't have done it with kids I guess. Lots of kids in main pool and a few mostly well behaved in the adult pool. Pool very clean and rather warm, they shut off the waterfall you see in the photos from late evening to mid morning. We would have enjoyed the splashing sound if left running, guess nearby rooms would be bothered. Jacuzzi could be hotter but without a drink in my hand it was hot enough. Pool mechanical house is well hidden by landscaping and also home to 5 large semi-pet iguanas. Not like Yelapa photo-op iguanas, these big boys want to be left alone to sun, eat bananas, and be the lizards they are. I liked them a lot. If you want a chair beachside, you must ask them (the staff, not the iguanas) to carry one out, so they may solicit a tip. Usual towel system, cards for towels & don't lose either or they charge your room, even if a kid robs your lounge. Not always nice to spend your pool time watching your towel, so bring your own - theives don't seem to care about non-hotel towels. Makes you wonder how they profit, if the towel itself isn't the prize; sad but not unusual.

All Inclusive - unlike any other AI I've ever heard of, you may not take snacks or drinks outside the restaurant. That includes the pools and beach; no swim-up bar. There is no service near the pool either, so it is not a tip-generating move. Drinks are as expected weak and use cheap local brands. Many popular mixed drinks are excluded from AI. Cervesa is Corona, draft or sometime liter bottles left to get warm between pours. Same bartender at the 1 bar for a week, never knew the 2 drinks I ordered every time, despite the resort being half full. I stopped tipping after 4 days of having to squeeze my own lime into warm beer.

I will say that I felt very safe, they have security monitor the guests entering & leaving the property. They also proved very helpful recovering my towel from a little girl who "accidentally" took it - moving my hat & shirt to do it. The service we experienced was mostly indifferent, not deliberate. For example, the bell desk initally refused to check my luggage at the noon checkout beyond an hour, while we had a 9 pm flight with 6pm departure plans. After speaking with four different staff, someone senior enough to recognize that it did not matter if our bags filled their closet for 1 hour or 6 hours looked at the other three like they had rocks in their head and told me very politely that they would be glad to accomodate my needs. If only they hadn't argued with me for 10 minutes getting to that very reasonable conclusion.

We got a killer price all inclusive ($84/nite for 2) but the hotel certainly felt like it - cheap. Their tagline is "welcome home" but given the exceptional lack of service (housekeeping, restaurant, & bar), petty theft (toiletries, towel), and uncooperative desk (tv batteries, better room), you have to come from a very disfunctional home to fully appreciate the irony in that. I'd rather stay someplace else next time, where I enjoyed my time in the hotel as much as my time in the town or in one of the many excellent excursions, cafes, bars, and restaurants.

Puerto Vallarta si, Playa Los Arcos no.

  • Stayed June 2005
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
10 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 13, 2005

We had a great overall time.

This is not a big resort where you can pretend you're still in the USA! This hotel had predominantly Mexican tourists, which I thought was great. You don't need to speak Spanish at all in PV, but in this hotel and this part of town, there are plenty of Spanish speakers if you want to try.

We had a bad room the first night, with a loud AC and very lumpy bed. We changed rooms (for a little more money) and the second room was just fantastic! A great view of the beach and great AC and bed.

We found the staff to be very helpful and friendly. The restaurant isn't great. Slow service and mediocre food, but there are plenty of restaurants in the area. (Cafe de Olla is the BOMB!!!!!)

For an inexpensive hotel, this was a great place and a great area of Puerto Vallarta!

  • Stayed June 2005
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. Louis, MO
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 12, 2005

The best tips I can offer for Playa Los Arcos.

Make sure you get the correct hotel- Los Arcos and Los Arcos Suites are street side. PLAYA Los Arcos is beach front and offers some ocean front rooms. (Beach is cleaned daily)

No need to get the all inclusive. Plenty of great expensive and budget restaurants around the hotel. (We loved El Brujo and El Nogalito) The hotel happy hours are 2 for the price of one (every evening at 6 PM mom & I had 4 cocktails each and split an order of nachos and our bill totalled $12.) The menu food we ate was great (all inclusive was a buffet that sat outside...lots of flies)

Call hotel directly to make sure you get the room you want at the price you expect to pay(for me well worth the 7 cents a minute). This would also be a good time to reserve a refridgerator or any special needs.

For a one week stay , Arrive with at least 50 one dollar bills US.

Check in time is 3:00 PM. If you arrive early stowe your bags until check in time.

To the person who installs your fridge, cleans your room, hails a taxi, opens a door, carries your luggage, carries your shopping and souvenier bags to your room, brings your meal, your drink or makes change from Playa Los Arcos, give them one US dollar or one dollar per bag. While at the resort, it should seem like every time you turn around your handing someone a dollar.

Be polite, smile, try to speak some Spanish and be patient and kind with their English. Never hesitate to compliment a good deed or job well done.

A message is $20 for 30 minutes (I'll get that for sure next time) and chairs, umbrella, and beach towels are complimentary. Make sure they mark you off the list when you return them and you'll have no trouble with towel fees appearing on your bill.

Early risers plan ahead...no microwaves or coffee in room...no coffee in restaurants till 8:00 AM and beach chairs and pool not available till 10:00 AM. What a wonderful walk on the beach I had each sunrise. (you can buy a coffee maker, coffee and bottled water at Walmart Puerto Vallarta, leave it in the room and chalk it up as a vacation expense.)

It is of course your choice. If you make a little kindness go a long way, you will return with a five star rating and be ready to book for January to watch the whales and dolpins in paradise where it's soooo good to be Queen. I'll see you then. This was my first stay at Playa Los Arcos. I found out today, when I booked for January, they give a great discount to repeat customers.

Special thanks to Martha, Edgar, our maid service and all the wonderful staff who made this a dream vacation.

If your the picky type you should know the elevators where out alot, the air conditioning worked ok, ocean front view was breathtaking, room was clean and maid provided turn down service. Go when there is a full moon for lovely sunrise/sunsets, we waited a few minutes for change at the front desk (immediate service provided across the street). Definate sound of crashing waves which I found fantastic some might find annoying. Many fisherman, and vendors (not pushy) on beach, security guard and lighting on beach. Get your umbrellas, chairs and towels at 10:00 AM as they do run out. Nobody stole from our chairs when left unattended. There is an adult pool, waiding pool and family pool cleaned daily. No problems with the food or water in Puerto Vallarta. Coppertone sells spf 30 with bug lotion no deet...stock up to avoid problems. Three days is not enough. Go looking for joy and you will surely find it here!

I also highly recommend Adventure Tours...Canopy Tour. Very safe and guides are exceptional. Great buy if you book online but video/dvd is a rip off. No cameras allowed on tour so the video/dvd is your only lasting memory. Just another vacation expense, Buy it....your worth it!!!

  • Stayed July 2005
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
16 Thank SunnyRegards
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 1, 2005

Authentic with charm. If you want culture, this is your place.
Service at hotel: The people at the hotel were very nice to us. I did see the front desk rude to a few college kids trying to cash their traveler's checks. We were always treated great!!! We didn't do the all inclusive. I read that if you wear that wristband that they feel like they already have your money so they aren't very nice. I don't know if that is true because we were always treated GREAT.
Food: The restaurant at the hotel was fantastic. Great food, Great service.
Ask for Geraldo, a waiter there... he was GREAT!!! Every Saturday night the restaurant that is right on the beach has a great Mexican Flare Show with Mexican dancing, rope show, cock fighting...so much fun.
The Beach and Vendors: The beach was cleaned every day and the vendors on the beach respond very nicely to "No thank you". Yes the vendor's hit you up every five minutes but they work so hard and are part of the culture and I love it. I could sit on the beach and shop. The people were very nice and we came away with some great deals and we got ripped off sometimes too. I got my hair braided and thought I got such a great deal since I bartered down, then I met someone else who got her hair done like mine and it was 3x cheaper!!! Oh, well my Bad.
The Room: We upgraded our room for an extra $16.00 a day to a ocean view and that was GREAT!!! I slept like a baby. The room was clean, didn't see one bug. The balcony was big enough for a table and chairs so we could enjoy our coffee in the mourning and our salvsa in the after noon.
The Pool: Very refreshing after the ocean. It's older and not in great condition but it goes with the charm of the hotel. No problems with beach towels or getting a chair on the beach or at the pool.
We really had a great time. Hope you do too.

Stayed June 2005
Helpful?
5 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
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
#21 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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