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“Good stay, with a some extra good, and some bad”

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Barcelo Puerto Vallarta
Ranked #33 of 122 Hotels in Puerto Vallarta
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed April 13, 2013

We booked with Expedia.ca and stayed at Barcelo between Jan 19 and Jan 26. We booked a transfer directly with Barcelo through their web-site, and was nice to have car there waiting for us. We also did not have an issues with the Shark Tank.

When we arrived at the Barcelo, we were warmly greetly and escorted to the front desk. I had requested with our booking a room with a King Size bed, but at check-in, were told they had no King rooms available, but would likely have one the next morning. The room, in building 2 had a nice sitting area, and the two double beds. Expecting to move in the morning, we didn't unpack. We then got our swim suits on and went for a walk around the resort. We got the lay of the land, and proceeded to hit the pool. The larger pool had a GREAT atmosphere .... we spent a LARGE amount of time in this pool, and at the swim-up bar. EXCELLENT service at the swim-up bar...

The "rock feature/waterfall" between the two pools made you feel you were in the middle of "nature", instead of simple pool. There were 2 hot tubs, that REALLY were HOT .... great place to relax as well. The activity pool was great for volleyball, and water polo ....

The a la carte restaurants were ok ... nothing to really write home about. The buffet was acceptable ... food was generally the same day to day, but certainly was palatable. I had omelettes daily. It was wonderful to be able to sit in the open-air buffet and look out over the bay ... made us feel very relaxed.

Back to the room... We went back to the front desk the next morning, and lo and behold, they still didn't have a King room ... but Carlos tried to up-sell us to a Master Suite, for 1/2 price for us ... $50/night ... we didn't expect to go for it, but we went to see the room he was talking about... on the 7th floor in building 1. This was an end unit, looking out over the bay and the residential area to the south of the resort. We liked the room (had a seperate sitting area and large wrap around deck), and figured we'd go negotiate for a room to the INSIDE of the resort, so it looks out over the bay and the POOL area. He told us he had one on the 3rd floor in building 2, so we said we'd take it then. oh.. It also included upgraded all-inclusive benefits. We went back to our room, and packed up, and took our backs to the new room. When we got there, we realized the room was again, an OUTSIDE room ... not what we agreed to, so while my wife waiting in the room with our bags, I went back to talk to Carlos, and pay for the room. I told Carlos he got it wrong (that we asked for an INSIDE facing room). He apologized and said he'd give us the room beside that one , and that it's normally more money, but since it was his mistake, he'd give us that one. We paid for the room, so I didn't have to come back for that later. Went back to the room (2320) while my wife was in 2319, and opened the door to move the bags over .... we were SHOCKED ..... What we got, after all the mix-ups was a "Grand Master Suite" .... entrance foyer, dining room, living room, separate bedroom, and massive deck. QUITE an upgrade for $50/night.

The nightly entertainment was sorely lacking. Think we did only 2 or 3 shows.... We had our underwater camera STOLEN half-way through the week .... we believe, by a fellow vacationer from Iowa, who we had a bit of a run-in with due to lack of respect of seating around the pool. Funny..... never saw his after that day...

We were scheduled to go to a different resort (Melia) for our 2nd week, but after discussions with my wife, we decided that we would CANCEL the reservation at Melia and extend our stay at Barcelo, if they could give us a good price (we did not expect to be able to stay in the Grand Master Suite). I went to talk to the manager at the front-desk, explaining our desire to stay .... he would put us back in a regular room (no problem with that) and regular all-inclusive benefits, but the price was $60/night MORE than what we got when we booked through Expedia ! They made our final decision FOR us... They had very happy customers already in their property, and didn't make an effort to try to keep us there ... a little disappointing....

If the price was good, we would definitely consider returning. Hope this review is helpful to others.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank isundby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 13, 2013

My daughter and I recently stayed at the Barceló during her spring break (03/20 - 03/30). We have agreed this is the best vacation we have ever taken. I was a little worried about earlier reported sicknesses and some negative comments about the food, but I soon realized we didn't have to worry about it.

We contracted with PV Tours to pick us up at the airport - which was brilliant in my opinion - no hassles getting to the hotel. Although there were many negative comments about the ride to the hotel (the crooked, narrow road being the issue) we found the drive very pleasant. Where I come from this is NOT a 'narrow' road. The drive to the hotel gave us the opportunity to see the beautiful scenery and the coastline. When we went into town the fare was 130 pesos, much cheaper than any taxi in California (you can't get across town in San Francisco for that fare).

Upon check-in we were immediately taken to our room where a bottle of tequila and champagne awaited us. What a gorgeous room and view (Rm 1918). All the employees were friendly and professional. Our room was clean and housekeeping kept it spotless during our 10 day stay. The mini-fridge was nice - we requested more water, and since neither of us drink beer, we didn't care whether it was in there or not.

Food: We ate at all three specialty restuarants over a seven night period. Our favorite was the Spanish one. The steak house was our least favorite. The service at all three was impeccable. The food was good (again the steak house wasn't so great, maybe just average) and the serving sizes were perfect. The Spanish restaurant had a piano player and gorgeous view of the bay which really added to the atmosphere. We had breakfast in the buffet daily, they had a nice selection and everything was piping hot (or nicely chilled) and presented in a clean, appetizing manner. Again, the view from the floor was amazing. The only complaint I have about the buffet is what we call 'the buffet mentality' - it seems guests at buffets always fear the kitchen will run out of food and people who are normally civilized and polite turn into pirranhas, forgetting all manners and etiquette. This is certainly not the hotels fault! We ate lunch at the snack bar when we were on the property. Again, nice selection of food, good service, and very relaxiing.

Grounds: Beautiful, clean, small areas for privacy if you want it.

Drinks: Not bad, not great. We would drink whatever brand they served us during the day, but asked for 'top shelf' for evening cocktails and after dinner drinks.

Illness: I didn't see any illness. I was sick our second day, but I caused it. I became dehydrated from laying out in the sun and drinking alcohol all day. My daughter and I agreed I didn't take very good care of myself. I just took it easy the next day, ate lightly, and drank lots of water. After that we would drink one bottle of water for every two drinks during the day and I didn't have any problems after that.

Premium Upgrade: Do it!!!!!!!! It is well worth the money!!!! You get a higher level room (we were in a Junior Suite), access to the Premium Club Room (my daughter was able to get her morning cappuccino after her work out in the nicely appointment gym), access to the internet if you want it, and (the best part) you don't have to eat dinner at the buffet - you can eat in a nice restaurant with waiters.

Spa: This was a HUGE disappointment. We went for massages one day. I've had better back-rubs from unenthusiastic boyfriends who lost a bet and a backrub was the prize. My daughter got a pedicure after her massage. She was happy with both. We went for a manicure the last day there and I think I got a trainee. It's a shame. They need to hire a consultant and learn what a spa is supposed to be like. Don't waste your money.

If you go remember to get your picture at the kiosk in the lobby - we would take a picture each day and post it on facebook - our friends and family LOVED seeing us become more relaxed and tanned each day.

Nice surprise: Security was wonderful, check in and out at the gates gave us a sense of security.

Bottom line - the value of this vacation was incredible. We both felt it was worth twice what we paid. I'm recommending this hotel and trip to all my friends and family! Thanks Barceló!

Room Tip: Upgrade to Premium - it's well worth it!
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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1  Thank QueenJulieAnn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 12, 2013

Excellent hotel for a family with two teenage suns. Spacious rooms, there are actually two separate rooms with two toilets and rooms are separated by the door. We did not know this and booked two standard rooms for the family of four, so our sons live like kings. Each had his own room, unbelievable luxury for vacation home.
Very friendly staff, especially Carlos at the front desk - helpful, attentive and with good sense of humor. Good food, excellent beach with marine color ocean and nice sand and good gym in the hotel if one wants to stay fit.
Overall, very nice stay and good package price as well.
Things to watch: mosquitos-bring repellent. They are all over you in the evenings when outdoor.
Also, security neds to be tighter at the beach, there are too many peddlers and they can be very pushy trying to sell you things when you wanna nap or read the book.
I recommend this hotel for family vacation

Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
Thank Dmitry K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 11, 2013

We love Barcelo Resort!
We were meeting our Dreamtrip friends. Their was 35 of us staying here.
Our Family of 4, stayed at Barcelo, March 14~20, 2013.
7th floor, room 1712

Upon arrival, we were greeted with Mimosa drinks.
The front entrance is so spectacular and breathtaking.
We spent over 35 minutes taking pictures.
Check in was quick.
We reserved all of our dinner reservations ahead of time through email.
(I recommend to do this)
-The resort is busy, and we did not waste our vacation time sitting in the lobby, deciding what dinner to order. Barcelo sends you an email to set dinner and excurtion up. All 35 of our People received emails.
-Buy the romantic dinner on the beach. Amazing

-I advise to leave the waiters, and bartenders tips.
I payed attention, a lot of people did not tip. The servers are amazing.
I loved all the Mexican food.
- try the fresh organic squeezed fruit juice in the morning.
I'm missing the juice every day.
- the shrimp cocktail is wonderful.
- to drink, try the mojito, Bahamas mama, Modelo beer is good,
tequila y coconut is superb!
Ask bartender Toni to mix you the Tequila Sunrise, Miami Vice.
We took a picture with Toni.
-Italian Capri outdoor steak Restaurant is great!
( we recommend to sit outside)
really beautiful to sit and listen to the ocean at night.
We reserved our dinners for 9:30pm. This way, we spent the day at the ocean. Afternoon at the pool, and we had plenty of time to get ready.
The restaurants close at 10:30 pm. (Highly advise you to reserve dinners online before you leave for the vacation) we did this, and all went smoothly.
The buffets are always open, if you get Hungary. There are 2 buffets to choose from. Both are great. The Mexican food is wonderful!
Im already missing the food, flavor and drinks.
It all Mexican food, fresh organic fruits and vegetables.
A few American foods, for the picky eater.
- the pool is warm and clean.
- the pool has beautiful views at every look.
- the pool swim up bar closes at 6:00pm...
- the swim up bar is so fun. There are hotties, a lot of seating. Shade if you
don't want sun rays. Something for everyone. Very happy with Barcelo pool.

A few Mosquitos after 6:00 p.m. So yes, bring bug repellent.
If you go out of Barcelo...You are Located in the heart of the jungle.
-Or buy skin so soft from Avon. Works well if you don't like mosquito deet.

I loved that there is hammocks by the pool. So relaxing. Explore the area.
We discovered on our last night, this cute little jacuzzi in the back. Omg! Puerto Vallarta had the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen!

- The Ocean was spectacular.
I loved the beach area at Barcelo, because It was private.
Only Barcelo guests on the beach.
I've been to a few all inclusive resorts, and I don't like other resort people, passing in front of me while I'm enjoying sunbathing and looking at the view.
- pay the men with the boats, on the beach. its like $50.00 an hour...Ask them to take you to devils canyon, to go snorkeling, fishing, or to the waterfall. 2 different places. I brought them some coronas and they treated us like royalty. Sergio, or Chuy are the guys we made friends with.
-at night, go to the cantina, on the left of the beach. Ask them to make you a drink, a real coconut, with tequila...so delicious! They will let you fish at 1:00am if you ask. We had a group of 7 of us, over there at 1:00am, and we had a great time. Really down to Earth people. Helps to know Spanish.
The snorkeling around the rocks are fabulous. Best experience!!!!!
Things to see:
Zoologico Zoo
-walk there. Do not take taxi. It's only 20 minute walk. Make sure you wear pants, bring mosquito spray, try to go before 3:00pm. We spent 6 hours at the zoo. It's amazing!! $10.00 a person. $40.00 to play with the tigers y monkeys, + receive a bag of food to feed animals. Do this, it's so worth it. Some of the animals are skinny, so I believe the zoo, depends on the visitors to feed the zoo animals...helps pay for care of zoo animals. The animals in the glass, they showed us to place food between the glass and wall, shove food in there for them. It's funny.

We stayed on the resort. We did not go off and eat at old town Puerto Vallarta.
We had 35 Dreamtrippers in our group.
We ate and drank everything at Barcelo!
We had a blast!

I will return to Barcelo. It's a complete Paradise.

Room Tip: 6,7,8, 9 floor 2nd building, I love cause the roosters sing in the a.m., and we slept with the oc...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled on business
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5  Thank JessicayJonny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 11, 2013

We just got back from 10 days at this resort March 30-April 9. Here are our comments.

1. My husband got ill on the last 4 days
They have some really questionable food standards.
The plates are low to the ground and guess what? Kids running around are touching all the plates. They really should be moved up high.
Kids also picking things up with their hands at the buffet, pretty gross.
Why they have some areas at the buffet where you can serve yourself and others the masked people are serving you? Makes no sense.
How are they keeping track of how people are getting ill? We called the paramedic after 1 day of having the ‘scoots’ and he came to the room and gave us pepto and pedialyte
We went 2 more times to the same paramedic and for tips he will replenish your pepto and pedialyte
The last day we went and there was a new guy and guess what? Different rules this time. No I can’t give you anything, you must fill out a form, you must see a doctor. No set processes to follow. How do they know who is sick? Why is there no follow up to see how you are?
We went to the ONLY store on the resort that carries drugs and guess what they don’t carry? NOTHING for diarrhea! I can’t tell you how much that irked me. They want you to pay to go see the doctor which is $70.00 during the day and $100 at night.
Just fyi……. If you walk up the road towards the zoo there is a corner store that sells Pepto and Tedra (a drug that helps!)
We chatted with about 4 other Caucasians while there and all of them had some illness in their group.
Is it the hotels issue? Not sure but we won’t be back for this reason and other reasons below.
Why do they force the sanitation gel sometimes and not others?
How are they maintaining the pool with ALL the kids and fecal matter? Diapers, etc.

a. Not worth it.
i. The bar is never stocked properly
ii. We went numerous times for soda water, vodka and ice, which was rarely there.
iii. It was busy so sometimes we had to wait 30 minutes when the front area had no line to ask a question
iv. They almost never hadpremium red wine in the wine cooler
b. I have been at other resorts that have a “premium” club and it truly is better service, they cater to you but this isn’t quite like that. It is a room where a staff member is and has premium alcohol and some snacks.


a. We travelled for an adult vacation and to be fair we made some assumptions at this resort. It doesn’t state that it has an adult pool which it certainly doesn’t. We could NOT escape the children anywhere. We were there for our anniversary and the place was like a daycare. Kids jumping in the pools, splashing and having a great time but really didn’t make our stay fun. Try reading while you keep getting splashed and kids screaming and crying and yelling. For us, it was not ideal. We really tried every location to move to to get some peace. There was NOWHERE to go!!!! At the beach, at the restaurants, at the pools.


a. This isn’t a resort issue, come on, you are in the jungle but we couldn’t figure out where the bugs bites were coming from. We brought spray with us and I never got bit but my husband sure did. We “think” it was from sand fleas on the beach. Not sure though.

5. YOGA?

I was sooooo looking forward to Yoga which I was disappointed to find out they only do twice a week but just returned from their version of yoga. It wasn't anything I have ever experienced and I had to come back after and check if I had the right day. It seemed to be gentle stretching for which included some yoga poses but not real yoga, I was super disappointed. At other resorts they have yoga on the beach or nearby and here it was kind of gross. They have it on the spa patio which has dried poop on it which they didn't care to clean before the guests arrive. There was even poop on the yoga mats which makes me think someone doesn't care. It was gross. I won't be back for any more work out sessions at the spa. Ick!


a. We have stayed at 10+ other all inclusive and this was by far the worst. Even the ones you have to make reservations at were horrid. We probably both dropped weight as we just couldn’t stomach most of the food.
b. We had a dinner two nights at Los Arcos one night and my steak was great but T's ribs were almost 90% fat. The second time it was pretty inedible.

a. I had a horrible time with this as it makes you sweat and hear that sound every time you roll over. Not sure why they do this? We have never seen it before. I feel like it is to protect you from wetting the bed. Otherwise the bed and pillows were great but I had to get through the 10 days with sleeping pills because the rubber cover was so annoying.

I was getting so sick of this smoke smell. It smells like a building is burning and you are near it. It took me days to figure out it is the pizza oven at the Los Arcos Restaurant. The wind blows directly to the pool areas and it is a horrible smell. Can’t be good to be breathing that in all day either.

Room Tip: Stay in Tower 2 - this time of year unless you like shade then get tower 1. :-) Tower 2 is also fu...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank dlarocqu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 10, 2013 via mobile

Stayed for a week and it was great. The grounds were lovely, the staff were super nice. The bell man was super Helpful the last day helping us arrange our transfer back to the airport. We booked a couple tours in the lobby. Days at the pool tanning and swimming. The almost in its own tiny bay, nice tho little stretch of beach, great views. Food was 8.5 out of ten, very good. Would definitely stay at a Barcelo again. Also the Puerto Vallerta Zoo was just across the street from this hotel, and that was interesting as well.

  • Stayed: April 2013
    • Value
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Thank Anilizzy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2013

Love to stay there , First time ever in Puerto Vallarta and this Hotel was recommended by a friend and family member. Attention of all the staff above and beyond expectation, the pools are nice. Got all inclusive package and we visit the restaurants at night which you need to dress formal and love it because me and my husband had the opportunity to have a beautiful dinner for our anniversary. Went to concierge asking about scuba diving tours and let him now my husband wasn't certify, it was not a problem he found an instructor for us the same day to get a certification in order to be able to go to the tour together the next day. Everything was amazing and would love to go back there again without thinking about it or looking somewhere else. Just remember is a little bit of a drive to go to New Vallarta but it is WORTH IT . We Love it

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank JVDreamBig
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Barcelo Puerto Vallarta

Address: Carretera a Barra de Navidad Km. 11.5 | Zona Hotelera Sur, Puerto Vallarta 48300, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Jalisco > Puerto Vallarta
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#13 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#18 Luxury Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#20 Spa Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#23 Family Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#25 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#27 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
Price Range: $200 - $647 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Barcelo Puerto Vallarta 4*
Number of rooms: 316
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Barceló Puerto Vallarta***** (formerly Barceló La Jolla de Mismaloya) in Puerto Vallarta, is an elegant, all-inclusive Mexican-style resort. It offers 316 completely renovated and comfortable suites with excellent service, leisure, history, beautiful scenery, exuberant flora and privacy.Relax after a hard day’s work in the hotel spa, catch some rays at one of the hotel pools or take time out to practice your favourite water sport. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
La Jolla Mismaloya
Barcelo La Jolla De Mismaloya Puerto Vallarta
La Jolla Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta La Jolla De Mismaloya
Barcelo De Mismaloya
Barcelo Mismaloya Puerto Vallarta
Barcelo La Jolla Mismaloya

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