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Barcelo Puerto Vallarta
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Reviewed July 16, 2013

1st things 1st WHEN YOU ARRIVE AT AIRPORT IN PUERTO VALLARTA, YOU'LL ENTER A HALLWAY WITH ALL WHITE SHIRTS (TIME SHARES) KEEP WALKING, NO EYECONTACT. THEY'LL TRY TO GET YOU BY ASKING YOUR TRANSPORTATION, YOUR TRANSPORTATION IS JUST DOWN THE HALL AND AROUND THE CORNER. DON'T EVEN BE POLITE AND SAY NO THANK YOU. JUST LOOK STRAIGHT AND KEEP WALKING, THEY VERY AGGRESIVE ONCE THEY HAVE A MINUTE WITH YOU, AND EVEN GET RUDE. YOU WILL ALSO RUN INTO TIME SHARES AT THE MARKETS DOWNTOWN, LIKE I SAID KEEP WALKING AND DON'T EVEN ACKNOWLEDGE THEM.

Now for our trip: If you really want great service set a budget aside for tips. They seem to remember you when you tip and then receive awesome service. Be generous, the waiters work so hard for 55 pesos/day (roughly $5.00/day) and the chef's are 120 pesos/day. TIP TIP TIP they do say tips are included but really what is the % between so many workers.

Our first 5 days or so there was a convention for a group that believe they are created from aliens and believe in sex everyday with many partners, and then we were bombarded by 1000 college reforms students, the resort did seem to cater to them but I could understand after all it is rainy season and think of the amount of money they brought to the resort. It was a little hard to get our water and our mango smoothies from the bar but I learned after a couple times, just hold up 50 pesos and that will get the bartenders attn. It was a loud couple of days and really had to fight for a spot by the pool but they didn't ruin our holiday....I do have to admit it was so nice and quiet when they left. after the kids came the Mexicans doctors, another convention. So Barceló is definitely a busy place=)

I recommend walking to the zoo, it's about a 10 min walk thru a local neighborhood. No need to take a taxi. If you attend church, you do pass one on the way to the zoo--service is 9am to 10am. Ziplining was scary but fun, we did Los Veronos ( guys are so awesome) and if you really want to save a bit of cash take the bus downtown when going to Markets (only 7 pesos) and then another 6 pesos will get you to walmart. We did most of our travelling this way once we got used to it. Just ask for directions if your lost;)

Another thing to do if you want to cool off from the sun is to do painting with Alejandro, Raul, Matuatay, also do henna tattoo's and just sit and have a chat with them=)

Antonio the entertainment dude was really good for getting me out of my comfort zone, I recommend doing the water aerobics. I really enjoyed it.

Mario (striking green eyes) in the dining room was awesome, he returned my daughters iphone after we got back from the buffet.

My favorite show was the Pirate show, definitely bring the kids to this one =)

I regret not doing the jet skis (you'll see them right outside the dining room window, check them out.......ask for Arnold, think I fell in love with this man just watching what a hard worker he was.

All in all, I really enjoyed my trip: I didn't convert to an alien believing atheist group, the poptravel didn't push me over the edge to drink lol jk and gosh the doctors were really nice to end the trip with, they weren't loud and alien believing lol . The workers really made an effort and made my daughter feel special. They always made sure to say her name when they saw her (haida name so they always wanted to say it lol)

WE WILL BE RETURNING TO BARCELO =) I loved watching the locals at the beach enjoying themselves.

Room Tip: not sure but was very happy with mine on 6th
  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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6  Thank Erica747
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 15, 2013

My husband and I visited Barceló PV 22-29 June 2013 and had an amazing time. We had concerns due to the negative reviews, one even read just before we arrived - but don't believe them! From the moment we were quickly whisked away from the airport it was a trip that made special memories. We were celebrating my birthday and our anniversary and true to their promise we had not only wine and chocolates in our room, but they decorated the bed with towels shaped like swans and rose petals. It was a very memorable arrival. The suite was spacious and beautiful, we did not upgrade but our room had a wonderful view of the pool area and the ocean. We felt pampered. Following their advice via email, I was in contact with their people to arrange for trips and make dinner reservations. Adelina and Esteban were friendly, helpful, and always had a smile. If you have questions about the resort or want to contact the hotel to make special arrangements you can email them at puertovallarta.tours2@barcelo.com. They helped make our vacation a memorable one. The resort areas were kept spotless, food was wonderful, drinks plentiful, and lots of fun activities included. Our room was a few floors up from the cantina, but the music and noise was never an intrusion. One thing we also liked were the shops in the resort - especially the silver shop and the souvenirs - reasonable and some of the craftsman were there actually making items. Over all I cannot think of anything to complain about. It was a dream vacation!

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank MLandT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 12, 2013

I have good and bad things to say about the Barcelo PV. My family and I had stayed at the Barcelo in the Riviera Maya and loved it, so we were expecting a similar experience here, but were disappointed. On the positive side this is a clean and friendly resort with some great staff members, there is great care taken to keep things looking great on the grounds! The buffet food and grill was pretty good (the restaurant food was lower quality so we cancelled reservations and did the buffet or room service) I could always find something that I liked that way. Our family agreed also that the room service was excellent and really made our trip much better! On the negative side the maid service was not that good - we upgraded to a premium room but had to constantly ask for towels and even comforters on our beds - for some reason the maid left us only with sheets for two of our days - we still cannot figure that out? The room was clean for the most part, but my youngest son got sick in the middle of the first night and we had to use our 1 and only towel to try to clean it up, we did not get it that good and the floor was never cleaned during out 11 day stay, so we had to look at the mess every day. Normally the maids will learn your habits and then adjust to you… for example, we like bottled water, but the maid would not leave extra – we had to go to the bar each day to get that – I would expect at a 4 star resort that the maids would really take care of your needs, but that was not the case here. I did leave really good tips for the maid at first, but then stopped or lowered due to the service level.
Now for the worst part... we arrived on a Saturday and things were going well, until Wednesday when over 600 (not sure exactly how many) 18 year old Mexican teenagers with Pop travel arrived and completely took over the resort - the resort turned into complete 24 party with kids everywhere - most of them drinking apparently for the first time by the way that they were acting... what this meant to us was - you could not get near the pools, elevators, bars, sleep, etc. Being an American - I will say that the kids (and I mean all of them) were kind and respectful to our family, which told me a lot about Mexican families - so kudos to the many parents out there for raising well behaved kids... but kids are kids and they went crazy - I cannot blame them because I did the same when I was in college - I more blame the resort for putting us in this situation - of course we complained but we were met with nods and smiles, no apologies and no changes. We ended up spending most our time in our room or on excursions to get away from the noise and crowds - this went on for 5 days. We still could not completely get away from the 24 hour noise because the resort is fairly small - and with loud outdoor sound systems, there is no escape - things did improve somewhat as time went on, but still it was unacceptable. As far as the bar - The bartenders ignored my wife and kids - they put a priority on serving the Mexican convention people that were there - my wife finally had to yell at the bartenders (completely out of character for her) in order to get served - my kids just gave up usually and made me go with them to get drinks.
All in all – the Barcelo PV a very nice well-kept smaller resort that is tucked nicely into a bay - most of the staff is friendly and we even made some friends, the nightly entertainment was very good. The excursions by the way are awesome; we went horseback riding, scuba diving and ATV'ing in the mountains - highly recommended! Unfortunately, I only get one major vacation each year and I am not willing to take a chance next time that a Barcelo will not turn my family vacation into a wild spring break – so I will not be choosing Barcelo resorts in the future.

Room Tip: I would recommend upgrading to the premium rooms, but the hotel will put groups of partying teenagers next to you and you will still not be able to sleep, so save your money.
  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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6  Thank Bob J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 11, 2013

I have been coming to this resort since before it became Barcelo. My wife and I had our honeymoon there in 1993. We have returned several times including bringing other family members to the resort since that time. We have enjoyed this resort in the past.
We stayed at the resort between July 3-7, 2013. The reason for our stay was to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. Unfortunately things have changed. This is no longer the resort we fell in love with. Everything has changed.

This resort used to be for the family. To our great shock Barcelo had booked approx. 1000 people around the ages of 18 years old without letting us or our travel agency know. This young crowed completely took over the hotel. One night in particular on Friday there was a private party between the hours of 3-6 am in the morning! This included loud music and screaming which literally shook the entire resort which made it impossible to sleep. Barcelo approved of this party.
My family and others also received prank phone calls throughout the night from people at the hotel. The youth were intoxicated from morning to night amongst other things vomiting in the bar area. My young daughter was subjected to the daily filth from this behavior.

I complained to the Director Mr. Rudolfo Pacheco on our second day, who promised my family that things would get better. They did not get better. On our last night at the resort on Saturday, Barcelo decided to close the main buffet so that only the youth party could go there. That left everyone else trying to figure out what to eat. The food was also not very good during our stay either. It has all changed. When we went to the Spanish restaurant there was hair in my food. The Italian restaurant was poor and the portions were very small.
The pool area was taken over by the intoxicated youth where there is a bar inside the pool. Barcelo further contributed to this by staging pool parties for the youth throughout the days with loud music, alcohol and games.
Smoking was also being permitted everywhere even though there are rules posted in the resort not to smoke in certain areas.
The elevators were also constantly not working due to being overloaded by the youth. Barcelo did not monitor this.

Our saving grace was doing things away from the resort. This was a new experience because in the past we never wanted to leave.
We spoke with several of the older and family oriented people during our stay. They were just as disappointed with the new look Barcelo as we were. All of them told us that they would NEVER return to this resort.

How sad it is to see such a wonderful place become what it is today. it is with great regret that I have to say this.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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12  Thank JTDesertEagle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 8, 2013

We stayed at Barcelo from 06.28-07.05 and I read almost all of the reviews before we left and I must admit, I don't know what these people are complaining about. I am a neat and clean freak, not a picky eater, but I wear makeup and don't want my hair sweating out, so I need my AC, I give respect and expect it in return AND I HAVE NO COMPLAINTS!

We were greeted by the bellmen at arrival, they offered to take our bags to our room after assignment, but we opted to take them up ourselves (eager to get to the pool). We were also given a frozen fruity cocktail during our check-in process as well, which was nice to cool off. The taxi bus for 5 people from PVR airport was $50USD and the taxi ride to Downtown was $10USD.

We loved our rooms and have traveled to Mexico before (Cancun and Cabo) and this was by far the best. We cruise a lot, but this was wayyy better than cruising and worth the extra money to upgrade to the premium room ($310USD for two people).

Based on the reviews I'd read, I had a slew of questions at check-in to ensure we didn't incur any additional charges and to also verify that I understood the restaurant reservation process (reservations required 24hrs before and can be made from 11am-5pm), and also the room service and WiFi were big deals for our family (spouse at home and work duties). Only one of our rooms upgraded to the premium service (well worth it) and we simply told the check-in clerk we had 3 devices that needed WiFi (2 in our room and another in a separate room) and we were given codes for all 7 days as part of the premium package. Room service was included in the premium upgrade, but had we not upgraded it wasn't a pocket breaker - nothing was over $15 USD.

Also, the drinks were a good strength for all of us and those who wanted them stronger simply requested another splash of liquor (no issues at all from bartenders) The house keeper assigned to our room was excellent and while she spoke no English and us no Spanish we still were able to communicate and tipped her largely at checkout. Also, Mario who works in the buffet and also runs food for room service is a gentleman (tipped him several times) and he has gorgeous eyes - I can admire and be married :)

The only negative thing that occurred during our trip was on day 5 200-250 Spanish HS graduates with Pop Travel arrived and it was horrid for that day - but the next day the hotel had a handle on the kids by forcing them to use towels before leaving the pool area to prevent everything from getting wet. They were cool and lots of fun, but most of all very respectful above anything to all of our family which ranged from 18-58. But next time we'll book to miss them, even though they did liven the place up and the DJ was awesome!

All in all, we've decided to make this a reoccurring family vacation each year and loved our stay here. The food was good, nothing to brag about (breakfast was my favorite), the deserts were a fun game (try them all till you find a good tasting one) - the chocolate cupcake was my favorite.

PLEASE STOP FEEDING THE BIRDS THAT FLY NEAR LOS ARCOS, that way they stay away and don't disturb those eating.

The people on the beach apply just enough pressure to buy to where they don't bother you too much. If you don't want to be bothered at all, grab a NO THANK YOU/ NO GRACIS sand fork before hitting the beach (no fee) and they'll leave you alone.

Again, I'm not sure where these negative reviews came from because we had none on our trip except the graduates on that one night. Oh and two of the travelers in our group had diarrhea after the outdoor adventure (the only two who went on the excursion) but they'd been given water (not from the bottle) when chocking on a peanut - so we assume that was to blame.

Room Tip: We stayed in tower one on floors 7 and 9. One of the rooms on the 7th floor didn't cool too well, but nothing to gripe about, we just didn't use the comforter.
  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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6  Thank Reanna J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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