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“Barcelo Puerto Vallarta - Authentic Mexican Vacation”

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Barcelo Puerto Vallarta
Ranked #30 of 123 Hotels in Puerto Vallarta
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed July 31, 2013

My cousin and I stayed at the Barcelo Puerto Vallarta for 5 nights from 7/23-7/28. Many Nationals were on vacation during this timeframe, and were staying at the hotel. It was also rainy season, but those are just some of the facts.

My opinion of the hotel was that it is a very nice older hotel with an authentic Mexican flavor located in beautiful Msmaloya. We enjoyed our stay.

The location is very nice. It's South of downtown and walking distance to the Zoo (which I would recommend) and the Mr. Tequila factory tour. There was a lot of action at the Mismaloya River next to the resort. We had great massages there ($20/pp for 1 hour). The bus into town was 70 cents.

The Concierge team pre-booked my dining reservations. They were very nice if we had any questions and we never had to wait.

The rooms were very nice (even the lowest category room was very spacious). The decor is Mexican/modern and the balconies are huge. The closet space was really appreciated. Double sinks might have been nice, but not a big deal. Our room's lock was broken, and they wanted to be present to fix it, so we decided to use my door stop and have them fix it later. Our fridge was always stocked with what we asked for and any time that we saw the man, he was very nice and would give us anything we wanted.

The Bell Boy was very nice, but he forgot to tell us that we had to leave our room key in the slot in order for our electricity to work. LOL

The buffet was sometimes overcrowded and because the middle section where they prepare omelettes and Mexican specialties was square shaped, people came from different directions and didn't form a line, which was very crazy and confusing. Lines are very helpful to keep things organized. Whenever you walked in, they offered you hand sanitizer. I loved the Fruit Water and also the Crepe lady on Mexican night. I also enjoyed watching the activities on the beach while eating.

We ate at the Steak House and Italian. I was really impressed with the Italian. The food was really good and the atmosphere was pleasant. We had good service too.

Drinks by the pool were not to my liking, but they came around frequently.

There were plenty of pools and I really liked the waterfalls. You didn't have to play the towel game even though the hotel was full. People did not wake up at the crack of dawn to reserve.

Security at the resort was very good when leaving the resort and at the beach/pool area.

Internet - We dd not purchase internet as I feel that hotels should offer this service for free.

Shops - There was a suprising amount of various shops on the grounds. Very nice for those who do not like to venture out and they had vendors comein a couple evenings too.

The resort gets a big applause with how they handled my allergies. The Concierge notified the restaurants on my behalf, and before I even said anything, most knew. One time, I went to the snack bar by the pool, and the waiter told me that the manager would take my order due to my allergies and we didn't even sign in with our room # or anything. They just remembered. I really appreciate the attention to detail here.

The beach is not the greatest for those who love nice beaches, but I prefer the pool. There were some chairs, but not too many and it was always bustling with activity due to the river being next door. I found it to be entertaining.

Maybe sometime I will return and stay in a Master suite or the Penthouse!

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank MJo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 30, 2013

Please read and accept the bad/poor reviews of this properties accurate.

I am not one to usually believe, some people are very picky.

We arrived for a 10 day stay from the 18th of June to the 28th.

Check in was good, prompt. The room is quite nice, very well laid out. Very good for family with children.

Then things started to go badly....

Renovations are happening at the Snack-bar, which is also the steak house. Only one of the two restaurants are open each night, reservations are next to impossible.

The food at each is "Ok", nothing great, just a break from the buffet.

The buffet, food is ok, buffet food. The soft ice cream machine was broken the entire stay. Every morning the bacon was empty, the maple syrup was empty, always had to ask for replacement, scrambled eggs always had something "extra" in them

Non-motorized water sports" was closed, no Kayaking, no snorkeling etc

Beach, is nice, good for wading, swimming out from shore, no body surfing or boogie-boarding due to slope of shore.

Large convention booked, nightly shows stuffed into the hall-way beside the canteen

Room, had one towel for three of us one night and two for the three of us another night.

Poorly stocked with beverages and snacks.

Ping pong and other poolside activities, adult must sign out items

Concierge, very rude and non-helpful.unless you are Mexican.

All of these issues were brought forward to the hotel and our travel rep.

Nothing done.

Would just liked to have known that renos were going on, then would have booked eles-where.

Recommend.."Dreams". A bit more money, for 20x the service and amenities.

Will NEVER stay at a BARCELO or recommend to anyone.

As the adage goes, I was more than happy to tell all of my family, friends, co-workers about the poor service and delivery of this property.

Room Tip: DO NOT STAY at this property!!!
  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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18  Thank Ward F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 25, 2013

The location is beautiful with the rainforest setting and the beach is pretty private in a hidden cove. We booked on Travelocity and selected the premium service which is all inclusive and access to the "premium club". The premium club is basically a small air conditioned lounge area with a customer service/checkin-checkout person, top shelf alcohol, soft drinks, a TV, 4 computers with internet access, and a small selection of snacks (think fruit, coffee, and bread). This was nice incase we wanted to grab some canned sodas, bottled water, or self made cocktails at any time. I would definitely recommend with a minimal add on charge when booking. The rooms were pretty spacious and updated. Keep in mind if you speak minimal Spanish that English is very rare among the staff.

The first couple of days were nice with lots of swimming and trying all the food. On the third day my daughter got sick and was vomiting. We weren't sure if it was the food or her possibly swallowing pool water (she's 2). She was sick for about 24 hours then seemed fine. Then on the 5th day I got sick, she got sick again, and 2 other family members. This lasted the rest of our 8 day stay. What turned out to be a relaxing vacation ended up being miserable. We all had to go on antibiotics. We are not sure if it was something we ate/drank or just the cleanliness of some of the dishes/silverware. Beware when considering booking here.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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5  Thank mclachlansangel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 24, 2013

My husband and I stayed at Barcelo PV with two of our friends July 2-6. As we rode through Puerto Vallarta from the airport to the resort, it was easy to see that Barcelo was one of the premiere resorts in the area. Our first couple days were fantastic with great service and excellent weather. The resort was very relaxing with the exception of the beach, and our room seemed to be in a great spot where we could see everything going on at the resort. The hotel put our friends and us in the two rooms immediately above the only bar open at night, which wasn't an issue until the last couple nights. Our room was very spacious and comfortable; the only complaint with the room itself is the refrigerator (which they claim to be stocked) only had two bottles of water, two beers, two sodas, and an orange juice. We were fine with the small amounts of everything but water. In Mexico, you can't drink the tap water, so you'd think they'd stock the room refrigerators with more bottled water.

The beach is very, very small, and what room there is is flooded with beach peddlers trying to sell sunglasses, jewelry, hats, scarves, and boat rides. If you say no thank you or no gracias, these people will continue to harrass you for your business. Even if you're laying on the pool deck, they'll lean over the wall and try to sell you their services. There are signs that say no gracias that you can take with you down to the beach, but we tried this once and one of the peddlers told me that my husband was an embarrassment for carrying it with him- all they were trying to do was make a living. I understand they need to make money somehow, but if I say no thank you, I mean it. There isn't much room to swim in the ocean either- it's filled with the peddlers' boats.

The food on the resort is okay. I've had much better. There really isn't much variety and it's easy to get tired of eating the same thing over and over again. Try to stick to the authentic Mexican food they serve- it's the best of what they have. The front desk will tell you there are 3 restaurants that require reservations, and you are usually allowed 2 reservations while you are there. These fill up very quickly, and only one restaurant is actually open each night. We were only able to eat at the Italian restaurant (funny, being in Mexico), and it was better than the buffet but not by much.

Here's where our trip went wrong: night #2/day #3...about 900 or so high school graduates from Guadalajara showed up with the travel company PopTravel and completely took over the resort. We stopped going to the pool the afternoon of day 3 because it was overcrowded with wild 17/18 year old kids who were obviously new to drinking. Young kids who were there with their families weren't able to swim in the smaller pools because those, too, were taken over by the high school graduates. It was nearly impossible to get a drink from the pool bar or the bar underneath our room (by the elevators) because they were usually 5-6 kids deep. PopTravel set up their banners and their own DJ next to the main pool. The DJ was so loud it was impossible to get away from the sound and the thumping of the bass. Forget taking a nap in the afternoon or even trying to sleep at night. In the afternoon, the main pool turned into a game area for the kids with PopTravel- belly flop contests, a bunch of DJ contests, pouring bottles of alcohol into the mouths of the high school kids in the pool. For a resort that "doesn't allow spring breakers", this was more of a spring break party than I've ever been to. At night, the high school kids were taken to the local clubs and stayed out until 3 or 4 in the morning. Our last night there, PopTravel set up a DJ and a dance floor next to the bar immediately beneath our room; they turned on the party once the kids returned from the clubs at 3am and had the room-shaking music and flashing lights going until 6am. My husband and I woke up to the noise around 4am, and I called down to the front desk to see when the party would be over. They told me 6am, and when I told them that was ridiculous, all the guy said was "sorry". The very LEAST the resort could have done was tell their guests who were not part of this PopTravel group what was going on and offer to move us to another area of the resort away from this party. They should have given our rooms to the high school kids, not four adults who were looking for a relaxing vacation.

Our best day was our 4th day; we went on the Las Caletas excursion with Vallarta Adventures. It got us away from the resort and the high school kids for most of the day and was definitely worth the money we spent. We went snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding, took a cooking lesson, learned to make guacamole, had a fantastic lunch (all drinks included), and held a macaw, monkey, and Burmese python as part of an animal encounter. If you are thinking about doing this excursion, I highly recommend it! So kudos to Vallarta Adventures, not to Barcelo. As soon as we returned (by boat) to Barcelo, beach peddlers were trying to sell us their boat rides. They were asking as we were stepping off of our boat!

All-in-all, we made what we could of our vacation. There were good parts and terrible parts. Unfortunately, the terrible parts outweigh the good ones, and my husband and I both feel that the money we spent on this vacation was not worth it. We tried to complain to the front desk at our check-out, but all the girl said was "sorry" and "you aren't the first to complain about these things". No action was taken whatsoever. Back in January when we were planning this vacation, we were deciding between Barcelo PV and Riu Cancun...we really wish we had just gone back to Riu Cancun. Not to discount Puerto Vallarta and its beauty; it's just that if Barcelo is one of the best PV has to offer, we aren't impressed.

We will never be going back to this resort.

Room Tip: Avoid the rooms immediately above the bar next to the elevators! Try to get a room at the ends of th...
  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with friends
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13  Thank Jenna D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 16, 2013


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 teenager...
  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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6  Thank Bob J
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: Zona Hotelera Sur Km. 11.5, Puerto Vallarta 48294, 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:
#12 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#18 Spa Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#18 Luxury Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#23 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#27 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#29 Family Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
Price Range: $145 - $449 (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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